Fall is my favorite time to go camping. The days are still warm, but the nights and morning get that undeniable fall crispness that makes campfires and cozy sweaters actual practical and not just playing the part. To inspire you to get out and explore the great outdoors, I'm sharing some of my family's favorite new camping gear that we tried out this summer during our two-week trek across Colorado and Utah. From easy-to-inflate sleeping pads to compact camp chairs, must-have water bottles to the most innovative camp light I've seen, here are some of my family's favorite new camping gear finds.
I know some of you might not think of yourself as a "camping person". And guess what - neither was I! I did not grow up camping ever and didn't feel comfortable with it until I got into my 30s. And here's something I have learned: in life, more stuff is not always better, but with camping, there are some gear and gadgets that make camping easier/better/more enjoyable. Here are a few of my recent favs.
My new favorite lantern: MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 Inflatable Solar Light
I know it's a mouthful, but this compact MPOWERD lantern is one of my new favorite camping finds. First, it's inflatable - which means when it's not in use, it packs flat. Genius. Second, it's solar-powered which means no cords or packing batteries or cranking. We leave it in the window of our VW Westfalia while we drive and when we get to our location, it's charged up with 18-hrs of run-time. Genius. Third, the light is bright - if you want it to be. With four brightness settings plus a flashing mode, you can set just the mood you need. Not to mention the Luci Outdoor 2.0 is waterproof, weighs just 4.4oz and costs $20. Tent, car, van or backpacking - if you do any kind of camping, you need this light.
Carrying everyone's stuff in style: Camelbak Sundowner LR 22
"Moooom, can I have a drink/snack/my sweatshirt?" You know the endless refrain we moms hear. I was lucky enough to try out a brand new hydration pack from Camelbak's 2017 line this summer – the Sundowner LR 22. This length and strap placements on this hydration pack are designed specifically for women and is part of Camelbak's new low rider collection which moves the water reservoir from the upper back (like many hydration packs) to your middle back which helps to balance out the weight distribution, provides some nice lumbar support, and leaves you more room for gear in the bag. The pack is only available in this teal color (for now), but I love the space to keep extra layers and snacks organized and easy to reach, hipbelt zippered pocket to keep my phone close at hand to grab trail shots, and the magnetic tube track so I don't get hit in the face with the water valve when I'm trying to run to keep up with my kids.
Best seat in the campground: Kelty Linger High Back
We've had a lot of camp chairs over the years, but this one from Kelty is one of our latest favorites. The Kelty Linger High Back chair is a perfect blend of portability and comfort. It's not small enough to really count as a backpacking chair but still folds up small enough that you can throw it in a bag. All the poles are attached with elastic so you never have to worry about losing a piece or trying to figure out which piece goes where. The chair sets up in under a minute, comes with its own handled carry bag, and provides a comfy highback seat to enjoy a campground morning coffee or elk-gaze during lunch.
Keeping mom hydrated: HydroFlask
When I don't need the extra packing space of the Camelbak, I've been keeping hydrated around town and on our travels with water bottles from HydroFlask. Available in more sizes, colors and lid options than you can count (seriously - SO many options!), HydroFlask bottles are made from BPA-free and phthalate-free stainless steel and are vacuum-sealed to keep my ice water cold for up to 24hrs and beverages hot for up to 6hrs. My kids keep trying to steal this teal 24oz bottle for their soccer games, and I've also been loving the wide mouth 32oz for bringing water to cover multiple family members at the beach or soccer sidelines. Since there are so many color options, sizes and lid types, you can be sure to find the perfect water bottle for every activity and every member of the family.
Keeping my kids fueled: New Primal Grass-Fed Beef & Turkey Jerky
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As a mom of three boys, I hear "I'm hungry" a lot. Especially when we camp, I'm looking for highly portable, highly satiating snacks to keep my kids full of fuel and ready to explore. This New Primal jerky was a winner for my fam. There products are gluten free, non-GMO, hormone and antibiotic-free, soy free, paleo friendly, and are made from free-range turkey and 100% grass-fed beef. They sell larger bags of Classic, Spicy or Turkey jerky for the family to share as well as kid-sized snack packs (perfect for lunches or to stick in their Camelbak!) and beef sticks in fun flavors like Cilantro Lime, Bacon and Habenero Pineapple that are easy to pack in your back pocket.
Frustration-free tent set-up: Kelty Trail Ridge 3
When we camp, we usually are in our VW Westfalia that has a pop-top and room for all of us to sleep inside. But this summer we ditched the van for a few days and hopped in a raft to float down part of the Green River in Utah. We spent those nights camping alongside the river in this Kelty Trail Ridge tent. Available in 2, 3, 4, 6 or 8-person options, the Trail Ridge series has a number of features that make camping life easier. Like color-coded clip construction so set up is a breeze and two big doors so the kids don't have to climb over me to get out. The tent also has lots of built-in storage including a gear loft, internal storage pockets and nightlight holders. The tent has a see-through mesh top for when the stargazing is good and a waterproof vestibule to throw over the top when you need added protection or privacy.
Easiest camping pad ever: Thermarest NeoAir® Trekker™ SV
With this design, Thermarest has eliminated one of the biggest hassles of camping pads - inflating and deflating. I used to dread sitting there blowing and blowing...and blowing to inflate the mattress, and then the next morning having to spend the time to roll and sit and roll and sit to try to get all the air back out. This new Thermarest NeoAir® Trekker™ SV uses a SpeedValve that allows the mattress to inflate in just a few breaths and deflate almost instantly! Click here to see how it works. This mattress comes in a regular or long lengths, has a built-in pillow and isn't noisy when you move. Truth be told, sleeping on the ground isn't my first choice, but with this camp pad, at least it was comfortable(ish).
Where are you exploring this fall?
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