Tents, tarps and sleeping gear form the foundation of your camping kit, here are my choices for adequate shelter and a good night’s sleep.
Kelty Noah Tarp
In most camping situations I prefer a tarp to a tent. The tarp can be pitched in more places, configured in different ways, and provides plenty of space. Naturally it can also be used as a group shelter when needed.
The Noah Tarp from Kelty shares the same sort of reinforced guy out points with nylon webbing rather than grommets to a similar tarp I have used happily for many years. Available in 9, 12, and 16 foot square sizes.
Kelty Noah Tarp at Amazon
Marmot Limelight Three Person Tent
The Marmot Limelight 3 weighs 6lbs 11oz, has 41 square feet of space in the tent for three sleeping bags and 10 square feet vestibules under the fly on each side for gear. I’ve spent many nights in the Limelight and I’ve really come to like it. It is simple and intuitive to set up, and easily holds three smaller Scouts or two bigger people. The Limelight is also available for two or four people. I think the three person sixe is the most versatile, not too big, nor too small.
Marmot Limelight Three Person Tent at Amazon
Hammocks have taken the camping world by storm over the past few years. I sleep very comfortably and soundly in my Hennessy Expedition.
If you are new to hammock camping I heartily reccomend Derek Hansen’s book The Ultimate Hang
Hennessy Hammock Expedition Asym Zip at Amazon
Big Agnes Sleep System
Big Agnes bags are designed to be used with an integral sleeping pad. The pad slips into a pocket built into the bottom of the bag. When insulation material is compressed it loses most of its ability to insulate. Rather than insulating the bottom of the bag there’s a sleeve to accommodate a sleeping pad.
This design saves weight, bulk and you can roll inside the sleeping bag without rolling off the pad! I have never been awakened in the middle of the night to discover I have rolled of my sleeping pad.
I’ve chosen two bags, one down filled, and one with synthetic fill. Down is lighter, packs smaller, and is more expensive, but worth the investment of you are backpacking frequently.
Deer Park 30-Degree (600 Down fill)
This is my choice for a lightweight down-filled bag. The Rectangular shape offers more room in foot box and shoulders fits up to 6’6″, weight 3lb 1oz.
Big Agnes Deer Park at Amazon
Big Agnes Hog Park 20-Degree (Quallofil)
Big Agnes Hog Park at Amazon
Big Agnes – Insulated Air Core Sleeping Pad
Light and compact insulated pad that fits either of the bags above, the Wide regular size is 25″ x 72″ x 3.25″, and weighs 29oz. I can tell you these pads are extraordinarily comfortable!
Big Agnes – Insulated Air Core Sleeping Pad at Amazon
Slumberjack Latitude Sleeping Bags
The Slumberjack Latitude series is a good example of three different temperature ratings in the same design. They are lightweight enough to be appropriate for backpacking. Each is available in regular and long versions and all represent an excellent value for money.
ALPS Lightweight Series Self-Inflating Air Pad
Open-cell foam in a sealed fabric envelope. When the valve on the envelope is opened, the foam expands. Much better padding for comfort and excellent insulation.
ALPS Lightweight Series Self-Inflating Air Pad at Amazon
Coleman Rest Easy Camp Pad
A basic foam pad won’t absorb water. While they don’t provide much padding, they assure more than adequate insulation.
Coleman Rest Easy Camp Pad at Amazon
Tents, Tarps, & Sleeping Gear Wishlist
Check the items you’d like to include on your wishlist and send it to yourself and someone who can take a hint!