best camping gear 2021

We love to camp in Alaska and this category is far reaching. Read on to learn about new products to outfit your basecamp, or items to increase efficiency on a remote, minimalist backcountry adventure.

Big Agnes Ptarmigan TarpBig Agnes Ptarmigan Tarp Large
A good tarp is an essential and multi-purpose item. We carry them in our boats, bring them to basecamp and put them in our packs on remote adventures. This one is large (14’x14’), waterproof and designed to let you pitch it in a variety of configurations. It comes with pre-cut guy lines and tensioners already attached to the tarp.
SJK Outpost 4 Tipi TarpSJK Outpost 4 Tipi Tarp
Weighing less than five pounds, this shelter allows you to quickly set up a tipi-style structure in minutes. This helps when you are trying to get out of the weather, which leans towards brutal in the fall. It comes with an aluminum center pole, guy lines and stakes so that you can pitch this in a variety of terrain conditions. The Kryptek Highlander camouflage pattern helps it blend into the willow and alder brush, particularly in the fall. Part of what we used this for is to set up a blind for the camera man during our 2020 moose hunt. It would make for a good, one-man shelter when going adventuring in the summer.
MSR Front Range TarpMSR Front Range Tarp Shelter with Bug/Floor Insert
The tarp weighs in at 1 pound, 10 ounces, worth the weight to shelter four people. The footprint is 9’ x 9’ and it has an interior peak of 64”. We coupled it with the Bug/Floor Insert for an extra layer of protection. That part weighs 1 pound, 15 ounces, so for about 3.5 pounds we had an emergency shelter and another tarp during remote outings in 2020. We put it through some heavy rain in Icy Bay in the fall and the Xtreme Shield waterproof coating did its job.
Kicker KB6Kicker KB6 Outdoor/Indoor Speakers
These KB6 Outdoor/Indoor Speakers are great for the cabin, sitting riverside or mounted to your RV with the universal bracket that’s included.
Yeti HondoYeti Hondo Base Camp Chair
It is hard to imagine spending $300 on a camp chair but you can be assured it has the Yeti brand level of quality, which means it will last a long time, if not forever. Not only is it meant to last, it is strong enough to hold up to 500 pounds and it is also literally the most-comfortable chair ever for long chats by the fire. It sure feels good to relax in comfort after wading a river or sitting in a boat all day.
Kicker Bullfrog BF200Kicker Bullfrog BF200 Bluetooth Music System
Our music-loving field tester is a fan of Kicker products. The Bullfrog BF200 is an ample-sounding, medium-sized, rugged, durable and weatherproof Bluetooth speaker that can be packed onto the boat or taken camping.
Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0 Small Bluetooth Speaker
Compact and highly portable, we like this small speaker because you can strap it to your pack and go. Battery life is solid, and a little wet weather won’t kill it.
Genesis CoffeeGenesis Coffee Lab Steeped Singles
Alaskan-owned Genesis Coffee Lab roasts single-origin, direct-trade, specialty coffee locally in Wasilla. It’s delicious! In addition to their whole beans, they have come out with a great product that is perfect for the outdoors in Alaska. A single-serving, biodegradable coffee bag—just place in hot water and steep for a couple of minutes. It’s an easy-to-make and delicious cup of coffee to enjoy in the wild. Find Genesis Coffee Lab’s steeped singles at Three Bears Alaska.
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