Spring is officially here, and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere anyway, that means the start of five to six months of the year's best weather. It's the perfect time to get outdoors or at least plan your next outdoor adventures, whether that's hiking, kayaking, biking, hitting the beach — whatever you're into. It's also a great time to take stock of your outdoor gear to see what, if anything, might need an upgrade.
If you're into camping, that might mean shopping for a new tent, a portable fire pit, or the best power station you can get your hands on to keep your tech gadgets powered up for car camping. With all that in mind, we’ve selected some of our favorite front-country and backcountry essentials. These are our picks for the best of the best
Sea to Summit Telos TR3 Freestanding Tent
Sea to Summit’s recent leap into the tent market was a big one. If you're looking for one of the best camping tents, the Telos TR3 is a three-person camp shelter with more space and better ventilation than just about any comparably sized tent on the market. Plus, with just a pair of standard trekking poles, the rainfly converts into a semi-open camp canopy. Compact, clever, and just plain cool.
BioLite FirePit+ Wood and Charcoal Burning Camp Fire Pit
BioLite’s one-of-a-kind FirePit was already one of the coolest — er, hottest — bits of car camping gear on the market. It’s an all-in-one fire pit, grill, stove, and more — all controllable via a clever Bluetooth app. For 2023, the FirePit+ features an upgraded body design with a high-temp enamel coating, so it radiates more heat and lasts longer. The new 12,800mAh battery offers longer burn times, too.
Nemo Stargaze Recliner Luxury Camp Chair
A comfortable portable camp chair can make or break a camping trip. Nemo’s Stargaze Recliner Luxury Camp Chair delivers on all fronts with a design that’s the closest thing to bringing a La-Z-Boy into the woods.
Rumpl Outdoor Blankets
It doesn’t matter where you decide to rest your head, you’ll need a warm and cozy blanket to keep your body warm. Rumpl is the ideal option, with dozens of stylish outdoor blankets that are weather-resistant, durable, and comfortable. They even come packed in a to-go sack to make them easy to stow when you’re done, and since they’re lightweight they won’t weigh down your travel pack(s). Get 25% off site-wide now through May 30.
Gerber Truss Multi-Tool
Gerber has long been a favorite here at The Manual. With 17 essential tools, the Truss is arguably the company’s best multi-tool. Whether you’re a hiker, ultra-light backpacker, or car camper, it offers the utility, versatility, and durability you need.
Hate on ‘em all you want. Crocs are the perfect footwear to add to your camping supplies list (and I'm prepared to die on this hill). They offer the convenience and airiness of a sandal, with the durability, foot protection, and waterproofing of a well-made rain boot. They’re perfect for slipping on around the campfire or for midnight bathroom runs when you can’t be bothered to wrestle with lacing up your favorite hiking boots.
Kammok Double Roo Hammock
We’ve tested many of the best camp hammocks over the years, but Kammok’s dead-simple Double Roo is still our favorite. It supports up to 500 pounds but packs down to about the size of a water bottle. Plus, the company’s own Python straps are tree-safe, easy to deploy, and spread the weight over an extra-wide area for added stability.
Zippo HeatBank 9S Rechargeable Hand Warmer
You can’t — or, at least, shouldn’t — bring your campfire inside your tent or nylon sleeping bag with you. For reliable, ultra-portable, personal heat, Zippo’s HeatBank 9S Rechargeable Hand Warmers can keep your extremities or core warm on those chilly spring nights. For longer camping trips, top them up with a portable solar charger during the day.
Exped MegaMat Duo 10 Sleeping Pad
Nothing elevates your campsite like a really nice camping mattress. If you're an avid front-country or car camper, there's no better option for our money than Exped's flagship MegaMat Duo 10 Sleeping Pad. The insulated, 4-inch-thick, open-cell foam construction is almost as soft as your mattress at home (almost), and the size makes this a great option for couples, solo campers with pets, or anyone who just doesn't like to share their bed.
Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker
Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a civilized cup of coffee. Wacaco’s Nanopresso is our go-to portable espresso maker. It packs down ridiculously small and requires minimal work to get a nice, near-home-quality cup of espresso or three. Just add hot water and your favorite grounds.
BioLite HeadLamp 750
Camping lanterns are essential, but a bright, reliable headlamp is just as important. As the name implies, BioLite’s HeadLamp 750 boasts 750 lumens of hands-free illumination, making it perfect for those campsite tasks that require two hands. The lightweight, no-bounce design is also comfortable to wear for hours.
GCI Outdoor Master Cook Portable Folding Camp Kitchen
Wrangling your food, camp kitchen utensils, and other eating essentials can be a challenge in the wilderness. A mobile camping kitchen such as the GCI Outdoor’s Master Cook Portable Folding Camp Kitchen helps with that. The durable, all-metal design packs down relatively small and weighs just over 20 pounds. Fully unfurled, it offers a folding cook station, collapsible sink, multiple shelving and storage options, and a lantern pole for cooking after dark.
Generac GB1000 Portable Power Station
Even a mostly digitally detoxed wilderness escape involves some tech: digital cameras, electric lighters, a portable speaker or two — the list goes on. Generac's GB1000 is designed to keep you powered up on the go. The compact portable power station is perfectly sized for weekend car camping trips, with enough juice to charge most smartphones dozens of times, and it's even powerful enough to run a portable fridge or pellet grill if you’re getting real fancy with your "off-grid" adventures. The best part: It tops up from just about anywhere with sunshine via Generac's portable solar panels.
Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell 3.0 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Outdoor Tech brings a little more party to your campsite with the Turtle Shell 3.0. This wireless Bluetooth speaker streams just about anything from your smartphone. But, the unique geometric shell is also IPX7 waterproof, making it ideal for the backcountry.
Zippo Matte Pocket Lighter
Of the thousands of cool refillable lighters on the market, we appreciate the simplicity and reliability of Zippo’s old-school pocket lighters. The all-metal construction is time-tested with a windproof design that works in almost any conditions. Plus, the latest version is available in dozens of colors, with or without the Zippo logo.
Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
DEET-based insect repellent sprays are hands-down the best on the market. But they’re also toxic. Sidestep any future health issues or allergic reactions with a DEET-free, plant-based alternative like Repel’s Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent. Bonus: The strong, herbal scent helps mask any, ahem, odors you and your campmates may develop after a weekend in the bush.
B-Air Grizzly Tarp
Whether you’re thru-hiking or car camping, durable, full-sized tarps are among the single most versatile piece of
Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower
Just because you’re planning to spend a week in the woods doesn’t mean you have to smell like it. Advanced Elements’ Summer Solar Shower uses the sun’s rays to provide a nice, warm (even hot) shower anywhere, anytime. The three-gallon model is ideal for most one- or two-person camp outings, while the five-gallon model is a capable upgrade for larger groups.
Epic Wipes XL Massive Wet Wipes
For those times in-between camp showers, you need proper body/shower wipes. There are plenty of options on the market, but none tackle the hard job of keeping campers clean like Epic Wipes’ XL Massive Wet Wipes. At 2.6 feet by 1.6 feet, they truly live up to their name and feel more like a full-sized bath towel than a puny wet wipe. They’re also made from bamboo and are 100% biodegradable.
Front Runner Roof Rack
Of course, the best camping gear in the world isn’t of much use if you can’t actually get it all from your home to the campsite. Front Runner offers a deep catalog of vehicle roof racks designed to fit just about every car, truck, and SUV on the planet. The best part is the company’s equally deep catalog of roof rack accessories, so you can build the exact setup that works for all your gear.
Uncharted Supply Co The Vault 65L Duffel Bag
Camping, hiking, kayaking — all manner of outdoor adventure really — are hard on gear, which is why you need a reliable place to stash your stuff. Uncharted Supply Co.'s aptly named The Vault is an ample storage option with a 65-liter capacity. It carries like a traditional duffel or like a backpack via the two shoulder straps. What truly sets this apart from ordinary duffels (even the best duffel bags) is an integrated water spout that makes this bag completely water and airtight. That means that, in a pinch, it can serve as an oversized water bladder or even as a flotation device if your
We're big fans of versatile outdoor gear that pulls double, even triple, duty. VSSL's Flask offers the carrying capacity of a typical 8-ounce flask plus two collapsible stainless steel shot glasses — more than enough "go juice" for most overnight hikes. But, the cleverly designed tube also doubles as a powerful LED flashlight and includes a built-in compass and a bottle opener to boot. Tech-savvy travelers can also opt for the newthat's an insulated flask with a built-in Bluetooth speaker to keep the party going in the backcountry.
Sea to Summit X-Brew Collapsible Camping Coffee Dripper
If there's one thing we absolutely cannot live without at home or in the wild, it's a decent cup of coffee. Sea to Summit's X-Brew is a legit coffee dripper that makes surprisingly good joe via the built-in stainless steel mesh filter (no paper required!). It packs almost completely flat when not in use and weighs next to nothing. When you're ready to wake up in the morning, just pop it open, set it atop your favorite mug or stainless steel water bottle, and get brewin'.
Yeti Loadout GoBox 15 Gear Case
Yeti took everything we love about its damn-near-indestructible coolers and turned it into an equally rugged gear case. The GoBox 15 is roughly the size of a traditional ammo box with room for smaller bits like first aid kits, toiletries, liquid bottles, and the like. But what sets it apart is that it's dustproof, shockproof, and waterproof (as in completely submersible). Put your most important stuff in here and never worry about whether it'll be ready for your next big outdoor adventure. It's available in larger sizes, too, as the GoBox 30 and the monster GoBox 60.
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 Smokeless Fire Pit
If the BioLite FirePit+ is a bit too much luxury for your camping needs, Solo Stove’s Bonfire offers much of the same functionality in a more straightforward design. The latest generation of this wildly popular portable fire pit will burn just about anything combustible, with far less smoke than a typical campfire. It’s the perfect centerpiece for a weekend
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