Our thrill-seeking friends at Active Junky happily spent the beginning of the summer compiling a list of their favorite camping gear. From scorching sun to unexpected showers, these ten Active Junky approved items will keep you camping until it’s time to break out the skis and boards. Take a look at these awesome camping essentials and prepare for your next expedition with confidence.
1. Salomon Synapse CS WP Boot (Woman’s)
The Salomon Synapse CS WP hikers are prime for ladies who want to leave the boys in the dust and kick their feet up on the summit while they wait. Although they are marketed as day hikers, these durable yet lightweight rock-jumpers can handle more strenuous excursions without compromising comfort. Between an effortless Salomon Quicklace system and a Climashield waterproof membrane, it’s a no-brainer: the Synapse CS WP’s are a must have for any backcountry babe!
2. Danner Saint Helen’s Mid GTX XCR Boot (Men’s)
Gentlemen, start your engines! The Danner Saint Helen’s Mid GTX XCR is like a refurbished 69’ Mustang – it has that classic look, but under the hood it’s got a fresh engine snarling. Even for all its suede leather aesthetics, the boot is all about performance. With Danner’s Double Hook technology for a snug fit and extra stability, Saint Helen’s soles for all-terrain traction, and a Gore-TEX Extended Comfort waterproof and breathable liner to keep your feet dry, this boot doesn’t need steel toes to be a steal.
3. Therma-Rest NeoAir Xlite
Therma-Rest is putting an end to sleepless campers’ complaints one mattress pad at a time. Sleeping on the NeoAir Xlite is like bringing a slice of that comfortable bed you have at home with you when you go camping – the only difference is that the NeoAir Xlite is brilliantly designed to provide maximum warmth and ergonomic comfort, while still stuffing down so it’s virtually unnoticeable in your pack. Whether you are an experienced backpacker or a novice who has kept their distance from the woods for fear of a restless night, this mattress pad is the one for you.
4. Deuter Dreamlite 500
We’ve all been there: waking up to find yourself steaming in a sleeping bag like a hot tamale, gasping for breath and stretching for the zipper. No more! Get cozy this summer in the Deuter Dreamlite 500, and find the right balance of temperature in an ultra-light bag that packs down to the size of a 1-liter water bottle. You don’t have to be Goldilocks to appreciate the Dreamlite 500 on a summer night –“it’s not too hot, not too cold, but just right.”
5. Osprey Xena 70 L pack
Fact: the Osprey Xena 70 L backpack has more pockets than a pant store. Seventy liters is just the right size for multi-day trips, and the Xena’s intelligently designed compartments makes staying organized in the backcountry as easy as staying sweaty. With plenty of space and plenty of practical pockets, it’s no wonder that stylish and smart ladies choose the Osprey Xena. Whether you are riding the rails in Europe or climbing a gnarly peak way above tree line, this pack can handle it. The question is: can you?
Check out the men’s version of this pack: the Osprey Xenith!
6. Mountain Hardwear LightWedge 2 DP
The Hardwear LightWedge 2 DP might be the most unbelievable thing to hit camping culture since Bigfoot. The LightWedge 2 DP can adapt to whatever crazy camping situation you find yourself in. This two person tent can be pitched dry, meaning that if the weather starts to turn and the summer skies begin to recall winter, you can rapidly set up the fly first and stay out of the rain. You can even pitch the rest of the tent underneath the fly. And while Bigfoot may or may not exist (we may have insider information), this tent definitely does, so get yours before it becomes a myth!
7. Sierra Designs Women’s Eleanor 19 HI 700-Fill DriDown Sleeping Bag
Ladies: if you do not particularly enjoy being cold or wet while camping, you need to check out Sierra Designs Women’s Eleanor 19 HI 700-Fill DriDown Sleeping Bag. This women’s specific bag will keep you toasty even if the weather dips as low as 13 degrees below freezing. Not only is it stuffed with goose down, but also every feather is individually treated with hydrophobic coating, so it comes as no surprise that this sleeping bag stays up to 10 times drier than its competitors in damp conditions. Stay dry, stay smart, and take a look at the latest in DriDown technology from Sierra Designs.
8. Jetboil Helios Guide
Nothing makes a camping trip like a hot meal. Jetboil has been ahead of the heating game for a while now, and with the Helios Guide, they have successfully modified their impressive formula so that you can now cook for the whole family in a matter of minutes. While this portable stove is larger than Jetboil’s single serving models, it is relatively compact considering it comes complete with a 3-liter pot, 2-liter pot, and a wind protector. Not only can it feed a flock of famished campers, but it is also quick to boil and easy to use – what more can a backcountry chef ask for?
9. Helle Norway Knives
This is as close to Thor’s hammer as we humans are ever going to get. And we mean really, really close. For nearly a century, Helle Norway has been crafting the finest knives, forging stainless steel blades and setting them into uniquely carved wooden handles. Whether you are gutting a rainbow trout, cutting a climbing rope, or fashioning an emergency shelter, you can feel confident knowing that generations of Norwegian outdoorsmen have been depending on the same blade. Plus, you’ll look pretty sharp while you do it.
10. Arc’Teryx Tecto FL Rain Jacket
We are going to let you in on one of the most important camping rules: never trust the weatherman. Bringing a capable rain jacket is always important, even in the summer. The Arc’Teryx Tecto FL is a lightweight shell complete with Gore-TEX Active Shell technology to keep you dry – midsummer mist to monsoon. Arc’Teryx has raised the bar once again with this extremely well designed piece of minimalist outerwear. Sunny promises from the weatherman be damned, we always tuck an Arc’Teryx shell into our pack when we go camping.