2004 Buyer's Guide: The Essential Base Camper
(Chris McPherson)

You Can Have It All

If you're looking for a luxe production in the (not too) wild, stop right here: Your backcountry presidential suite awaits

2004 Buyer's Guide: The Essential Base Camper

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THE SET » As soon as you pick your camp spot, get the den vibe going with the smart design of (1) BLUE RIDGE CHAIR WORKS’ collapsible CHAIR ($49) and (2) TABLE ($59). Then pitch the ultrabreathable (3) EUREKA! ZEUS 4EXO tent ($299) for up to four people—or save its 64 square feet for yourself, bedmate, and pup. For big illumination, bust out the daylight-bright (4) BRUNTON LAMPRAY ($70), a no-glass lantern that runs off butane canisters and packs down to the size of a digicam. Time to pass out? Make like it’s the Ritz-Carlton and air up the oh-so-decadent (5) EXPED DOWNMAT 9 DELUXE ($169), the ultimate goose-down sleeping pad. Roll out the extra-roomy (6) REI BIG CAT 20-degree sleeping bag ($199)—with its quarter and full zips and 600-fill down, you’ll be the epitome of coziness, not claustrophobia. For the cherry on top of this snooze dream, lay your head on (7) QUIXOTE’s LARGE GOOSE DOWN PILLOW ($43), with your choice of fleece, flannel, or cotton pillowcase. MESS HALL » Forget freeze-dried: You’re going to be eating whatever you want. Pull out all the chow-time goodies you stashed in the tough, superinsulated (8) COLEMAN STEEL COOLER ($106). Need H2O? Get a draft from the (9) KATADYN DRIP GRAVIDYN ($160), which not only holds 2.6 gallons of wet stuff but gravity-filters it through three ceramic-and-activated-carbon elements. Next, break out the envy of every tailgater, (10) COLEMAN’s ROADTRIP GRILL ($170); you can barbecue, griddle, or sauté with its 20,000 BTUs. You’ve got all the field-kitchen tools—knives, wooden spoon, cheese grater, digital meat thermometer, etc.—covered with the encyclopedic (11) MOBILE GOURMET GRAND TOUR 20-piece cooking kit ($300). If you’re hankering for Asian eats, prepare your fare in (12) GSI’s nonstick, hard-anodized-aluminum EXTREME WOK SET ($45)—the lid serves as a dish. After the feast, down a cup of joe: Just scoop your favorite roast into (13) GSI’s 33-ounce Lexan JAVAPRESS ($23), then get piping-hot water—in five seconds flat—from (14) COLEMAN’s HOT WATER ON DEMAND ($180). WARDROBE » (15) CLOUDVEIL’s NÉVÉ SWEATER ($110) is a retro-styled midlayer perfect for your laid-back camp. Pair it with the rugged (16) ARC’TERYX SWITCHBACK PANTS ($150), stretchy soft-shell breeches that breathe and fend off sticks and stones. For stylish footwear that functions, slip on (17) LIZARD’s way-comfy T-ONE moccasins ($90)—grabby, flexible outsoles mean you can hike for miles and never twist an ankle. And when the stars come out and the mercury drops, wrap yourself in the light-as-air, 800-fill-down MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR PHANTOM JACKET ($225). ACTION! » To fight nighttime chill, whip up some kindling with (18) FISKARS’s bombproof, one-pound HANDY AXE ($25). For fun, catch a flying saucer at noon or midnight with (19) PLAYHARD’s 185-gram FLASHFLIGHT light-up disc ($20). For all those unexpected tasks, you’ve got (20) LEATHERMAN’s ergonomic JUICE XE6 ($94) on hand with a tool for every chore, whether it’s opening a bottle of Sierra Nevada, cutting rope, or punching a new belt hole after dinner. Cut yourself? No worries: Just look up “wound care” in (21) ADVENTURE MEDICAL KITS’ indexed WEEKENDER first-aid pack ($59).

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021 Lead Photo: Chris McPherson