Listen closely and you can hear the wild calling “Hey, remember me?” If you’ve been an indoor person for the past two years due to a certain pandemic, now’s the perfect time to scoop up your friends and family and head for the hills, forests, or deserts for a summer camping getaway. If you need to stock up first, you’re in luck: We’ve found great deals on some of our favorite WIRED-tested camping gear.
The WIRED Gear team tests products year-round. We sorted through hundreds of thousands of deals by hand to make these picks.
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Despite what people say, discomfort doesn’t have to be part of camping. Check out our Best Tents, Best Camp Stoves, and Hiking 101 guides for more recommendations to make this a summer to remember.
The Outward Padded Lawn Chair is my favorite lawn/camping chair on the market right now. Thanks to its generous padding, it’s more comfortable than any I’ve sat in recently. It’s also sturdy, has backpack straps so you can carry it hands-free, and weighs a not-too-bad 8 pounds and 4 ounces while holding up to 250 pounds. It lacks a cupholder, but that’s my only complaint.
I’ve already relaxed in a SingleNest several times this summer, and you can’t get a better hammock for the money. The build quality is impressive, and even though it weighs only a pound, it’ll hold up to 400 pounds. It’s also a great backyard hammock if you’ve got a pair of trees handy.
Recommended in my guide to Home Emergency Gear, the Divide+ Push solves a key problem of seldom-used electronics: Alkaline batteries (the most common type you probably have in your home) tend to corrode when left unused. With this Coleman, all you have to do is rotate a section to break the connection between the batteries and contact terminals before storing it away for the winter, and no more leaky batteries! It’s plenty bright at 50 lumens and can run for 330 hours on three D-cell batteries, although there’s a high-power mode at 425 lumens that’ll run for 30 hours.
REI’s house brand is one I often recommend to campers and hikers. It merges impressive specifications and above-average quality with low prices. Unless you’re willing to spend more than twice as much for a premium-market tent, the Half Dome will do everything you ask of it. It weighs a respectable but not super-lightweight 5 pounds, but it has two doors so nobody will have to climb over their tent mate to enter and exit.
This is our favorite lightweight family tent. The mostly mesh design is good for ventilation on hot summer days, and the double vestibules mean you get storage space for boots and other gear. We recommend you seam-seal the tent, which isn’t tricky to do.
Fire pit availability at campgrounds can be spotty, confusing, inconsistent, or downright impossible. And as primal as it can be, a plain ol’ stacked-wood campfire uses a lot of wood. Consider an upgrade to a stainless steel fire pit, like the Solo Stove Yukon (7/10, WIRED Recommends). It funnels air so the fire burns more efficiently, meaning fewer runs to gather dead wood. This deal is also available directly from Solo Stove, and smaller versions are on sale here.
For camp tasks when your hands are full, like setting up a tent at night, it’s easier to don a headlamp than to try and juggle a lantern or flashlight. The Spot 350’s three AAA batteries last for up to 200 hours on the lowest light setting, and it has an IPX8 waterproof rating. You can shine up to 350 lumens when you need a powerful burst of light too.
The Instinct Solar (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a backcountry watch that can help you find your way back to your campsite (hooray, GPS!). It has the usual Garmin features, like an altimeter and barometer—and the best part? It can recharge itself via the power of the sun, which helps extend its life between trips to the charger.
We love the LifeStraw filter, a tube-shaped straw that lets you drink clean water from rivers and lakes without fear. We haven’t tried the company’s bottle version yet. It performs the same function but lets you carry the water around (with a built-in carabiner and straw too).
You’ll find this jacket in our Hiking 101 guide. Puffy jackets like this are great midlayers and can run very warm. They’re a good option if you’re camping in cooler areas (or if you just want to snag it now for the winter).