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Take inventory: What to pick up this summer camping season

Whether you're a first-time camper or need to update your supplies, consider these essentials.
SUNSTRIP
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January 09, 2018 02:55 PM
  1. Lightweight tent

    When the weather's warm, you want a tent that will be easy to carry, set up quickly and provide plenty of ventilation.

    Look for cool (in both senses of the word) features like a screened room or porch that lets you enjoy the outdoors while avoiding bugs; door awnings that can be kept open when it rains, in case you still need the air; and built-in lighting.

  2. Upgraded lantern

    When packing space is at a premium, there's no reason to waste it with bulky or outdated lanterns that provide a bit of light and little else.

    The latest LED lanterns often double as sound systems or phone charging stations, have multiple brightness settings and are rechargeable themselves, so you don't have to worry about carrying an extra set of batteries.

  3. Small but powerful stove

    A single butane burner will do the job, but consider yielding a little more space for a two-burner stove designed to handle any kind of weather.

    The best ones have a built-in handle or carrying system and interchangeable cooktops so you can add a griddle or a grill.

  4. Wheeled cooler

    Make it easier on yourself this summer and upgrade your cooler capacity without sacrificing your back.

    Quality wheeled versions let you keep 40, 60, even 100 quarts' worth of food and drinks cold for days with a lot less heavy lifting. Even better, the larger ones are designed to double as seating, and they'll hold cups too.

  5. A reliable airbed

    Forget the days of going to sleep on an inflated bed and waking up on the ground: Today's airbeds are designed so they do not leak, owing to the PVC material used in their construction.

    They keep you elevated above the elements and stay much firmer and fuller than the airbeds of yesterday. The best ones come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can even mimic the height of your bed at home.

  6. The right chair

    Invest in a good one that will see you not only through camping trips but also during sporting events and outdoor shows.

    Feature options to keep in mind include lumbar support pillows, pivoting hard arms, side pockets, drink holders and built-in side tables.

  7. A sturdy canopy

    Like a good camp chair, a quality canopy can be repurposed beyond camping trips, from backyard parties to the beach.

    Even the most basic models will provide a welcome retreat from sun or rain, while others have dimmable lighting and cover large areas. Make sure the material is treated to block out UV rays, and consider a sunwall accessory for extra protection.

  8. Extra breezes

    A quiet, durable fan will justify its place among your gear many times over, keeping your tent comfortable on hot summer nights.

    One specially designed for tents can be mounted with magnets or set on a stand. Consider supplementing with mini fans that take up little space but deliver individual-size blasts of air.

  9. A multipurpose tool

    Instead of trying to remember (and inevitably forget) a whole group of gadgets that you may or may not need, bring a multitool designed for campers.

    You'll turn to it at least once every trip when you need a bottle opener, pliers, screwdriver, knifeā€¦ the list goes on.

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Gear full Bleed 2
January 12, 2018 04:43 PM
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