When camping far away from civilization, having the right gear can make all the difference in the world. Our camping trips this past summer have helped us appreciate some of our most used items.
Here’s a quick run-down of Off Path Travels’ top 5 camping gear from 2018.
Bringing a large table camping can be a challenge. They can be big and take up too much room in the car. Weight can also be a hassle, especially if you have to walk some distance from the car. That’s where the ALPS Mountaineering table comes in. Sturdy aluminum composition makes it incredibly light. And it’s so compact, you’ll likely have a tough time telling the difference between one of your chairs and this table while in storage. The top basically rolls up and the legs fold perfectly together, then it all slides into a canvas bag which can be easily carried over one shoulder. Design is also key. The support rails run along the entire front and back of the top, so leaning on it doesn’t cause a complete catastrophe. And even though it’s insanely light, it is rather stable and can easily hold a grill, stove, and other cooking items. Enough space for four to eat comfortably makes this a real winner.
It’s lovely when the moon provides enough light to get around. But when you need a bit more, having one of these solar-powered bad boys can be perfect. Using low powered LEDs provides a nice glow to the surrounding area, but still plenty of light to do the things you need to do. Never worry about batteries; it keeps charged from sunlight without much hassle and provides light for hours. The inflatable design makes them incredibly compact, so they can even fit on backpacking adventures! They recently released a Pro series with a USB output for charging devices to give you a boost in a tight situation (although I wouldn’t depend on it too much for charging devices since the solar panel is fairly small). Other options include different colored lights and finishes (the LUX is matte and the original is clear).
If you’re spending long periods of time in the sun, being serious about UV protection should be on your to-do list. Lotions are great, but there are times when throwing on a lightweight shirt with UV protection makes things much easier. They are also nice to have around water so that you don’t have to add your lotion to the local ecosystem when you go for a quick dip. The Columbia long-sleeve shirts are the perfect combination of lightweight moisture-wicking material and UPF protection, meaning the shirt itself is rated to protect your skin. They come in many different styles and some are made from different fabrics (cotton, nylon, and polyester). The Silver Ridge Lite is our favorite because it is made from Columbia’s Omni-Wick™ Ripstop polyester so it is tough, lightweight, and dries rapidly. It also avoids having too much of the “outdoors” look, so this can come with us whether we’re in the backcountry or urban settings. There are plenty of other great options from Columbia, so feel free to check out some of the others which might fit your needs best!
A lot of our portable items run on gas: stove, grill, and lantern being the big three. Using the small green propane canisters gets old. They run out quickly and are not reusable. But they aren’t your only option. Most devices that require the 16oz (1 lb.) canisters can also run on larger propane tanks using a fairly cheap Coleman adapter hose. Once you have the adapter hose, you could lug up the 20 lb. tank you have under your grill at home. But our recommendation is to get a 1 gallon (5 lb.) tank to save some space. The 1 gallon tank is easy to fit in with your other gear and lasts long enough for multiple nights camping. Best part about it: Everywhere I’ve gone to have it filled up won’t charge me because it’s such a small amount. Seriously, how can you beat free energy?! (Although it is worth noting that you have to actually get your tank filled, not just swap it out, which can be a bit harder to find. Many U-Haul rental locations offer propane filling services.)
A sleeping bag is a sleeping bag, right? Not anymore. Quilts (and blankets) are the new rage, and for good reason. They save an enormous amount of size and weight by removing the backside of the sleeping bag. It doesn’t affect warmth much since the material under the body is compressed and provides little insulation anyway. The sides of quilts are made to wrap securely around your sleeping pad. Therm-a-Rest’s Vela comes in a two-person size, and we love it. Getting to cuddle while sleeping under the stars is the best. Therm-a-Rest Vela is the one-person version of the same quilt. We prefer down to get the best weight to warmth ratio, but Therm-a-Rest has synthetic options if moisture is more of a concern for you (synthetic provides more warmth when wet and usually dries quicker, but down is generally warmer when dry). We HIGHLY recommend getting the Therm-a-Rest Synergy Sheet coupler for your sleeping pads if you go the two-person route. The quilts need to be securely attached to both sleeping pads to retain heat. After one cold night without this, we bought it and never looked back. You could also go with a two-person sleeping pad instead, but we prefer having the ability to use our pads independently at times. That’s it for our favorite top 5 camping gear of 2018. For more tips on what to bring camping, check out Off Path Travels’ Essential Camping Gear List. Thanks for checking this out, now get out there and get off path! [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]