Category Archives for Adventure Gear

Comfortable and Lightweight Helinox Chair Zero

November 25, 2016

Sure, camp chairs make camp life nice and comfortable, but they’re not only for the campground. Festival goers tote them around, hikers sometimes bring them along even on a day hike, beach bonfires are better with them, and they’re even great in your own backyard.

But if you’re going to carry one around between all those places, you probably want an ultralight camp chair—unless your housemate or spouse is a chiropractor or massage therapist.

At 1.1 pounds, the Helinox Chair Zero is the lightest four-legged camp chair. It packs down to the size of a large water bottle, and is easy to stash in a pack or carry along in its stuff sack.

When assembled, the seat is 11 inches from the ground, and the chair measures 20.5 inches wide by 18.9 inches deep by 25.2 inches high. It’s also extremely comfortable for a camp chair, so you’re not trading comfort for packability and weight.

The DAC aluminum frame is all shock-corded together, which makes for an easy setup, and you won’t lose pole pieces. Once you have the frame together, insert the poles into the pole sleeves on the ripstop polyester seat. All done.

The Chair Zero has a 265-pound weight capacity, and it’s quite sturdy and durable. If you’re planning to tote it along to the beach, or are concerned about using it on the muddy ground, there’s an additional groundsheet from Helinox (purchased separately) that you can use to keep the legs from sinking.

I’ve used this chair while camping, hanging out on the beach, and also at local parades. The fact that it barely adds weight to my bag makes me pick it first every time.

The Helinox Chair Zero lists for $119 at REI, and will also be available on the Big Agnes site beginning January 2017.

Luxe Camping Comfort with Klymit Luxe Pillow

While waiting in line for a flight, I see people with not only their carry-on bags, but also their travel pillows—or even the pillow from their own bed. Comfort is important, and while I’ve never gone as far as to bring my bed pillow on an airplane, I do have a variety of travel and camping pillows that come along with me, depending on the circumstances.

When camping, often one of the most important elements is to travel light. That’s especially true if you’re through-hiking or backpacking, when every extra ounce counts. In such cases, you might think a pillow is frivolous, opting to just use a jacket to cradle your head at night. But if you’re not quite as strict, at 6.4 ounces, the Klymit Luxe Pillow is an ideal must-have on a camping trip.

The Luxe Pillow features a thoughtfully designed weld pattern to help lift and stabilize the head. The design helps keep the head securely on the pillow all night long. The pillow’s hybrid construction combines an exceptionally lightweight 75D polyester top and bottom for superior tear, puncture and abrasion resistance. The Luxe Pillow features an outer sleeve that’s made from a super-soft polyester blend with synthetic padding for extra comfort.

The Luxe Pillow packs down to 3 inches by 7 inches, and when fully inflated (it takes 3-5 breaths), can measure 22 inches by 12.5 inches—almost as large as your pillow at home. The pillow’s height and pressure can adjusted for customizable comfort.

The pillow carries the Klymit Lifetime Warranty. All Klymit products are guaranteed to be free from manufacturing and material defects. Items will be repaired or replaced at the discretion of Klymit. If a replacement product is unavailable or discontinued a comparable product will be substituted. This warranty does not include damages from normal use, wear and tear, unauthorized changes or modifications, or any abuse or neglect.

If you’re one of those travelers who brings their pillow from home along on your flight, perhaps consider this one instead?

The Klymit Luxe Pillow comes in one color (gray) and lists for $39.95 on the Klymit site. It’s also available at Amazon.

Kelty Lowdown Chair

Whether you’re lucky enough to camp year-round where you live or travel, or whether you log plenty of hours on the sidelines of your favorite sporting events, the Kelty Lowdown Chair is my new favorite way to chill outdoors. Yes, I realize you can buy those cheap fold-out camp chairs for under $20 at any sporting goods store, but allow me to try to convince you why the Lowdown is superior in every way except price.

First of all, at 21.5 x 20 x 29, the Lowdown is wider and roomier than any other fold-out chair I’ve tried, allowing plenty of space to tuck a blanket around yourself while watching that fall football game or soccer match. It’s also a bit taller than most, with a set height of 12 inches. This means the Lowdown is not your go-to chair for lawn concerts and festivals where a low seat is required, but will score of ease-of-use the rest of the time.

If your standard fold-out chair is practical and minimalist, the Lowdown is the cadillac version: the seat is quilted, with 600D poly construction and all the fabric surfaces are padded. You get an insulated beverage holder that actually adjusts to the size of cup placed in it, and the arm rests are adjustable as well.

Since fold-out chairs are, by nature, portable, it’s awesome that Kelty takes portability a step further with the ‘roll tote’ feature. The entire folded chair is wrapped in a separate, tote-like sleeve, which rolls out to easily dislodge the chair when it’s time to set up. The roll tote features a shoulder strap, plus can double as a carry-all for firewood, extra gear, and the like. What I like best about this feature: no more struggling to stuff my folded chair back into its bag, only to get the legs stuck or the armrest snagged.

When you’re ready to pack up, just fold the chair in one easy motion, then set it on the roll tote and roll up. The system looked odd to me the first time I saw it, but it’s surprisingly fast and easy to manage.

You can even get the Lowdown chair in three colors: smoke (gray), tundra (tan), or mocha (very dark brown). With the teal steel legs, I think my mocha chair looks very appealing. Pick up any color on Kelty for $59.95, or look on Amazon or just about any outdoor gear online store. Enjoy!

Cairn Outdoor Subscription Boxes

Each month, the delivery person will leave a box of surprise outdoor and adventure gifts. That’s what happens with the Cairn subscription box (truly the gift that keeps on giving). This is the first company to do this type of monthly delivery service for outdoorsy gear.

The monthly box includes everything from clothing, food and snacks, emergency supplies, skincare items, or travel gear. What’s cool about the box is that it shares a variety of unique things that you may not have seen before in the store or didn’t consider for your next outdoor adventure.

Boxes are valued between $35 and $50 each based upon the contents, but the reason why this makes such a great gift is that the boxes can be geared around personal preferences. For example, vegetarians would never end up with a meat product or big coffee fans can get goodies that are themed around that preference.

My box came with a really cool coffee set that is meant to be used when camping and lets you brew some Joe without electricity. Other fun stuff inside the package included a pocket-sized flashlight and sunscreen designed for high intensity outdoor activity. I liked how inside the box was a card with various coupon codes and discounts for many of the products inside should you choose to buy them again elsewhere.

There is no charge for shipping, and people can order just one box or even for a half or full year. The annual subscriptions offer the best value, but there are bigger box options that include more gear like backpacks or grilling gear. Those boxes are sent quarterly. Subscriptions are very flexible and can be canceled at any time.

I love having the element of surprise with the boxes coming each month, and it’s cool to try some new products. These make a great gift for athletes or those that love the outdoors, and the high-quality products from a variety of brands is impressive at this price point.

6 Of The Best Sleeping Bags For Backpackers

Walk into any outdoor gear store, and you’ll be met with a dizzying array of down, synthetic fill, nylon, and zippers…yes, you could get lost in the forest of sleeping bags on display. Online, the options are even more overwhelming. So what’s the top sleeping bag for backpackers? That depends on who you are, what you want to spend, and what type of backpacking you’ll embark upon.

Read on to find our favorite sleeping bags for backpackers in six categories.

What you need to know before you continue: Bags listed are the men’s version or unisex, for consistency in size and weight ratings, but each has a women’s equivalent, which is listed. Because these bags are for backpackers, we only gear tested sleeping bags rated to 30 degrees or less for at least 2-3 season use, and those that weighed no more than three pounds. Each bag listed in this round-up was tested in the field in both mountain and high desert environments, in at least two seasons.

Favorite Overall Sleeping Bag For Backpackers: Kelty SB20

Sale
Kelty Women's SB20 20-Degree 800-Fill DriDown Sleeping Bag
  • DriDown stays driers, keeps you warmer and dries faster than regular down.
  • Waterproof treatment at hood and foot of sleeping bag.
  • Total Weight: Regular 2lb 1oz (.78kg)/Long 2lb 4oz. (.94kg).
  • Regular: Fits up to 6 Feet/Long: Fits up to 6’6″.
  • Stuff Size: 7 x 13 Inch.

To pick our favorite overall sleeping bag, we sought the sweet spot of quality and affordability, and found the Kelty SB20 to be the absolute best value of all the bags tested. For your money, the SB20 is one of the lightest, smallest, most compact bags out there…small enough to please even ultra-lightweight backpackers.

On a personal note, I reach for this bag every single time I backpack. The men’s bag comes in at 2 lbs, 1 oz and retails for $369; almost $100 less than our runner-up in this category.

Originally part of the now-defunct Kelty TrailLogic system, the SB20 packs down into the smallest stuff sack I’ve ever tried, but expands to a length of 78 inches. It’s filled with DriDown (Kelty’s water-resistant down fill) and while streamlined, it’s not too narrow (you do get a natural fit toe-box).

There’s also a 60 inch draft tube and top draft collar to help keep you warm. The women’s version is located here. 

Runner up: Sea to Summit’s Spark II is incredibly well-made and weighs in at only 22 ounces, but for the hefty price tag, it doesn’t deliver much more than the Kelty. Unless you’re a diehard Sea-to-Summit fan (which we totally get), or the every-ounce-counts kind of backpacker (again, respect) the better value is in the SB20.

Sea to Summit Spark SPII Ultra-Dry Down Sleeping Bag
  • ULTRA-DRYDown TM 850+ Loft 90% Down Cluster Premium European Goose Down.
  • Regular weight ONLY 22 oz.
  • Contoured mummy shape. Box wall baffles over torso.
  • 10D Pertex ® Quantum shell for minimal weight and bulk.
  • EN Tested: Lower Limit 25F / -4C (standard man to have comfortable nights sleep).

Other bags considered in this category: Marmot Plasma, Western Mountaineering Ultralight, Eddie Bauer First Ascent Karakoram, L.L. Bean Sleeping Bag with DownTek

Best Budget Sleeping Bag: Kelty Cosmic 20

Sale
Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
41 Reviews
Kelty Cosmic 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
  • Fabric/Polyester.
  • 50D Down Proof Polyester.
  • 50D Polyester Taffeta Liner.
  • 600 Fill Power DriDown.
  • Thermal-comfort hood and natural fit footbox.

I know…another Kelty! The Kelty Cosmic 20 will only set you back $150, yet only weighs 2 lbs, 6 oz. It’s bulkier and fatter than the SB20, but for the casual backpacker, this will be a non-issue.

You still get 600 fill power of DriDown, a comfy taffeta liner (that’s probably where the extra weight went), and a draft collar. If you want a solid sleeping bag for occasional backpacking trips, this is your pick. The women’s version is here.

Other bags considered in this category: REI Radiant, REI Flash, North Face Cat’s Meow, Mountain Hardwear Lamina

Best Non-Sleeping Bag: Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt

Sale
Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 600F 2-Season DriDown Sleeping Bag
4 Reviews
Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 600F 2-Season DriDown Sleeping Bag
  • 600 Fill Duck DriDown stays drier, keeps warmer, and dries faster.
  • Longer and wider than a traditional quilt for increased comfort.
  • Provides insulation under the arms and allows you to easily maneuver the sides.
  • An essential innovation to traditional quilt design.
  • 42F / 5C. EN Lower Limit: 33F / 0C. Fits to: 6 ft 4 in. / 193 cm.

What’s a ‘non-bag’, you ask? One trend in backcountry sleeping bags is to ditch the mummy-type design in favor of bags that spread open like blankets. This feature allows for more flexibility, for use in hammocks, on warm nights, and in bunks.

The Sierra Designs backcountry quilt retails for $199, and is only 1 lb, 4 oz for a lightweight (2 season) option for those backpackers who like to stretch their legs and don’t need a lot of layers.

The quilt has an opening on one panel to allow the user to wrap it around a sleeping pad or vent on a warm night, but still offers an enclosed area around the toe-box. The insulation is 600 fill duck DriDown, and the quilt is designed to fit users up to 6’4″.

Note: unlike the previous sleeping bags mentioned, the backcountry quilt is rated to 30 degrees, not 20. Note: the quilt is also available in a synthetic fill rated for 1.5 seasons (as opposed to 2) for just over $100.

Other bags considered in this category: Enlightened Equipment Backcountry Quilt

Best Non-Traditional Shaped Bag: Nemo Salsa

NEMO Salsa Sleeping Bag
9 Reviews
NEMO Salsa Sleeping Bag
  • 30D Nylon Micro Taffeta (Shell).
  • Spoon shape is wider at the knees and elbows for side sleeping.
  • Premium features like the stretch stitching, FlowGates, and high quality fabrics.
  • 650FP DownTek water repellent down repels water while maintaining its loftand insulation value.
  • Included Accessories: Drawstring Stuff Sack.

Need a bag that zippers all the way up like a traditional sleeping bag, but gives you lots of room to move around? Ditch the mummy look with the Nemo Salsa for $239.95. You get an unique spoon-shape in your bag, which allows side-sleepers to tuck their legs up and roll back and forth at will. It’s designed for a 6 foot person, and has 650 fill DownTek (sustainably sourced down).

The Salsa weighs in at a respectable 2 lbs, 1oz; the downside, it’s rated to 30 degrees instead of 20. (Note: you can pay more for the 15 degree version.) Note: the women’s option is called the Rhumba 30.

Runner up: Big Agnes Big Pine is lightweight and stuff-able, but instead of a slim-shaped mummy design, it’s a boxy rectangle. If you’re longing for a camp bed of your youth, this is the one…new and improved for lightweight hiking.

Big Agnes Big Pine
  • Works with any pad size and is compatible with most couches, dorm room beds, inflate-able mattresses, etc.
  • Big Pine may be used zipped closed as a sleeping bag or unzipped as a comforter
  • 80 x 70 open
  • Stuff sack size 8×7.5

Other bags considered in this category: Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed, Big Agnes Lulu

Best Bag For Kids: North Face Aleutian 20

The North Face Aleutian 20/-7 Sleeping Bag
2 Reviews
The North Face Aleutian 20/-7 Sleeping Bag
  • Nylon.
  • Insulated, three-season mummy bag.
  • Filled with Heatseeker Eco insulation.
  • Efficient warmth-to-weight ratio that’s also highly compressible.
  • The full-length zippers on each side can be unzipped to allow the bag to lay flat.

No, you can’t put your kids in adult-sized sleeping bags. They need their own, sized appropriately, to ensure they stay cozy at night (think air pockets that little kids just can’t warm up in an oversized bag). Our kids have tried multiple bags over the years, but one stays in our gear storage year after year. The North Face Aleutian 20, weighs 2 lbs, 14 oz  and costs only $99.

It’s a three-season mummy-bag design, with what North Face calls their Heatseeker synthetic insulation (made with 30% recycled material). Kids get a draft collar, and hood for their pillow.

Runner up: We simply have to give a shout-out to the REI Kindercone, because while rated to 30 degrees instead of 20, it’s a great bag for very young kids at only $60 that includes a stuff sack that’s always attached to the bag.

Other bags considered in this category: Eureka Grasshopper, Marmot Trestles, Mountain Hardwear Mountain Goat

Best Synthetic Bag: Big Agnes Master Key 25

Sale
Big Agnes - Master Key 25 (synthetic)
  • Enjoy a cozy yet roomy sleeping bag during your camping adventure.
  • Collar and zipper are constructed to prevent a draft for optimal comfort.
  • Hood takes a contoured shape in order to provide the best possible fit.
  • Designed with a mummy shape to keep the inside well-insulated.
  • For easily storing or hanging up to dry.

Want a synthetic fill instead of down? Go with the Big Agnes Master Key 25coming in at 2 lbs, 14 oz. It features a traditional mummy shape, and is very versatile for $139. We wish it were rated to a lower degree, but at 25, the Master Key is just as comfortable for casual sleep outs during a summer concert series as it is in the backcountry.

It beat out other synthetic bags for price and design (some are not backpacking-friendly shapes and weights). The women’s Big Agnes Lulu 15 is an even more appealing option; while $169, this synthetic bag is rated to 15 degrees and has a roomier toe-box and more rectangular design.

Other bags considered in this category: North Face Furnace, Marmot Cloud Break

Best down source: DownTek

If you buy a sleeping bag filled with down, you probably want to know where that down came from. DownTek is the word we look for when down sourcing is important to us. It’s quite simply the sustainable down brand we trust most. DownTek follows ethical down sourcing practices, and is made to be water resistant.

Many brands and products use DownTek (as evidenced in this round-up). Some of our favorites in addition to the Nemo bags referenced above include the L.L. Bean Down Sleeping Bag with DownTek and the Big Agnes Mystic.

Big Agnes Mystic SL 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
6 Reviews
Big Agnes Mystic SL 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag
  • Integrated full pad sleeve. Never roll off your pad again.
  • Rectangular shape offers more room in foot box and shoulders.
  • Recycled mesh storage sack & nylon stuff sack included.
  • Built in pillow pocket holds a fleece or Big Agnes pillow.
  • Mate together our left and right zip bags with same size zipper.

Best Outdoor Cookware – The GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper

Last year, I reviewed two of GSI Outdoor’s Pinnacle cookset systems: the dualist and the soloist. We use these all the time for minimalist backpacking, either solo or with a few family members.

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookware Set
37 Reviews
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookware Set
  • A 2L pot with lid/fry pan and a 3L pot made of hard anodized aluminum.
  • Two crushproof, heat-resistant nylon strainer lids work great for the pasta chef’s.
  • Four insulated mugs and four bowls with four plates make a complete four person cook set.
  • Folding gripper to handle the pots and the lid/fry pan is included.
  • The welded stuff sack the set fits into doubles as a sink or wash basin.

However, when the whole crew is backpacking, or when we’re car camping, we need something more substantial for our family of five. Enter the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cookset.

Now, there’s a whole series of GSI Outdoors Pinnacle cookware, and it can get a bit overwhelming. They ALL feature abrasion resistance, they are all coated with Teflon, are all scratch resistant, made of hard anodized aluminum, and all come with some combination of bowls, cups, and utensils.

If you’re in the market for a family sized set, however, you can focus solely on the Camper.

You get a LOT with the Camper set, including:

  • 3 liter  pot
  • 2 liter pot
  • 2 strainer lids
  • frypan
  • 4 14 ounce insulated mugs
  • 4 14 ounce bowls
  • 4 plates
  • 4 Sip-It tops
  • 1 folding pot gripper
  • 1 welded sink
  • Pay attention to how the whole thing fits together, because you’ll want to duplicate that on your camping trip or backcountry overnight. (Don’t worry, even I could do it, and I never have luck getting things back into their boxes or packages after opening them.)

The whole set is compact, with all parts nesting into the next. Folding gripper locks on the exterior brackets keep everything snug, and prevent any scratching.

The bowls convert to mugs, and are color-coded, so you can assign each family member a color. If you have kids who like to argue about possessions (or germs), you know how important this is.

You get a stuff sack to hold it all, which is made of a stiff material (almost like a waxed canvas), that doubles as a sink or bucket for washing dishes.

The lids are heat-resistant and crushproof, and include a strainer lid, which is really convenient, given that most meals made while camping involve freeze-dried components or noodles to drain.

The weight of the whole set is 3 pounds, 10 ounces, so no, this is not your ultra-lightweight option. But it’s very do-able for short backpacking trips and car camping stays.

We used ours during a weekend trip to the Oregon Coast, during which we invited several extra friends of our teens. We actually combined two Pinnacle sets to cook all the food for that trip!

The Pinnacle Camper is $139 on the GSI Outdoors site, which feels steep until you note all that you get for this single price. It really adds up to buy all the backpacking plates, bowls, and mugs! Also look for it on Amazon!

Best Cheap Camping Tents For 2017 – An All Inclusive Guide

Are you planning your next camping trip and are looking for the best camping tents? If you are an experienced camper, then you know finding the best camping tent involves more than heading to your local sports and outdoor gear retail store.

You want a camping tent that you know will be comfortable, durable, and spacious enough to fit more than one person comfortably, and that is also lightweight enough to transport and carry throughout your outdoor adventure.

Choosing a tent because it’s cheap isn’t always the best way to go. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a guide on the best camping tents?

Well, you’re in luck because we have done the research already, and have compiled a list of what we think is the top five best camping tents and the best tent brands for any outdoor activity and environment.

Quick Comparison

2 Person Tent

35 sqft. Floor Space

  • Two vestibule layout
  • Free standing tent
  • Ventilation windows
  • Removable gear loft
Buy From Amazon

3 Person Tent

Better Water-Resistance

  • Vertical Walls
  • Taller Center Heights
  • Rainfly Setup
  • WeatherTec system
Buy From Amazon

SUV Tent

Very Easy Setup

  • SUVs and Mini Vans
  • Inverted "T" Layout
  • Flame Resistant
  • Includes Carry Bag
Buy From Amazon

2 Person Tent

Ultralight & Portable

  • 3 Season Large Tent
  • Durable Polyester
  • All Weather Travel
  • Near-Instant Setup
Buy From Amazon

Best Camping Tents for 2017

Read on to check out this all-inclusive guide to help you make an informed decision before you buy just any camping tent. We’ve also included the pros and cons of each option so that you can decide which camping tent is right for you.

1. Best 2 Person Tent – Mountainsmith Morrison

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Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person Tent

  • Freestanding three-season, two-person tent.
  • Bathtub floor with taped seams to keep interior dry.
  • 185T polyester rainfly with 2,000-millimeter-rated polyurethane coating.
  • 35 square feet of main floor space and 14 square feet.
  • Breathable 185T polyester tent material.


2 person tent

Why We Like This Tent: This tent is our number-one pick because of its spaciousness – both for sleeping and storage space for two – and its features that keep the interior dry and ventilated.

Livability: The Mountainsmith Morrison three-season tent comes with over 35 square feet of floor space, big enough for two people. This tent also has plenty of light and the mesh walls offer plenty of ventilation.

This tent also comes with “bathtub floors” which help keep the interior dry. There are also some dry storage compartments, which are great for easily grabbing your things and any small essentials without having to crawl in and over sleeping bags.

Although this is a three-season tent and isn’t the best idea to use and camp in during winter months, users have claimed that even when the temperature drops to 28 degrees F overnight, this tent remained 15 degrees above, and maintained the temperature throughout the night.

Versatility: This tent also comes equipped with two doors and vestibules, guy out attachment points, clip-pole attachment to reduce weight and for maximum ventilation and breathability, tent fly adjustable ventilation windows, reflective guylines with “tri-glide” cord adjustment and even a detachable ceiling loft for picture-taking or even stargazing.

Lighting: One of the best features of the Mountainsmith Morrison two-person tent is also known for its airiness, breathability, and lighting.

The mesh walls, adjustable windows, and detachable ceiling allow for maximum light during the day and keeping the flies and mosquitos out at night.

Assembly: The Mountainsmith Morrison tent comes equipped with a free-standing, two-pole design and even color-coded fly and instructions for quick and easy assembly.

This tent can be set up virtually in minutes. The instructions are also clearly printed and color-coded on the pack itself, so there’s no need to worry about losing the instructions or damaging them over time and with usage.

The guy lines also make this tent easy to assemble in severe weather.

All in all, the Mountainsmith Morrison three-season two-person tent is one of our top five picks. This tent weighs only approximately five pounds, which means that it is lightweight enough to carry around or transport.

This tent can be found on Amazon for $100 to $200. If this might seem relatively cheap for a tent of this size and value, it is. Avid campers, hikers, and other outdoor adventure-seekers will recommend this tent as being one of the best for its cost.

2. Best Three Person Tent – Sundome by Coleman

Sale
Sundome 3 Person Tent
845 Reviews
Sundome 3 Person Tent

  • Up to 33% more water-resistant than a Comparable standard Coleman tent.
  • 2 windows for great ventilation and views.
  • Included rainfly for extra weather protection.
  • 7 x 7 ft. Foot print, 4 ft. 4 in. Center height.
  • 1-Year limited warranty.


coleman

Why We Like This Tent: This tent is one of our top five recommended tents because of its spaciousness, easy assembly, weight and airy features.

Livability: Because the Sundome three-season tent is built to fit three people comfortably, this tent provides up to 49 square feet of floor space, and one door. When set upright, the center pole reaches a maximum of 5’2” center height.

Because this tent is guaranteed to keep you dry, the floors are a bit rugged and are lined with inverted seams. As a result, it’s best to use air mattresses to sleep on in this tent rather than sleeping bags.

Versatility: This tent has mesh “windows” rather than mesh walls. This is to help keep the rain and elements out, and the warmth in – especially during severe weather or cooler temps.

The “rainfly” covers the door and windows and is made from polyester. There is also an inner mesh vent for breathability and ventilation.

Lighting: Although this tent has one door and windows, the lighting isn’t as robust as what we saw with the Mountainsmith Morrison tent.

However, when comparing other Coleman tent products and models, the Sundome is one of the better options for light.

Assembly: The Sundome tent comes equipped with two fiberglass poles. Although this tent is designed to fit a third person, compared to the tent we reviewed above, this tent weighs only three pounds, making it easy to carry, set up, and transport.

Assembling and even navigating in and out of the tent after assembly is a snap. The zippers are easy to move without any snags or letting in any water or moisture.

It is also light, easy to pack, and easy to set up – even in the dark. The tent comes in a “dome” shape, hence the name, and comes in both green and navy blue color options.

The Sundome three-person, three-season tent by Coleman is a quality product, and is highly recommended for camping trips in campgrounds, short backpacking trips, and backcountry adventures.

Its spaciousness, easy assembly, setup and affordability make it a very popular choice for families who are ready for camping adventures.

The Sundome can be found on Amazon for approximately $50 to $100 – a great price for a camping tent of this size and quality.

3. Best Car Camping Tent – Explorer 2 SUV Tent

Sundome 3 Person Tent

  • Bungy cord with plastic coated hooks attach to the vehicle’s underframe.
  • Outer door panels fold up and tie back for maximum ventilation.
  • Zip and tie at bottom corners for privacy.
  • No-seeum insect screen.
  • Inverted ‘T’ layout on insect screen and two way zippers.


explorer tent

Why We Like This Tent: For a tent that you can assemble and attach to a vehicle – like a mini, movable campsite – we highly recommend the Explorer 2 SUV tent.

This tent attaches to the back hatch of an SUV and turns the vehicle into a convenient sleeping area without the hassle of assembling an actual tent.

Livability: The Explorer 2 SUV tent is a great way to turn your vehicle into a sleep area without having to worry about what crawls around on you while sleeping on the ground or getting wet in inclement weather.

This tent fits most SUVs and minivans with liftgate rear panels less than 67″ wide. This tent is also easy to set up in as little as five minutes and with little to no equipment or hardware or complicated instructions.

Drive from campground to campground or other site, store all your stuff without taking up too much room, spread out an air mattress, and sleep in the comfort and protection of your own vehicle.

Versatility: As we mentioned above, the Explorer 2 SUV tent fits the batch hatch and rear lift gate of most SUVs and minivans. One important thing to note is that this is without the spare tire.

The inverted “T” door zipper also makes it easy to get in and out of the vehicle and users can protect their privacy – and their skin from insects – with the mesh insect screen.

The outer door panels can also be tied back and come equipped with 2-way zippers that easily open and close without any snags or ripped fabric.

This tent can also be used along with utility or boat trailers. Simply drape Tent over vehicle, use bungee cords to connect to tire wells, raise gate and you’re there!

Lighting: Although the Explorer 2 SUV tent is really only half a tent, it would be unfair to rate its level of lighting. With this type of tent, the lighting is ample while the back hatch or rear liftgate is ajar or opened to maximum height.

However, there may be more or less light inside the vehicle, depending on the make and model vehicle you drive. For example, many SUVs come standard with tinted windows today; therefore, the overall level of light in those vehicles might be significantly less than others.

Assembly: As mentioned above, this tent is super easy to assemble, and can be set up in less than five minutes. Users can simply drape the tent over the vehicle while also using the bungee cords to connect the outer layers of the tent to the tire wells.

Then, users can raise or close the gate as they prefer. The Explorer 2 SUV tent is made of polyester, and is compliant with flame resistant guidelines.

The tent itself is compact and only weighs approximately five pounds and comes equipped with a carry on and storage bag.

In summary, this tent is a great option for those who prefer to travel from campsite to campsite without having to worry about the weight of transporting a tent.

It’s also a great option for those who love the outdoors but aren’t too keen about sleeping on the ground. The Explorer 2 SUV tent has numerous benefits and advantages over the “standard” tent. For $100 to $200, users can get the whole package.

4. Best Ultralight Tent – Swift-n-Snug 2 Person Camping Tent

Swift-n-Snug 2 Person Camping Tent
55 Reviews
Swift-n-Snug 2 Person Camping Tent

  • 3 Season large tent is spacious and comfortably fits two people.
  • 2 man tent features near-instant set up that takes only a few short minutes.
  • One of the most durable polyester tents currently available for sale.
  • Good companion for all weather travel.
  • Best buying experience possible.


Swift N Snug

Why We Like This Tent: One of the most enjoyable things about camping is the ability to hike, backpack, and explore various sites without worry.

However, one of the worst things about camping is not having the right gear with you or having to carry and transport too much gear, making it difficult for the hiker to truly enjoy the experience.

One of the reasons why the Swift-n-Snug 2-person camping tent made its way into our top picks is because we believe it is the best ultralight tent for transporting and carrying from site to site without discomfort.

Livability: Although the name “Swift-n-Snug” suggests that this is a small tent, cozy for only one or two people, this tent actually measures 6’7” long and 5’ wide, and it is even roomy enough for tall people.

It is also spacious enough, and can comfortably fit two people. This tent is a three-season tent and is ideal for outside use, such as for camping and backpacking trips.

Versatility: This tent is made from a strong, durable polyester that will not rip. In fact, this tent is known for being one of the strongest tents available for purchase. It comes with two doors and vestibules.

Although this type of tent is relatively roomy, it is also a space-saver and extremely portable. When packed in the carry bag, it only measures 22″ x 4.7″ x 3”, making it the perfect, lightweight tent to pack, carry, and transport.

The Swift-n-Snug is also durable enough to endure various weather conditions, including rain and wind. This tent comes equipped with a rainfly cover to withstand rain, and strong poles to keep the tent upright in windy conditions, keeping you dry and protected.

On the other hand, because this is a three-season tent, it is also suitable to withstand dry, hot weather. It is well ventilated, allowing proper airflow inside the tent and protection to keep insects out.

Lighting: Because this tent is lightweight yet strong enough to endure weather, it does not have mesh walls or windows, which means the lighting inside the tent is relatively dim.

However, this tent does have two doors, allowing for some light to enter when ajar.

Assembly: The Swift-n-Snug tent comes is very quick and easy to set up and assemble, taking only five to ten minutes. The tent is also easy to disassemble, allowing users to pack the tent in the carry bag.

All in all, the Swift-n-Snug three-season, two-person tent is extremely lightweight and versatile, making it one of the best tents for camping, backpacking, hiking and easy to take with you on any outdoor adventure.

This tent only weighs approximately three pounds when packed, making it easy to pack, carry, and transport.

This tent can be found on Amazon for $50 to $100, also making it one of the most affordable options that we’ve included in this article.

However, in terms of the Swift-n-Snug tent, a lower price doesn’t mean lower quality. This type of tent is also one of the strongest and most durable tents available for camping, hiking, and backpacking.

Best Tent Brands

If you are getting ready to embark on your next – or your first – camping adventure, then you know that part of the experience is all about the gear you pack with you.

Camping gear should be as lightweight as possible for transporting easily; strong, durable, and a quality product; and should also be ventilated and breathable enough to keep the air from becoming stale but insulated enough to maintain interior temperatures and the weather elements out.

Depending on the size of the tent and the quality you are looking for, a good tent that fits several people can cost a few hundred buckaroos.

Even if you have figured in the cost of a new tent in your camping budget, you still want to find one that is of the highest quality and at the best price.

The top three best tent brands include:

1. North Face 

The North Face is known for its quality product line of clothing, jackets, and even outdoor gear, including tents. Although North Face is known for its high prices, their tents are among the best quality outdoor gear products available.

With their extensive tent product line, users are likely to find a deal or a tent that is reasonably priced on Amazon. If you are looking for a quality tent this camping season, then make sure North Face is on your list

2. Coleman

Although Coleman is at the lower end of the price spectrum when compared to North Face, this doesn’t mean their quality is less.

Coleman tents and other outdoor gear are offered are a great option for people who are looking for a tent for casual use but for a good value. Although Coleman offers a number of backpacking tents, they are more known for their car camping tent line.

3. L.L. Bean 

L.L.Bean offers a number of high-end tent options. The higher quality and more expensive tents can be found between $200 and $500.

L.L. Bean offers a number of tent options, including lightweight, backpacking options. In fact, L.L. Bean’s Microlight FS 2 Tent received the “Editor’s Choice” award from Backpacker’s magazine in 2012.

Conclusion

All in all, finding the best camping tents for a specific purpose or person simply involves research and a basic understanding of the key aspects that go into what makes a great camping tent.

We already know that some of the details, such as the fabric and material, size, and weight are key characteristics in looking for the best camping tent, as well as any additional accessories, such as zippered compartments, bag or any other accessories.

The best camping tents we have listed in the above guide are what we believe are great options for all campers and outdoor adventure-seekers, from the camping newbie to experienced, camping aficionados.

These camping tents are all designed with quality in mind to ensure your camping experience is the best one.

Any of the above options would be great purchases, but the best option for you comes down to personal preference as well as the type of camping tent you are looking for based on the number of campers in your party.

Finally, although finding the best camping tent might be frustrating, especially if you are unsure of where to look, it’s important to remember that selecting out an appropriate camping tent can be a great way to add more excitement as you plan your next camping experience.

Best LED Camping Lantern + Flaslight From Uco Leschi

Headlamps are great ways to hand some hands-free illumination on your travels, however they’re not always versatile when you need a flashlight and a lantern in one. But who wants to back both a flashlight and lantern? With the Uco Leschi Lantern + Flashlight, you have two in one small package.

UCO Leschi 110 Lumen Compact LED Lantern and Flashlight
26 Reviews
UCO Leschi 110 Lumen Compact LED Lantern and Flashlight
  • Compact, lightweight, rugged, and collapsible LED lantern.
  • Bright LED provides diffused white light in lantern mode.
  • Integrated shock cord allows Leschi to mount to tree limbs.
  • Light levels are adjustable from low (conserve battery), to bright.
  • Burn Time (up to): Low, 4 hrs; High, 2.5 hrs; Strobe, 7 hrs.

At 1.377 inches wide and 3.85 inches tall, the Leschi’s small size fits comfortably in your hand. When you extend it to lantern mode, it’s only 5.23 inches tall.

The Leschi can store easily in your pocket or emergency pack, and won’t take up much room at all in your luggage. Even better, the durable aluminum body is water resistant, so you can use it in the rain and snow without worry. Just don’t immerse it in water.

The bright LED provides a diffused white light, in lantern mode, up to 110 lumens. The Leschi takes one 1.5V AA alkaline battery, which lasts up to four hours of constant use. The maximum distance the beam will reach is 279 feet.

The Leschi’s hybrid design telescopes into a frosted lantern for diffused light or collapses into a powerful, compact flashlight for more focused lighting. The on/off button switches light levels from bright to dim (to conserve the battery), or strobe for emergency situations.

The convenient, shock cord clip on the Leschi enables you to hang and focus the lantern from both horizontal and vertical surfaces. No longer limited to a pole or limb that will accept a hook or string, the Leschi can be lashed to a tree limb, tent pole, guy line, bar, or strap up to 1 inch in diameter.

This is the “just in case” light I pack in my suitcase on every trip, whether I’ll be in a fancy city hotel or roughing it in the backcountry. It’s small enough to almost forget about it, until you need it.

The Uco Leschi Lantern lists for $14.99 on the Uco site, and is also available at REI.

Best Basic Tents For Camping – 2017 Edition

When you’re just camping out in the backyard or by yourself, you don’t need a fancy tent with LED lights, an electric charging station, or any other bells and whistles.

All you need is a basic, entry-level tent for you to sleep on. While there are hundreds of these tents out there, we’ve found two that are great for the most basic camping trips:

Kelty Discovery 2-Person Tent 

Kelty Acadia 2 Person Tent
  • 75D Polyester.
  • Packed Weight: 7lb 8oz / 3.4kg.
  • Minimum Weight: 6lb 9oz / 2.98kg.
  • Floor Area: 32ft2 / 2.9m2.
  • Dimensions: (l x w x h): 88″ x 52″ x 43″.

The Discover 2 Person Tent from Kelty offers exactly what you’d expect from a basic tent. It’s a simple two-person tent that takes two minutes to set up and it provides you no more and no less than exactly what it claims to offer.

This standard tent is a lightweight, versatile tent with mesh lining at the top to let air in to keep you cool. If it rains, you can attach the full rain fly with a vestibule to keep you dry.

This tent isn’t anything fancy, but it is a high quality, basic tent that’ll get the job done.

Big Agnes Rattlesnake SL3 mtnGLO 

Rattlesnake SL Tent with mtnGLO Light Technology
  • Constructed of breathable nylon and polyester mesh.
  • Durable and flexible light source integrated into the seams of the tent.
  • The steep wall construction makes for an expanded living space.
  • Simply push a button to activate three different setting choices.
  • All seams on tent are lined with waterproof tape to keep inclement weather out.

While the name may be confusing, there’s nothing confusing about the quality of the Big Agnes rattlesnake SL3 mtnGLO. This basic tent is perfect for the backpacker who wants a super-light tent and doesn’t require all the bells and whistles of the more luxurious tents.

This tent will fit two adults comfortably and three adults snugly. It does have two internal media pockets for handling electronic devices and it is compatible with an add-on feature known as the SL3 mtnGLO Footprint, which is just a fancy term for lighting.

Like the Discover tent, this tent does nothing fancy or extreme, but it does provide comfort and durability for the everyday camping trip.

Best Tents for the Family

If you’re camping with the family, then your basic, bare-bones tent is probably not going to cut it. Instead, you’ll want a larger, slightly more luxurious tent – perhaps with some amenities you might not otherwise think about. We’ve found a number of camping tents for the family and these were our favorite:

Docking Station by The North Face 

The North Face Tent
  • Dry entry.
  • Maximized interior space.
  • High-low ventilation for better breathability.
  • Hubbed poles and color-coded webbing make for quick, easy setup.
  • Fully seam-taped canopy and floor.

The Docking Station by The North Face is the ultimate tent for the family because you can essentially set it up however you desire. It starts off as a modular tent with a main room that operates as a tent by itself. However, the company sells separate 2 and 4 person attachments that attach to the main room if you want. So basically, you can mix and match the Docking Station with however you want. It provides you with the ultimate versatility to customize the tent, and it’s simple install and takedown will leave you wondering why you didn’t buy it sooner.

Kingdom 8 by REI

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Big Agnes Flying Diamond 8 Person Tent
  • The Flying Diamond series of shelters are much more than standard tents.
  • They are Everest base camp dining rooms.
  • Big Agnes’ biggest base camping design.
  • All-season two room condo with plenty of space to stretch out and relax.
  • Trail Weight: 22 lb 6oz.

The Kingdom 8 by REI is a fully functional camping tent with an optional garage and divider wall you can put up if privacy is a concern. The 77” height allows most individuals ample room to stand up and change, while the rectangular floors make it easy for the whole family to get situated and sleep comfortably at night.

The garage attachment is definitely something to consider, and it adds a nice additional space to get some shade from the hot sun or protection from harsh winter winds.

Despite it’s size the tent is easy to set up too, a family of four can be setup in just minutes.

Best Oversized Tents

What do we mean by oversized? We’re talking about the massive, large-scale tents that can comfortable sleep 8+ people. These tents often have all the bells and whistles, and they’re the tents you use when you’re looking for the ultimate comfort and luxury when you’re camping. There aren’t nearly as many of these tents, but we’ve still managed to find some of the best.

Slumberjack Grand Lodge Eight Person Tent

Slumberjack Grand Lodge 8-Person Tent
  • 40D Polyester.
  • Packed Weight: 39lb 2oz.
  • Minimum Weight: 36lb 5oz.
  • Dimensions: (l x w x h): 156″ x 144″ x 89″.
  • Pole Type: Steel / Fiberglass.

The Slumberjack Grand Lodge Tent is exactly what it sounds like it is. This large, luxurious tent sleeps eight people comfortably, and there’s a detachable nylon divider that can split the tent into two rooms if you do desire.

In total, there is 156 square feet of space, and the ceiling is high enough for most adults to stand up to change clothes, pack, arrange sleeping bags, and move around. A rain fly can be thrown on top of the tent to protect you from rain and snow.

Due to its’ enormous size, the tent weighs an astounding 39 pounds when packed. Overall, the tent is well-ventilated and well constructed and it’s reasonably priced given its’ size.

Barebones Outfitter Tent

Barebones Living Safari Tent, Sand
  • 120 square feet and well ventilated.
  • Custom poly/nylon fabric that doesn’t require chemical treatment.
  • Front door has a wide panoramic opening with magnetic closing screen door.
  • Strong frame holds up to 1000 lbs. of weight.
  • 6′ walls and 9′ ceiling means you have room to breath and store your gear.

Despite its’ name, there’s nothing bare bones about the Outfitter Tent. Although slightly smaller than the Slumberjack Grand Lodge at 126 square feet, the Barebones Outfitter Tent is one of the most luxurious camping tents money can buy.

Custom waterproof fabric, screened winds, and doors provide excellent ventilation, while front and back doors provide easy access.

An attachable floor, all-weather cover, zippered mesh windows, and magnetically closing front door are all included with the tent, and a stove port allows you to keep heat in and smoke out all year long.

The Barebones Outfitter tent brings camping to a whole new level, and you’ll find that sleeping in a tent has never been more comfortable than a night in the Outfitter.

Best Flashlights for Camping – 2017 Outdoor Edition

If you’re going on a camping adventure or a day hiking trip, then you really only need a basic, yet high-quality flashlight. You don’t need anything fancy since you won’t be venturing too far away from civilization. As a result, either of these two flashlights will do you well:

511 Tactical Light for Life 

5.11 Light for Life P1 UC3.400 Flashlight
16 Reviews
5.11 Light for Life P1 UC3.400 Flashlight
  • 11.5 in, 29.2 cm.
  • Diameter: 1 3/4 in, 4.5 cm.
  • Head Diameter: 2.75 in, 7 cm.
  • Charges in 90 Seconds.
  • Made from fire-Arm Grade High Strength Polymer.
Call this the king of all flashlights, because the 511 Tactical Light for Life is literally a life-saving flashlight. Aimed at EMT personal and police officers, the 511 Tactical is the fastest charging flashlight you’ll ever find. Seriously – in just 90 seconds the 511 Tactical charges to 100% and lasts for four hours of light.

It’s rated at 50,000 cycles of charging too. Multiple modes enable you to customize the power setting so you can adjust to the situation. The 511 Tactical doesn’t do anything special, but it’s an amazing flashlight that’s saved a lot of lives.

It’s well worth putting in your car or RV for emergencies.

Pelican 3310PL 

Lumens Pelican 3310PL LED Flashlight
  • Brand New 2016 Version – 378 Lumens.
  • LED incorporates photoluminescent technology.
  • Run time of 190 hours (low).
  • In stock and usually ships out same day.
  • 378 Lumens.
Ask any hunter or outdoorsman and they’ll tell you they’ve probably experienced some frustration in finding their flashlight at some point or another. The Pelican 3310PL makes it easy for you to find thanks to its’ glow in the dark shell.

It’s bright glow will ensure you find the flashlight immediately without the need to rummage through all of your things. The case is waterproof as well and you can use the light for several hours, albeit not quite as long as many of the other flashlights we recommend.

Best Multi-Purpose Flashlights

If you’re camping or hiking for an extended period of time, then you’re not going to want to lug around packs upon packs of batteries. Instead, you’ll want to use a flashlight that recharges itself.

Bracketron SmartLantern

Bracketron SmartLantern with 8 high-power LED
  • For outdoor recreational use.
  • Features a rechargeable, compact high-output LED lantern & flashlight.
  • Lantern globe slides down easily for flashlight use.
  • Perfect 2-in-1 solution for great outdoors.
  • (1) Year Limited Warranty.
This basic, rechargeable flashlight is ideal for campers and outdoors men who just need a little bit of light. This durable, multi-functional device can illuminate spaces and provide emergency charging capabilities all at once.

According to the manufacturer, the SmartLantern can provide up to 48 hours of nonstop illumination. Alternatively, it can charge five electronic devices to their fullest ability without being charged. There’s nothing fancy about the SmartLantern – it’s just a great, high-quality, and multi-functional flashlight.

Bright SunBell Solar Lantern

Sunbell Solar Lamp & Phone Charger
  • An “all-in-one” solar lantern and cell phone charger.
  • High quality DC/DC USB adaptor that can be used with any mobile phone.
  • 1.8 W Solar panel with 3m/9ft cable rolled up in solar disc.
  • 3 High quality LEDs with adjustable light from 5 to 50 to 150 lumen.
  • 1 LiFePO battery, 1.400 mAh / 3.2V with 2,000+ cycles.

The Bright SunBell Solar Lantern is a solar lamp, a flashlight, a smart charger, and a SunBell all in one! This ultra-durable, multi-purposed lantern is perfect for any camping trip thanks to its’ quick-charging battery and large area of illumination.

Within four hours, the solar panel can fully charge the lantern, providing you with up to 100 hours of illumination. At the very brightest setting, the three LED bulbs will provide at least 4 hours of illumination.

Plus, it’s smart-setting automatically lowers the brightness setting to give you extended light until the sun comes up. This is perfect for car camping, for extended hiking trips, or even just in the emergency kit in your car.

Best Headlamps

When you’re hiking, you likely want to carry as few items in your hands as possible. This is why it seems like more people are relying on headlamps nowadays to illuminate the pathway in front of them.

Truthfully, headlamps are incredibly useful, and they can make life much easier. Here are some of our favorite headlamps:

INOVA STS Headlamp

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Nite Ize Inova STS Headlamp
  • Multi-mode, dual LED color headlamp featuring a simple touch.
  • ANSI/NEMA FL1 Standards-Light Output.
  • 1 white high power LED featuring 5 modes.
  • 2 Red LEDs for preserving night vision that features 5 modes.
  • Multi-mode, dual LED color headlamp .

The INOVA STS headlamp is the first headlamp to use multi-mode, which enables you to adjust the headlamp to 5 settings- high, variable dim, medium, strobe, lockout. In addition, you can choose between 1 white LED or 2 red LEDs bulbs to illuminate the space in front of you.

It will take some time to get used to the settings, which are controlled by swiping a button at the top. Play around with it and you’ll get used to how to maneuver to get the settings you like. Best of all, it’s only around $35 and it’s perfect for morning runs, hikes, or adventures in the wilderness.

Fenix Compact Headlamp HL10 

Fenix HL10 Headlamp
  • Max 70 lumens output from a single AAA battery.
  • Three output options with up to 30 hour runtime.
  • Ultra light body weights less than 2 ounces and can be removed to tail stand light.
  • IPX-6 Waterproof, 1 meters for 30 minutes.
  • Supported by limited lifetime guarantee from Fenix Lighting, US.

The Fenix Compact Headlamp HL10 is perfect for when you’re hiking or walking in the pitch-black darkness. On its’ max setting, the HL10 puts out 70 lumens, which is well in line with some of the top-tier headlamps.

If you leave the lamp on high though it will only run for about 50 minutes, but on lower settings you can get 2-4 hours. What we really like about the lamp is that it’s waterproof for up to 30 minutes underwater, which is great if you’re likely to encounter some water during your hiking adventure.

It retails for around $30 on Amazon or the official Fenix store, which is tremendous value given its’ excellent quality and high lumen output.

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