Whether it’s part of a guided hunt or is a separate off-season event with family and friends, camping is a quintessential part of the outdoor experience. Fortunately for today’s camper—maybe softened just a little by those modern conveniences—you don’t have to suffer or go without basic creature comforts. Here’s a look at eight items to make your time spent in the wilderness more comfortable.
The first name in protection from insects offers an Outdoor Lantern for camping that provides light while it keeps biting mosquitoes and black flies at bay. The Thermacell lantern protects a 15x15-foot area, is easily packable and, with one butane cartridge, will provide up to 12 hours of insect-repelling protection for $32.
Comfort on the trail is critical, especially when toting everything you need in a pack can be the most burdensome aspect of traveling into the backcountry. A good pack that distributes your load evenly is critical. The Osprey Atmos 65 is designed for comfort, employing an adjustable foam harness and hip belt along with Osprey’s AirSpeed suspension and a ventilated mesh back panel with side crescents for excellent load distribution. Other features of this internal-frame pack include a readily accessible hydration sleeve, removable sleeping pad straps, top pocket, a tool attachment and a vertical zip pocket for quick access. This pack is available in Graphite Grey, Glacier Blue and Oxide Red colors for $239.
Whether packing for a week in the wilderness or a night at a buddy’s deer camp, traveling—and packing—light is the name of the game. The Marmot Arroyo is one of the most compact, lightweight, three-season sleeping bags on the market. The bag weighs just over a pound and a half, yet delivers warmth with 800-fill down, a nautilus-type hood that fits snugly on the head and a full-zip design. The 20D nylon shell is silicon coated to repel moisture, while the trapezoidal foot box provides more foot room than standard mummy bags. The Arroyo is available in regular (6 feet) for $279 and long (6 feet, 6 inches) for $299.
From one of the most familiar names in camping gear comes a tent it calls the Instant Tent 8. Coleman claims the Instant Tent 8 is its easiest assembled tent ever with an average set-up and take-down time of only one minute. And that is for a tent that can sleep up to eight! The poles are pre-attached to this two-room 14 x 8 foot tent capable of accommodating two queen airbeds. Coleman’s exclusive WeatherTec System keeps water out. Made of heavy-duty, 150D fabric, which is twice the thickness of standard tent fabric, the tent costs $310.
Remote camping doesn’t mean you have to resort to eating MREs or freeze-dried food. Cook meals like a chef and feed an entire camp with the MSR Dragonfly liquid-fuel camp stove. The dual-valve design provides for flame control capable of evenly heating pots up to 9 inches in diameter, and the super hot flame is achieved instantly with the turn of a knob. The Dragonfly weighs only 14 ounces and folds up to 1/3 of its working size to fit in a 2-liter MSR pot for easy packing. The unit burns white gas, kerosene, unleaded auto fuel, diesel or jet fuel, and comes with a fuel pump, windscreen, heat reflector, small parts kit and a stuff sack for $130, not including the fuel bottle.
Nothing ruins a hunt quicker than wet clothing and gear. Keep it protected with Seal Line’s Black Canyon Dry Bags. These bags are built with PVC-free, 300D nylon with double urethane coating for a light and durable bag that when combined with Seal Line’s exclusive Dry Seal closure keeps water out, guaranteed. D-rings make for securely lashing the bags to a vehicle or boat, and they’re available in a multitude of colors and sizes including 5-liter, 10-liter, 20-liter, 30-liter, 40-liter and 55-liter capacities for between $22 and $55.
Sleeping on the ground doesn’t mean you have to actually sleep on the ground. The NeoAir All-Season Mattress from Therm-A-Rest is lightweight, durable and provides excellent year-round comfort no matter how cold, hot or damp the ground and air might be. The Triangular Core Matrix technology creates more than 100 internal cells and reflective barriers trap warm air without unnecessary bulk. Pump sack and repair kit included. The NeoAir is 2.5 inches thick and comes in three lengths, and a pump sack and repair kit is included for $140 to $170, depending on size.
Even off the beaten path, a camper needs a way to eat, and the GSI Pinnacle Dualist set of cookware offers enough for complete meal prep and dining for two. The Teflon coated and anodized aluminum components include a 1.8-liter pot, a strainer lid, two 20-ounce insulated mugs, two 20-fluid ounce bowls, two Sip-It tops, two telescoping Foons, a stove bag and a welded sink for washing up when the meal is all over. The sink also serves as a welded, packable stuff sack for holding everything together, and everything is available for $65.