Summer Camping Essentials Checklist

Summer is the month of getting out in the country, exploring your surroundings, and being out in nature. Ensuring you pack all the right gear will make the difference between a fun and enjoyable getaway, and an absolute nightmare.

Summer Camping Essentials

We have split this section into 5 separate categories, this will make it easier to write your own checklist so you don’t miss anything.

 

For the Campsite

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Best Toilet Tent & Pop Up Changing Room for Camping (Reviewed!)

The sun is setting over the mountain valley and you have found the absolute perfect backcountry campsite in the middle of some untamed wilderness. Before starting up the campfire to cook the fish you caught earlier in the day, you feel Nature calling and find a nice rock outcropping where you can enjoy the sunset while watching the sun dip below the horizon. Who could possibly interrupt you in this virtually untouched area of the world?

As always seems to happen, as soon as you get your pants around your ankles, voices appear around the bend and you have to struggle to pull your britches up before you are discovered defiling that perfect setting. Investing in the best toilet tent or pop up changing room will only add a few pounds and a couple cubic inches to your backpack, but usually ends up being one of the most important pieces of gear you bring around. There simply is no price for a little bit of privacy when you most urgently need it.

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If you have never heard of toilet tent or can’t imagine how a tent can double as a toilet, we have you covered (literally). Read on for our complete review of the ones we liked the best on the market today.

Portable Toilet Tent Comparison

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7 Best Rubber Hunting Boots Reviews 2018

Alright, when you think of hunting gear, the best rubber hunting boots aren’t exactly at the top of your list. Think of it this way, nothing is worse than a cold day, then clunk, you stepped into a cold patch of water. Even worse, you hit a rough or slippery patch of terrain, how do you feel falling on your ass? No thank you, rolling in mud is not for me.

Another thing I can’t stand, buying a pair of uncomfortable boots (perhaps even worse,) boots that won’t hold up and break after a season. Fear not fellow hunter, in this post we deep dive into the top of boots you should consider picking up for your next hunting trip.

Best Hunting Boot Comparison At A Glance:

 

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Best Porta Potties Reviews (Updated 2018!!)

Going on a long trip and not thrilled about “going” outdoors? Fear not, we threw together a list of the best porta potties & travel toilets) on the market today.

Let’s not waste another movement and dive in:

Best Travel Toilet Review & Comparison

Notes: Links below will bring you to Amazon

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Best 4 Person Camping Tent Under $100 (in 2018)

Let me tell you a story. When my kids turned four and six respectively, I all of a sudden had a brilliant idea that we should organize our first family camping trip. Wanting to make sure that the experience would be a memorable one, and understanding that weather is always unpredictable, I headed down to the local outdoor sports shop, received an hour lecture by some employee there who claimed to be an expert on outdoor gear, and ended up spending $850 bucks on a family tent that was probably built to withstand base camp conditions on the slopes of Mount Everest.

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My family, of course, was only heading to the local state park for a weekend trip. While the camping trip was a fun family outing, I eventually sent that tent into garage for storage where it didn´t get used again for another three years. Not the best $850 bucks I´ve spent in my life, to say the least.

Not everyone in the market for a tent necessarily needs a top quality product that promises to withstand hurricane-strength winds and blizzards that dump 4 feet of snow during the night. If you´re like me, a decent tent that will keep the rain out and the mosquitoes at bay while not putting a dent on the monthly budget is probably what you´re looking for. Below we offer a complete review on the absolute best four person tents for under $100 dollars.

Our Top Best 4 Person Camping Tent Under $100 in 2017:

ALPS Mountaineering Meramac Tent

ALPS Mountaineering Meramac

Priced at around $75, the ALPS Mountaineering Meramac Tent is a quality family tent that will your family dry and protected during those weekend camping adventures. The factory sealed fly and floor seams go a long way to help keep your tent dry during rainy nights and especially during those early mornings when heavy dew is an issue.

Furthermore, this tent comes with two doors and two windows. Nothing is worse than having your youngest daughter step all over you in the middle of the night as she makes her way to the tent door to head out to the bathroom. The double doors allow for easy entry and exit for everyone in the tent and actually increases the “roominess” feel of the tent.

Lastly, this tent comes with a gear loft, which will allow for easy storage for those dirty socks, backpacks, or food bags that otherwise would end up sharing the floor with you during the night. At only 11.25 pounds, this tent is also lightweight enough that you could carry it with you in your backpack if you´re looking to take the family on their first backpacking adventure.

NTK Cherokee GT Sport Camping Dome

NTK Cherokee GT 3 to 4 PersonAnother great family tent option that is priced well under $100 is the NTK Cherokee GT Sport Camping Dome. The 7 foot by 7-foot size is more than enough space to comfortably sleep a family of four, and could even sleep more if you have several young children. This tent is a great option if you live, or plan to camp, in places where rain is frequent and expected. The polyester with waterproof polyurethane 2500mm water column is built to withstand heavy rains and still keep you dry.

As far as structure goes, the 100% virgin NANO-FLEX fiberglass rods have an improved diameter, and are connected with inner elastic. These rods are built, then, to withstand some pretty high wind conditions so that you won´t have to wake up the family in the middle of the night in an effort to keep your tent from flying away.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the NTK Cherokee Tent has extended mesh ventilation all around the upper part of the tent. Cramming four (or more) people into any size tent can quickly lead to some muggy conditions, and the smell of wet socks in a small tent can quickly become unbearable unless you have a good ventilation system. This tent will keep you cool and comfortable while also keep your living and sleeping space free of those not so pleasant odors.

Coleman Longs Peak 6-Person Fast Pitch Dome Tent

Coleman-Longs-Peak

If you are looking for a four-person tent, why not opt for a tent that claims to easily house six people for the same price? The Coleman Longs Peak 6-Person Fast Pitch Dome Tent is a quality option for people looking for one of the largest and “roomiest” tents for a budget price. Coleman has long been recognized as a leading company providing affordable, yet high-quality outdoors equipment.

The dome style of the tent also allows for fast and easy setup. Even if you get into camp well after nightfall, you still should be able to get this tent set up quickly and efficiently. The fiberglass poles are heavy duty enough to withstand less than ideal weather conditions, and the 17-pound total weight of the tent makes it feasible to carry with you if you need to hike in to a campsite.

This tent also has needed ventilation on all four sides of the upper part of the tent. The removable rain fly is extremely waterproof, but will allow you to sleep without it on warm nights when you want to enjoy the view of the night sky.

CORE Equipment 6 Person Dome Tent

CORE 6 Person Dome TentThe CORE Equipment 6 Person Dome Tent is yet another quality tent designed for a maximum occupancy of six people. The eleven foot by nine foot interior space easily allows for two queen size air mattresses which means you won´t be fighting for space with your fellow campers. The gear loft that comes with this dome style tent is yet another added feature that will help to organize your interior space. The lantern hook means that you can keep the tent lighted at night and stay up late enjoy the family time together.

For those warm and sticky summer nights, this tent also comes with an adjustable air intake vent at the lower part of the tent. This will allow you to draw in the cooler air near the ground, which will circulate through the tent and up through the mesh ventilation at the top. The water repellant H20 Block fabrics, along with the taped seams will stand up well to those long rainy nights.

Lastly, this CORE Equipment Tent also comes with an electrical port access if you want to charge your phone or other electrical devices while sleeping. At only 16 pounds, this tent is also easily portable should you find yourself on the move.

FUNS 8 by 9 Feet One Touch Automatic Hexagon Pop Up Camping Gazebo

FUNS 8 by 9 ft One TouchImagine building up your family´s first camping trip to your kids for months. When the day finally arrives, your children look mockingly upon you and your spouse as you unsuccessfully try to put together a tent whose thousands of pieces appear more like a jigsaw puzzle than a camping tent.

The FUNS 8 by 9 Feet One Touch Automatic Hexagon Pop Up Camping Gazebo will solve this problem as it can be set up in minutes with simple one touch pop up technology. The quick setup process, however, doesn´t mean that you´ll be getting a cheap tent as this product comes with a combination of 190T water-and-dust proof polyester fabric and Ba Gauze. The a 3000mm PU waterproof coating around the entire tent offers maximum protection for those rainy nights as well.

The hexagon shape of this tent differs from your more traditional square or dome style tent, but once set up, you will find that the 8 foot by 9-foot size maximizes the amount of usable space on the inside. You can easily fit four full-sized adults in this tent and still have some space left over.

Camp Solutions Automatic Hydraulic Camping Tent

Camp-Solutions-Automatic-Hydraulic-Camping-TentsThe Camp Solutions Automatic Hydraulic Camping Tent is one of the most inexpensive of the products reviewed here, as you should be able to find this 3-4 person tent for only $50 dollars. Like the FUNS tent reviewed above, this tent is also extremely easy to set up as it comes with a hydraulic system for automatic opening and also easy storage. The double door design on this tent is also practical for large camping parties, as it will allow people to get in and out of the tent without having to step over one another.

This product is unique in it is essentially a one-piece tent. Instead of having to struggle with several strangely formed poles, you simply take this tent out of its carrying pouch, throw it into an open space and it will pop open. The circular carry bag that comes with tent also makes it easy to carry the tent during hikes or backcountry excursions.

The tent fabric is both water resistant and anti-UV so that you and your family can stay protected from both the sun and the rain while enjoying the Great Outdoors.

Allin Star Home Camping Tent

ALLIN-STAR-HOMEAnother great family camping tent option is offered by the company Allin. The Allin Star Home Camping Tent comes designed as a two person, four person, or six person. The four-person tent option comes in a dome style, which makes it both lightweight and relatively easy to set up. The continuous pole sleeves allow you to easily pass the 9.5 mm fiber poles through the sleeves during the assembly process.

Additionally, this unique tent comes with two-way zippers that allow for easy entry and exit from both inside and outside the tent. The adjustable venting system will keep you cool on warmer days and warm during fall or spring camping.

Lastly, this home camping tent weighs in at under ten pounds, which is quite remarkable when considering the thickness of the fabric that makes up the walls and floor of the tent.

SEMOO Water Resistant D-Style Family Dome Tent

SEMOO-Water-Resistant-D-Style-Family-DomeThe SEMOO Water Resistant D-Style Family Dome Tent is almost six feet high in the center of the cabin, which means that most adults will be able to comfortably stand up in the tent. The D-Style door is extremely large which makes it easy to get your air mattresses, large backpacks, coolers, and other large camping “furniture” that will keep your family comfortable and entertained while enjoying time together.

Furthermore, this SEMOO tent also comes with a hooped fly frame, which adds extra protection from the rain and other wind, almost like a mini-front porch. The shock-cord fiberglass poles are both lightweight and durable and make setup easy and efficient.

Along with the huge door, the two mesh windows make up over 50% of the surface area of the tent meaning that you will easily be able to get quality cross-ventilation to keep your home away from home smelling fresh and cool. The compact carry bag and the total weight of just over seven pounds make it easy to carry this tent with you almost anywhere you and your family are planning to hike.

Wnnideo Automatic Instant Pop Up Tent

Wnnideo-Automatic-Instant-Pop-Up-TentWith the Wnnideo Automatic Instant Pop up Tent, you´ll have a tent that looks like it belongs on the summit of some 14,000-foot peak in the Rocky Mountains while costing you well under $100.  What´s even better is that this tent sets itself up. The instant pop up technology allows you to set up this 4-5 person tent in under a minute, which is an important feature to have when you´re short on time or have a crammed agenda for the family trip to the Great Outdoors.

This hexagon-shaped tent has six mesh panels for maximum breathability while also incorporating a removable rain tarp that will protect you on rainy nights while also allowing you to enjoy the starry nights when the tarp isn´t needed.

The Best Tent for those on a Tight Budget

For people who aren´t regular campers, there´s probably no reason to splurge on a $1,000 dollar wonder tent that has so many unique features that you probably have no idea how to use. At the same time, staying warm, dry, and protected from the elements while out camping is something all of us want.

Instead of heading to the nearest Walmart to pick out the cheapest tent you can find, these nine 4-person (or more) tents offer fantastic functionality and performance while all costing under $100. For amateur campers who aren´t planning on hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro, any one of these tents will help assure an unforgettable camping trip.

 

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7 Best Hunting Watches Reviewed (Rough & Tough)

If you are like me, it is pretty much impossible to keep track of time when out hunting. Besides the relaxing feel of being out in nature, I also typically get pretty involved in tracking animals, staying alert, and waiting for the perfect moment to bring home that long-awaited trophy prize. The only problem is that I usually do not become aware of the time until the sun is dipping below the horizon. When my family was expecting me home for lunch at midday, this usually causes some friction.

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To avoid this problem, I have tried to bring my everyday work watch along with me, but after a brief rainstorm, or getting muddied up by some dirt, those cheap watches eventually end up in the garbage. The best hunting watches on the market are not only stylish and designed for the hunter, but also offer quality durability that can withstand even the toughest hunting conditions. Read on for our complete review of the top hunting watches on the market today.

Best Watch For Hunting Comparison

Top Features Hunters Shoot For:

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The Warmest Socks for Hunting and Every Other Outdoor Activity

For many outdoor enthusiasts, as soon as the days begin to shorten and the trees lose their leaves as signs of the oncoming of winter, the amount of time they spend enjoying the Great Outdoors begins to decrease. Subsequently, “outdoors withdrawal syndrome” ensues. Though medical professionals have not identified this rare condition yet, I can tell you from personal experience that it certainly does exist. For people, like me, who love to be outside, the worst part of the year are the cold months of winter when the weather forces me to spend more time inside than I can stand. In an attempt to overcome my own outdoors withdrawal syndrome, I recently began an effort to find the absolutely best winter gear that would allow me to brave the elements and spend as much time as possible outdoors.

Overview of Best Thermal Socks Comparison:

After purchasing a subzero-sleeping bag, a tent built for Himalayan explorers, and a pair of winter boots that could withstand a trek across Antarctica, something was still missing to give me the feel of absolute protection from the cold. Finding a quality pair of thermal socks that can protect feet from the cold and the wetness of winter is an often overlooked, yet absolutely essential piece of gear for outdoors enthusiasts looking to spend time outdoors outside. Cold feet can ruin much more than a wedding, and for people wanting to stay comfortable outdoors in the cold, we have reviewed the best thermal socks on the market today.

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7 Amazing Rechargeable Battery Operated Heated Socks

I hate having cold feet. In fact, I’d say that suffering from cold feet is about as miserable as going to the dentist to get a root canal and not having the anesthesia kick in the way it should. The problem, unfortunately, is that I love to be outside, and where I live, for at least half the year, it’s cold, bitterly cold, the type of cold where your toes go numb before eventually turning that strange bluish purple color.

I tried purchasing virtually every type of wool sock on the market. While they certainly felt nice and comfortable inside, after a couple of hours of hiking through knee-deep snow, I was cursing the sheep whose wool must have been of inferior quality. I even considered learning how to sheer my own sheep, spin my own wool, and weave my own socks so that I could make a pair as thick a parka. Perhaps it’s due to poor circulation or the fact that I can stand to be indoors for more than a couple of hours, but the only part of being outdoors in the Fall and Winter that I can’t stand, is cold feet. Continue reading

The Top 5 Spots for Fishing in National Parks

A warm sunny day; the perfect shady spot underneath a large weeping willow with roots deeply dug into the sides of a crystalline river brimming with rainbow trout whose quick, darting movements make the river literally shimmer with life; snow-capped mountains in the horizon whose snow melt is bringing life to the river where you now sit peacefully in a comfortable chair with your line baited and waiting in the river in front of you: for many people this is the essence of joy and bliss.

Fishing is perhaps one of the most relaxing sporting activities out there. Our nation´s national parks are easily some of the most beautiful, pristine natural areas our world has to offer. When you combine the two, you´re in for an experience you won´t soon forget. Below we look at the top five spots to fish in our extensive and diversified national park system.

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park, Montana

There is something truly stunning at the site of crystal clear mountain lakes with jagged, perpetually snow-capped mountains rising literally right off of the lake´s shore. Lake McDonald at Glacier National Park is just one of the impressive lakes that this beautiful park offers. While the scenery would be enough of a consolation prize, the fishing is excellent as well. Fishers from all over the country come here to try and catch the infamous bull trout which has some of the best coloring of any trout in the world.

Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Imagine standing knee deep in a cool mountain river while casting your fly fishing rod. A couple hundred feet upstream a herd of wild bison cross the river. Warm gasses from a nearby geyser escape from the riverbank coating the entire river in a mystical fog. This is the essence of fishing at Yellowstone. Many people come to try and catch the native Yellowstone Cutthroats, an absolutely beautiful fish and complicated catch.

Low Water Canals, Everglades National Park, Florida

Florida's Snook flickr/myfwcmedia

One third of this national park is covered by water, meaning that there is no lack of fishing opportunities. The peacock bass, snook, and redfish are some of the most prized fish in these waters, though you can find dozens of other species. One of the best places for fishing are any of the dozens of canals during low water times. The Interceptor Canals is a particularly beautiful area to spend the day fishing.

Crane Lake, Voyagers National Park, Minnesota

There is no shortage of water at Voyagers National Park in northern Minnesota, and fish are also in abundance. Crane Lake, especially where the Vermillion River enters the lake, is perhaps one of the best spots at the park to catch walleye, northern pike, bass, muskie or panfish. You could also take a several day (or week) canoe or kayak trip throughout the interconnected lake system to explore the beauty of the park.

Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park, Maine

One of the best parts of fishing at Acadia is that you can do both freshwater and saltwater fishing in the same day. There are hundreds of miles of rivers and streams running through the national park that are teeming with yellow perch and largemouth bass. The shoreline offers several coves that will let you try your luck at catching land stripers and blue fish while enjoying the impressive views of the iconic rocky coasts of Maine. Of all the quality fishing spots at this national park, you might want to check out Mount Desert Island which has great freshwater lakes while also offering nearby coves for ocean fishing as well.

The Beauty of Fishing the National Parks

Unlike the small creek running behind your home, you will most likely be looking at a hefty fine if you don´t take the time to get the proper licenses to be able to fish in our nation´s national parks. Since these areas are actively protected by rangers and other environmental agencies, it is essential that you stop in at the nearest visitor´s center to learn the requisites regarding fishing in the national parks. Fortunately, most of the national parks make it rather easy to get a simple fishing license which will allow you to truly enjoy a magical experience in the lakes, rivers, and coas

The Top 7 Camping Spots at Olympic National Park

From beautiful beaches, to old growth rainforests, to dramatic snow-capped mountains, you would be hard pressed to find a national park with more diverse ecosystems than Olympic National Park in the northwestern corner of Washington State. With such varied landscapes, it can be difficult to decide which part of the park to visit and where to set up camp. Below we offer our advice on the top seven campgrounds that Olympic National Park offers.

Deer Park

This campground isn´t for the light of heart. It is easily the highest campground in the park, and on clear nights you´ll enjoy star-filled skies and perhaps even a glimpse of the lights from distant Seattle. You can also enjoy the stunning views of the nearby peaks of the Olympic Mountains. There are absolutely no services at this campground and you will have to hike in, but if you make it and don´t mind roughing it, there are some absolutely spectacular views and great nearby hikes where you´ll be sure to find plenty of company with the mountain goats.

Fairholme Campground

Fairholme Campground is much more family friendly than Deer Park and does offer basic amenities such as restrooms and running water. It is located next the Lake Crescent and you and your family will be conveniently located next to several hiking trails, waterfalls, and short summits you can hike up. This campground fills up quickly so you will want to plan to get there early in the day to secure your spot.

Graves Creek Campground

What isn´t to like about camping in a rainforest? The Quinault Rainforest is an absolute beautiful area ripe with towering, moss-covered trees that seem to swallow you up in your smallness. The Graves Creek Campground has plenty of great camping spots, but if you are lucky you might even be able to find a spot right on the banks of the Quinault River where you´ll fall asleep to the tranquil sound of a crystal clear river running through a rainforest.

Hoh River Campground

The Hoh Rainforest is easily the most famous rainforest ecosystem in the United States. The Hoh Rainforest Trail offers perhaps the best glimpse into this truly unique ecosystem. The campground here is rather simple, but each and every spot seems to be swallowed up by the towering trees and thick vegetation.

It is important to remember that this is one of the wettest spots in the United States so you will want to bring a quality water proof tent and several ground tarps to stay dry. To help you choose a quality tent, check out our post that features the best tent brands available today. 

Kalaloch Campground

What could be better than finding a campsite that offers stunning views of sunsets over the Pacific Ocean? The Kalaloch Campground is located on a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the western most part of the National Park. After a long day of exploring the tide pools and the infinite variety of marine life and enjoying the great beach hiking near the campground, the sunsets are the best way to end your day.

Plan Ahead 

This campground does fill up during the summer months so you might want to make a reservation. Know the appropriate gear for the right season. If you plan to visit during the summer months, it's best to bring a durable cooler to keep your drinks cool and food fresh. Check out our review of the best camping cooler to help you choose which cooler to bring.

If you visit during the off season, however, you will find the place almost empty and have your choice of the best sites available.

Mora Campground

While this campground isn´t located within sight of the coast, you are only a short walk away from those magnificent sea stacks located along the Olympic Coast. This campground definitely is less crowded than the Kalaloch Campground, and it is also the closest campground to the LaPush coast. If you´re lucky, you might even be able to spot a whale off shore. Bald eagles and deer are also common sightings around this campground.

North Fork Campground

Perhaps the most under-appreciated of Olympic National Park´s campgrounds, the North Fork Campground along the Quinault River is a gem that very few people ever visit. While you can simply come to this campground to enjoy the solitude and hike along the river´s edges, you are also conveniently close to some great trail such as First Divide and the Skyline Primitive Trail.

Finding the Perfect Spot at Olympic National Park

Whether you hike up to the highest reaches of Deer Park or stay near the ground at Kalaloch, Olympic National Park offers several beautiful and unique campgrounds that will offer you a unique glimpse into this truly magical national park. Since most of the campgrounds don´t take reservations, you will want to make sure to plan ahead. The earlier you get to the campground, the better chance you will have to find that perfect spot for a few days of rest, relaxation and adventure.


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Wanna see more about Olympic National Park? Check out our latest and Complete Guide to this wonderful park. ​

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