We are self-professed gear junkie's & we are not alone. $646 billion in outdoor recreation is spent each year in the USA according the Outdoor Industry Association report "The Outdoor Recreation Economy". Yes, you read that correctly $646 billion!
We complied this list after many requests & questions about the Gear We Use. It is not a list of the best or the most expensive, just the ones we like & or exceeded our expectations. On our list you will find many things that ultimately do the same thing, we don't want you to buy them all, just pick the one that best suits your needs. Like we said we are gear junkie's, no need of you to be one.
All of our battery powered gear is AA, AAA or some sort of recharge system. This makes our rechargeable batteries much easier to manage and keep track of. You could even take this one step further and pick only one type of battery to simplify your setup.
Here is the quick battery (AA&AAA) charger we use & purchased at Best Buy. It comes with both a wall & car charger plug. I have not seen the quick 15 minute version listed on Amazon, but feel free to look. Best Buy link by clicking photo.
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
If you wanna stay up past dark & be able to see what your doing, buy some lights. We have purchased a ton of lights over the years, here are our favorites & the ones we get the most questions about.
We tucked these into the headliner to light up the Element. You will easily get 60+ hours out of these 3AA powered string lights. They have 4 setting; high, low, fast blink & slow blink. Available in 3 different colors.
Packs down small, dimmable & long run time. This 200 lumens lantern runs on 4AA batteries for up to 90hrs. You can hang it or flip down the legs for table use. The legs elevate the lantern for better lighting. A newer version is available, but we prefer this older less expensive model.
Cool classic mini LED lanterns that we use way more than I had expected. Powered by 3AA batteries they will run around 20hrs. We usually hang them from trees or along the top of our canopies. For the price you will not be disappointing in any way.
There seem to be more and more of these inflatable solar lights, but we really like this one. The orange strap allows you to easily hang it & holds it closed when not inflated. Additionally the battery can be charged with the included USB cable if you didn't get a chance to charge it with the sun.
A classy light powered by isobutane (the same fuel as our Camp Kitchen & JetBoil products). It's basically an adjustable candle that makes great use of your nearly empty fuel canisters. Snow Peak is a premium brand, but the fit & finish of their products is well worth the price.
This is the brightest headlamp we own. It includes a rechargeable battery that charges via USB or will run on 3AAA batteries. We usually only run it on the lowest setting or the awesome, night vision preserving, Red beam. But should need it, this will put out an impressive 350 lumens on the high. The reflective headband is just icing on the cake.
Coffee at camp is a must & we are always looking for the best way to make it outside. Weather you're looking for a cup of espresso, a thermal carafe or the latest American Press, we have a recommendation for you. Coffee is just better outside & we want to help you enjoy that.
Best Single serve system
Make a great cup of espresso at camp or home. We purchased an optional reusable stainless steel filter that makes this easy to use system even better. This is a very compact little system & with the reusable filter you really only need the plunger part of the system (seen at the left side of the photo). The measuring cup, stir, funnel & filters can stay at home.
If you own an AeroPress Coffee & Espresso Maker, quite buying disposable filters & purchase this reusable steel filter. Easily washes off and makes the pack size smaller since you don't need to bring extra filters.
Coffee for two
This new coffee press is similar to a french press, but instead you press the coffee pod through the water. It is easier to clean than a french press, made of shatter resistant BPA free plastic & makes a great cup of tea. I do wish it was larger for the price, at only 12oz, it takes too long to serve more than two people. The process is also not for anyone in a hurry, after filling the pod with coffee & the double walled container with hot water, you push the pod into the water letting the coffee soak for a minute or two. Then as slowly as possible (minimum two minutes) you push the pod to the bottom. It is satisfying to watch & the coffee is well worth the effort.
Coffee for the whole group
Make a great coffee at camp or home. This BPA free plastic French Press is nearly indestructible & perfect for camp. The included insulation sleeve keeps your coffee warm. The 30 oz size makes it great for larger groups.
Best all-in-one system
Works just like a French Press in your Jetboil cup. Available in two sizes (both are available through this link) $10 for the the single sever sizes & $13 for the larger group size JetBoils. We no longer use this, we prefer to keep the JetBoil free for other uses. However if you're looking for a compact all in one system, add this to your JetBoil.
From coffee to mixed drinks, this is our go to mug. Keeps drinks cold or hot with a no sweat design. They are more convenient to pack than other mugs with handles. The double-wall vacuum insulation means your hands won't feel the heat or cold.
From gourmet to freeze dried just add water meals, prepping & eating outside should be fun. Here are a few products we still use & some that satisfied us before our Camp Kitchen was completed.
Keep your kitchen utensils & gear organized. A top quality bag made in the USA. We hang this bag on the side of our Camp Kitchen with everything organized & within easy reach. The top notch construction means this bag will be with us for a very long time. Blue Ridge Overland Gear has a complete line of soft goods, all made in the USA. Check them out.
Impressive nesting design packs it all in. This set includes 4 plates, 4 mugs with insulating sleeves & sip-it tops, 4 nesting bowls, 2 & 3 Liter pots with strainer lids, folding pot gripper (aka pot handle) & a welded sink that doubles as a storage bag. Pretty much everything you need all in one cool color coded package. Packed dimensions 9.10'' Round x 5.80'' Tall
We love this burner/grill combo stove. This was our go to before our Camp Kitchen was completed. Do yourself a favor and line the inside, under the grill below the burner, with tinfoil. This makes clean up way easier.
If you're tired of buying fuel and prefer open flames, this is the stove for you. This is the largest cookset by Solo Stove and it's a pleasure to use. Uses twigs, leaves, pinecones and wood as fuel. This system conveniently nests together Packed size: 6.7"H x 7"W. Please keep in mind this for use with stainless steel or titanium cookware only.
Available in three sizes, these sturdy tables are perfect for camping. The aluminum build makes it lightweight and durable. Our one complaint would be the pack size of the table legs, but that is nit picking. Packed sizes are all 5"W x 7"H (the tops fold up accordion style) with the legs and storage bags at the following three sizes; 40" (Square), 43" (Regular) & 55" (XL) inches long.
A compact multipurpose folding tub. We use these to wash larger pots and dishes. The fold flat design is perfect for travel.
Prepare small meals or boil water fast for coffee/tea. This little stove is so convenient and small, it lives full time in our Element. You will find isobutane fuel in three common sizes; 100, 230 & 450 Grams. We recommend the 100 gram size for this sized JetBoil since it will pack inside the unit.
The best little utensil set we've ever used, the unique 5 in 1 design is impressive & actually useful. They snap together for storage & are available in three colors.
Great for hot pot handles, a place to set hot items down & a gripper to open stubborn jars. They pack flat & are easy to clean.
Durable, BPA free, stackable, won't tip over & a built-in on/off spout. Not much more to say here, but this is what we use to store our water.
An inexpensive colorful knife set with matching covers. The covers are a great addition & make them safer to pack for travel.
A light weight compact folding cutting board. (weight) 6.2 oz , (packed) 7.4" x 5.3" x 0.3" (unfolded) 7.4" x 10.6" x 0.15"
The tried and true classic, from a day in the park to extended road trips, this is a must have. Tons of colors and designs to choose from.
Avoid the crowds on those perfect weather weekends. Get some gear to keep you warm & be out there when it's cold to have the place all to yourself.
Keep warm when it's cold with this convenient portable heater. Runs on 16 oz propane tanks or connects to 20lbs propane with optional hose. Equipped with a low-oxygen shut-off pilot system and accidental tip-over shutoff for indoor safety and features low/high heat settings of 4,000 and 9,000 BTU/hr. Two key holes on the back make it convenient for wall mounting. We mounted ours on the front end of the Storage Cabinet for use inside our Element with that rear window popped open for ventilation.
Light anything on fire fast with this compact folding torch. Campfires to charcoal briquettes, you'll enjoy starting them all. This runs on various fuels, but we use the isobutane (pictured) that also runs our JetBoil, Camp Kitchen Stoves & Snow Peak Titanium Mini Flame Lantern. This thing is seriously cool, everyone wants one once they see it in action.
Available in 4 sizes, so good you may use it at home. After purchasing many different camp pillows over the years, this is the one we now use. The great design has a pocket on one end that allows you to roll it up & cinch it closed. The packed "compressed" size is about 1/3 of the original size. These pillows do require a bit of time to "uncompress" the foam inside after being rolled up and stored. Just make sure you unpack them well before you're ready to use them.
High end stylish camping blanket available in various colors & three sizes. These are made of 20D Ripstop Nylon, are extremely durable & designed for the outdoors. The large queen size (88" x 84") is perfect for two people.
A budget friendly camp blanket to keep you warm. Comes with a stuff sack and is the prefect size for one person ( 75.5 x 42.5 inches)
We received these as a gift from our family. They lived in the box for nearly six months. Turns out these telescoping sticks are pretty cool & can be used for way more than marshmallow. I figured they would be too flimsy or short to be useful. I was wrong, we use them all the time, it's better than a stick & it's fun. Extends from 10" to 34"
HAVE A SEAT
Even though we have a great Bench seat in our Element Micro Camper System, you gotta sit outside sometime or what's the point or going.
Ultra light (25 oz including storage bag), packs down small (packed size: 17.5"x5"x5") & supports up to 250lbs. We bought two of these for their compact size, but were surprised just how comfortably they are. It does sit very low to the ground and the feet will occasionally sink into the ground. Despite these qualities we still pack this chair for most trips. Various designs and patterns available.
KEEP IT COLD
You don't need any of these to camp, but if you want things (beer, drinks & food) cold, we've got you covered across all budgets.
Our go to cooler for all occasions. This thing is impressive and extremely comfortable to carry. The zipper is a bit tough to open, but when closed, it's completely air tight and will not leak.
This inexpensive cooler is pretty nice and we use it quite often. The one complaint is the handle. Even with light loads it flexes & feels like its about to break. At this price we are OK with that. We often bring both of these coolers, this one stays in the car with food & the Yeti travels outside with drinks.
This is the one dream item on our list. We do not own it, but had the previous model 63 Quart ARB & loved it. However, once we moved into the Element, we no longer had room for it & sold it. This new model has all the features of the first, but is wrapped in stainless steel & has a 100% weather proof exterior. The lid is lockable & has adjustable gas struts so you don't have to hold it open. If you're in the market for a powered Fridge/Freezer, start here.
We use these everyday, 18/8 stainless steel construction, double-wall vacuum insulation, and no sweat. You'll find knock offs for less, but the quality of the lid, seal & construction make the Yeti worth the extra money.
A screw on top locks the can in & keeps it cold. We have even found some bottles that fit inside like our go to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Toss those foam koozies & treat yourself.
Make ice bricks at home for your cooler with silicone bread pans. A more convenient size and faster freeze time compared to a full sized ice block. The flexible silicone make it easy to pop out the frozen brick. This two pack makes bricks 9"L x 4"W x 2"H
You are by no means required to be organized, but traveling in our 35 square foot Element has taught us that road trips are easier when you can find what you want and it has a home.
Keep your clothes organized & pack more of them in less space. The clever design has two zippers. To use; Unzip both and pack your clothes (we recommend rolling them vs folding) Zip the first zipper to close the bag & the second to "compress" the bag. We never pack a bag without these. Multiple colors available for additional organization.
You can never have enough of these. Buy them in every size and start packing your gear in them
Available in a variety of sizes, 100% waterproof, perfect for on water adventure or keeping wet items separate.
A three pack of mesh gear bags, perfect for items that need to breath or drain. We often use these for dirty clothes or damp items that still need to dry.
BRING YOUR BIKE
Mountain biking is the biggest reason we road trip & is why our system offers an option internal Bike Fork Mount. Here are a few things that transport or rides and hold them up when we arrive.
This hitch rack is nearly perfect. It accommodates a wide variety of mountain bikes from 20-29" wheels & tires up to 4.8". Loading and uploading bikes is a breeze & the integrated cable lock is a plus, but only a deterrent to a determined thief. One of the more unique features of this rack is the work stand that quickly ratchets & rotates to grab seat posts or frames. You can add an additional 2 bike tray to carry 4 bikes. It also tilts down with a push of your foot to allow access to the rear of your vehicle. The only two things we dislike (we are nitpicking here) are the weight (52lbs) & that the Element tailgate rests on it when tilted down. Don't let these sway you from purchase, it's the most solid hitch rack we have ever used & works as advertised on the on the Element. We fixed the tailgate issue with the Element by adding a hitch extension.
A light weight low profile versatile rack we use on top of our Ecamper, available in six colors. Not a ton of features to list, but it matched our white Ecamper top & was much lighter than the other racks we looked at. It's just a solid rack that meet our needs & was reasonably priced.
A premium MTB stand with a compact folding design. Please note, this stand requires a hollow crankset of 24, 30 or 10mm. We used to haul a full sized stand which is much sturdier than this, but took up a ton of room. The Hex is more than adequate for our needs on the road and is our go to travel stand.
This is the Bike Fork Mount we use in our micro system, quick & secure loading of your ride. It includes multiple sleeves to fit different sized axle's. The added lock is just one more way to protect your ride.
Getting dirty is bound to happen & often half the fun of being outside. Eventually it will be time to clean up, here are a few item to help you do that.
Made of all-natural ingredients, Dr. Bronner's organic liquid soap is ideal for camping, as it is gentle on the environment. Please note; Even biodegradable soaps and cleansers shouldn't be used in a natural water source
Great for showers & washing off gear. The all in one system packs down small and is simple to use. Unpack, fill with water, pressurize it with the connected foot pump & spray away.
This three pack of fast drying camp towels is great. Not only do they each have their own storage bag & snap loop for hanging, the largest towel has two snap hooks. This allows the biggest towel to dry faster since it doesn't have to hang from just one corner. Three sizes included; 60x30", 48x24" & 24x12"
Like a cow at our campsite, these things are random
The perfect ladder for accessing the Ecamper from outside, a roof rack or hard to reach cargo box. The one small issue we have with the design is the flat rungs. Once leaned over for use, your feet land on the edge of each step vs a flat surface.
Add this to your ladder order to prevent it from scratching your Element or whatever you lean it against. This is an expensive solution, but the fit and finish was well worth the purchase for us.
The perfect tie down kit, easy to adjust, holds tight & the reflective nylon cord is highly visible at night. Once you use a Figure 9 you'll never use anything else.
All the features of the Figure 9 with the added bonus of a carabiner clip, available in two sizes. We use these mostly with a tarp, connecting the clip to a grommet, but you'll find endless uses for them.
This is our axe of choice for camping. Made in America out of a single piece of steel. The rubber handle feels great and reduces impact vibration.
Charge this power brick at home, while driving or by solar. This compact ( 7 x 3.1 x 0.9in ) power source will charge your phone up to 10 times. We use this rather than a larger more complicated battery bank.
Convenient & compact leveling blocks that connect like Legos. If you are sleeping in a vehicle you should defiantly own these.
Reduce, reuse, recycle! This handy tool let's you safely punch holes in Isobutane canisters, which allows you to recycle it. Works with JetBoil Jetpower & certain other brands of butane fuel canisters. Do it right- CrunchIt™ !
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