Gear Guide: Camping

by | May 6, 2021 | Guide | 0 comments

As the weather begins to warm up, the urge to hit the trails emerges. When immersing yourself in nature for a few nights, preparation is key. So before you lace up your boots and set out on the trail, check out our top picks for camping gear.

The Essentials

Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2

(adorable Labrador not included) The Copper Spur weighs in at just 3 lb 4.6 oz making carrying it into the backcountry a breeze. Its fully taped seams guard against moisture, generous mesh panels allow for an abundance of air circulation and double vestibules give plenty of room for storage. Though manufacturers often compromise on durability when attempting to reduce weight, the Copper Spur’s rip-stop construction will ensure you will can use this tent for seasons to come.

Pack: Osprey Aura AG 65
Finding a pack that fits perfectly, carries all your gear and is comfortable is the holy grail of backpacking. Osprey’s Aura comes with all the bells and whistles in a women’s specific design with near infinite size and adjustability options to ensure a proper fit. Osprey’s Anti-Gravity suspension system hugs the contours of your body, distributes pack weight, reduces pack movement and includes a ventilation system to keep you cool & dry.

Sleeping Bag: Feathered Friends Egret Nano 20 Women’s
This women’s specific bag has everything you could ask for in a sleeping bag. The Egret’s 900-fill power water-resistant loft will keep you warm even on those chilly evenings at altitude. The bag’s construction, with dual zippers, a draft collar and a footbox with additional fill, includes smart choices that will ensure maximum comfort at an astonishingly low weight — only 29 oz.

Camp Stove: MSR WhisperLite Universal
There’s a reason this stove has been among the most popular models on the market since its introduction more than thirty years ago. The WhisperLite Universal can be used with nearly any available fuel type for maximum flexibility especially when traveling. It’s also easy to clean and maintain and lightweight — making it a top pick for our list.

Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
The updated 2016 Spot has a refreshed set of features and a stripped down design with touch-sensitive housing. Now waterproof, the lamp projects at a 200 max lumens and includes a dimming mode, power meter and lock-out feature to prevent it from turning on in your pack when not in use.

Creature Comforts

Hammock: Grand Trunk Double Parachute Hammock
If you’re going to spending a few days at the same site, posting up a hammock for an afternoon nap or extra seating can greatly improve comfort. We suggest getting a double hammock to accommodate more than one weary hiker. Our top pick, the spacious Grand Trunk Double Parachute Hammock, has an attached stuff sack, carabiner for hanging, triple seam construction and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

Portable Speaker: UE Boom 2
This small speaker can pack a punch. With bluetooth technology, 15 hours of battery life, stain-resistant, shock-resistant and fully waterproof, it’s hard to ask for more. The updated Boom 2 is significantly louder than it’s predecessor — up to 90dBA– so you can keep the campsite bumping. Did we mention it sounds awesome too?

Backcountry Beer: Pat’s Pale Rail
(adorable Husky not included) “Brewed” using a backcountry carbonator and the gel-like contents of a flavor pack, if you’re in need of a brewski at the end of a long day on the trail, Pat’s Pale Rail may just do the trick. While it may not be your favorite local micro-brew, having a bit of a nip around the campfire is a long-held tradition we think is worth being upheld.

Doggie Backpack: Ruffwear Palisades Pack
(adorable Vizsla not included) This pack will keep you pooch supplied with all his trail-based needs. With removable saddlebags, a comfortable harness and a handle that can be used to help your pup over obstacles, the Palisades has been called the “Cadillac” of dog packs. Let your four-legged friend lighten your load and carry his own weight from now on.

Camp Chairs: Helinox One
Having a place to rest that isn’t the cold damp ground/rock/stump can make the difference between feeling truly rested or not. The lightweight aluminum frame of the Helinox One is sufficiently tall to be easier to get in and out of than other camp chairs.

A Note About Women-Specific Gear

Gone are the days of slapping some pink on a product and calling it “For Her”. Designers recognize that women are built differently and have different needs than men — especially when it comes to technical gear. While a tent may be a tent when it comes to gender, consider the advantages of a woman-specific sleeping bag or pack. But no need to worry, both pieces of women-specific gear included in this guide are also available in men’s versions (sleeping bag & pack).

Women sleep colder than men do, so a bag with a European Norm (EN) rating of 19°F (lower limit for a man) may only have a comfort rating of 32°F for women. An identical bag would thus require more fill to achieve the same warmth rating for a woman as it does a man. Beyond temperature ratings, sleeping bags are designed to trap heat and are better able to perform when close to the body. So excess fabric, say the 8” at the feet of a bag containing a 5’4” woman designed to fit a 6’ man, can lead to poorer performance — not to mention added pack weight due to extraneous material. Many bags are also designed to provide extra warmth where it’s needed most — at the feet and core, so using a bag that is disproportioned misplaces this additional insulation. Keep this in mind when looking for your next bag and look for something the right size and temperature for your needs.

Travel well.