There is something to be said for totally roughing it when camping. But you don’t have to sleep in the dirt to prove how committed you are to the outdoors.
Taking the difficulty out of camping and making it easier on yourself is one of the secrets to a better outdoor experience. After a day of hiking, paddling or climbing you’re going to want to return to a campsite with some added perks, and a reward or two. A few simple additions to your gear list will optimize the entirety of your outdoors getaway. Read on for our top recommendations to help you and your crew achieve the ultimate camping comfort.
First and foremost after an active day: nourishment. We recommend pairing, with any and all of your eve’s activities, a rewarding and well-earned drink to unwind. Fat Tire from New Belgium is a great selection for any “campy” hour. The quintessential amber ale is light-drinking at 5.2 percent and offers a flavorful profile comprised of fresh hops, fine malt and a touch of Belgian yeast. The perfected malt/hop balance was made to be enjoyed outside and untethered. But being well-fed also isn’t something to overlook in the wilderness. And a steady, hot flame is best for even and quick cooking. Upgrading to the BioLite FirePit presents a versatile, consistent cooking source and with 51 air jets that inject the fire with oxygen, it cuts down on smoke and creates a hyper-efficient flame. This means a go-to dinner of vegetable kebabs and sausage kebabs will be ready in no time and you don’t have to inhale any smoke while turning them.
Onto the rest of the site: You’re really building a mini home away from home here, so why not dig in and get extra comfortable? Our team’s pick is to first opt out of technical footwear and into a leisurely camp shoe like the Glerups Low Boot with Rubber Sole. Not only will it help your feet stay dry thanks to wool’s absorbent nature but they’re remarkably warm even during cool evenings. Next, you’ll probably want to post up — whether for stargazing or further campside bevs — and the greatest chair we’ve tested is Helinox’s Chair Zero Camp Chair. Despite being ultralight, super tiny and packable, it’s also sturdy as hell. It weighs just over 1 lb. but it can hold up to 256 lbs. and is extremely accommodating.
As the sun goes down, evening moisture can gather in the air and begin to soak into your clothes and gear, which is why a camp blanket that can keep you both warm and dry is the smart move. The Rumpl Down Puffy Throw Blanket will do the trick. It’s made with 600-fill down insulation and a 20D ripstop nylon DWR finish that repels odors, stains and moisture. This blanket will come in handy around the fire or during a late afternoon nap in Kammock’s Roo Single. While you don’t need a hammock when camping, the Roo is so light and packable that it’s worth bringing along. It’s built with durable 10-ounce nylon construction that’s extremely breathable and packs down small enough to fit in your pocket — a luxury item you can surely find room for amongst your gear.
Taking a siesta in a hammock is great, but you’ll want to sleep well and there are some obvious add-ons to the interiors of your tent. You’ll certainly be grabbing a premium sleeping pad and pillow. Our top picks are the Therm-a-Rest Neoair Camper SV1 and Sea to Summit’s Aeros Premium Deluxe Pillow. This mattress takes a third of the inflation time of standard pads thanks to its innovative SpeedValve, along with a roll-top closure keeping it inflated all night long (unlike pretty much every other pad you’ve used). The full-size inflatable pillow weighs less than 7 ounces and features a soft brushed 50D polyester knit exterior that’s smooth to the touch. It’s also easy to blow-up so you won’t be huffing and puffing into exhaustion.
While sleeping in the dirt on a backpacking excursion is certainly a valiant expedition, it’s maybe not the best approach to everyday camping. Your outdoor adventures should be rewarding on many levels and all of this gear ultimately helps you relax and slow down after a long day in nature. When you recharge properly it means you’ll be able to get right back after it for another fruitful day in the outdoors.
While it has a fresh look, you can rest assured that Fat Tire is just as crisp as it’s always been. A reliable flagship beer from craft brewing pioneer New Belgium Brewing, Fat Tire is a smooth amber ale with an easy-drinking sweetness. The new heritage-inspired cans are the perfect complement to any outdoor adventure. At the end of a fulfilling day in the outdoors, a Fat Tire is the ultimate reward. Learn more here.