The sun is beckoning. It’s warm out there. Hibernation ends now. Chapped lips and pale skin, another long winter survived. The world turns green again and everyone rushes to the hills.
Before embarking into the wilderness, your place of play, it’s worth your time to do some research about the major pieces of equipment you’ll need before trekking on the trails and camping under the stars. This article will touch the trifecta of outdoor equipment, otherwise known as the ‘Big 3’ to outdoor enthusiasts.
The ‘Big 3’ includes your 3 most important pieces of equipment. Without much debate, they are:
Other equipment will complete your outdoor experience comfortably, but these 3 are your base. It won’t be a pretty experience without them.
There are so many choices today in 2016 that it’s hard to keep up. Technology has brought new innovations to light that never would have been possible even just a decade ago. Now, we have an overwhelming amount of choice and customizable ways of preparing to go outdoors. So, where do you start?
Start by Reading The List of Best Summer Hiking Equipment
This article will cover the spring and summer season for 2016, but to be fair it is pretty timeless (we’ll update if something very new comes out). It’s safe to say days will be warm, sometimes hot, but nights can get cold. It doesn’t take much to feel uncomfortable in the outdoors. This is why planning and picking the right equipment is key to the success of your outdoor experience.
Other questions to ask yourself: Will you be doing single day hikes while car camping at night? Or are you more interested in multi-day treks into alpine environments? Are you a minimalist or do you like the comforts of camp? Are you on a tight budget or ready to invest in some high-end equipment? What environments are you likely to encounter? Have you considered more eco-friendly products as opposed to synthetic? Are you a hiking beginner or a long-time hard-core hiking dinosaur? All these preferences and more can be found and accommodated for in each of these modern pieces of outdoor equipment.
3 top-of-the-outdoor industry affiliated companies have taken a close look at some of the best equipment available for your next adventure, big or small. National Geographic, Backpacker Magazine, and Gear Institute have ratings and reviews based on their personal research done in the field. These experts share their wide spectrum of advice on reliable equipment so that we all can enjoy our time in the outdoors safely and comfortably without compromising anything.
Keep in mind a few things when reading this article. This is a suggestive and subjective combination of some of their highly rated equipment. Also, this equipment was hot in 2015, so remember there is new technology coming out this year as well. With that said, you could see more favorable prices for the equipment mentioned since they aren’t the newest or hottest of 2016. Take the time to research, compare products, and shop responsibly before heading out into the woods on your next adventure. So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the packs, tents, and sleeping bags from each of these well-established companies.
Weekend warriors will be armed and ready for any multi-day adventure with this pack in their arsenal. The Aircontact suspension technology allows hikers to stay comfortable with padding on the sides of the back while keeping them cool, yet stable. The pack can even be extended to add another 10 liters to make more room for those trips requiring a few more pieces of equipment. The backpack is pretty much affordable, which means your wallet will stay full as well as your 3 lb. 13 oz. pack.
If you would like to know why this pack is one of the top rated among hikers, click here to find out more.
Osprey’s Antigravity backsystem will keep your back dry, comfortable, and happy on any hike encountering the elements. The first of it’s kind, this pack’s completely ventilated hipbelt guarantees even more airflow. The Atmos/Aura is top-loading, but equipment can also be accessed from zippers on the front pockets and at the base.
All this resistance to moisture build up on the back without compromising comfort because of the ExoForm Biostretch harness to stabilize heavier loads. There’s no wonder why this pack has won numerous awards. Get hyped with this multi-day pack for a fair price.Find out more on Amazon.com
Although 2 years old, the Ascensionist scored a 91 with Gear Institute for many reasons. This 32 oz. sack is lighter than most, keeping it neat and minimal. Overstuffing to the brim and beyond is welcome in this pack, relieving outdoor enthusiasts with larger and bulkier equipment for day loads. Both a removable frame sheet and hip belt pads give some play for saving even more weight, while compression straps cut tall loads down.
This one will not set you back too much. And no other pack will get you out the door faster than this one. Find out more.
And we also have you covered if you are looking for the best expedition backpack out there.
REI Half Dome 2 (2 Person/3 Season) – Value Tent
Since National Geographic last reviewed this product, it has gotten even better with a newer version. At just under 5 lbs., this freestanding 2 person/3 season shelter is a winner with 2 doors for convenience and 3 poles for ease. The sides roll up and down easily for taking in the view or closing up quick when a weather system sweeps in. All round, a great tent to have on your next adventure for under $200. The Footprint groundsheet sold separately can optimize the tent or act alone with the poles and fly for a minimal setup.
Ever too dark to easily find your way back to your tent? Wouldn’t a little more light make night chores and activities a bit easier? Big Agnes has solved these predicaments and more with their mtnGlo technology; LED lights internally stitched into the tent fabric. Adding no extra weight, the mtnGlo tents are a great bonus to an already great line of tents.
You can purchase this technology in a number of versions of this tent; from ultralite to ultra social. You can also buy the LED lights alone or try the light accessory kit that contains all you need for illumination. Plus, it’s like having the stars out to brighten your little shelter every night.
To find out more about Big Agnes mtnGlo follow this link.
Tentlab Moonlight 2
“A great balance between luxury and weight,” many problems that might come up on a camping trip have been solved in the development of this tent. Scoring one of the highest on Gear Institute with a 92, Tentlab has put a lot of thought into this tent. Their website is very personal and detailed as well. It’s clear that the designers at Tentlab intended for everything to be noticed and appreciated in this tent and make you wish for nothing more.
You can support this company and promise yourself this delightful shelter for $345. They come in other sizes, as well.
To find out more on the company and the tenst, click here.
Check our other article if you are more interested in light-weight tents for two persons.
We already reviewed a similar sleeping bag here, but this time we picked another one.
A warm 3 season bag with higher graded down than ever before, you will sleep comfortably on those cooler 2016 evenings. The hydrophobic down stuffed inside means an attack on moisture, eliminating the bag from getting too wet and drying quick. Weighing around 2.5 lbs, it’s worth noting.
In this price range, can you get a better night’s sleep in a 3-season range? I think not.
This bag will stay with you nearly year round.
If you are into minimalism, well then: check the size of this bag when packed. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Find out more.
The Hyperlamina will get you energized about synthetic sleeping bags again. “Engineered to be the lightest and warmest” is saying a lot for a bag that isn’t made from down. This 3 season mummy weighs a mere 1 lb. 13 oz, is rated for 32 degrees, and proudly eliminates cold spots, keeping the camper toasty all night long. It also packs up small, like its rival down. Mountain Hardware is not the cheapest, but that’s not a real shocker for something this good.
For more info, head over to Amazon
This one is for a deeper pocket. But this sleeping bag scores a huge 95 on Gear Institute and that is for a good reason. It’s super light, “highly waterproof and hyper breathable,” extremely warm, very comfortable and fits nicely in your pack. Fun features here like a foot box that keeps those cold toes warm, internal pockets that keep your water bottles and mp3 player closeby, and a glow in the dark zipper which helps you find your way out in the dark. But let’s be real; why would you want to get out of this bag in the first place? Again, if you can take a deep breath and forget the price this is one of the best choices today. This sleeping bag leaves all others in the dust.
And that concludes this overview for better hiking in Spring/Summer 2016.
I’ve decided to leave sleeping pads out of this article as that is another whole philosophy on its own. Keep your eyes out for the release of 2016 equipment coming soon. Now you are read, so you can get out and discover amazing places. Happy trails!