I spent time over the weekend sorting through my camping gear to prepare for a final overnight trip of 2017. Fall camping is a new experience for me and one that I am eager to try. All of my gear is three season so the window for camping comfortably is quickly closing. The group I am going with are novice overnight hikers. We are all getting ready to experience something new. There are also going to be 5 kids including mine coming along.
My camping gear is a combination of car camping and back country camping. For now I make everything work together as best I can and overtime I am adding to my backpacking gear to round it out.
Here are some of my favourite pieces of gear:
- Cabela’s Ultimate Sleeping Pads These pads are by far one of the best investments I have made for car camping. We ditched air mattresses about three years ago and sleeping in a tent has never been better. These pads even beat some hotel beds for comfort. I am seriously not making that up. They weigh about 7 pounds each so they are not intended for back country but that being said, my husband hauled two of these in and out for our first overnight family hike. I am also bringing one of these pads with me to share with my daughter on the upcoming fall hike. We will share the pad for body warmth. These pads also kept us really comfortable when we were camping in Lake Louise and the temperature hovered around 0°C overnight on average between the nights we were there.
- CamelBak Crux 3L Reservoir. This hydration pack comes in at spot number two for the best camping purchases I have ever made. This is my first hydration pack so I don’t have anything to compare it to. I bought it so that I can carry enough clean water for my dogs and myself and if anyone else in my group needs water. I underestimated how much water to bring on a hike this summer and I had my daughter and two dogs with me. I thankfully planned ahead to have a 4L jug of water back at the car but that didn’t help us on the trail. I am determined to not run out of water again.
- MSR SweetWater Microfilter This filter has served us well on a few different trips. It pumps 1L per minute, which serves my family well, especially now that I can easily carry 3L of my own water. My daughter is at an age now too where she can carry a hydration system for herself. Comfortably carrying more water means filtering less. In the summer I guzzle so much water as does my dog who wears a winter coat wherever she goes. I am so glad I have my water situation figured out because even with all the fancy and nice gear, if you don’t have water, everything else means nothing.
- Hotcore Roma 100 Series Sleeping Bag. This sleeping bag weighs 2.2 pounds, has a temperature rating to 0°C and packs up incredibly small. I have slept at -4°C while in the mountains in this sleeping bag and I was quite comfortable. During the summer on the prairies, I roast in this bag. One of the features that sold me on this sleeping bag is that it has a short tapered shape. At 5’0″, this bag provides better thermal efficiency than a full-size sleeping bag and I stay pretty toasty in it. Fingers crossed that in performs well this weekend on the hike.
- GSI Pinnacle Cook Set – I like neat things and GSI has some really cool cooking and dining solutions. I’ll be honest, this was an impulse buy that I made and I debated back and forth with my husband about returning it or keeping it. It was purchased with the intention of slimming down our car camping bins into one kitchen and multi-purpose bin. I am quite proud to say that everything we need for car camping outside of sleeping, hygiene, food, and clothes fits into one medium sized Rubbermaid bin, including our regular stove, two 16 oz containers of propane, and my french press. I am a bit of a coffee snob, even while camping. Maybe being proud of having a condensed camping kit is a funny thing to be proud of but it makes planning and packing way easier and gets us on the road with little to no stress. I’m ready to camp at a moments notice.
- Cutlery Kit – I created my own kit based on the GSI Camp Kitchen Gourmet 11-Piece Set. When it is fully stocked I have 4 forks and 4 spoons, kitchen knife, matches and lighter, small plastic cutting board, can opener, wash cloth, dish towel, and soap, and collapsible tongs and spatula. There is room available too if I wanted to add something extra. My cook set and cutlery kit is perfect for road trip cooking and takes up little to no room.
- Kelty Grand Mesa 4. I chose this tent for a few reasons with the first being ease of set up. I wanted something that I can set up by myself in 5 minutes and something that can work as a family back country tent. It was one of the most reasonably priced 4 person back country tents at $219.99 that I came across and weighs 7 pounds, 7 ounces. The tent stood very well during a May Long Weekend thunderstorm that dumped rain on the tent for most of the night and pounded the walls from the wind.
I have been researching 1-2 person back country tents and hammock camping. I want the ability to have my dog beside me so I am sure that I have written off hammock camping for that reason. I want a smaller tent so that I can cut down on weight when I go by myself. I don’t need a 4 person tent if it is just my dog and I on the trail.
I am also researching backpacking stoves. A stove hasn’t been a necessity for me, especially in the summer. Where I hike and camp there are fire pits with supplied wood so if I did want warm food, I had fire pits as an option. I envision myself branching out to trails that may not have fire pits so it may be nice to have if I decide to go somewhere different.
We have one semi-backpacking sleeping pad that our daughter uses for all her camping adventures that my husband used when he hiked. It is certainly a lot smaller than our heavy duty ones so I have it available if I go by myself. I would eventually like to get a pad for myself that is small and compact, like the size of a pop can.
Gear wise, I am all ready to go on the final overnight of 2017. I can’t wait to see what this adventure brings. I need to finalize what I am bringing for food. We will likely roast hot dogs on the fire pit for dinner and have Lucky Charms for breakfast. I am super excited to get out on the trail, set up camp, and explore a look out point near the camp site.