Summer might be waning, but there’s still plenty of time before snow falls again in the mountains. During these warm weather months, there’s no better feeling than sleeping somewhere where cell service is scarce, under the stars with a fire burning in the pit. Unless you’re chasing winter to the Southern Hemisphere, we know you’re out there hiking, biking and camping to your heart’s content.
To make your next great escape to the outdoors that much better, we’ve compiled 15 gear essentials that will make your campsite feel like a home away from home, even when you’re miles away from civilization. From must-have equipment to accessories that’ll keep you comfortable and the music bumpin’, we’ve tested the following products to ensure they’ll improve your camping experience ten-fold.
Stormbreak 2 — The North Face
Affordable and dependable, the Stormbreak 2 from The North Face is an easy-to-use tent designed for car-camping or on short backpacking trips in the height of summer, fall or spring. Two, large mesh doors allow for no-hassle entries/exits into the tent’s spacious interior, which boasts best-in-class headroom, convenient storage pouches and a centered loop for hanging a lantern. With its extra-durable and intuitive rain fly, you’ll be able to endure all night storms and high winds as long as they persist. For out-and-back missions this tent is a wicked choice, but we recommend splitting the load with another person if you’re trekking longer distances.
Hyper Kazoo — The North Face
The North Face’s Hyper Kazoo is a three-season sleeping bag, ideal for summer camping trips yet warm enough to take on early spring/late winter trips because of its 15-degree Fahrenheit rating. Thermobaffle technology, which weaves heat-producing baffle chambers from a single piece of fabric, instead of stitching multiple pieces together, increases warmth and durability while keeping weight savings at a premium. Feel confident bringing this sleeping bag on your next adventure, wherever that may be.
Arkali — HOKA ONE ONE
The moment you lace up the Arkali from HOKA ONE ONE, you’ll feel a spring in your step. That’s all thanks to HOKA’s dedication to designing lightweight yet supportive and responsive shoes—they’re renowned for creating cloud-like cushion underfoot. With an adaptive fit system that includes a heel adjustment, soft Velcro ankle wraps and laces that go all the way down to your toes, you can customize the fit of these trail-conquering shoes to fit your exact foot shape, too. From trekking to the tops of 14ers in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to casual day hikes away from camp, the Arkali combines running shoe comfort, climbing shoe traction and hiking shoe support.
Recon Backpack — The North Face
A do-it-all daypack, the Recon from The North Face can go from your daily commute to the trailhead or campsite without blinking an eye. Its plethora of strategically-placed pockets and compartments help keep your gear sorted for easy access and its 30-liter storage capacity ensures you’ll have enough space for camera gear, two large water bottles, an extra layer and a whole bunch of snacks. The comfortable fit system on this pack is the icing on the cake here, a nod to The North Face’s years of experience designing equipment made for the backcountry.
Tekno Ridge Pullover Hoodie — The North Face
The Tekno Ridge Pullover Hoodie from The North Face (TNF) is as versatile as it is stylish. The lightweight fleece fabric and brushed interior provide ample warmth next-to-skin while the inclusion of TNF’s proprietary WindWall fabric prevents a chilling ridge-top or late night breeze from sending shivers down your spine. But where the Tekno Ridge truly shines is its breathability; even while wearing a fully-loaded backpack it’s hard to overheat. Replace your old cotton hoodie with this water-resistant, wind-breaking hoodie. You’ll thank us later.
Resolve 2 Jacket — The North Face
Every proper gear closet needs a reliable rain jacket and the Resolve 2 checks all of the proverbial boxes. Utilizing a two-layer shell construction, the Resolve 2 is completely water- and windproof yet still breathable thanks to an inner mesh liner and The North Face’s DryVent technology, a polyurethane coating on the jacket’s exterior that enhances waterproof protection, moisture permeability and durability. A tall, soft collar and mid-weight construction provide a tad of warmth, too, so you can continue walking in the woods no matter how much rain is falling from the sky.
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 and put away, too.
NanoLoft Puffy Blanket — Rumpl
Rumpl has been a favorite of FREESKIER staffers since its inception in 2014. Providing sleeping bag-like coziness in a durable, portable, stylish puffy blanket, this certainly isn’t your grandma’s duvet. Beyond offering countless designs to match your vibe—the R100 is pictured above—Rumpl is introducing NanoLoft insulation in 2019, a down-synthetic made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled materials. DWR-coated for increased waterproofing and cozy enough to have you feelin’ like a bug in a rug, the NanoLoft Puffy Blanket is a surefire addition to any campsite.
MiniMo Cooking System — JetBoil
Made for single-person use, this small camp stove offers big-time water boiling and cooking capabilities. First and foremost, the MiniMo operates in the same simple and reliable fashion seen across JetBoil’s collection of camp stoves, featuring a push-button igniter and metal handles for easier cooking. The included one-liter vessel is ideal for quickly boiling water—morning coffee, check!—but the system’s simmer control gives you the temperature regulation necessary to simmer veggies or reheat some grub you brought from home. For a smaller campsite, the MiniMo is a no-brainer.
Makalu Lite Cor-Tec AS Trekking Poles — Leki
Save your knees and push peaks faster than before with the Makalu Lite Cor-Tec AS trekking poles in-hand. Here, an amazingly lightweight, reinforced aluminum construction is paired with Leki’s Dynamic Suspension System, which absorbs up to 40 percent of energy upon impact, protecting your muscles, legs and joints. The angled, cork grip and easily-adjustable clips to alter the length of the pole make these our everday go-to when it comes time for a long walk in the woods.
Sport Recovery Drink Mix — Skratch Labs
For post-hike recovery, nothing beats the Sport Recovery Drink Mix formula created by Boulder, Colorado-based Skratch Labs. Essentially, this is some scientifically-improved chocolate milk with a four-to-one ratio of carbohydrates to proteins, which provides your weary muscles with essential sugars, electrolytes and fats to improve recovery time. Before cracking into a cold one or pouring yourself a celebratory glass of whiskey after your latest backcountry adventure, chug down a serving of this delicious concoction to give your body the nutrients it needs to keep you feeling your best.
Here at FREESKIER, we enjoy a glass of whiskey and there’s one libation that we always come back to: Colorado born-and-bred, Tincup Whiskey. Using a rye-heavy mash and distilled with pure Rocky Mountain water, this bourbon offers a bold, spicy flavor meant to pay homage to the first miners who settled in the Rockies and drank their whiskey from tin cups. We recommend passing a bottle around the campfire with your friends; for some reason, it just tastes better that way…
Barricade Wireless Speaker — Skullcandy
Waterproof up to three feet, offering eight hours of battery life and boasting some of the richest lows and crispiest highs, the Barricade Wireless Speaker from Skullcandy is a necessity at the campsite. For its size, this speaker will blow you away, as it did for us; the sound quality has been tried-and-tested at the company’s Utah headquarters by expert engineers and designers ensuring you’re getting the most bass for your buck. Its rugged design and charging ports also make for versatile, worry-free use while you’re on your next great adventure.
Cairn XL Smart Lantern — Lander
This app-enabled lantern and powerbank is the brightest and most rugged in the Lander’s Cairn line and is equally as versatile. Easily turn the 350 lumen LED light on/off, adjust dimming settings, set timers for automatic on/off or change the color of the light via your bluetooth-conntected phone. Also, with Lander’s sturdy tethered anchor system, hang it up however you’d like. One other nifty feature that helps save battery life is the lantern’s proximity sensor, which allows auto on/off and dimming based on your distance from the light.
Kodiak Plus 2.0 — Outdoor Tech
To keep your batteries charged, keep the Kodiak 2.0 by your side. This rugged, waterproof charging dock is built to last multiple days on a single charge. Featuring a 6-LED light for emergencies or use around the campsite and a fuel gauge to keep track of how much charge is left, the Kodiak 2.0 is a product that proves useful in a variety of ways. We guarantee you’ll feel confident venturing deeper with the Kodiak 2.0 in tow, knowing that all of your electronic devices will stay charged through the duration of your next adventure.