You just can’t beat a family camping trip. While the world around grows more complex (for better or worse), nature always stays the same. A tent, campfire and a cooler of food is all you need to enjoy the great outdoors and bond with your family in a way that just can’t be done at Disneyland.
But while nature and the experience remains evergreen, the equipment we use to camp has come a long way. Retailers like REI and Backcountry have flourished in recent years because hiking and camping enthusiasts feed their hobbies with the latest and greatest items. Simply put, there’s some awesome gear out there to make your next family camping trip both fun and safe.
Road Trip Essentials
Before camping can begin, you need to arrive at the site in one piece. The best campgrounds usually have dirt roads leading to the entrance (especially if you’re going with dispersed camping), and the drive can be rough. Hopefully, you have an AWD SUV to navigate the terrain, but even if you don’t, be sure to keep these supplies in check:
- All Purpose Tires: Low profile or balding tires don’t fare well on dirt roads. TireBuyer and BF Goodrich have a handy tool to help find a good pair of tires that match your vehicle.
- Roadside Emergency Kit: With rough roads comes the possibility of a breakdown. Make sure you have all the equipment needed to change a tire (spare, jack and bar) and a small shovel to dig your vehicle out of the mud if you get stuck.
This is where camping has turned up its game. If you want to hit the trails like a true outdoorsman with your family, here are a few items that can help you do it:
Sleep: Marmot Tungsten 4-person, 3-season tent ($339)
Marmot is one of the premier outdoors companies that makes an incredible tent for a decent price. The 4-person Tungsten has spacious room for three but can still accommodate four. The vestibule (the tarp over the door) is large and can shield several sleeping bags from wind, rain and wildlife.
Lounge: ENO DoubleNest Hammock ($70)
Not all sleeping happens inside the tent. When you find the right scenery and a pair of trees to string up a hammock, it’s a thing of beauty. The ENO DoubleNest is lightweight and packs into a small pouch, making it easy for travel. It’s roomy and can easily fit two people (up to 500 pounds). A hammock is a great way to kick back and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.
Fun: Gibbon Classic Slackline ($70)
Camping is also more than sleeping and campfires â€Š—â€Š everyone wants to have some fun out in nature. A slackline is an active and challenging way to test your balance and stability. A slackline is a seatbelt-like material that’s strung between two trees that you walk across like a tightrope. It’s much harder than it looks and is a fun activity to try and master over time.
Baby Transportation: Osprey Poco Premium Child Carrier ($300)
The price may shock you, but the Poco Premium is the Bentley of baby carriers and made by Osprey, arguably the best outdoors backpack manufacturer in the world. The Poco can safely and comfortably carry your infant, a water reservoir and a good amount of your gear for miles. If you’re going to make it a true family trip, why not give the baby special treatment?