Travel Gear We Use: Camping Comfort Items

We used to be hardcore minimalist campers…until we starting reviewing camping gear. Then we realized there’s a whole slew of fun, convenient camping items we now can’t live without. Turns out, we like to be comfortable! While we still camp in a minimalist fashion when it comes to backpacking gear, we’ve added the following camping comfort items to our car camping experience.

camping-comfort-items

Big Agnes Helinox Chair:

This lightweight chair weighs in at only 1 pound, 3 ounces, so you could conceivably take it backpacking. (It stuffs into it’s own sack). However, we bring it to the campsite for car camping, and it plays double-duty as a soccer game-viewing chair during my kids’ season. I love how easy the Helinox is to clean (spills wipe away) and to stow (simply fold the corded poles and wrap the mesh sling around it). A Helinox chair sets you back further than your standard foldable chair, but you absolutely can’t beat it for weight and convenience. You’ll barely know it’s packed in your car! Pick up the Helinox Camp Chair on Amazon for $99.95, or find it for a few bucks more at most outdoor retailers.

Grand Trunk Goods Double Hammock:

Grand Trunk Goods make some of the highest quality outdoor luxuries on the market (I love their travel pillows and sleep sacks). Naturally, when it comes to making a hammock, they excel…and for a very reasonable price. Their double hammock fits two adults (or three squirmy kids) and can be hung anywhere, using the included rope and carabiners. The hammock is made from parachute nylon, and stuffs into a small stuff sack for easy transport. We’ve taken ours on camping trips as well as vacations to condos and vacation homes. The most fun part of a Grand Trunk hammock: picking your color. The site offers over 20 color combinations. Pick up yours for only only $45 on Amazon. You can also upgrade to a Grand Trunk Skeeter Beater, which comes with a built in bug net!


Eureka Cook Table:

We didn’t know we needed a camp table until we tried it…then couldn’t go back. Why? The Eureka Cook Table fits a double camp stove perfectly, and comes with an organization center below. This section zips closed to keep dust and dirt off your plates, utensils, and kitchen tools, and keeps small animals out. Where we camp, we almost always need a bear locker, so our food does not go in here, but it would be entirely possible to store food in the camp table if you’re in a safe area. With our stove on the table, we are free to spread out more on our picnic table, using it for card games, art projects, and board games after dinner. I worried the camp table would be bulky to pack and heavy to carry, but with it’s own carry case and easily folding legs, it’s been a breeze. I wouldn’t want to carry it far, but for short distances, it’s no problem. Pick up the Eureka Cook Table for $99.

Kelty Camp Pillow:

We can’t camp without pillows. Even while backpacking, I bring along a very small one. The Kelty Camp Pillow is compressible, fits into its own stuff sack (which is also handy for keeping it clean as you pack and unpack camp), and has an extra sleeve where you can stash extra clothing (socks, anyone?) or a lightweight jacket for added volume. They come in a variety of colors, so everyone can have their individual one. The Kelty Camp Pillow is only $16.

 

Coleman Trailhead II cot:

Until recently, I hadn’t slept on a cot since summer camp as a kid. When I tried Coleman’s Trailhead II cot, I was amazed how rested I felt! You’ll stay warmer off the ground, and since the Trailhead is designed in a ‘military’ style, it’s very sturdy, even for bigger adults. You get multiple side pockets down the length of the cot, where we like to stow flashlights, books, and small items like watches or lip balm. Best of all, it folds down small and stows in a carry case for storage. The Trailhead II is under $45 on Amazon.


Klymit Static V and Static V Jr:

A cushy sleeping pad is essential for me when I backpack and camp. I know there are those who swear by minimalist pads, but I just can’t do it. The Klymit Static V feels downright luxurious with its air chamber design. It inflates and deflates in seconds, and is still only 18 ounces. Plus, it rolls into its own stuff sack that’s a quarter of the size of my other sleeping pads. It also limits air movement, which means you don’t lose heat while sleeping. With Klymit, I can be an ultra-lightweight camper and live in comfort! There’s also a Klymit Static V Jr, which is 3/4 length for adults, and weighs only 13 ounces. We have one for our 11-year-old, and my teens use it as well when they really want to shave off ounces. The Klymit Static V is under $50 on Amazon, as is the Jr model.

Want more camping info? Get Pit Stops for Kids’ camping gear list!

GSI Java Press:

Can’t live without a good cup of joe in the morning? Me, neither. I love, love, love the GSI Java Press, which travels well and still provides a great cup of coffee (or two) during camping mornings. Maybe I’m a snob, but I will not drink instant coffee, and the java press is lightweight, indestructible, and easy to pack with the rest of our kitchen gear. It’s double-walled and insulated, BPA-free, and brews a strong cup of coffee or tea. Pick it up on Amazon for under $30.


Waka Waka Power +

Normally, we like to unplug when we go camping. But let’s be real: sometimes you simply need or want to have a source of power for your phone or other device. When we’re not backpacking ultra lightweight, I like to carry my phone for safety purposes (GPS positioning, etc) and when we’re luxury car camping, it’s nice to be able to watch a movie on the iPad. What? I told you this was a post about camping comfort. The Waka Waka Power+ is awesome because it’s a charger that’s powered by the sun. It’s small solar panel charges virtually any type of small electronic device within just a few hours. Plus, it has a light, so you can get up to 150 hours of illumination. When we tried it out, we had trouble at first finding a sunny spot to put the Waka Waka to charge. Once we’d gotten the knack, however, it could charge fully after a day outside (breakfast until dinner). There are multiple light settings (so you can save battery when needed), but we found we hardly use it for light. Instead, it’s our go-to phone charger. The design is flexible, so you can set it upright on a table, or hang it from the ceiling of a tent. There’s even an SOS emergency beacon. The Waka Waka isn’t packed for every trip, but when it stays home, it’s in our emergency supply box, for those ‘just in case’ moments. Grab the Waka Waka on Amazon for $79.

What item can’t you live without while camping? Find more Travel Gear We Use!

camping with kids

Disclosure: We received some of these items for the purpose of review. Without product reviews, Pit Stops for Kids would not be able to keep you informed on the latest gear.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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