listen carefully and You can hear the wild call of “Hey, remember me?” If you’ve been indoors for the past two years due to some kind of pandemic, now is the time to reunite with your friends, family and head out to the hills, forests or The desert is the perfect time for a summer camping vacation. You’re in luck: We’ve found great deals on some of our favorite WIRED-tested camping gear.
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Regardless of what people say, discomfort doesn’t have to be part of camping. Check out our guide to the best tents, best camp stoves, and hiking 101 for more tips to make this summer a memorable one.
The Outward Upholstered Lawn Chair is my current favorite lawn/camping chair on the market. Thanks to its generous padding, it’s more comfortable than anything I’ve sat on lately. It’s also sturdy, with backpack straps so you can carry it hands-free, weighing no more than 8 pounds and 4 ounces, while holding up to 250 pounds. It doesn’t have cup holders, but that’s my only complaint.
I’ve been relaxing in SingleNest several times this summer, and you won’t find a better hammock. The build quality is impressive, even though it’s only one pound, it can hold up to 400 pounds. It also makes a great backyard hammock if you have two trees handy.
The Divide+ Push, recommended in my home emergency gear guide, solves a key problem with seldom-used electronics: Alkaline batteries (the most common type in your home) tend to corrode when not in use. With this Coleman, all you have to do is rotate a section to disconnect the battery from the contact terminals before storing it for the winter so it won’t leak any more! It’s rated at 50 lumens and runs for 330 hours on three D batteries, though there’s a 425-lumen high-power mode for 30 hours.
REI’s private label is one of my favorite tent brands that I often recommend to campers and hikers. It combines impressive specs with above-average quality and a low price. Unless you’re willing to pay more than twice as much for a tent on the high end of the market, a Half Dome tent has everything you need. It’s a respectable but not super light 5 pounds, but it has two doors so no one has to climb over their tent mates to get in and out.
Here are our favorite light family tents. The mostly mesh design facilitates ventilation on hot summer days, and the dual vestibules mean you get storage space for boots and other gear. We recommend that you sew the tent, it’s not difficult.
Fire pit availability at campgrounds can be spotty, confusing, inconsistent, or completely unavailable.As primitive as possible, a common stacked wood campfire uses a lot of trees. Consider upgrading to a stainless steel fire pit, such as a Yukon Solo stove (7/10, recommended by WIRED). It funnels air to make the fire burn more efficiently, which means less runs to collect dead wood. This deal is also available directly from Solo Stove, and the smaller version is also on sale here.
For camping tasks where your hands are full, like setting up a tent at night, using a headlamp hands-free is easier than trying to use a lantern or flashlight. The Spot 350’s three AAA batteries last up to 200 hours in the lowest light conditions and are IPX8 water-resistant. When you need powerful light, you can also emit up to 350 lumens.
The Instinct Solar (8/10, recommended by WIRED) is a backcountry watch that can help you find your way back to camp (hooray, GPS!). It has the usual Garmin features like an altimeter, barometer and the best part? It can charge itself with energy from the sun, which helps extend its lifespan between charges.
We love the LifeStraw filter, a tubular straw that allows you to drink clean water from rivers and lakes without fear. We haven’t tried the company’s bottled version. It performs the same function but lets you carry water with you (also comes with a built-in carabiner and straw).
You can find this jacket in our Hike 101 guide. Puffy jackets like these are great midlayers to keep warm. They’re a great option if you’re going camping in cooler areas (or if you just want to grab it in the winter right now).