Editors’ round-up: 20 camping essentials we’ve been loving this summer

Editors’ round-up: 20 camping essentials we’ve been loving this summer

Where will you camp next? Photo courtesy of Fjällräven

To encourage you to spend some time away from your regular hustle-and-bustle, we’ve compiled a list of camping-centric products that have made our recent excursions kick serious butt. We’re confident that these items will do the same for you. So, study up, buy up and get the hell out there. Check back again soon, too, because we’ve got loads of additional camping gear coverage coming your way.

Hyper Cat Sleeping Bag, The North Face


This beaut’ of a sleeping bag weighs just under two pounds, boasts a streamlined shape and is highly compressible, making it a stellar option for the avid, weight-conscious backpackers out there. It’s also insanely warm—much warmer than its 20 degree Farenheit-rating would lead on—as I was going “leg-out” while sleeping in the Hyper Cat more often than not this summer. That warmth is attributed to synthetic insulation that functions exceptionally well in all conditions, wet or dry. The insulation is also strategically placed: there’s more on top and less on the bottom, significantly reducing the Hyper Cat’s overall weight.

Additional tech specs include a hood-cinch, integrated draft overlap and draft collar to prevent cold air from seeping in. A stuffsack and storage sack come included and I recommend you use a sleeping pad for utmost comfort. Folks in the 5’ 8” range or taller, I recommend the long option as opposed to regular. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Men’s Pull-On Adventure Shorts, The North Face


Ideal for big hikes, mellow lounging by the tent or a lazy float down the river the Pull-On Adventure Shorts are the definition of combined comfort and function. They’re lightweight (230 grams), wick moisture like champions, are breathable and provide necessary UV protection. Two side pockets and a zippered one on the bum provide some storage and an internal drawcord allows you to find the perfect fit, no matter how many burgers and dogs you scarfed up around the campfire. — Donny O’Neill, Senior Editor

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Genesis Basecamp System, Jetboil


The ultimate basecamp cooking system. This award winning, dual burner stove boasts a Jetboil engineered valve for exceptional simmer control, easy-to-clean drip trays, a lever igniter, and attachable windscreen for use in all weather conditions.The FluxRing equipped 5L FluxPot brings a liter of water to boil in just 3 minutes, 15 seconds! This beast utilizes the Jetlink fuel output port to attach to compatible stoves (Gonzo Grill Cook System, Spire LX Camp Stove, and Halfgen Basecamp System) or a Luna Satellite Burner for a completely customizable backcountry cooking experience. Who says gourmet meals are only for the kitchen? — FREESKIER’s Nat Houston

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Optic 6 Tent, Mountain Hardwear


If you’re looking to host a good ol’ fashioned slumber party in the wilderness, you’re going to need a tent big enough to house the whole gang. Queue the Optic 6, a six-person tent that boasts an open, airy interior and heaps of gear storage space in the form of canopy pockets. Indeed, this beast is spacious enough to accommodate six full-grown humans in sleeping position, along with their essential gear.

The tent is also tall enough (77 in) that most folks can stand comfortably inside. Two doors on adjoining sides provide stunning views of your surroundings and allow for easy entry and exit. A dual vestibule design provides a safe haven for gear in the event of inclement weather. Conveniently, one vestibule also converts into an awning, providing for some sun-protection on the brightest of days. The whole kit registers just north of 15 pounds and is thereby best suited to those who will access their campsite via car, four-wheelers, etc. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Mountaineering Drift 15 Sleeping Bag, Brooks-Range


Ideal for higher elevation camping where temperatures are lower overnight, the Drift 15 is constructed with 20.5 ounces of 850-plus fill DownTek down to keep you warm down to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit. One neat feature is a specialized neck collar helps bundle you up and trap heat within the bag. It weighs a manageable 32 ounces, packs down small and is treated with DWR to help keep any moisture you might encounter at bay. — Donny O’Neill, Senior Editor

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Joe’s Pils, Avery Brewing Company


Boulder, Colorado’s Avery Brewing Company understands that there’s nothing like cracking open a cold beer after a long day hiking, biking or while relaxing by the campsite. Brewed with two types of Noble German hops for a crisp, nutty flavor Joe’s Pils is truly refreshing. Extra-hoppy with notable floral notes, this brew is the light, easy-drinking American-style Pilsner you’ve been dreaming about. — Sam Taggart, Online Editor

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Flip 4 Speaker, JBL


This waterproof, rugged, portable Bluetooth speaker is a trustworthy companion for camping outings of every sort. Given its compact size it pumps out surprisingly crisp, loud sound. Its 3000mAh battery supports up to 12 hours of playtime and it also pairs with other JBL speakers (up to 10) via the Connect+ app for a vast network of sound. The Flip 4 takes calls via speakerphone and is also compatible with Siri and Google Now. Available in six colorways. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Rambler Jug, YETI


Every campsite needs water—lots of it. (Or lots of homemade vodka-lemonade, depending on your preference.) Grab yourself a Rambler one-gallon jug to keep your liquids icy-icy cold (or burning hot) for longer with one full inch of insulation on the cap and double-wall vacuum insulation around the bottle itself. YETI’s thoughtful MagCap system utilizes a magnet on the lid to hold the cap in place while the jug is in use. This behemoth container is built with 18/8 stainless steel and is nearly indestructible, so it’s primed for your next adventure into the backcountry. — Sam Taggart, Online Editor

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Luminoodle Light Rope, Practical Power


It’s waterproof, flexible and bright (180 lumens) and can be strung up or wrapped around just about anything. As far as camping goes, we recommend this piece for the purposes of illuminating the interior of a tent or boosting the overall aura of a campsite—just like those Christmas lights you strung around your dorm room. It’s usable as a string light and also as a lantern—just stuff the “noodle” into its translucent stuff-sack and hang ‘er up. It comes in a five-foot and 10-foot length ($29.99 and 360 lumens) and is compatible with any USB power source. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Skeltool KB, Leatherman


Registering just 1.3 ounces, this bad boy is not even noticeable when it’s clipped to my pocket. I use it frequently during camping outings, around the house and also around the office as a box opener and letter opener for snail mail. In addition to its 2.6 inch blade it also features a bottle opener, allowing me to be at the ready when the clock strikes Beer:30. And like all of Leatherman’s tools, it’s backed by a 25-year warranty. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Thai Style White IPA, Upslope Brewing


Here’s one way to spice up the campsite this summer. Try out this seasonal Thai Style White IPA from Colorado’s Upslope Brewing Company. Mixing Belgian wit yeast with classic style American IPA hops and a combination of seven Asian inspired pieces, this brew will wake up your tastebuds with its uniquely refreshing, citrusy flavor profile. Although it’s an IPA, it’s super-drinkable and before you know it, you’ll be reaching for another one from the icebox. Get ‘em while they last—this beer is only produced in June, July and August. — Sam Taggart, Online Editor

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Abisko Shape 2 Tent, Fjällräven


This tent is ideal for backpackers and avid campers who hit the trail no matter what the weather forecast is calling for. (After all, “You don’t know, if you don’t go.”) Lightweight (1,650 g) yet burly, this four-season tunnel tent has served me well time and time again. Just this past weekend, while camping at 11,000-feet on Colorado’s Mt. Princeton, I endured pouring rain and howling winds and the Abisko Shape 2 held mighty tough through the night, keeping me warm and dry as can be.

Highlights include a massive vestibule, big enough for two persons to comfortably cook underneath in the event of high winds or wet conditions; serious warmth yet ample ventilation when you wish to cool off; color-coded tent poles for pain-free pitching; a spacious interior complete with a clothesline for drying or hanging whatever you please, plus mesh pockets for storage; a super-durable flysheet; and a mighty packable character, great for outings where weight and pack-space are at a premium. For the frequent go-getters who are seeking a dependable option, the Abisko Shape 2 comes highly recommended. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Singi Two Seasons Regular, Fjällräven


This sleeping bag delivers all the warmth you need for most summer and fall adventures in a lightweight (1,000 g), packable and supple package. Synthetic insulation excels in both wet and dry conditions, keeping you cozy and happy down to about 30 degrees Farenheit. Full-length, two-way zippers allow for easy entry, exit and ventilation—greatly appreciated when the mercury rises. It’s also comfortably sized, especially for a sleeping bag that is designed with multi-day outings in mind: I’m 5’ 9” with a mid-sized build and have plenty of room to spare while lying inside of the Abisko Two Seasons Reg.

I’ve sported a handful of other “backpacking sleeping bags” over the course of the summer and most of ‘em are too short n’ too slim for my liking. As such, this has become my go-to. Additional features include a drawcord at the head; a padded flap along the openings to keep warm air in and cold drafts out; an inner pocket to store a few essential belongings; eyelets at the feet for hang drying; and a stylish stuff sack. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Q-Core SLX, Big Agnes


The sleeping pad is a key ingredient to a successful camping trip. Most importantly, it provides a barrier between you and the ground, allowing you to retain your body heat and stay warm throughout the night. It also brings a bit of plush, homey comfort to the backcountry. The Q-CORE SLX is the whole package. It’s rated down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, weighs a mere 635 grams (in 20″ x 72″ size) and has a double ripstop construction that significantly ups its durability. Dual valves, a one-way inflation valve and one for quick deflation, make it incredibly easy to set up, too. — Donny O’Neill, Senior Editor

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MSR Access 2 Tent, MSR


While built to be a dependable winter camping tent, ideal for ski-touring missions, the Access 2 can actually be used year-round. It sits right in the middle of MSR’s mountaineering and backpacking tents—lighter than the mountaineering options and warmer than the trekking choices. A bit of mesh in the body provides some additional warmth on the coldest nights, the interior is big enough for two people to comfortably de-layer and sleep and the robust frame will hold up against the elements. It also sets up incredibly fast, which is key if a rogue summer storm happens to roll through. — Donny O’Neill, Senior Editor

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Turtle Shell 3.0, Outdoor Tech


This third iteration of the FREESKIER-favorite speaker is 20 percent louder than its predecessor. Not only does it play louder, it also plays for longer: now up to 20 hours of jammin’. It’s waterproof and also floats, making this an ideal pool party companion. A built-in microphone allows you to take and make calls and sync with the likes of Siri. Plus, it doubles as a portable power bank. And in case you’re not feeling the Bluetooth vibes, the speaker features a 3.5 mm audio jack. Its Bluetooth range is approximately 32 feet and you can also link the 3.0 to another Turtle Shell (up to 15 feet away) to amplify your sound.

If you’re looking for a gift item for multiple people, the “Turtle Two Pack” includes two of these suckers in one package for just $179.95. All told, the Turtle Shell 3.0 is a stellar option for those seeking a loud, portable speaker that’s ultra-durable to withstand all sorts of abuse. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Chaco Women’s Z/2 Classic, Chaco


A burly, supportive and durable pair of sandals are key for providing function and comfort at the campsite. The Z/2 Classic is built with a polyester jacquard web system with a toe loop that wraps the entire foot and provides a perfectly customized fit. A women’s specific PU midsole provides the proper support and an antimicrobial application keeps the sandals from stinking up after a season’s worth of use. On the outsole, a rubber compound and 3 mm lug depth work together to provide incredible traction. — Donny O’Neill, Senior Editor

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Original Puffy Blanket, Rumpl


The Original Puffy Blanket resembles a premium sleeping bag, i.e. it’s supple, smooth to the touch and packed with warmth. Unlike a sleeping bag, however, this offering doesn’t zip up. Instead, it’s best used to drape around oneself and it comes in handy in a multitude of situations. Take, for example, a cold night around the campfire: You’re not going to sit in your camping chair wrapped up in your sleeping bag, are you? No. Because that’s impractical. Instead, you (and potentially that cute girl or guy across the campfire) can look to the Puffy Blanket as a source of warmth because it’s plenty big to share.

It’s constructed of synthetic insulation and weather- and dirt-resistant 20D ripstop nylon with a DWR coating. When you do dirty it up over time, just throw it in the wash and she’ll be looking good as new. It comes with a stuff-sack and is available in seven different colors. If you’re anything like us, you’ll start to bring this thing with you basically everywhere you go: camping, car, boat, hut trips, back porch, couch, your own bed, etc. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Añejo, Suerte Tequila


Celebrate a successful day of hiking. Celebrate a day well spent on the river. Celebrate your beautiful surroundings or just plain celebrate the fact that you erected your tent without losing an eye. And celebrate with tequila. Specifically Suerte’s Añejo tequila. It’s aged in charred American White Oak whiskey barrels for two full years—twice as long as the industry standard. Its full-bodied flavor—complete with hints of oak, berry, chocolate and mint—will have your pals asking for another pour, and another pour…

Fun fact: Suerte’s logo is thought-out from top to bottom: the rabbit’s neck bone is symbolic of Dia de Los Muertos; the spade is symbolic of luck; a crown represents royalty and superiority, etc. No element of the logo is included haphazardly. Rest assured, this thoughtful approach to design is reflected in Suerte’s distilling process. — Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

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Limited Freeskier Edition 27 oz., Klean Kanteen


Hydration is key in your busy life and this badass bottle is the best way to make sure you forgo plastic bottles of water without getting low on H2O. The large opening makes it easy to mix up your favorite sports drinks and add ice while the electropolished interior ensures that the bottle doesn’t retain or impart flavors that don’t belong there.

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