Explore: Summertime Camping Essentials
Published on 07/25/2012
By Ann-Britt Hakansson
With camping season in full swing, it’s time to gear up and head out. In need of some new equipment to ensure that your trip goes off with a bang? Look no further, we’ve tracked down the best stuff out there. Whether you're car camping or heading out on a week-long backpacking excursion, here is everything you need to stay comfortable, fed and happy.
Sleeping pad: Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xlite
Featured in Outside Magazine’s Summer Outdoor Gear Guide and as the Editors Choice in Backpacker Magazine, this pad gets the unanimous vote for any camping and backpacking excursion. The NeoAir Xlite is, not surprisingly, ultra-light. It is designed with a reflective layer that returns heat to the body. Combine its weightlessness and warmth with its incredibly compact design, this pad seems to be the only pad. The fact that it is made in Seattle (that’s right, not in China) is an added bonus.
Headlamp: Petzl Tikka Plus 2
The Petzl Tikka headlamp will quickly become near and dear to your heart. Don’t be that stumbling buffoon in the woods! This Petzl headlamp has three white light settings and a red light setting for night vision and can tilt to point where light is needed. It is water resistant, durable and comfortable. If you are looking for a more compact version, the Zikpa 2 has a retractable cord and can be attached to any support.
Tent: Nemo Espri LE 3
Versatility is what this tent is all about. The rainfly that can be attached in seconds has an optional detachable vestibule, for a sheltered kitchen or gear storage area. It is sturdy despite its tall design, and the ultra-light poles weigh this tent in at 4.5 pounds. Also featured in Outside Magazines Summer Gear Guide, this spacious 2 person tent is the perfect balance between super lightweight and functionality.
Stove: Jetboil Sol
It doesn’t matter if you’re going gourmet or sticking to a diet of ramen noodles and Cliff bars, this is the best camping stove out there. It is compact enough to fit in a pack and has a consistent gas flow down to 20°, usable in all four seasons. The Jetboil is quick and easy, igniting with the push of a button. It is lightweight and the bottom cover unsnaps to double as a measuring cup and a bowl. If you’re going on a solo trip, this is all you need for all things cooking. If not, pot supports and a stabilizing tripod can be purchased separately for the more advanced chef requiring pots and pans.
Sleeping bag: Kelty Cosmic Down +20°
For many outdoor enthusiasts (read: backpacker bum), finding the right gear for the right price can be a challenge. At risk of breaking the bank, or the pocket stuffed with crumbled bills, pennies and lint, the search for gear on a budget usually ends at a second hand store. Not this time. The Kelty Cosmic offers a durable, lightweight down bag perfect for backpacking in the spring, summer and fall. Up to par with the more pricey bags, it packs small and at around 2 pounds it is a great bag with great value.
Now you’re all set to camp out, cook up and sleep warm, well and sheltered. Just don’t forget the Dr. Bronners, because despite your top of the line gear, no one wants a smelly tent mate.