All About Camping Equipment
There are many different places you can go to find camping equipment from a department store to an outdoor specialty store. Where you go will dictate the selection that you will get and the quality of the products you buy. If you are going to camp at a more popular place that has most of the amenities of home, the products that you buy won't need to be as good as they would be if you were going wilderness camping.
- A-Frame: Looks like the letter 'A'
- Dome: Looks like a dome with the poles crossing over each other
- 3-Season Tent: A tent recommended for summer, spring, and fall use
- 4-Season Tent: A tent that can be used in all four seasons and can withstand harsh winter conditions
There are many tents with many different features. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Before deciding on which tent, first decide if you want a tent that is light in weight, or has many features. Tents that are lightweight are great for wilderness camping as you will have to carry everything you need on your back, and the lighter your tent, the lighter your pack.
- Look for tents that have a taped seam on the rain fly and floor.
- Tents with two doors will offer easier entry and exit when one has to leave while the other has to stay. Its much easier to just go out another door than to crawl over your partner.
- The vestibule should be large enough for (at least) your pack, your boots, and possibly man's bestfriend. That works out to be about 6 sq. ft. per person.
- Get the tent big enough for you to sit in. You want to have room to move around and if its too short, you'll be crawling around on your stomach.
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Different styles can be used for different times. Keep these tips in mind:
- When choosing a sleeping bag, first know what temperature you will be using your bag in. If you are going to be using it in subzero temperatures, don't get one that is rated for 50°. If you want something lightweight but warm, go with down. A Down sleeping bag will last longer than synthetic bags, but keep in mind they are more expensive as well. If you want something that will last for a long time and don't mind the extra cost, go with down. Be careful to keep it dry, once its wet, it won't keep you warm any longer.
- A mummy bag is good for keeping you warmer, but can be a tight fit at the bottom. Be sure to try it and make sure that it will work for you before you buy it. Also, look for a bag with a full length zipper to keep yourself cool on those hot nights.
- If you plan to use your bag in the cold, get a sleeping bag with a hood. This will add even more warmth to your bag and make your experience that much better.
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A good camp stove will make camping all the better. Look for a camp stove keeping this advice in mind:
- A canister stove is extremely easy to use. Screw in the canister, open the valve, and light. Simple as that. These stoves are really light and compact and would be a good idea for wilderness camping. If you want, get a Brunton "Gas Gauge" (about $5) and keep track of how much gas you have left insead of guessing.
- A liquid-fuel stove gets its gas from refillable aluminum bottles which allows you to always know how much gas you have left. To use a liquid-fuel stove is a bit more complicated, but you can do it. These require pumping some air into the fuel bottle to get the liquid fuel forced through the fuel line and then into the generator where the liquid is then vaporized. To start this process, you first have to prime the system by running some fuel into the burner and lighting it.
- If you get a stove with two valves, a fuel control and a flame adjuster, you will have better control and get have better simmering capabilities.
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Keeping hydrated while camping could only be to your advantage. With all that water around, we're sure you want to just drink it all up. But, be careful not to just drink right from the lake. Drinking right from the lake could make you pretty sick, it and probably ruin your trip if you felt like you were dying the entire time. There are two types:
- Purifiers: A purifier can purge viruses which some filters can't handle. The purifiers on the market today can be costly, but its your health we're talking about, so no expense spared. Some purifiers use iodinated resin, some use filters that get progressively smaller to get even the tiniest threats, and others use an electric jolt to clean the water. The one with the electric jolt does take some time. After sending the electric pulse through the water, it has to sit for about 30 minutes. This would be a good choice to use if you fill your bottle up, shock it, and pack it away for a while to drink later.
- Filters: A filter gets rid of bacteria in the water and some can eliminate bad tastes. If you are sure that you will be traveling to a place with virus-free waters, a filter would prove to be a fine choice.
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Good boots could make the difference between not being able to walk the next day, and being ready to do it all over again. Read these tips before you buy:
- Fast Hikers are made for quick movement and agility and are light as well as flexible. The outsole should be lightly lugged as well as flexible but day hikers should have bigger lugs and be stiffer.
- A fast hiker should fit snug around your toes and a day hiker should leave your toes room to wander. Make sure that the heel part of the shoe fits well and doesn't move to prevent blisters.
- Before you use your boots on the mountain, try them out around the house. If they feel comfortable and fit well, their a keeper. But, if you find that something is uncomfortable or they are too tight, return them before you use them for a weekend.
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A backpack can feel like there is nothing on your back, or it can feel like you have 3 elephants and a cement mixer on your back. Look at the tips below to help you find a pack:
- Backpacks are water-resistant, not waterproof. If you are going and there is even the slightest chance of rain, pack something to cover your pack with to try and salvage your cloting.
- Make sure that the pack fits you. The better it fits, the more comfortable it will be. When the pack is on, the hipbelt should sit on the upper portion of your hip bones and the shoulder straps should wrap over your shoulder blades. Packs that have firm foam offer more support, multiple-density foam offers a soft stratum against your body.
- If you are going on a weekend trip, look for a pack in the high 3,000 to the low 4,000 cubic inch range. If its going to be a weeklong trip, look for something in the mid to upper 5,000 range.
- Try the pack on in the store to ensure that it fits and feels good. If you need more help, be sure to ask a knowledgeable family member or staff member at the store.
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Equipment Gear Resources
A guide to Camping Equipment for beginners.
Informative guide to all things Camping