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2008 Camping Gear Buyer's Guide - Tech

Posted in Product Reviews on August 1, 2008
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Regardless of what season it is, there's always somewhere to go camping. Typically, if you plan a vacation around a specific off-road trail, like the slickrock of Moab or the Rubicon Trail, chances are you'll be roughing it midway through your adventure.Knowing this, we thought we'd share some of today's latest and greatest camping items that are not only functional, but compact as well, especially since your camping gear must share the same space as your tools, off-road recovery gear, etc. Enjoy the guide and happy camping!

Jetboil Backcountry Gourmet Cooking Set
It's like having everything you need from the kitchen in one compact setup. Jetboil's Backcountry Gourmet Cooking Set contains the award-winning Personal Cooking System (PCS), a FluxRing fry pan, pot support, and a foldable fuel-canister stabilizer. Also included are trick Jetset cooking utensils (spoon, fork, and spatula) that contain telescopic handles to make them almost fullsize.Using its patent-pending FluxRing heat-exchanger technology on the fry pan and PCS, optimal fuel efficiency and even cooking are achieved. A piezoelectric igniter and simmer control allow for safe and fully adjustable cooking. The entire system stores compactly for transit, so you can take it anywhere.

For more information, contact: Jetboil Inc., (888) 611-9905,

Grilliput Collapsible Stainless Steel Grill
The Grilliput collapsible stainless steel grill is a must-see. Built from solid stainless steel, the cooking surface of the grill measures an impressive 10 by 8 inches. Assembly is achieved by inserting 12 grill rods - that are easily removed from the stainless steel cylinder - into the predrilled holes along the side of the main carrying tube and another internal tube for a fast and effortless cooking surface. When disassembled, the unit measures less than 12 inches long and less than 1 inch wide.

For more information, contact: Industrial Revolution, (888) 297-6062,

Grilliput Compact FireBowl
Used as a companion piece to the Grilliput compact grill, the compact FireBowl may also be used separately. Fabricated from stainless steel, the FireBowl stores both coal and wood until ready for use. When ready to grill, simply open the clamshell design, place under your grill, and cook away.The bowl is made from heavy-duty stainless steel, which guarantees years of use in any condition imaginable. The bowl measures 3 inches tall, 7 inches diameter closed, and 11 inches diameter open.

For more information, contact: Industrial Revolution, (888) 297-6062,

Black Diamond Vista Tent
The Black Diamond Vista Tent is a double-walled shelter that is freestanding and allows up to three people to sleep soundly in roughly 50 square feet of comfort. Built as a three-season tent, a mesh canopy provides a 360-degree view of the stars while affording the occupants privacy as well.Setup is fast and easy given the hook, external tension clips, and a pole-hub system. Utilizing the single-hub system provides for increased interior space and more durable exterior tent walls. The Black Diamond Vista Tent features two fullsize side doors and interior organizer pockets as well as a seam-taped PU/silicone rain fly.

For more information, contact: Black Diamond Equipment, (801) 278-5533,

Hi-Lift Handle-All Multifunctional Tool
This multifunctional tool consists of four fullsize implements to aid in any situation, especially when camping. The implements are as follows: a shovel, sledgehammer, ax, and pick. Each of the implements is attached to a two-piece telescopic handle that extends to 36 inches in length. The entire tool stores compactly in the included high-visibility storage bag and is ready to dig a campfire pit, pound tent stakes into the ground, or cut firewood.

For more information, contact: Hi-Lift Jack Co., (812) 384-4441,

Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottles
Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottles are available in a variety of sizes from 12 to 40 ounces. As a safe alternative to plastic and lined metal containers, each bottle has been fabricated from high-quality food-grade 304LN stainless steel. Best of all, their slim design allows them to fit perfectly in cupholders and allows for fullsize ice cubes to be inserted into the wide-mouth opening.Being constructed of stainless steel provides for toxic-free storage of your favorite beverage, and best of all, it is dishwasher-safe.

For more information, contact: Klean Kanteen, (530) 345-3275,

Swedish FireSteel
Originally created for the Swedish Department of Defense, the Swedish FireSteel contains the ability to create a 3,000-degree C spark that makes fire building easy in any weather and at any altitude. Used by a number of armies and expedition leaders around the world, Swedish FireSteel is more than a convenience to have when camping, but it is also a survival tool if things take a turn for the worst.Aside from the obvious benefits to owning one of these units, it is approved by the International Survival Instructors Association and can be used as an emergency signal due to its bright spark.

For more information, contact: Light My Fire USA, (888) 297-6062,

Grandpa's FireFork
Grilling marshmallows or hot dogs over the campfire has never been easier or more fun than with Grandpa's FireFork. Designed to fit on virtually any stick found while camping, this twisted piece of stainless steel has been fabricated to hold onto your food until you're ready to take it off. Weighing only 0.6 ounces, the fork fits easily inside any backpack or jacket pocket.For protection, an end cap secures the pointed ends of the fork. They are available in a variety of colors, including red, yellow, blue, green, and orange. Once you use these forks, you'll never cut that old piece of tree branch again. FireForks also make great campfire pokers.

For more information, contact: Light My Fire USA, (425) 297-6062,

Coleman Pinnacle Lantern
Coleman's newest lantern, the stainless steel Pinnacle, is easily started thanks to InstaStart technology, which uses one AAA battery for fast and dependable lighting. The Pack-Away storage system translates to no additional cases, as the lantern stores inside itself. Setting up the lantern is achieved by pulling one handle upward and setting the fold-down foot pegs in place.The Coleman exclusive tube mantle and burner system have been designed to provide for outstanding area-lighting capability and illumination that lasts up to five hours on one 16.4-ounce Coleman Propane Cylinder (sold separately). The brightness of the lantern is adjustable via an integrated valve.

For more information, contact: Coleman, (800) 835-3278,

Inflatable Truck Air Bed
This fully self-contained inflatable air mattress is able to fit inside many of today's more popular compact midsize and fullsize trucks in longbed and shortbed configurations. A fully rechargeable flush-mounted air pump inflates the integrated air-coil system in a matter of minutes. The end result is a 9- to 12-inch-tall mattress that is ready to provide a good night's rest. The mattress may also be used inside of a tent or anywhere else an air mattress is needed.

For more information, contact: Pittman Products International, (800) 981-2339,

Coleman Pack-Away Table for Two
The sturdy, rust-resistant table for two is built from lightweight aluminum and is easily foldable to 31.5 by 22.75 by 25.5 inches, which makes it perfect to be stowed behind the seats of your Jeep to help keep the other camping items at bay while driving. Upon opening the table, it automatically locks into position and is easily adjusted to your desired height. The table is capable of holding up to 300 pounds. For additional creature comforts, two chairs are tucked away inside the table.

For more information, contact: Coleman, (800) 835-3278,

Nite Ize LED Wand
The Nite Ize LED wand could be considered one of the most versatile camping accessories you could own. When not in use as a flashlight, the wand makes the perfect signal flare with its strobe setting. The unit can also be used as a tent light.The durable shockproof and waterproof unit is lightweight. Best of all, you never need to worry about the light bulb going out since it's an LED. The unit is ideal for fishing and diving as well, especially since it has visibility to 1 mile and is submersible to 1,000 feet. The wand is available in a variety of colors, including green, blue, red, and clear.

For more information, contact: Nite Ize Inc., (800) 678-6483,

McNett Tenacious Repair Tape
Think about it: You wouldn't go out into the wilderness without a first-aid kit, so why go without a first-aid kit for your equipment and clothing? Instant field repairs can be made with the Tenacious repair tape. The tape is just what the doctor ordered when it comes time to repairing tents, tarp, rain gear, and more.The super-aggressive adhesive sticks to almost any surface and can be used for a variety of flexible, long-lasting repairs. The tape instantly seals leaking seams, tears, and pinholes, stops rips from spreading, and acts as an abrasion-resistant shield on high-wear areas. Each roll is sized at 3 by 20 inches or 60 square inches.

For more information, contact: McNett Corp., (360) 671-2227,

Big Agnes Mystic Sleeping Bag
Just when you need it most, the Big Agnes Mystic sleeping bag will be there to keep you warm. The no-draft design of the bag ensures that your body heat stays in, and the cold stays out. Constructed of high-grade and durable Toray fabric for the shell and pad sleeve, the high thread count and rip-stop nylon with super-durable water-repellency technology ensures that years of service will be in store.Additional creature comforts include a built-in pillow pocket, integrated sleep-pad sleeve, and a rectangular shape that offers more room in the foot box of the bag. Zippers are located on both sides of the bag to make entering and exiting easy.

For more information, contact: Big Agnes Inc., (877) 554-8975,

Coleman Folding Cooler Chair
At the end of the day, nothing beats a comfortable chair, and just because you're in the great outdoors doesn't mean you have to sacrifice comfort. Once seated, the chair's built-in cooler is large enough to hold 3-4 cans and one small ice pack. In addition to the cooler, other features of the chair include a padded seat and seat back, adjustable arm heights, and a powdercoated steel frame.

For more information, contact: Coleman, (800) 835-3278,

Light My Fire Outdoor MealKit
The Outdoor MealKit was designed especially by Scandinavian designer Joachim Nordwall. It is the perfect kit for preparing and eating meals anytime and anywhere while being able to fit inside a backpack. Each MealKit contains everything needed: two plates, a spill-free cup with lid, a combined colander and cutting board, a Spork (combined spoon and serrated fork), and a small waterproof box for all those things that just have to stay dry.Each kit is available in a variety of colors. In addition to being made from indestructible environment-friendly polycarbonate material, each kit also floats should it accidently get away while being cleaned.

For more information, contact: Light My Fire USA, (888) 297-6062,

Aquamira Water Purifier Tablets
Sometimes what we can't see can cause more pain and discomfort to us than what we can see. Knowing how heavy and cumbersome it is to take on a trip, many of us opt to do without extra water and hope that we find a fresh stream or lake with drinking water. All it takes is one experience to know that regardless of where the water we find is, it should be treated prior to drinking it.With that said, all it takes is one Aquamira Water Purifier Tablet to be dropped into 1 liter of water to purify your water. Each tablet contains a specialized chlorine-dioxide formula that produces a powerful germicidal agent to purify the water. This formula meets the stringent EPA guidelines for Microbiological Water Purifiers, making it the safest solution on the market.

For more information, contact: Aquamira Technologies, (360) 306-5586,

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