After spending several weekends in the wilderness of northern Saskatchewan and Prince Albert National Park and then quality time in Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains, we have gotten to know what works and what does not as a family.
If you are shopping for an adventurer or explorer, here are some great ideas for anyone who loves the outdoors.
Designed to capture and focus heat more efficiently than traditional cooking systems, the Flash brings two cups of water to a boil in only two minutes. The lining also houses a color change window that alerts you to when the contents are hot. A sip-through lid further helps insulate the contents of the cooking cup and prohibits spills. The protective plastic bottom of the cup can be removed for use as a small bowl or measuring device.
If the Jetboil Personal Cooking System isn’t what you are looking for, check out the MSR Pocket Rocket stove. The PocketRocket backpacking stove from MSR provides full cooking function in an incredibly efficient form. Barely noticeable in your pack, it delivers precision flame control from torch to simmer while the Wind Clip wind shield boosts efficiency in breezy conditions. The PocketRocket stove’s diminutive size is also the foundation of a solid emergency kit for home or trail.
If lugging along a fuel source isn’t your thing, check out the Solo Stove Titan. This stove cooks your meals with nothing but the twigs you collect on your journey.
It is a unique wood burning stove that incorporates a secondary combustion for a more efficient and cleaner burn. The bottom vents allow air to enter and flow up the bottom of the grate to feed the primary combustion, a top down smolder. In addition, air entering in from the bottom vents heats up within the inner wall and rises up and out the top firebox vents causing a secondary combustion at the top of the stove. The Solo Stove Titan actually cooks the smoke out of the wood and then burns the smoke not once, but twice! This technique makes for a cleaner burn which means less smoke and higher efficiency.
The DoubleNest allows room for one, two, three, or however you decide to pack 400lbs. The DoubleNest seats more than one person comfortably and is essential for family adventures. The DoubleNest still packs down to the size of a grapefruit, so there is no excuse to be without your ENO hammock. If you have never had one with you when camping you are missing out. There is nothing like an afternoon nap under a light blanket on a nice summer afternoon. We have two of them and I couldn’t keep the boys out of them this summer while in the mountains.
Good coffee on the trail or the campsite in the morning can make the difference between a long day or a great day. The best way to make a great cup of coffee is with a French Press. The GSI Outdoors Javapress provides that French Press taste your own commuter mug. It makes it easy to get great coffee without having to lug along extra gear.
The new eTrex 30x is our upgraded version of the popular eTrex 30, with enhanced screen resolution and expandedinternal memory so you can download a greater variety of maps than ever. This rugged, dependable GPS retains the easeof-use and affordability that eTrex is legendary for, with an array of compatible mounts for use on ATVs, bicycles, boatsand cars. The new eTrex 30x also has the ability to track both GPS and GLONASS satellites simultaneously. Add to that a3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass and barometric altimeter, and you’re ready to confidently go anywhere.
Designed for ounce-conscious backpackers and climbers, the Black Diamond Orbit lantern packs 45 lumens of bright, non-glaring light in an ultra-portable package. A DoublePower LED (1-watt) works with Black Diamond’s dual reflector system and frosted globe to illuminate everything from tent-bound reading to pre-dawn racking. A collapsible, double-hook hang loop attaches to tent ceilings and tree branches alike. Mark and I both have one and they are simply amazing. They are highly rated on REI, MEC, and Amazon.com and are loved by all that use them. Whether you are a camper, hiker, or even a family who needs a safety light in the car, these are a must have.
We have several of these lights. I toss them on all of our backpacks in case we are out hiking after dark in case we need a mini-beacon to light your way through the dark. Marley is almost all black and when out at night, we attach one to her collar. While in Banff this summer, we found that at night, people went from feeling nervous to seeing a dog out for a walk to being fascinated by her blinking light. It made her seem far more approachable which was great for us and our temporary neighbors.
We bought one of these for Mark. It’s a 10 Piece Camping Campfire Cookware Mess Kit includes Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Pot (1 Liter Capacity) + Pot Cover + Nonstick Pan + 2 BPA Free Bowls + Folding Stainless Steel Spork + BPA Free Soup Spoon + Wooden Spoon Spatula + Cleaning Sponge + Nylon Travel Bag Drawstring Pouch. It’s perfect for hikes and trips and small enough to easily pack with him.
You know it, I know it. We all know that Sriracha makes food taste better. The problem is, what do you carry it in while hiking or camping? The answer is a mini bottle that comes with a carabineer so you always have it with you.
It is an all-in-one 7pc kitchen set includes all utensils needed for any outdoor or camping chef. Features: Cutting Board, Rice Paddle, Tongs, Scissors, Knife, all tools to meet your food prep needs in one portable package.
You need a lighter for backcountry adventures. It’s the easiest way to make a fire or light a stove. We keep one in our weekend bags, our backpacks, and in the car. If you lose one, you just grab another. For that reason you should have a few disposable lighters in your pack. At the same time there is something about reaching into your bag and having a Zippo lighter there.
This fantastic Swiss Army knife has a handle made out of natural walnut. Includes 2.5″ Blade, Nail File, Serrated-edge Scissors, Can Opener, Large and Small Screwdriver, Cap Lifter, 2.75″ wood saw, Corkscrew, Punch, Reamer. It’s the Swiss Army knife your grandfather would have carried in his pocket every day of his life.
There are some excellent reasons for a tent like this. If you are planning to do some car camping or just want a base camp to adventure from, this is small enough to travel with but large enough to be a comfortable home at the end of a long day on the trail. Inside, the 10 ft. x 10 ft. (3 m x 3 m) floor is large enough to fit two queen-sized airbeds. Like all new tents, treat with Nikwax Tent and Gear Solar Proof before you take it out for the first time.
For years at the end of a long day on the trail, people used to slip on a pair of Crocs for around the campfire. They work great and until this summer, I totally recommend it until I tried a pair of Sanuks. Not only are they as comfortable as Crocs, they look good enough that if you need to run into town or wants to go out for an evening, they look good enough to do so. You can get them for men and women.
They are going to need something to store all of that gear in. Why not get them a great looking duffle bag from Under Armour. Wendy gave me a great duffle bag a few years ago and it is a great gift. It’s been with us on every trip and adventure since then and read to be packed at a moment’s notice. If red isn’t your colour, Under Armour has a variety of colours chose from.
Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes by Alastair Humphreys
For those of you struggling with the idea of getting out of the city, here is a great book by Alastair Humphreys on taking Micro Adventures.
The point of microadventures is that you do not need lots of time and money to meet a new challenge. Go on a night hike; follow a nature trail; take the plunge with wild swimming. This practical guide is filled with great activities and days out, and over 150 stunning photographs, plus tips and advice on safety and kit.
Whether it is sleeping on a hilltop, cycling a lap of the Isle of Wight or walking home for Christmas, it’s time you discovered something new about yourself and the world outside your window. Adventure is everywhere, every day, and it is up to us to find it. It’s a great book for getting you started or if you are a seasoned explorer, some ideas to get you outside more often.
The gift of a great set of compact binoculars is huge. Pentax has long made a great pair of binoculars and these are no different. These compact porro-prism models feature a dual-axis, single body design with synchronized eyepiece adjustment. Aspherical lens elements give you edge-to-edge sharpness. Clear images, affordable price, and compact form factor.
Even if you’re not living life on the road, we recommend grinding your coffee by hand. It’s meditative and the end result tastes better. This Hario mill doesn’t require any plug-ins or batteries, and the lack of blades means you can take it on airplanes without getting stopped.
Stacked with beginner-friendly features, including seven stability sensors, the Parrot Bebop 2 drone uses the accelerometer in your phone to change speed based on how fast you move your hands.
Discover Disco, the first fixed-wing drone that reaches speeds up to 50 mph. Immerse yourself in flight and see the world from a whole new angle with Parrot Cockpitglasses, the new FPV headset designed to put you in the cockpit of your drone. Lastly, to complete the piloting experience, take control with the lightweight, compact and ultra-precise Parrot Skycontroller 2.