Camping Equipment for Keeping Comfortable

Picking suitable camping equipment goes a long ways toward a more enjoyable experience.

| July/August 2015

  • Clackamas River
    Camping along the Clackamas River in Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon.
    Photo by Steve Terrill Photography
  • Gritty Tent
    Gritty elects for his old military-style, old-fashioned canvas tent.
    Illustration by Brad Anderson Illustration
  • Isolated Campsites
    Isolated campsites might offer less amenities than more heavily populated campgrounds, but the peace and quiet can be well worth the effort.
    Photo by Thinkstock/Jupiterimages
  • Glen Canyon
    Glen Canyon, located in south-central Utah and northern Arizona, is a breathtaking reminder of just how cool our planet is, far away from city life.
    Photo by Laurence Parent Photography

  • Clackamas River
  • Gritty Tent
  • Isolated Campsites
  • Glen Canyon

Whatever you did, you didn’t want to touch those walls in a rainstorm. And it was heavier than all get-out. When I was a young boy, and even today, the family camping tent was and remains an important tool and a special space. I remember laying down in that big green canvas tent – fairly certain it was a Coleman – and feeling so awfully ill after one of the first times my older brother gave me a few leaves of chewing tobacco. I must have been 10 or so. Just the same, I look forward every year to Fourth of July camping trips with my wife, when it’s just the two of us, and we team up to make sure our gear stays dry and we’re safe out of the elements.

As a youngster, camping for my family was all about sleeping under the sky and hearing the crickets, frogs, and other sounds of the night; and the camaraderie that goes with that experience. I remember legitimately camping as a family – away from our farm – only one or two times through the years. But it was fairly common to dig that heavy bag out of storage and beg Mom and Dad to let us pitch the tent out by the campfire that was next to the machinery shed. It was so heavy we needed Dad’s help, but they’d often cave to our plea.

Somewhere around 20 years later, one of my brothers and I packed a rinky-dink (by comparison) two-man tent on horseback into the West Elk Wilderness near Gunnison, Colorado, for an elk hunting trip. We didn’t capitalize on our one encounter with a bull elk, but we sure did learn a lesson or three in survival and what it’s like to be in the true wilderness for an extended stay. And the sound of sleet and snow on a polyester tent provided for awfully peaceful sleep.

No matter your passions, camping can afford you all the opportunity to step away from daily routines and experience nature without the everyday comforts that we often take for granted. It says something to me about the authenticity of the primal experience that it can be so fun and fulfilling to step away from a comfortable home with a comfortable bed and choose to sleep on the hard ground and cook food over an open fire.

And to have the best experience you possibly can, it’s important to have the right gear to get you there. Read on, because we’ve got you covered.

Pitch a Tent

Pull into any state campground during Memorial Day weekend or the Fourth of July, and you will get an idea about the variety of tent styles on the market today. It amazes me the engineering that has come along in the tent-making market and how far we’ve come – in some cases for better, in others for worse – since the late 1950s and early ’60s when Eureka! changed the game with easier-to-set-up freestanding tents.

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