As an avid outdoorsman, I’ve scoured the Internet on a couple of occasions looking for the newest and sweetest gear for camping. Don’t get me wrong; they’re all interesting, but there’s certainly a number of useless camping novelties out there. For every innovative water filtration system, there’s an air mattress with built-in speakers. For every lightweight camp stove, there’s a literal deer butt. I really can’t make this up.
I’m not going to judge too much; everybody camps differently, and it’s certainly not my job to decide what makes a “real” outdoorsperson. That said, there’s certainly a lot of variety on the market, so it’s certainly worth analyzing some of the more prominent available brands to find the best gear for your needs.
Whether it’s a diminutive backpacking stove, a giant behemoth of a grill, or just a good old fashioned fire, it’s always good to know how you’ll be cooking your food on your trip. I’ll be taking a look at a few varieties of stove, some of which implement really neat concepts.
Everest Two-Burner Camp Stove
I’ve seen multiple sources online praising the Everest, so I suppose I’ll jump on that bandwagon and explore what makes it so notable.
Obviously, it’s not for backpackers; it’s far too bulky to carry on the trail. However, it’s still very lightweight for a camp stove, includes matchless ignition, and a stainless steel tray for easy cleaning. It works quickly as well, providing a surprising amount of heat for its small size.
Burnie Self-Burning Grill
Natural and self-disposing, the Burnie is, essentially, a small log filled with fuel for easy ignition, leaving nothing but ashes once it has been used up. Carting around multiple grills is, again, not the most appealing prospect when backpacking, and the price per unit is a little prohibitive for an extended trip, but the Burnie makes for an excellent emergency grill or option for more ecologically-minded individuals.
I’m a little adverse to the idea of bringing too much technology out into the wilderness, but the Biolite CampStove opens new doors when it comes to emergency communications (or maybe just a little outdoor Instagramming). I’ve seen the CampStove mentioned in a few places for good reason; it’s a wood-burning stove that converts emissions into electricity to charge any connected devices.
Despite its somewhat unassuming name, it’s definitely a good consideration for backpacking. It even has potential applications as an emergency stove in the event of a power outage; the CampStove is an interesting little creation that has a few notable applications.
Much like camp stoves (or really, any piece of camping equipment), the best purifier or filter for you is going to depend on what you need it to do. One of the most notable things about water systems is that there are quite a few options worth pursuing; larger filtration systems may be bulkier and heavier, but still manageable if backpacking in a large group. Conversely, water treatment tablets are compact and easy to carry, but attention must be paid to your remaining supply.
I’m not going to cover every possible type water treatment system on the market, instead focusing on a few devices that I think could come in handy in a pinch.
It’s compact! It’s light! It’s cheap! What’s not to like about the Sawyer Mini? It can be used to drink directly from a water source or easily attached to a water source to filter it. Despite its flexibility, the problem with the Sawyer Mini is that filtering large quantities of water is time consuming, making cooking preparation a little more difficult.
Still, it’s a worthy supplement to other purification systems, and definitely a great addition to any wilderness survival kit.
This easy-to-use filtration option comes in several sizes depending on your needs. Just fill the bags and hang to get clean water! There are a few great models of gravity filter worth looking into, but GravityWorks has been named in multiple locations as one of the better options.
Gravity filters are much slower than pump filters, but are also much more low maintenance, without any moving parts that may require repair in a crisis.
MSR Guardian Purifier
Ambitiously billed on Backpacker.com as “the last water filter you’ll ever buy” and with a price tag to match, the Guardian is a pump filter with an innovating “backflush” feature that uses some of the filtered water to clean the apparatus as you use it. The device’s additional claim to fame is its ability to filter all viruses out of water, an interesting claim, as this is often more the domain of purification tablets.
Despite the prohibitively high cost, the upsides of the Guardian are not to be trifled, particularly if you’re traveling in an area with less than clean water.
Let there be light with a good lantern! Great for maneuvering in the dark, and generally more efficient than using your cell phone screen. Let’s take a look at some of the best options on the market.
MPOWERD Luci Original
One of the lightest lanterns on the market and one of few that is solar powered, the Luci is great for the outdoorsman that dislikes relying on battery-powered lanterns. It’s not as bright as some of the other examples on this list, but it’s lightweight, collapsible, and inexpensive.
Black Diamond Orbit
The Black Diamond is recommended for its large light radius relative to its weight and its lengthy charge time. It’s purchased separately; but several sources recommended the rechargeable battery pack, complete with adapters for most kinds of outlets.
It’s somewhat akin to a heatless fire, offering a portable area to interact without futilely stumbling around in the night.
Streamlight 44931 “The Siege”
Despite its seemingly dramatic name, the Siege offers several lighting settings, including a more energy-efficient white light capable of lasting 295 hours. The power button includes an incredibly useful battery charge indicator.
It’s worth noting that the Siege is not the lightest of lanterns, requiring 3 D batteries to function, but its rugged design and flexibility make it a formidable contender.