Summer break: How to choose the best gear for your trip!

Camping equipment

Camping equipment

Summer is just beginning — are you stocked up on your favorite outdoor equipment? Check out our tips on how to choose the best gear that’ll ensure your adventures this summer break are top notch!

What the experts say

National Geographic offers up their suggestions for your summer trip in Steve Casimiro’s post titled, “Ultimate Hiking and Camping Gear Guide,” on NationalGeographic.com. Here are some top picks that will have you planning that trip before you’re done reading this!

  • Kelty Cosmic Down 20 sleeping bag: At $110, this bag is a whole lotta bang for your buck. “There’s a full-length tube of down behind the zipper to guard against drafts, an insulated hood with elastic to cinch it tight, and a down collar. Oh, and a full-length zipper and European standard comfort rating of 32 degrees,” says Casimiro. One catch: if you’re taller than 6’0” you’ll want to choose a larger bag.
  • The North Face’s Verto durable, water-repellent jacket: This wind and water-resistant jacket is just over 3 ounces, will compress down to the size of a baseball and features an elastic hood, storm flap behind the zipper for extra protection, is the perfect hip-length to keep you covered, and is only $99.
  • Merrell’s Outbound Mid GTX hiking boot: While these are pretty pricy ($195 a pair), the benefits should outweigh the cost. As Casimiro reports, these are more than an “ankle-high shoe masquerading as a boot,” they are durable and comfortable enough to take you on a day hike in the Rockies or on a weeklong trek to Isle Royale National Park. There’s a padded heel “with a cushy foam insert that absorbs much of shock, and a flexible forefoot that enhances trail feel.”
  • Arc’teryx Cierzo 25 backpacking backpack: While I certainly can’t pronounce the name of this backpack, I do know the importance of a good bag when it comes to traveling. This is the ultimate bag for day trips or short weekend trips. The interior carries the equivalent of 6 gallons of milk, weighs under a pound empty, and folds up into a ball smaller than your own water bottle. The elastic external bungee will hold anything extra you can’t cram into the interior. Price: $99 and can be found online.

What to look for?

Preparing for a summer trip, especially one that may be out of your comfort zone (7-day backpacking trip with no indoor plumbing sound as scary to you as it does to me?), but rest assured, we’ve got professionals to help with the hard stuff! Now that you’ve got an idea of the top camping products, let’s look at what to look for in gear.

ND Parks offers up advice for the novice traveler in their post, “How to Choose the Best Camping Equipment.”

  • Tent: First and foremost (and most obvious, perhaps) look for one that is large enough to accommodate you and your travel buddies. You also want to look for a tent that is made of durable and waterproof materials, especially if you’d like to use it in the rainier months.
  • Sleeping bags and pads: A good tip ND Parks offers up is to look for a bag with a built-in headrest. This will cut down on the extra gear you have to lug around and will give more protection to your head and neck. If budget allows, purchase a pad to save your back as you spend the night on the cold, hard ground.
  • Camping lantern: There are plenty of choices when it comes to lanterns. Do you want a candle, gas, or battery-powered one? That probably depends on how you plan to use your lantern. If you want to leave it on all night, a battery-powered one is your best bet. Just be sure to buy extra batteries. Bringing backup candles is a good idea, just in case.
  • Camping stove: Not an absolute necessity but a nice addition if you’ve got room. Look for multi-purpose stoves like this 2-burner stove/grill combo from Camp Chef.

No matter what the summer break brings, be sure to plan ahead and you’ll have a trip to remember!

What tops your camping gear list? Give us your tips below.

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