What camping gear to buy?

A very tall and spacious tent for 6 people with a huge vestibule for sitting in the rain. Some scattered campers sleep inside their vehicles (whether it's an RV, van, or passenger vehicle); everyone else needs a tent. Although I almost always camped alone or with a single friend, I recently purchased The North Face Wawona 6 Tent for an occasional group trip and to have a larger space protected from the elements when camping in the rain. REI's extensive line of tents and backpackers is also worth considering.

Their Base Camp and Kingdom tents are available in models for 4 and 6 people (the Kingdom is even offered in an 8-person model). Although I don't have any personal experience with rooftop tents, they are becoming increasingly popular in dirt circles thanks to their comfort and safety. A rooftop tent is perfect if you prefer to sleep off the ground. For new campers, Ozark Trail tents are hard to beat.

Their quality is definitely lower than the tents mentioned above, but they are a super cheap way to try scattered camping without spending a lot of money on an activity you might not like. This lightweight mummy style sleeping bag keeps you warm in temperatures up to 32°F and slightly below. A quality sleeping bag is perhaps even more important than a good tent for scattered camping. The most important factor to consider is the temperature rating.

The temperature rating of a sleeping bag dictates the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep the average user warm. When it's warmer, simply unzip the bag a little to breathe. When it gets colder, close the bag completely with the zipper (you can also add a sleeping bag liner to increase the heat). Do you prefer a sleeping bag with a little more space? The Kelty Galactic 30 is a great choice.

It is an amazing rectangular shaped sleeping bag that is perfect for camping in spring, summer and autumn. Men's, women's and children's models are also available, as well as double sleeping bags that fit two people (The North Face Eco Trail Bed Double 20 is a solid bag for two people). This oversized “sleeping mat” is extremely comfortable and warm. It's perfect for camping in tents or sleeping in the back of a vehicle.

I am currently using the Exped MegaMat 10 for scattered camping. It's extremely comfortable (the most comfortable sleeping mat I've ever used), very warm from the ground on cold nights, and a beast in terms of durability. It works just as well in the back of a vehicle as it does in a store. Yet another option, and one that seems popular with the van life crowd, are string lights.

A battery-powered string of lights set is a great way to add ambience to the interior of your tent or to the back of your vehicle. If you want to sleep in a hammock while camping (rather than inside a tent), I recommend a camping hammock with an asymmetrical design. The Hennessy Hammock Explorer Deluxe is an incredible choice. A large family tent is one that provides enough space for everyone to spread out and provides ample protection against the elements, rain and wind, in particular.

The Eureka Copper Canyon LX8, evaluated as part of our test of the best 8-person tents, achieves both goals at a price that is half that of some of the major competitors. Clear instructions combined with durable fabric and a wide profile make this our pick for the best camping hammock. ENO's DoubleNest was easily the easiest camping hammock to hang I tried when reviewing the best hammocks for camping. Like other models, the instructions were minimal and easily placed on a hangtag inside the bag, but they were also specific enough, including details about the diagonal arrangement and correct angle of the suspension system to provide this first-time user with enough information to make the most of the hammock.

The fabric of the DoubleNest is thicker than the others I tested, and that durability increased my confidence in the support of the hammock. Once I sat down and swung my legs inward, I was amazed at how comfortable and safe I felt. The Doublenest had the smallest profile of the best picks of camping hammocks, and would easily fit into a backpack for someone looking to relax and enjoy the view at their destination. From outdoor brands such as Patagonia, Kelty, Sea to Summit, Marmot and more, you can find these products at major retailers such as REI, Backcountry and Amazon so you can live your best life in nature.

It's been another great year for outdoor fun and hiking, and we've seen a lot of camping equipment and accessories come and go. From shelter and warmth to food, toiletries, games, bear spray (yes, bear spray) and stuff for your puppy, this is the ultimate camping gear that will enhance even the most experienced hiker's outdoor adventure. Beyond budget, one of the biggest constraints with camping equipment is space, so consider whether the amount of space a new piece of equipment will occupy in your vehicle will help maximize your camping experience. Part of the fun of preparing for a new season is choosing some new pieces of camping equipment to take to camp.

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