Since our first national park camping trip in 2010, we’ve learned a few things about outdoor gear. Our #parkchasing gear has grown from hand-me-downs to must-haves in the nearly 10 years we’ve traveled together. When buying gear we look for affordability and durability. Our gear shouldn’t cost us a fortune, but should last through every park on our list. This page has our current #parkchasing gear with info about what we love and what we don’t.
Note: Some of the links to these gear items are affiliate links. A portion of purchases from these links and from Amazon.com help fund more #parkchasing. We appreciate your support and rely on it to continue our adventures!
Tent & Sleeping Gear
We purchased our Big Agnes tent in 2015 for our first trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Since then we’ve taken it to more than 10 different trips in the past three years. And we’ve stayed warm and dry in some difficult conditions (including a snowstorm in Glacier National Park and the remnants of a hurricane in Acadia National Park!)
We’ve used these Therm-a-Rest rollout mats since 2015. At the time they were the lightest weight and smallest packing option on the market. We have the extra long version and the women’s version which has a narrower frame and more insulation in the hips and feet. While we’ve never had an issue with holes and love the lightweight packing, you may find more comfort with other options on the market now. This will be one of our first upgrades when we look at replacing equipment in 2020.
After years of trying to stuff our bedroom pillows in compression sacks, we finally upgraded to inflatable travel pillows for our Alaska trip in 2017. While not the most lightweight option out there, we tested a few others for comfort before finally settling on the Fillo. It’s made a huge difference in our total pack weight and in our comfort at the end of a long day of hiking.
REI Kingdom +30 Double Sleeping Bag
We’ve talked before about how all adventurous couples need to invest in a double sleeping bag. While the REI Kingdom model we got for a wedding gift in 2009 is no longer on the market, REI still carries several brands. The bag is bulky overall and adds quite a bit of weight, but we wouldn’t trade it for any other item on our gear list!
Eating & Drinking
Our GSI cookware set has been a staple in our camping gear since 2010. We love how they collapse together for compact storage and how the 4 person set gives us some flexibility in cooking for ourselves or a larger group. At least 2 other friends and family members have added a GSI cookware set to their camping gear after cooking with ours.
We are by no means experts on choosing a camping stove set up. Every trip is different and your needs for fuel will be too. But we’ve gotten by with an ultralight burner and ISOPRO fuel canisters for years without any issues. The stove work well with our GSI Pinnacle set and has performed well in higher altitude and rain/wind. When flying we pack the lightweight burner in our luggage and Google the nearest REI or outfitter and pick up canisters when we arrive.
The Katadyn water filtration bottles are the latest gear items added to our list, a gift in 2017. After research on what works the best for front country weekends and backcountry travels, we decided on the Katadyn system. To be tested later in 2018!
Gadgets & Electronics
All the photos on our site are taken with either an iPhone or our Canon EOS Rebel T5i. We’ve schlepped this camera through Denali and up Mount Katahdin in Maine and captured some amazing memories on our trips. While not the most lightweight option for long backcountry trips, the camera is a good choice for high-quality images for an entry-level photographer.
While we try to unplug as much as possible on our trips, we do depend on our phones and camera gear being charged and ready to go on the trail. When Big Agnes released this attachment for our tent, we jumped on the option for a space to keep our electronics dry and safe in the tent. It’s lightweight and includes and extra set of battery-powered LED lights for the tent.
We spent the first three years camping without headlamps. Big mistake. Some friends introduced us to them on a rainy camping trip in Olympic National Park and we were hooked. No more trying to hold a flashlight in one hand while the other one washed dishes in the dark. Now we use our headlamps for projects at home and make sure we always pack them on the trail.
Our Other #parkchasing Gear
We purchased our Osprey packs on our first trip to Glacier National Park in 2010. They’ve been with us ever since. Greg carries the Kestrel 48 and Amy carries the Kestrel 38.
We use them mostly for day trips and as carry-on luggage. We’ve taken them on one overnight trip, but are a bit tight on space with our other gear. Outstanding is all we have to say about our Osprey packs.
REI Flexlite Macro Chair
When you start bringing camping gear on the airplane, one of the first hiccups is how to pack a camp chair. No suitcase can fit those extra long bag chairs to sit by the campfire. And while not technically a need-to-have item, it is nice to have something comfy at the end of a long day on the trail. We purchased our Flexlite camp chairs in 2015 and have been happy with their overall performance. They can be a little unsteady on uneven ground, but one of the better choices on the market for ultralight camping chairs.
Lot of people have asked us how we manage to get all our camping gear in a 50 lb. suitcase to fly on an airplane. It would not be possible without these Sea to Summit compression sacks. Our double sleeping bag, clothes and food all get placed in these sacks and condensed as much as possible. We’ve put our XXL and L sacks through a lot of stress without any issues with the buckles or straps.
For the books, maps and guides in our #parkchasing gear, check out links to these other posts: