Maximize Your Camping Experience

Enjoy the Great Outdoors with The Right Camping Equipment.
Some of our best memories are centered around camping trips when our two boys were young. After spending the entire day outdoors, we would gather around a campfire in the evening to watch bats fly overhead and to listen to the chirping of crickets and the croaking of tree frogs. Camping gave us more opportunities for face-to-face time and a respite from such distractions as television.
It should be noted that we never “roughed it.” We firmly believed our camping experience would be more enjoyable for us and our kids if we had the right equipment. That equipment has undergone a significant transformation in the more than 10 years since we stopped camping. It’s significantly better—more durable, more lightweight and specifically designed to further enhance the outdoor experience. If you’re considering camping, keep the following offerings in mind.
Chill Out with Yeti Coolers
Whether you’re camping, hunting or fishing, you want a cooler that keeps items cold for a long period of time and one that is nearly indestructible. Those are the traits that have made Yeti coolers extremely popular with campers. They have very few working parts and feature locks and handles that are extremely durable. As avid campers know, Yeti coolers were developed out of necessity in 2006 by two brothers who are extreme hunting, fishing and outdoors enthusiasts. They created premium coolers with a focus on quality, not price. For 2017, the big news from Yeti is the introduction of its Hopper Two line of portable soft sided coolers.
“We came out with our first soft-sided cooler two years ago. It was completely watertight, including the closure, and durable. The original Hopper worked great, but we knew we could make it even better,” said Yeti’s Casey Sellers.
And improve on the original Hopper they did, starting by increasing the amount of ColdCell insulation, ensuring that items stay colder longer. Even a long way from camp, you can rest assured your catch (or kill) stays fresh. Your prize is also easier to load and unload into the Hopper Two, thanks to the new front zipper location, which makes the opening much wider.
“We also made the body more tapered, which makes carrying it for longer periods more convenient,” added Sellers.
As Sellers explained, the more tapered body is ergonomically efficient, as are the new handles. There are now three different sets of reinforced handles, giving you options in how you want to carry the Hopper Two. Yeti also redesigned the zipper clasp; it’s now easier to open and close.
The Hopper Two is available in three sizes: 20, 30 and 40, with sizes corresponding with the pounds of ice that can be carried. All three sizes feature the company’s DryHide™ waterproof shell to prevent leaks.
De-stress in a Grand Trunk Hammock
One of the primary reasons for going camping is to de-stress, and there are few better ways of doing so than in a hammock. They’re ideal to while away an afternoon while reading a book or catching some shut-eye. If that sounds appealing to you, we recommend hammocks from Grand Trunk.
The company was founded in 2001 when owners Jon Neff and Kevin Kaiser met during a backpacking trip in Thailand. They shared a passion for travel and a desire for letting people sleep suspended rather than on the ground. Today, Grand Trunk offers some of the widest and longest hammocks on the market, certainly the case with the Double Hammock.
“Our Double Hammock is made of 70D taffeta nylon, and it’s 20 percent larger than normal-sized hammocks. It features nautical-grade carabiners, comes in a variety of colors and offers a 400-pound capacity. It’s a great seating option; two people can comfortably and safely sit in it,” said Grand Trunk’s Brian Fisher.
The Double Hammock is mold- and mildew-resistant, comes with a lifetime warranty and can be conveniently cleaned in a front-load washer; just be sure to remove the carabiners before doing so.
To hang your hammock in areas where trees are farther apart, consider Grand Trunk Tree Slings. They feature 10-foot cord on either side for more versatility and a piece of nylon webbing to protect the trees. They also come with a lifetime warranty against defects and manufacturing issues.
For those situations and areas where trees are not available, such as tailgate parties, picnics or your own backyard, Fisher recommends the newly introduced Hang-Out Hammock Stand. It will be available in Dunham’s stores next month – in early July.
“We like to say that the Hang-Out hammock stand allows you to hang wherever you are,” said Fisher.
This portable hammock stand weighs approximately 32 pounds, breaks apart into eight sections and comes with its own carrying bag.
Stay Dry and Comfortable in a Columbia Tent
When my family and I camped, it was in a pop-up camper. Now that the kids are grown and we no longer own the camper, my wife and I are considering purchasing a tent, and we’ll likely start by looking at the Columbia Pinewood Dome tents, specifically the 4 Person and 6 Person models.
Both are equipped with Columbia Omni Shield Advanced Repellency Technology. It creates an exceptional water barrier to help campers stay dry and enables the fabric to dry three to five times faster than untreated fabric. That’s important if you need to pack your tent shortly after a rainfall.
To make it easier to get into the tents, both models feature a double-door design with an extra-high awning over the door, and both deliver great air flow inside the tent due to the upper and lower cross-ventilation design. This ensures optimal comfort on warm nights. When evenings turn chilly, especially at the beginning and end of the season, the vents can be closed to retain more warmth.
And when it’s raining, you can stay comfortable and dry in your tent, thanks to the easily attachable and detachable rainfly. When attached, it creates an awning over the door for protected entry and exit from the tent. Both the 4 Person and 6 Person tent also feature an electrical access port to facilitate plugging in electrical equipment and gear pockets to keep valuables safely stored and out of the way.
As the name implies, the 4 Person model sleeps up to four, measures 9 feet by 7 feet and features a 59-inch center height. For those who need or simply want a larger tent, the 6 Person model measures 11 feet by 9 feet and features a 72-inch center height. Columbia made setup and takedown easy, thanks to durable shock-corded fiberglass poles with a fast clip and a pole sleeve design.
Columbia also offers several items to make your camping or backpacking experience more pleasurable, including the Clackamas daypack series, which features a large main compartment with two soft-lined pockets and a zippered mesh pocket. To alleviate shoulder stress, this daypack features contoured shoulder straps with high-density foam and breathable air mesh. There are dual side water bottle pockets to ensure that you stay hydrated on long excursions and quick-access points on the right and left side to attach sunglasses. The Clackamas is available in beet, black, blue moon and collegiate navy.
In today’s ever-connected world, it’s a good idea to get away. Check out the camping products mentioned in this article to make your camping experience pleasurable and hassle-free.
-Happy Camper
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Get The Most Out Of Your Camping Experience

With These Cool Accessories
Whether it’s a car or an article of clothing, the right accessories make the experience all the more pleasurable. Same applies to camping. You need items to keep your food cold and safe, to keep bugs away and to enable you to truly let the stress of everyday life melt away. Consider the following next time you hit the great outdoors.
Yeti Coolers
In the last issue of this magazine, we asked you which outdoor camping item tops your list of “must haves” this summer. The clear winner, with 44 percent of the vote, was the Yeti Tundra cooler. Available in a variety of sizes, these coolers are designed to keep ice for several days.
“Yeti coolers were developed out of necessity in 2006 by two brothers who are extreme hunting, fishing and outdoors enthusiasts. They created premium coolers with a focus on quality, not price. Yeti coolers have very few working parts and feature locks and handles that simply won’t break,” said Yeti’s Ken Smyth.
All Tundra models feature roto-molded construction – the same process used on whitewater kayaks – for optimal durability and permafrost insulation to keep food and beverages cold longer. Tundra models also feature the company’s Barefoot non-slip feet, a no-sweat design and handles made with a military-grade nylon rope with a heavy-duty textured grip.
“Our Tundra coolers are certified bear-proof and come with a five-year limited warranty against defects in material and workmanship. This is the perfect cooler for any camping trip,” Smyth added.
For baseball and soccer games or a day kayaking or canoeing, Smyth recommends the Yeti Hopper line of coolers.
“These are soft-sided coolers that are constructed with material that is used in white water rafts. They are 100-percent leak-proof, double-stitched and use the same heavy-duty zipper found in hazmat and survival suits,” Smyth explained.
To keep beverages cold for days, Hopper coolers feature an inch of closed-cell foam insulation on the sides and 1.5 inches on the bottom. They are backed by a three-year limited warranty.
Grand Trunk Hammocks
One reason to go camping is to get away from the life’s stressful situation and one way to melt the tension away is in a Grand Trunk hammock.
“Grand Trunk was founded in 2001 when the owners, Jon Neff and Kevin Kaiser, met during a backpacking trip in Thailand. They shared a passion for travel and a desire for letting people sleep suspended, rather than on the ground. Today, Grand Trunk offers some of the widest and longest hammocks on the market,” explained Mike Clark, the company’s national sales manager.
Check out Grand Trunk’s Ultralight Travel Hammock. It’s lightweight (weighs just 12 oz.), durable – thanks to triple stitching – can hold up to 200 lbs. and stuffs down to the size of an apple.
“This is a great option for budget-minded travelers looking for a compact, reliable hammock,” Clark said.
For those looking for a longer hammock, we recommend Grand Trunk’s Parachute offerings. They’re 10.5-feet long (versus 9.5 feet for the Ultralight) and can accommodate up to 400 lbs.
“We call our Parachute Hammocks the do-it-all, hang-anywhere hammock. It’s lightweight and compresses down to the size of a softball. You can enjoy it hiking, backpacking, camping or in your own backyard,” Clark stated.
Thermacell Repellents
Camping or any outdoor activity can be much more pleasant if we can repel annoying insects and we’re especially intrigued by offerings from Thermacell. They create a 15-foot by 15-foot insect-free zone without spraying something on our skin.
“Our products provide a 15-foot dome of protection, which is the average size of campsite, and work on a number of insects, including mosquitoes, black flies and gnats,” Thermacell’s Mike Bergeron said.
Available as a lantern or a portable device that Bergeron describes as “a TV remote on steroids,” these products are virtually odor free, have no open flame and use the Allethrin repellent. This is a copy of a repellent that naturally occurs in chrysanthemums and will not harm humans or pets.
“We are the only company that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) allows to make a statement that these units are 98-percent effective,” Bergeron said.
Sawyer Repellents and Filtration
Another method for controlling insects is to apply repellent to clothing, tents and other gear with Sawyer Permethrin products.
“Our products repel and kill ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, mites, and more than 55 other kinds of insects on contact. When applied to clothing, Permethrin binds to the fabric, creating the largest surface areas of protection. A single application lasts six washings,” said Sawyer’s Nick Capisciolto.
As he explained, Permethrin is odorless when dry and will not stain or damage clothing, fabrics, plastics, finished surfaces, or any outdoor gear.
Ensuring our drinking water is safe while camping is always a prime concern, so are glad to hear about the Sawyer MINI water filter. It’s rated to 0.1 micron absolute, weighs only 2 ounces and filters up to 100,000 gallons!
“Our MINI filter can be attached to the included collapsible drinking pouch, inline on a hydration pack, on a standard soda bottle, or simply use the included drinking straw to drink directly from the water source,” Capisciolto added.
Like all Sawyer filters, a proper backwashing can restore up to 98.5 percent of the filter’s flow rate. That means no expensive cartridges to replace, ever.
Pair up these accessories with the tents described in our other camping article for a more pleasant and enjoyable camping experience.
-Happy Camper
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