Amp Your Camp: New Essentials for Modern Camping

by Lauren Braden

in Camping and Outdoors

Amp your Camp: Essentials for Modern Camping | nwtripfinder.com

Camping season is almost here! In just a few short weeks, we’ll be sleeping under the stars atop a plateau in the Eastern Washington desert. And then under old growth at Mount Rainier. And then steps from the beach on Whidbey Island…

Where will you be camping this year? (and have you made your campground reservations yet?)

If you’re like my family and you camp often, you’ve likely got all the basics when it comes to camping gear (If not, fill in the gaps by using our essential camping gear checklist.) At this point, I’m looking to replace older items or add camping gear that helps make our camping adventures more modern, comfortable and easy. We need to amp our camp.

GETATENT2

“Cabin” Family Tents

REI Kingdom 8 Tent Cabin for FamiliesThese popular “cabin style” tents are perfect for families who need more room! Our son is eight and tall for his age, and we’re also now camping with our 70-pound golden retriever. So we are desperate for a roomy new tent to accommodate all of us and our gear.

One of the top tents for in this category is the cabin-like REI Kingdom 8 Tent described as “a campground palace for families.” It sleeps eight and has two rooms, and one of them can become a screened room when the fly is rolled up or removed. It also features a roomy, pull-out vestibule, which would come in handy with a golden retriever.

Price: $529  Buy it.

 

Big Agnes TentMore Family Car Camping Tents

Lower Priced – Big Agnes Big House 6 Deluxe Tent$399 

Even Lower Priced – Coleman Weathermaster 6-Person Screened Tent: $176 

 

 

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Ultra-Lightweight Backpacking Tents

Marmot Limelight 3P Tent with FootprintIf you spend a lot of your summer nights in the backcountry – first of all – LUCKY YOU (we can’t seem to convince our kid to try it) and second of all, you’ve probably noticed that backcountry tents are constantly getting lighter yet roomier. Which means that MSR Hubba Hubba you thought was the bomb fifteen years ago is now officially VINTAGE. Although it’s still a wonderful tent, you feel the temptation to play the field, see what younger models are out there.

A much-loved, mid-priced backpacking tent that adds volume for roominess without adding weight is the Marmot Limelight 3P Tent with Footprint which sleeps three hikers comfortably in three seasons. The rain fly creates two roomy vestibules to keep your gear dry.

Price: on sale for $299  Buy it.

 

More Lightweight Backpacking Tents

Lower Priced – Kelty Trail Ridge 3 Tent$269 

Higher Priced – MSR Papa Hubba NX Tent$599 

 

Amp your Camp: Essentials for Modern Camping | nwtripfinder.com

The Super Deluxe Camp Kitchen

Mountain Summit Gear Roll Top KitchenOk, mini rant coming. You know what frustrates me most when I’m preparing dinner at the campground? The fact that everyone is gathered around with their drinks and their snacks on MY picnic table while I’m trying to cook!

This situation is quickly remedied with the Mountain Summit Gear Roll Top Kitchen. It’s got a spot for your 2-burner stove, a prep area and it collapses easily into its own carrying case. And it leaves the picnic table as a pre-dinner gathering space for everyone else.

Price: $89 Buy it.

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Amp your Camp: Essentials for Modern Camping | nwtripfinder.comThe Sleekest Camp Stove

Who wouldn’t want a burner that kicks out 20,000 BTUs when you’re making your morning coffee, huh? I’m totally in love with the  Camp Chef Everest 2-burner camp stove because, well it’s gorgeous and also, it lets you set the two burners at different levels. I know most stoves boast this feature but few actually work. All the reviews on this baby concur that it does. That means you can kick up the boil for pasta while slowly simmering the marinara. Also, the Piezo igniter sparks the stove to life with a push of the button. I like that.

Price: $99 Buy it.

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Untitled-1Camp Coffee Revamped: French Coffee Press

Making the morning coffee at camp for a crowd is always a little tricky, but less so with the 50-ounce LINKYO French Coffee Press. The process is simple, this vessel keeps it nice and hot, and everyone can pour their own.

If you aren’t familiar with using a french press, the main thing to know is that your coffee should be ground more coarse than, say, drip coffee. I usually do one rounded teaspoon of ground coffee per cup. You put the coffee in this thing, then fill it with boiling water and let it steep for exactly four minutes. Then, slowly press down the plunger, which has a very fine-mesh screen – this pushes all the coffee grounds down to the bottom.

Price: $34.99 Buy it.

 

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dishesforcampingMatchy Matchy Camp Dishes

These dishes are so cute and campy, but they’re also a little pricey, which is why for years now we’ve been eating pasta and chili out of plastic tupperware at the campground. But seeing as I’m amping my camp and all…

This is the GSI Outdoors Pioneer Enamelware Table Set
built for years of camping from heavy-gauge steel with a speckled enamel finish. The twelve durable pieces (four each of plates, bowls and cups) have been kiln-hardened twice at high temps to resist cracks, breaks and chipping. I think it’s probably worth the investment to have a well-made set for camping.

Price: $69.95 Buy it.

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Amp your Camp: Essentials for Modern Camping | nwtripfinder.com

Amp your Camp: Essentials for Modern Camping | nwtripfinder.comThe Perfect Camp Chair

The days of sitting on stumps are dead to me (and my aching back). In the spirit of multi-purpose gear, REI’s Co-op Flex Lite chair fits the bill. It weighs in at just 1 lb 12 oz, so I can take it to the campground as well as on a day hike. If a chair is really a priority for you, at this weight there’s no reason you can’t take it backpacking too.

How does it weigh so little? It uses the same DAC aluminum frame design found in many lightweight tents. The center seat panels use nylon mesh that dries quickly and allows moisture to drain. There’s a stuff sack for storage and easy transport.

Price: $79.95 Buy it.

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Amp your Camp: Essentials for Modern Camping | ENO Doublenest Hammock A Hammock for Two

Whether you string this across your campground or just cuddle under the stars in your backyard, the ENO Doublenest Hammock is as versitile as it is affordable.

We love our hand-made hammock from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, but it’s not a good option at the campground because it easily tangles and fits only one person. We borrowed a friend’s ENO Doublenest and our entire family fit into it. The capacity is 400 lbs. It packs into its own stuffsack, down to the size of a grapefruit.

So, how does this work? It has a marine-grade line with metal snap links on each end that securely attaches it to hooks on posts, boat masts etc. You won’t find hammock posts with hooks in the campground though (well, not in most campgrounds), so you’ll need to buy the necessary accessories (ENO makes these straps) or creatively rig your own system with climbing rope.

They also sell an ENO SingleNest Hammock for one person.

Price: $69.95 Buy it.

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Amp your Camp: Essentials for Modern Camping | nwtripfinder.comA Bright Lamp for Your Camp

Gear companies have certain niches where their products really shine. Most climbers and skiers know Black Diamond makes great climbing and skiing gear. But another thing they do really well? Lanterns.

The Black Diamond Apollo Lantern is a well-made, sharp-looking light source with a great battery life and flexible settings to meet your needs, whether you seek a soft glow or utility lamp. It even has the added ability to be used as a flashlight when you’re hiking around at night.

Specs: 2 high-output DoublePower LEDs—1 for using the Apollo as a lantern around camp and the other for using the unit as a flashlight. The LEDs can be turned on at the same time to eliminate the dark spot that you generally see below a hanging lantern. A dimming switch controls light output. The lantern is water-resistant, collapses for transport, and has rubber feet to stabilize the lantern when set on a table or the ground.

Price: $49.95 Buy it.

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Amp your Camp: Essentials for Modern Camping | nwtripfinder.comTotal Comfort on a Cot

It’s not cheap, but whatever you spend on this cot you’ll probably save by not having to book a post-camping massage.

If, like me, you’ve awoken in your sleeping bag at 2am to find yourself sleeping… on rocks…   thanks to the leak in your air mattress, you might find this cot is a fine item to invest in.

The REI Camp Folding Cot will never, ever spring a leak. But it’s good for car camping only, so don’t chuck that Therm-a-rest repair kit just yet.

This folding cot sets up quickly and easily. And although the cot takes up a pretty big footprint in your tent, you can stash your stuff (clothes, books) underneath.

Price: $79  Buy it.

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