Camping Gear Reviews

Whether you're weekending at a sport crag or backpacking into a remote alpine crag, you need camping gear. Climbing magazine reviews tents, sleeping bags, insulating pads overnight packs, stoves, bivy bags, and many other types of gear for both car camping and mountaineering ascents.
  • HPECBassecamp

    Gear Guide 2014: Basecamp

    Whether your digs are a sleeping bag under the stars or a shiny new Sprinter, here are 31 of the best new things to improve any climbing trip.

  • HPCoffee

    Crag Coffee: 6 Essentials For Perfect Brews

    6 products to get your caffeine fix when you're out in the wilderness, miles from the nearest coffee shop.

  • HPEC

    Gear Guide 2014: Editors' Choice Awards

    Innovative, smart, lust-worthy, and just plain cool: 10 new must-have products that topped our testers’ lists.

  • Soto-Windmaster-OD1RX-158

    Soto Windmaster OD-1RX

    Integrated cook systems like the JetBoil or MSR Reactor do a great job of deflecting wind and maintaining quick boil times, but you can’t use multiple pots or frying pans. Meanwhile, many pocket stoves suffer in the face of a stiff breeze.

  • Avex Highland Autoseal Stainless Travel Mug

    Climbers are serious about coffee. And this tricked-out travel mug is a seriously cool addition to the scene. With a large and easy-to-push button on the top side, you can effortlessly press the button down.

  • Thermarest-NeoAir-Dream

    Thermarest NeoAir Dream

    Take the comfort of your bed at home with you on car-camping trips. That’s what two testers did for the last six months, and the result was many fights about who got to sleep on this bit of heaven. “This is the most comfy pad I’ve ever slept on,” one tester said.

  • Big-Agnes-Wyoming-Trail-4

    Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 4

    When you’re car camping next to the crag, weight is less of a concern than luxury, which is where this 14-pound beast comes in. Two two-person tents are connected by a floorless storage area that’s large enough for a six-person game of Twister—trust us, we played the game—and makes a great covered “porch” when weather comes in.

  • Goal-Zero-Sherpa-50-Kit

    Goal Zero Sherpa 50 Kit

    This solar recharger has been around for a few years, but it got a sizeable downgrade (in a good way) this year, now weighing just 1.1 lbs. The whole kit (recharger, Nomad 13 solar panels, AC inverter) can charge anything from a smartphone to a laptop.

  • Eddie-Bauer-First-Ascent-Katabatic

    Eddie Bauer First Ascent Katabatic

    We’ve given this tent a lot of ink (and our sister pub Backpacker gave it an Editors’ Choice Snow award), and for good reason. From Everest to Peru, testers raved about the ideal combo of mountain-worthy features and livability that’s rare in four-season tents.

  • SteriPen-Ultra

    SteriPen Ultra

    The only thing easier than this UV purifier would be to drink straight from the creek. And what climber doesn’t relish an occasional swig of glacial melt? But this device gives serious peace of mind: Ultraviolet light neutralizes all water-borne nasties.

  • Optimus-Vega-Stove

    Optimus Vega Stove

    “I could churn out hot water at a fast clip, but dial the heat back to simmer sauce,” said our resident camp chef. A standard screw-on canister attaches to the stove via a flexible hose, so the squat, 7-inch-diameter burner sits only two inches off the ground, making it stable on uneven surfaces and under fat pots.

  • Nemo-Spoon-Nocturne-Sleeping-Bag

    Nemo Stratoloft 25 and Nocturne 15 Spoon Bags

    Cheers to Nemo for making two of our favorite bags of the year. The Stratoloft 25 (right) is a down comforter that pairs with an insulated air pad (sold separately); the combo is the perfect setup for car camping and weekenders. “The pad with integrated pillow and lofty down bag with elastic in the seams made for a better night’s sleep than I get at home,” said one tester.

  • Alite-Mantis-Chair-158

    Alite Mantis Chair

    You could sit on the cold, hard ground. Or you could be more civilized (and way more comfortable) with this laid-back chair. You hover six inches above the ground, cradled in a mini-hammock of nylon. “Crazy pleasant,” mused one tester.

  • Eton Rukus Solar

    Charge this device before you leave for the weekend, and you’ll have eight hours of music for the crag or campsite. Link your smartphone via Bluetooth to conjure anything from your playlist. “Surprisingly deep and rich,” said one tester.

  • Biolite-Campstove-660

    Wood Power

    The BioLite CampStove ($129.95; biolitestove.com) seemed like an impossible paradox at first: a wood-burning stove (outdated) that charges your electronics (futuristic), but after a fall season of car-camping trips, our testers were sold. One Joe’s Valley tester was able to brown a pound of ground beef and vegetables in just a few minutes on a 40°F night. But because it’s real fire and not a regulated gas stove, boil times for one liter of water depended largely on the outside temperature, ranging from 6.5 to 14 minutes.

  • First-Ascent-Tent-660

    High-Altitude Home

    Take a bomber four-season tent and make it comfortably livable, and there you have the First Ascent Katabatic ($599; firstascent.com). Our seasoned tester and guide put this tent at the top of his all-time-favorites list after taking it to 26,000 feet on Everest and braving 40 mph winds in it. He then rounded out his testing with another high-altitude stint in wind-whipped Peru.

  • Versa-tent

    This tent was perfect for car camping, yet light (4 lbs., 6 oz.) and packable for backcountry adventures like my twoweek stint in the Cascades of Washington. For the hot and dry eastern side of the range, it had large doors on either side, with a fully open option or a nice screen for bug protection. For the soppy western side, double-wall construction, vents in the fly, and those large screened doors meant no morning condensation buildup.

  • First-Ascent-Karakorum-660

    Sound Sleepers

    A good night's sleep is imperative for all climbing objectives. Whether you're attempting the Nose in a day or just car camping for a weekend of sport climbing, your bag can make or break your climb, not to mention your mood. Climbing magazine teamed up with Backpacker magazine to round up a dozen three-season down sleeping bags that were new for 2012.

  • MSR Whisperlite Universal Camp Stove

    Multifuel Stoves

    Climbing tested five new stoves so you'll know which one to take out on your next rock climbing, mountaineering, or camping adventure.

  • Pocket Power

    Enter the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Mobile Kit ($129.95, goalzero.com), a nifty way to literally recharge the batteries in all the gizmos you take rock climbing.

  • Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009

    Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2009

    The Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, is madness this time of year—the reason is the summer Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, a massive gathering (over 20,000 people, I've been told) of outdoor gear and apparel companies, retailers, media, and athletes.

  • THE NORTH FACE MINIBUS 23 - 2009 Gear Guide

    THE NORTH FACE MINIBUS 23 - 2009 Gear Guide

    For a rest station after a marathon day of cragging, battling steep approaches, or dodging spraylords, you can’t get much more soothing than The North Face Minibus 23 (thenorthface.com), a user-friendly, two-person, three-season tent new for 2009. The Minibus 23 — with two exits and two big vestibules — comes with a host of innovative features that add up to a tent experience of a different sort. Click here to buy now from MountainGear.com

  • Gearing Up For Winter - No. 245

    Gearing Up For Winter

    Sub-zero temps, brittle ice, horizontal snowfall - if terms like that get your adrenal glands revving and your hands grasping for tools, then it's time to check out what's new in gear for this season.

  • Sleeping Bag Review - No 228 - March 2004

    Sleeping Bag Review - No 228 - March 2004

    The decision to climb with a sleeping bag is an easy one since most of today's ultralight bags weigh in under two pounds and pack down smaller than a bread loaf.

  • Sleeping Bag Review - No 215 - September 2002

    This review excludes bags with synthetic insulation because down is warmer and more compressible for its weight than man-made fibers — crucial considerations for any alpinist.

  • Western Mountaineering UltraLite - Sleeping Bag Review

    Western Mountaineering UltraLite - Sleeping Bag Review

    Western Mountaineering’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in the UltraLite, an open-baffle sack filled with conservatively rated 850-fill down.

  • Mountainsmith Whisp - Sleeping Bag Review

    Mountainsmith Whisp - Sleeping Bag Review

    Do you own a digital scale, leave the toothbrush at home, and cut extra straps off your pack? Then the Mountainsmith Whisp could be for you.

  • Mountain Hardwear Phantom - Sleeping Bag Review

    Mountain Hardwear Phantom - Sleeping Bag Review

    The Mountain Hardwear Phantom provides solid, lightweight performance at a moderate price that will leave you with enough change left over to buy the expensive mac and cheese instead of the 75-cent ramen noodles.

  • Moonstone 800 Lucid - Sleeping Bag Review

    Moonstone 800 Lucid - Sleeping Bag Review

    The ghostly white shell on the Moonstone 800 Lucid is spooky; you can see right through to the insulation.

  • Mont Bell Ultra Light Down Hugger #4 - Sleeping Bag Review

    Mont Bell Ultra Light Down Hugger #4 - Sleeping Bag Review

    It’s rare for a sleeping bag design to stand out so prominently that everyone who eyeballs it does a double take.

  • Marmot Hydrogen - Sleeping Bag Review

    Marmot Hydrogen - Sleeping Bag Review

    If you’ve been searching for a highly technical sleeping bag with generous width dimensions, consider the Marmot Hydrogen.

  • Feathered Friends - Sleeping Bag Review

    Feathered Friends - Sleeping Bag Review

    Feathered Friends has been quietly cranking out some of the market’s finest down bags for over 30 years, and the Merlin is yet another great example of their impeccable craftsmanship.

  • Exped Sparrow - Sleeping Bag Review

    Exped Sparrow - Sleeping Bag Review

    The Exped Sparrow, which features a full wrap-around zipper that allows the bag to be turned into a blanket, was the least expensive and most versatile model tested.