With the sun finally making its warm debut, many of us are starting to plan outdoor getaways so we can enjoy this perfect weather window before things heat up too much. To help you as you plan that next hike or backpacking trip, then, we wanted to break down our favorite outdoor gear for the avid adventurer. So, lace up those hiking boots and make room in that backpack—we’ve got a pretty solid list for you today.
1. Evrgrn Campfire Rocker
Available at REI, these camping rocking chairs pack down to an easy-to-carry portable bag, so you never have to leave comfort behind on those outdoor adventures of yours. Each sits about 10 inches off the ground (with a total chair height of 27 inches), so, while they’ll keep you as comfortable and relaxed as ever, they won’t take up too much room at the campgrounds. Each is even complete with its own small stash pocket, so you can keep your cell phone within reach if need be. We especially love how surprisingly comfortable and easy to assemble they are, which isn’t always the case for compact camping gear. Available in nine colors/patterns at $99 each, we had to bump these fun, affordable, clever chairs to the top of our Outdoor Gear Guide.
2. Hydro Flask Bottles
As avid travelers and lovers of the outdoors, we’ve tried just about every insulated bottle out there and, time and time again, Hydro Flasks take the cake for performance and functionality. With double-wall vacuum insulation, these colorful bottles keep your beverages hot for 12 hours or cold for 24 hours. As a test-run, we left a 40-oz Hydro Flask filled with ice water outside in the 105-degree Las Vegas heat for 36 hours, and returned to find the bottle had remnants of ice cubes in it and the water it held was still ice cold.
Perfect for everyone from the hot-yoga practitioner (these puppies will stay cold for an entire class and then some), to the weekend adventurer, we’re big fans of Hydro Flasks. Because of their weight, we don’t recommend taking them on long backpacking trips but, for short hikes or overnight trips, simply carabine the bottle to the outside of your pack for constant access to ice-cold water.
3. Patagonia Fore Runner Vest
We love the Patagonia Fore Runner Vest for the quick day-tripper or seasoned trail runner. Close-fitting, lightweight and super breathable, the vest includes a 2L reservoir to hold your day’s water as well as stretch pockets for larger items (like handheld bottles) and stash pockets for smaller items. Complete with a foam back panel with “mono mesh,” the daypack is designed to not absorb sweat, so you’ll never feel like you’ve got a hot monkey on your back on those challenging trail runs or hot day hikes. Available in two colors for $129 from Patagonia.com, this is one of those investment pieces that will easily withstand the test of time.
4. ENO Double Nesting Hammock
Every camper knows, there’s no better way to treat yourself at the end of a long day in the outdoors than with a few hours of relaxation in a hammock. We especially love this ENO Double Nesting Hammock, as it packs down into a built-in stuff sack (about 5x7 inches in size), so it’s easy to bring with you on short backpacking trips or camping getaways. The Double Nest Hammock boasts enough room for two people, but ENO also offers its Single Nest Hammock for those flying solo. Available in over 20 colors for just $69.95, this is an item that every lover of the outdoors—from avid adventurers to those just dabbling in hiking—should own. And, when you’re not out on the trail, we recommend setting this hammock up in your backyard. It’s durable enough to withstand constant use and pretty enough to make a colorful statement.
5. Yeti Hopper Cooler
As any avid adventurer knows, there are few coolers on the market like those that Yeti offers. We especially like the Yeti Hopper Cooler, as it’s as easy to carry as a beach bag and offers a ton of bang for its buck, even at its $350 price point. Its heavy-duty zipper provides a waterproof and airtight closure, and it’s guaranteed to keep ice for days. With the capacity to hold 18 aluminum cans, the Yeti Hopper Cooler will likely become your new best friend for that beach trip or camping adventure of yours.
6. Camp Kitchen
We love the idea of this camp kitchen from REI for your next luxury camping trip. After all, why skimp on meals when you can have everything you need to scramble up the perfect breakfast at your fingertips, in one well-thought-out space? As any avid camper knows, keeping items organized at your campground can be one of the toughest parts of the gig (aside from the whole lack-of-hot-showers-issue, that is), and we especially love how this piece serves to organize all of your kitchen gear in a simple setup that compacts down to an easy-to-carry bag. For a mere $99.50, this is an absolute must-buy.
7. Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lanterns
While we love super practical camping gear as much as the next outdoor enthusiast, there’s just something about adding a few embellishments to your campground that we can’t resist. For sprucing up any outdoor space, we love these Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lanterns. (They’re also perfect for throwing in your tent at night for some reading light.)
Powered by nothing but the sun, simply set these bad boys in direct sunlight for about seven hours for a full charge. They even retain 95% of their charge for up to a month when they’re in storage, so you’re free to charge them long before your trip. We especially love that they boast three brightness settings—so you can use them for more practical lighting options or simply as mood lighting for that campground barbecue you’re cooking up. Each retails for $19.95 and is well worth the price.
8. Kingdom Cot
For the camper who wants more comfort than a sleeping pad can offer, we love this Kingdom Cot 3 by REI. Fully padded with plush cushioning and just under seven feet of space to stretch those trail-tired legs of yours, the Kingdom Cot offers an outdoor sleep like no other product on the market. With an aluminum and steel frame, the cot can safely hold up to 300 pounds of weight and, with extra large feet, it’s designed for use on uneven ground and, specifically, use inside of a tent.
Keep in mind, though, this product is meant for light camping trips only and shouldn’t be taken on long backpacking trips, as it’s not designed to fit inside of a pack. But, for $159, we happen to think the product is worth its weight in gold for all of those uninterrupted zzzz’s it will help you catch.
9. Solarmonkey Adventurer Solar Charger
No outdoor gear guide would be complete without a solar charger. So, we researched and sifted through product after product and eventually landed on the fan-favorite Solarmonkey Adventurer Solar Charger for Number 9 on our list. Compact and weatherproof, the Adventurer Solar Charger offers two solar charging panels that can charge a smartphone 1-2 times on a full solar charge and retails for $129.95. We especially love the super durable casing the charger comes in (and the fact that it comes with a carabiner for easy attachment to your pack). Want even more charging power, though? Try the Powermonkey Extreme Solar Charger.
10. Sea to Summit Ultralight Deluxe Pillow
Number ten on our list brings us to an item that performs above all others in its class—Sea to Summit’s Ultralight Deluxe Inflatable Pillow. Most portable camping pillows are small in size and don’t offer a ton of comfort. We especially love this pillow, then, as it offers the size and comfort of a full-size pillow, but at a mere 4.6 oz in weight (making it perfect for long backpacking trips). At $59.95, it also features a multifunction valve that makes inflation a breeze, so you won’t have to waste too much energy getting this ready to rest your head on after a long day of hiking.
Well—from sitting to sleeping to hydrating to lighting—that’s what we’ve rounded up for you today. Have any outdoor gear favorites that we missed? Share them with us in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.