Comfy? You Oughta Be

Plush stuff to take the rough out of roughing it

Photo: Clay Ellis    

Caution: The salesman who dazzles you with the latest in light-and-fast camping accessories might not be entirely trustworthy. While iodine tablets and coffin-size two-person tents may be fine choices for lithe Appalachian through-hikers, when you're establishing a base camp, let extravagance be your watchword. Please allow us to recommend the following examples of outdoor indulgence:

Made of nearly two inches of cushy closed- and open-cell foam (no need to blow this sucker up) and nearly two feet wide, Mountain Hardwear's 72-inch-long Trailhead Chair Pad ($95) is part La-Z-Boy recliner, part Sealy Posturepedic, and can convert between the two (using a pair of aluminum stays) in seconds. Then, when mixing your afternoon cocktail, leave out the twist of giardia; the easy-action Katadyn Pocket water filter ($200) contains a 0.2-micron-porosity ceramic filter and lets you pump without slipping a disk. On your crack-jamming and fat-tire forays, you and your gear will take a beating. Put your trust in Adventure Medical Kits' Cuts & Bolts ($35), a combo kit that's like having your garage toolbox (duct tape, glue stick, webbing) and medicine cabinet (pain relievers, bandages, tweezers) consolidated in one football-size case. Whatever your adrenaline rush, K2's 100-cubic-inch Fluidlink Hydropack Ultra ($90) is your briefcase, lunchbox, and watercooler; the harness hugs your torso as comfortably as your favorite T-shirt and holds a three-liter water bladder. At night, cook by the light of Petzl's Tikka ($35) headlamp. We know, it's obsessively compact and efficient, but with ultraradiant LED lights that burn 150 hours on three AAA batteries, there's no need to go any bulkier. Finally, there's CMG Equipment's Phoenix Motion Sensing Flashlight ($30). Hang it outside the tent to alert you to intruders. After all, what's a well-stocked base camp without a security system?

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