Gear Picks

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All Gear


Therm-a-Rest Lite Seat

$30 from Backcountry

Minimalists, rejoice: the Lite Seat is as pared down as a camp chair can get, a mini version of Therm-a-Rest’s ProLite sleeping pad. It’s a self-inflating, 1.5-inch-thick foam cushion that’s just big enough for your bum (11 by 15 inches) and rolls up small enough to fit in your pocket. And it only weighs three ounces.


Mountainsmith Campo Chair

$40 from Backcountry

The Campo puts you on the ground, but we don’t mind. It has enough padding in its 350-denier Cordura package to shield your rear from small, poking rocks and roots, while adjustable side straps let you fine-tune how deeply you want to recline. We dig how the Campo rolls up easily for storage at the end of the day, not to mention that it can double as a stadium seat or festival chair.


Helinox Chair Zero

$120 from REI

Helinox nails the backpacking camp seat with its Chair Zero, which is light (one pound) and compact enough (collapsing to the size of a Nalgene bottle) to justify taking on multi-day trips but comfortable enough to use while car camping. The shock-cord aluminum poles require minimal setup, and the chair keeps you 11 inches off the ground, not too low to sit down and stand up out of easily.


REI Co-Op Camp Stowaway Low Chair

$40 $28 from REI 30% off

There’s nothing too fancy about the Stowaway—it’s a comfortable, low-profile camp chair that hits the budget price point and rocks a few smart details. The foam-padded armrests and the mesh backing won’t absorb sweat or rain if you leave the chair out in a storm. Also, it’s low enough that you can bring it to a music festival or concert and not piss off the people sitting behind you.


NEMO Stargaze Recliner

$220 from REI

Yeah, it’s expensive. But the Stargaze gives you La-Z-Boy comfort at any car-camping site. It swings and has a high headrest, so you can tilt back and take in the night sky or simply indulge in a quick nap. The armrests are padded, too. The aircraft-grade aluminum frame is light and easy to set up, and a cupholder and stash pocket for your phone or beef jerky round out the luxury features.


Kelty Discovery Low Loveseat

$100 from REI

Just because you’re car camping doesn’t mean you can’t snuggle. Kelty’s popular love seat is like a camp couch, made from quilted 600-denier polyester and reclined for added comfort. The adjustable armrests have cupholders (a must, really). Be warned: the Discovery ain’t light at 15 pounds, but the added coziness is worth the weight.

REI Co-op Flash Air Hammock

$180 $126 from REI 30% off

Editor Emily Reed praised the Flash Air, describing it as “more like a hanging tent than a traditional hammock.” One of the coolest features is the zippered bug net, which lines the entire hammock body, so you’ll never worry about being bitten at night.


LifeProof Quito 18L Backpack

$100 $85 from Lifeproof 15% off

Featured in our roundup of the best bike commuting gear from our 2019 Winter Buyer’s Guide, the Quito is “made from a water-repellent Cordura fabric, with a cinch-top hood flap and water-resistant media pocket.” Simple, sleek, and lightweight, this pack is ideal for commutes or easy days on the trail.


LifeProof Squamish XL 32L Backpack

$180 $153 from Lifeproof 15% off

Outside contributor Graham Averill tested the Squamish XL when it debuted and was "impressed by how many features LifeProof was able to squeeze into this slick daypack.” The pack has two weather-resistant tech pockets and a slot for a 15-inch laptop and tablet.


Evolv Defy Climbing Shoe

$89 $67 from Backcountry 24% off

Professional climber Kai Lightner recommends this shoe for beginner climbers “because they’re comfortable (as far as climbing shoes go), have an easy hook-and-loop strap system, and sport a vegan-friendly synthetic upper.” This all-arounder also features an odor-resistant lining to keep the funk at bay.