From tents to water purifiers, our testers spend a lot of time in the Alaska outdoors and have determined our pick for the best camping gear of 2018. Stay dry, cozy and safe and enjoy camping more with these outdoor products that rank among the best camping gear.
Hilleberg Kaitum 4 GT
We love this tent. It’s very spacious with lots of head room and will sleep four. We fit two adults and four kids under 11 in it. It’s got two vestibules for lots of gear storage, which we need, and also two doors adding convenience. We like that it is lightweight—about 10 pounds—for the size of the tent and that it is rugged and will handle most weather conditions in which we find ourselves fishing and hunting.
Big Agnes Flying Diamond 6
Think base camp for your whole family, a couple of guys hunting or a group camping trip dining tent. We are really impressed with the design and features of this enormous tent. This 3-season, two-room tent is a great choice for your next base camp. It has a vestibule that can be staked out for shade if you have trekking poles or to store your gear if we have more typical Alaska weather. The two rooms are great for parents with kids, buddies or lots of gear. We found it durable and waterproof with plenty of ventilation.
Rightline Gear Truck Tent Full Size Long Bed 8-foot
This tent was quick and easy to set up in the bed of the truck and doesn’t require pounding stakes. Our tester appreciated being off the ground, as it’s warmer than sleeping on the ground. It easily straps securely to the truck. This tent is especially useful, without the hassle of trying to find an appropriate clearing.
Eureka Super Cush Pad
This is a super thick sleeping pad that inflates fast while the user pumps up and down on the headrest portion of the pad. It has a quick valve release to deflate fast as well. Our tester found this pad comfortable and user-friendly for basecamp.
Eureka MarshMellow Cover
Adding the MarshMellow Cover to use with the Eureka Cush Pad is totally worth the extra $50, according to our camps-a-lot field-tester. The fabric is soft and cozy and lives up to its name, making sure you’ll sleep like a baby even when you’re on the ground.
Power Practical Luminoodle Light Rope
If you spend a lot of time outdoors like we do, the Luminoodle is the perfect addition to your gear kit. The light rope is lightweight, completely flexible and plugs into any USB power source—then just hang, drape or stick it nearly anywhere for a beautiful, bright light. We recommend keeping one in your emergency kit as well, so you’re never without light.
Helinox Table One with Hard Top
The Table One with Hard Top brings comfort to the backcountry with the convenience and versatility of a lightweight, packable mealtime companion. It is small and low to the ground and can seat two for dinner in a low camp chair.
Light My Fire TinderSticks
Made of stumps from cultivated pine and featuring an 80% resin content, TinderSticks are extremely easy to light and work even when wet. Burning long and hot, they’re also the perfect companion to Light My Fire’s Swedish FireSteel.
GSI Outdoors Soft Sided Wine Carafe
Our tester enjoyed this soft-sided wine carafe. It is easy to pack, not bulky and is efficient to use. It is designed to hold 25 ounces. This carafe has a two-stage cap that allows for filling and pouring ease. Beverages taste great, with no odd taste from the container.
Sea To Summit Thermolite Reactor Sleeping Bag Liner
This sleeping bag liner is soft, warm and retains a comfortable amount of heat without making our tester sweaty. Our tester appreciated the texture of the fabric. It is lightweight and stretchy and feels comfortable against the skin. This product is compact and easily packable for wilderness trips or traveling to visit friends.
Aurora Fire Starter 2SA
This is a great product to carry in the field. Our tester loved that this product made it possible to start a good blaze in about five minutes. He suggests adding a length of cord to the lanyard hole in this product. The tester appreciated the small closed-in case, keeping it dry and ready for use. It provides hot sparks easily; no need to carry matches that get wet. Just pack some fire-starting material or find good dry tinder.
Eureka Gonzo Grill Cook System
A flexible and compact cook system, the Gonzo contains a griddle top for pancakes or panini sandwiches and then reverses to a grill surface for burgers or portobellos—or functions as a stove for boiling water and sautéing. After testing this, our camp gourmets are big fans.
Camp Chef Extendable Safety Roasting Sticks
Our tester loved having a set of these along for their camping adventures, as the whole family enjoyed roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire. Each fork features reverse wire holders and comfortable wooden handles for added convenience.
GCI Outdoor 3-Position Director’s Chair w/ Ottoman
When it comes to RV trips to Valdez or riverside camping in Fairbanks, this chair provides just the right amount of comfort to kick back (literally) and take in the great Alaska outdoors in one of three reclining positions with a convenient side table and ottoman. While heavier than many conventional camp chairs, this chair collapses to a surprisingly small and flat form for storage and features easy-to-carry size with a built-in handle.
Last year we awarded the Genesis Base Camp System for its great utility, and this year we’re awarding the new HalfGen for its well-thought-out design, simplicity of use, and performance. Depending on the amount you’re cooking for, this modular system can be expanded. The single 10,000 BTU burner with full simmer control and included pan worked well for us on a couple of camping trips with 3- to 4 people. We appreciate that the HalfGen is designed to nest together and comes with everything needed, aside from a standard 16.4-ounce propane bottle, in a convenient carry case.
Kammok Firebelly Down Trail Quilt
As we’re sure you know, Alaska is well-known for its chillier temperatures, and although we enjoy sunshine and higher temperatures in the summer, it’s not uncommon to experience overnight temperatures in the 40- to 50° range while camping. This quilt was an instant success during a camping trip in interior Alaska where its performance made it a favorite for all campers. We love the snaps that allow it to be made into a burrito-style sleeping bag for lounging around the fire, and even used it as an extra warm layer over our sleeping bags at night.
Grayl Ultralight Purifier Bottle
When it comes to spending time in the Alaska wilderness, clean water is a must, and this functional and lightweight (10.9-ounce) water purifier from Grayl took away any doubt we’d have refreshingly clean (and safe) water on our excursions. This product does not use any bulbs, batteries, chemicals or pumps to purify; just fill and press, and in 15 seconds you have drinkable water. Each cartridge filter can process 40 gallons before replacement and removes 99.9999% of viruses, disease-causing bacteria and protozoan cysts, all while filtering out particulates such as the glacial silt found in much of Alaska’s rivers.
YETI Tundra 45
YETI coolers are well-known among outdoorsmen for superior performance, so it’s no wonder why we were not only wowed by this cooler’s ability to keep our ice frozen for days, but also the smaller details such as the heavy-duty rubber latches that make opening and closing your cooler easy and secure, the easy-to-use drain system, and the well-thought out tie-down slots for those times you need to secure your cooler to your boat, trailer, or truck.
Backpacker’s Pantry Pesto Salmon with Pasta
Our camp gourmands loved this delicious freeze-dried meal from Backpacker’s Pantry. Smoked wild Alaskan salmon filet tossed in a traditional basil pesto, almonds, sun-dried tomatoes and pasta—yum!
Hydro Flask 64-ounce Insulated Water Bottle with Flex Cap
The largest Hydro Flask available, this 64-ounce bottle is made with professional-grade stainless steel and TempShield double-wall insulation to keep your water ice-cold or piping-hot down to the very last sip. And the Wide Mouth Flex Cap makes it easy to stay hydrated on the go, as the stainless-steel pivots and a flexible, twistable strap allows the cap to move when you do.
Coghlan’s Bungee Clothesline
Lightweight and convenient, and requiring no hanging pegs, this clothesline makes an excellent addition to any basecamp, ensuring you have a great place available to hang your waders and other outer layers to dry after a long day on the water.
Hydro Flask 40 oz Wide Mouth with Straw Lid
Our tester carries water everywhere, and despite the Hydro Flask’s reputation, he had never used one before. Within one day our tester was in awe of not only the bottle’s durable pro-grade stainless-steel construction and the double-wall insulation’s ability to keep his water cold all day without condensation, but also the remarkable spill-proof and leak-proof performance of the straw lid that made drinking easier while driving and hiking.
Healthy Human Stein with Flip N Sip Lid
Healthy Human Steins are durable, safe and reusable, and they will never leak. Our testers have always loved these products, but now report that the Flip N Sip Lid (not pictured) was an amazing addition. It is easy to use and leak-proof, easily allowing one-handed operation.
Coghlan’s Pop-Up Trash Can
Keep your campsite clean with this lightweight and handy spring-loaded trash can. It’s simple to use as well; just unzip the storage lid and the spring-loaded container automatically expands to its full size. When you’re finished using it, simply push it down flat, and secure the nylon ties on the sides.
Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Pan & Cast Iron Cover
When camping, this pan made it easy to cook breakfast for the whole group in one pan. The two loop-style handles makes it easy to store in the kitchen or in the car when heading out for a trip. We appreciated the utility and durability this provided us when cooking outdoors.
Healthy Human 20-ounce Cruiser Tumbler
Designed to provide safe, splash-free hydration, the Cruiser’s complimentary stainless-steel straw and 100% BPA-free body and cap will help you sip confidently on the go. It keeps ice water delightfully cold and is a favorite of our stainless steel preferring tester.
Hydro Flask 32 oz Tumbler and Lid
Our tester was impressed with how this mug kept coffee hot or ice water cold for hours on end. This is a nice-sized container that fits well in the truck cupholder. It works well with a straw to keep from spilling while on the go.
Stanley Adventure Stacking Steel Tumbler Set
Our tester appreciated the different colored neoprene bands around the stainless-steel cups. They are handy to identify your drink and they slide off for easy cleaning. They keep drinks cold longer than normal glassware. These cups are durable and easily stack for your next camping adventure.
Coghlan’s Fire Poker
Our tester reports this as the best fire-poker they’ve ever used, noting that it’s very sturdy and especially love the extendable feature.