It’s hard to beat falling asleep under the stars while camping, and summertime in Colorado is the perfect setting for this experience. In order to make sure things go smoothly, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right gear first. Thankfully, the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show happens annually and it’s a great place to test new products. While there are a ton of different ways to camp and everyone will have their own personal preferences, here are a few pieces of gear that we love.

1. The MSR Elixir 3 Tent

MSR Elixir Tent

If you’re looking for a spacious tent that’s provides warmth without losing breathability, the MSR Elixir style is for you. With a quick set-up and sturdy design, this tent works in a variety of climates and seasons. I like my space, so I’ve got the 3-person version – which I love. If you’re looking for something that’s a little more lightweight and packable, check out their smaller sizes.

2. Gregory Paragon 48

Gregory Paragon 48

Whether it’s a quick trip or a multi-day overnighter, the Gregory Paragon 48, with 40L of space, is a great option for those able to pack light. It’s got plenty of space for the essentials, weighing in at only 3.3 pounds. One thing that really impresses me about this bag is it’s ability to distribute weight. Even though I had my bag stuffed with a sleeping bag, a 3-person tent, extra clothes, a camping mattress, and more, it was still comfortable to wear and walk with.

3. Slidebelt’s Survival Belt

The SlideBelt Survival Belt in action. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin.

It’s got a knife. It’s got a fire-starter. It’s got a bottle opener. It’s got a flashlight. It’s adjustable to any waist size. It can double as a tourniquet. The Slidebelt Survival Belt is a true Jack-of-all-trades. Not only will it cut down on space filling items, it also ensures you’ve always got a few survival tools with you wherever you go. Plus, after months of wearing it on a very regular basis, it still looks brand new. If you’re in the market for a new belt that looks great and has plenty of functionality, this is it.

4. The Carhartt Force Extremes Hooded Sweatshirt

Carhartt Force Extremes

Generally, I hate pull-over sweatshirts, especially when I’m being active. I feel like most offer little option for climate control opposed to something with a zipper. That being said, I love the Carhartt Force Extremes hooded sweatshirt. A comfortable fabric, it’s fitted for movement and also very breathable. It provides warmth when needed without getting too hot as your body starts to heat up during exercise. After testing it out once, this quickly became my go-to camping sweatshirt.

5. The Therm-a-rest Dorado Duo Sleeping Bag

Thermarest Dorado Duo

Just like with my tents, I also prefer more space when it comes to sleeping bags. If you’re the same way, or if you’re looking to cuddle up with someone overnight, the Therm-a-rest Dorado Duo is a game-changer. It’s warm enough for most summer camping situations, tested to 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s also got a wide build, giving the user more space than in the average bag. As an added bonus, it’s surprisingly packable and comes with a compression bag to make it a great fit in most backpacking packs. Another gamechanger with this bag is the comfortable Nikwax Hydrophobic Down. It’s got a great amount of cushion and doesn’t add noticeable bulk.

6. LEMS Boulder Boot

LEMS Boots

Billed as the “most packable boot,” the LEMS Boulder Boot are perfect for around the campsite. They’re durable, comfortable, and stylish. Plus, due to the design, they’re easy to fold and pack without damaging the shoe. If you’re looking to get a little fancy while you camp, these are the shoes for you.

7. GCI Outdoor Master Cook Station

GCI Cooking Station

If you’re big on car camping with a group, you know the struggle of finding space for food preparation and serving come dinner time. The GCI Outdoor Master Cook Station is the perfect packable solution, sure to fit in most trunks. There’s plenty of counter space for a grill or for plating, it’s got several shelves for condiments, a paper towel holder, and even a sink for clean-up. We brought this item with us on a recent OutThere Colorado shoot and it was a game-changer.

8. The BearVault

BearVault daveynin (Flickr)
Use a bear canister to keep animals out of your campsite overnight. Photo Credit: daveynin (Flickr).

If you’re camping in Colorado, you’re camping around plenty of wildlife. This makes items like the BearVault essential for keeping food and other scented items safe overnight. By locking in smells that might attract wildlife, you’ll be protecting your own supplies while also protecting animals that might otherwise approach your campsite. When food is left out and eaten by animals overnight, it teaches these animals that they can turn to humans for food – something that can get them euthanized as a result. Save the bears, use a BearVault.

9. SealLine BlockerLite Compression Dry Sack

Blockerlite Compression Bag

When you’re camping, extra space can be a very valuable thing. Something even more important – staying dry. The BlockerLite Compression Dry Sack helps you with both. It’s easy to use and great for clothing, compressing gear down into a smaller space while ensuring that moisture will stay out. To aid in the compression, the BlockerLife Compression Dry Sack has Purge Air technology, which lets you squeeze air out without getting water in.

10. The GCI Wilderness Backpacker

GCI Backpack chair

With most portable chairs, you sacrifice comfort for size and weight. However, thanks to the GCI Wilderness Backpacker‘s design, you’re able to comfortably wear this chair as a backpack. While it might not be great for an activity where you need your back space for something else, it’s perfect for car camping, short hikes, and events.

11. The Petzl Actik Headlamp

A headlamp that’s clearly designed for someone that’s participating in outdoor activities like hiking and running, the Actik Headlamp uses a multi-beam design to maximize adjustability and coverage. It’s a whooping 300 lumens when at full blast, while also having the option for a less-invasive red light. By far, it’s the best headlamp I’ve owned. Switching between modes can be a little tricky with the single button, but once you get the hang of that, you’ll be bringing this item along for every adventure.

12. The Therm-a-Rest Basecamp Sleeping Pad

Thermarest sleeping pad

If you’re planning on spending the night in a sleeping bag, you’re better off with a sleeping pad. There are a ton on the market, but the adjustable nature of the Therm-a-rest Basecamp makes this option ideal for a range of scenarios. It’s not too large, it’s not heavy, and it’s plenty comfortable to get you through the night. Having this in your camping kit will make your experience better.

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