When someone mentions the word camping, do you think of a chilly night’s sleep on hard ground that usually involves a rock poking into your back? Well, think again. Camping equipment has come a long way since the days of cramped, orange oilcloth tents and sleeping bags that leave you shivering. Popularity has encouraged camping equipment manufacturers to develop their gear so that today’s tents are ultra-light and pack-able, keeping you warm and dry with plenty of room to spare and the sleeping bags you’ll find on store shelves are able to handle even the deepest colds before you feel a shiver.
There are other amenities that can make your camping trip comfortable and even close to luxurious. There’s no need to sleep on the cold, hard ground, as plenty of pack-able sleeping pads and mattresses will give you a great night’s rest, and for those who still yearn for a comfortable bed, there are portable cots complete with mattresses that can easily fit in a car or SUV. While camping is usually considered roughing it and most facilities that provide tent space require that you walk a distance to share public bathrooms, new developments have made it possible to buy small port-a-potties that even flush just like a regular toilet, which makes those midnight trips to the bathroom a breeze.
The lanterns you’ll find on the market have also come a long way from the oil-and-flame relics of decades ago. Rechargeable batteries and halogen bulbs have turned lighting up your camping area easy, and most lanterns have different settings for intense, bright light for the outdoors or softer reading lighting for inside the tent. Other accessories make camping even more pleasurable, including mosquito tents that you can set up over a picnic table for eating in peace, and unbreakable dishes that are nothing like the tin ones our parents used to use. Propane stoves for cooking are now closer to small stoves complete with two to four burners, enough to make a stir fry with chicken, fresh vegetables and a side dish of rice. For coffee cravers, there are drip-style accessories that make having a cup of hot java from fresh grinds easy and quick.
As with anything on the market today, there are varying qualities of camping equipment and prices range from cheap to extremely expensive. The good thing about camping gear is that even the cheapest items are usually just fine for regular vacations and you’ll probably get plenty of wear and tear out of them before they give up the ghost. More than just investing in some camping equipment to keep you comfortable in the wilderness, you’ll also be investing in some memories you’ll be able to share with your family and friends for a long time.