Listen carefully and you can hear the wild call “Hey, remember me?” If you’ve been a closeted person for the past two years due to a certain pandemic, now is the perfect time to pick up your friends and family and head to the hills, forests, or deserts for a summer camping trip. If you need to stock up first, you’re in luck: We’ve found great deals on some of our favorite WIRED-tested camping gear.
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Despite what people say, being uncomfortable doesn’t have to be a part of camping. Check out our best tent guides, best camp stoves and hiking 101 guides for more recommendations to make this summer one to remember.
The Outward Padded Lawn Chair is my favorite lawn/camping chair on the market right now. Thanks to the generous padding, it’s more comfortable than any I’ve sat in lately. It’s also sturdy, has backpack straps so you can carry it hands-free, and weighs a not-so-bad 8 pounds 4 ounces while holding up to 250 pounds. It’s missing a cup holder, but that’s my only gripe.
I’ve already relaxed in the SingleNest a few times this summer and you can’t get a better hammock for the money. The build quality is impressive, and although it only weighs one pound, it will hold up to 400 pounds. It also makes a great lounger in the yard if you have a couple of trees handy.
Recommended in my guide to home emergency gear, the Divide+ Push solves a key problem with rarely used electronics: Alkaline batteries (the most common type you probably have in your home) tend to corrode when not in use. With this Coleman, all you have to do is rotate the part to disconnect the batteries from the contact terminals before putting it away for the winter, and no more leaking batteries! It’s plenty bright at 50 lumens and can run for 330 hours on three D-cell batteries, although there’s a 425 lumen high power mode that will run for 30 hours.
I often recommend REI’s home brand to campers and hikers. It combines impressive specifications and above-average quality with low prices. Unless you’re willing to spend more than twice as much for a premium market tent, the Half Dome will do everything you ask of it. It weighs a respectable but not super-light 5 pounds, but it has two doors so no one will have to climb over their tent mate to get in and out.
This is our favorite lightweight family tent. The mostly mesh design is good for ventilation on hot summer days, and the double vestibule means you get storage space for boots and other gear. We recommend that you glue the tent with seams, which is not difficult to do.
Campfire availability can be unclear, confusing, inconsistent, or completely impossible. And as primitive as it may be, an ordinary campfire made of stacked wood is used a lot wooden. Consider upgrading to a stainless steel firebox, like the Yukon Solo Stove (7/10, WIRED recommends). It directs the air so that the fire burns more efficiently, which means less running to collect dead wood. This offer is also available direct from Solo Stove, with smaller versions on sale here.
For camping tasks when your hands are full, like setting up your tent at night, it’s easier to put on a flashlight than trying to juggle a lantern or flashlight. The Spot 350’s three AAA batteries last up to 200 hours in the lowest light and is IPX8 waterproof. You can shine up to 350 lumens when you need a powerful burst of light.
The Instinct Solar (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a backcountry watch that can help you find your way back to your campsite (hooray, GPS!). It has the usual Garmin features, like an altimeter and barometer—and the best part? It can charge itself with the power of the sun, which helps extend its life between trips to the charger.
We love the LifeStraw filter, a tube-shaped straw that lets you drink clean water from rivers and lakes without fear. We haven’t tried the company’s bottled version yet. It performs the same function, but allows you to carry water (with a built-in carabiner and straw).
You’ll find this jacket in our Hiking 101 guide. Puffy jackets like this one are great mid-layers and can be very warm. They’re a good option if you’re camping in colder areas (or if you just want to grab them now for the winter).