Best Camping Gear of 2018

Sometimes thinking about gear makes me wonder if I own my stuff, or if my stuff owns me. But then I remind myself of my Happy Camping Principles and try to make sure we all have the best camping gear and gadget what we need to be happy with the outdoor travel and camping.

My own experiences have run the gamut of gear. As a teenager, my Scout troop established a primitive camp. This was Zero Gear. Along the way, my friend and I have camped in tents, cabins, pop-up trailers, even a whale of an RV once. We’ve settled on a nice little hard sided trailer, 16 feet of heaven, as far as we’re concerned.

With the use of the moderate gear, we could do a lot of fun and enjoy our time. I am sure that I will be going to backpack up into a mountain range, needing only what we can carry. My point of having the minimalist gear have changed by the time a bit.

Essential Outdoor / Camping Gear of 2018

Now, with our two little ones, our trailer offers the infrastructure that lets us camp really happily. Nobody in our family groans at the prospect of a camping trip and neither cold nor hot weather slows us down.

So, take a look at this section for a few ideas, and then flip through some of the lists of Resources, of the best camping gears.

Camping Accommodations

Where to rest your weary head is one of the first questions to settle when you decide to move beyond day-tripping. The good news is that you have a lot of choices whatever your budget and most of those options can be rented or borrowed a few times before you buy.

Over time you’ll find your own comfort zone on the continuum from Spartan to deluxe. For now, start simple and see how it works. Many state parks have cabins for rent. Reservation policies vary, so check with the folks at your destination as far ahead of time as possible. If you’re not sure where to start, check with the Parks and Wildlife Department for the state you intend to visit.

Camping Cabins

Campgrounds of America (KOA) now offers their trademark Camping Cabins, which furnish basic sleeping quarters for between $20 and $40 a night (for two to four adults or children). Not all KOAS have them; check with the Campground nearest your destination.

You’ll need to provide bedding, personal items, and cooking utensils. Cabins include grills and access to all KOA amenities, such as showers, restrooms, laundry, convenience store, and sometimes swimming pools or other recreational activities. Every Campground has its own 800 number.

Private cabin rentals also are available in most well-traveled tourist destinations. Depending on size, location, and amenities, you can pay anywhere from $20 to over $100 a night.

If you are planning to stay bit longer in that areas you can keep some plants to feel better. Follow a Garden Planter and keep the place fresh and like home.

Camping Tents

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Tents are where former renters often start buying. To get up to speed quickly on what’s available take a look at the L.L. Bean, Camphor, and REI catalogs. You can usually buy a very decent tent for about 100 per person (i.e., a tent that sleeps two comfortably usually costs around $200). If you are buying the tent mail-order, check the return policy.

 

Practice setting up the tent in your yard several times (do at least one night-time practice run) before heading out. If you expect kids to sleep in the tent, a few backyard sleep-outs before the main event are a good idea.

Pros: Tents are the most inexpensive camping accommodations you can own and are highly portable. You can camp anywhere you can get permission.

Cons: A really good tent may be weatherproof, but it is still an unnerving thing to get caught out in a violent storm in a tent. A bad downpour can make it difficult to get out and go to the bathroom, cook, or sleep.

Recreational vehicles

The basic choices here are motor homes, trailers, and pop-up trailers. Motorhomes are motorized RVs that you can drive down the road. Trailers are hard-sided RVs you pull behind a tow vehicle, usually a pickup truck. Popup trailers are soft-sided RVs that fold down into a lightweight, the compact size you can pull easily with a car or minivan.

Price and comparison info is beyond the scope of this book, but be aware that there is an available supply of used RVs. Check your newspaper’s want ads, and start scanning issues of Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines or their websites.

Hard-sided Trailer

Our main justification for getting a modest, little, hard-sided trailer was protection from the sudden weather (well, that and simplifying midnight potty runs for a recently trained little girl). But in addition to thunderstorms and cold snaps, we’ve also been beset by sudden swarms of flies and gusts of dust at meal-time. The trailer has enabled us to escape all airborne pestilences while cooking and eating.

You can achieve the same outcome with your camp stove under a tent flap with a little mosquito netting, or a net-and-nylon dining canopy over a picnic table. Just remember Happy Camper Principle IV: The more situations you are prepared for, the more you are prepared to enjoy.

Backpacks

You probably already have a day-pack, and it’s probably all you need. If not, check out the Army-Navy surplus store, your local sporting goods store, or a college bookstore if you live in a college town. The backpack should consist best camping gadgets for 2016 to 2018. So, you need to keep an updated backpack.

Best Camping Backpacks

Think through what you need to take and the kinds of places you’ll be hiking, and you’ll have a requirements list together in no time. A waterproof (or at least water-resistant) pack is a good idea, but no need to pay extra for it. Just Scotch Gard your pack yourself. An outside pocket or two is handy, whether solid or mesh.

The most important point on packs?

Everybody over two years of age packs her own stuff. The goal is for any kid who’s old enough to walk part or all of the hike to carry his own weight (and munchies!). My daughter, the Harper, hiked her little butt off at 18 months, and my son, Chandler, is a hiking bandit now at two. And he carries his own pack with diapers, wipes, spare T-shirt, and shorts. Go, boy!

Camp chairs

You’ll find several models available, ranging in style from very upright chairs that prop you up at table height to more casual lounging chairs that keep you closer to the ground in a more relaxed position. Most of the places we camp have picnic tables, so we’ve opted for the low-to-the-ground type. They work well for grown-ups and kids; very comfy around a campfire. Get a couple to spare; they beat sitting on the ground.

Rubber tubs

We don’t go anywhere without our big Rubbermaid tubs. We keep one full of firewood (it doubles as dirty clothes hamper on the home bound trip), and the other stows hiking boots, water shoes, lanterns, and various other bits of small gear.

Rescue and Edc Knives

You need to carry knives as well for different purposes. The EMT rescue knives can be really helpful in cutting the bushes, any fruits, vegetables, ropes in several needs during the camping.

Camp Stoves

We have a basic Coleman stove we purchased before we got the camper (which is equipped with a nice little kitchen setup), and we still use it when we want to cook outside, at home and on camping trips. We think getting a “dual-fuel” model is a good idea. These can run on unleaded gasoline or kerosene.

Lanterns

You can obtain these in electric or liquid fuel models. We purchased a small Coleman dual fuel lantern, which we hang in a handy tree or on the lantern stand some campgrounds provide. We also purchased a couple of candle lanterns for the table, which cast a very nice soft glow over dinner and protect the flame from moths and wayward evening breezes.

Shovel, hatchet, and knife.

Your local Army-Navy surplus store is a good place to look for these items. A folding shovel is handy for digging a fire pit or emptying a charcoal grill, and hatchets are great for chopping kindling. You can get these with leather blade guards that help keep them safe around small children.

You can also use the rescue knife and the multi functional knives. Multi functional Swiss Army knives are nice to have in your pack since they can solve so many small but annoying problems.

Water shoes

Water shoes are coming very popular as new camping gear of 2018. People like to keep them while camping near the lake.  People pay a bunch of money for these. Though there are some cheap option, which is ideal as you are going to use it a very few times.

Camping Water shoes

We got ours at Walmart for less than $6, and three years later they are still wading strong. Sandal-style water shoes are fine for pool-side, but the slipper-style shoes are much better for spending time in the water, especially where you might have unstable footing, as in a rocky beach or shoreline. Strap sandals don’t offer enough support in those situations. The slipper-style also gives more protection from hot sand at the beach.

Hiking boots

As with all other camping gear, you can get basic, economically priced hiking boots, or pay for extra features. For kids, lightweight uppers and sturdy, lugged soles are the key features to look for. High ankle support and Achilles’ heel cuts are helpful.

Waterproof is nice for adults who won’t outgrow their boots in a year but too expensive for kids’ boots (just put trash bags over their boots and tie off with rubber bands. Little kids think this is cool!).

The Campmor and Sierra catalogs described in “Resources,” page 77, have some great bargains on kids’ and adults’ boots.

If you have friends or family who camp with their kids, get in line for used boots. My daughter has worn a pair of her older cousin’s boots for the last year, and my son has been wearing my daughter’s work boots for hiking. These shoes tend to be durably made, so going the “pre-owned” route will save you money.

When shopping for new, if you intend to hand down a pair of boots eventually, look for gender-neutral colors. Cousin Julie’s boots are purple and black, so Chandler will be wearing them this fall.

Backpack Style Child Carrier

Got a baby? Do yourself a favor. Get yourself a stout, backpack-style, child carrier. These has become best camping gear for families specially if you have a small one in your family.

Some people start out with front carriers for little infants, but you’re probably not going to take Baby on that many hikes before five months of age or so. At that point, she can hold her head well enough to sit up in the backpack carrier, which is used a lot longer.

Which is why I am not kidding about stout. You’re going to be using the carrier for at least the next two years, or longer if you get suckered into kid number two, or–bless your heart-three, four . . .

In shopping for a backpack carrier, look for sturdy shoulder straps, a hip belt to transfer the child’s weight to the hips of the person doing the carrying, and shoulder and lap belts inside the carrier to hold the lid securely.

Several models have little packs that stow in the frame below the kid’s seat. This is a nice feature, but I wouldn’t bother with the “rain-hood.”

Mountain bikes

Most areas with good biking trails have a local outfitter who will rent bikes to you. Some companies even specialize in bike trips where you’re ferried to a starting point (no need to leave your vehicle at the trail head), fed and watered along the route, and trundled back to your car.

If you find yourself biking more than three or four times a year, start shopping. If you are interested in riding some around town as well, check out the hybrid trail/city bikes. These have slightly less knobby tires but all the appeal of the trail bike (like grip-shifters, a dream come true for the balance-challenged among us!).

Canoes and Camping Water Traveler

Canoes and other small, transportable watercraft also are excellent candidates for rentals (unless you frequently camp near water warm enough to enjoy three-fourths of the year, in which case you might want to buy). You also need to carry a lightweight spinning reel in case if you have any fishing opportunity. These camping gear can come really handy if you are panning for fishing in your camping trip.

Most sizable lakes with tourist populations have outfitters renting canoes and personal watercraft like SeaDoos, ski boats, and sailboats.

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