It’s shaping up to be another great year for camping gear and accessories. Although we’re only halfway through 2021, we’ve already found some of our favorite new front-country (and some backcountry) essentials. These are our picks for the best of the best camping gear accessories of 2021 (so far).
Sea to Summit’s leap into the tent market this year was a big one. If you’re looking for a new camping tent, the all-new Telos TR3 is a three-person camp shelter with more space and better ventilation than just about any comparably sized tent on the market. Plus, with just a pair of standard trekking poles, the rainfly converts into a semi-open camp canopy.
BioLite’s one-of-a-kind FirePit was already one of the coolest — er, hottest — bits of car camping gear on the market. It’s an all-in-one fire pit, grill, stove, and more — all controllable via a clever Bluetooth app. For 2021, the FirePit+ features an upgraded body design with a high-temp enamel coating, so it radiates more heat and lasts longer. The new 12,800mAh battery offers longer burn times, too.
If the FirePit+ is a bit too much luxury for your camping needs, Solo Stove’s Bonfire offers much of the same functionality in a more straightforward design. The portable fire pit will burn just about anything combustible, with far less smoke than a typical campfire. It’s the perfect centerpiece for a weekend camping trip.
Grilling and cooking over an open fire is hardly a new concept in camping. But enjoying the convenience of a legit oven in the backcountry is. GoSun’s Fusion Solar Oven is a unique, solar-powered oven that provides unique cooking opportunities for car campers. On full-sun days, it cooks up almost anything you might prepare at home using only the sun’s rays, while on cloudy or rainy days, the hybrid design can use electricity from your car or portable power station.
Read more: Best Camping Cooking Gear
For taking lots of drinks on the go, there’s no better solution than a backpack cooler. IceMule’s are the best on the market. The IceMule Pro, in particular, is our go-to portable cooler. The 33-liter capacity is roomy enough for up to 24 cans with ice, and the pack’s thick insulation keeps it all cold for up to 24 hours.
A comfortable camp chair can make or break a camping trip. Nemo’s Stargaze Recliner Luxury Camp Chair delivers on all fronts with a design that’s the closest thing to bringing a La-Z-Boy into the woods.
Read more: Best Luxury Camping Gear
A good camping lantern is as essential as a good pair of hiking socks. Goal Zero’s Lighthouse 600 is compact, versatile, and, most importantly, bright with up to 600 lumens. It’s also solar rechargeable, in case you’re planning a serious off-grid getaway.
Gerber has long been a favorite here at The Manual. With 17 essential tools, the Truss is arguably the company’s best multi-tool. Whether you’re a hiker, ultra-light backpacker, or car camper, it offers the utility, versatility, and durability you need.
Hate on ‘em all you want. Crocs are the perfect camp footwear. They offer the convenience and airiness of a sandal, with the durability, foot protection, and waterproofing of a well-made rain boot. They’re perfect for slipping on around the campfire or for midnight bathroom runs when you can’t be bothered to wrestle with lacing up your hiking boots.
We’ve tested a lot of camp hammocks over the years, but Kammok’s dead-simple Double Roo is still our favorite. It supports up to 500 pounds but packs down to about the size of a water bottle. Plus, the company’s own Python straps are tree-safe, easy to deploy, and spread the weight over an extra-wide area for added stability.
You can’t — or, at least, shouldn’t — bring your campfire inside your tent or sleeping bag with you. For reliable, ultra-portable, personal campside heat, Zippo’s HeatBank 9S Rechargeable Hand Warmers can keep your extremities or core warm for most of the night. For longer camping trips, top them up with a portable solar charger during the day.
REI Co-op’s Camp Dreamer XL Self-Inflating Deluxe Bed is proof that you really can sleep outdoors just like you do at home. If weight isn’t an issue and all you care about are good Z’s, this plush camp mattress puts 4 cushy inches of foam and air between you and the ground.
Read more: Best Air Mattresses for Camping
We’re big fans of multipurpose hiking gear. That’s why we almost always camp with a camp quilt over a sleeping bag. Big Agnes’ Fussell UL Quilt is great for bundling up around the campfire, but it also works great as a flexible sleeping bag once it’s time to tuck in for the night.
Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a civilized cup of coffee. Wacaco’s Nanopresso is our go-to portable espresso maker. It packs down ridiculously small and requires minimal work to get a nice, near-home-quality cup of espresso or three.
Camping lanterns are essential, but a solid headlamp is just as important. As the name implies, BioLite’s HeadLamp 750 boasts 750 lumens of hands-free illumination, making it perfect for those campside tasks where you need both hands. The lightweight, no-bounce design is also comfortable to wear for hours.
Wrangling your food, camping utensils, and other eating essentials can be a challenge in the wilderness. A mobile camping kitchen such as the GCI Outdoor’s Master Cook Portable Folding Camp Kitchen helps with that. The durable, all-metal design packs down relatively small and weighs just over 20 pounds. Fully unfurled, it offers a folding cook station, collapsible sink, multiple shelving and storage options, and a lantern pole for cooking after dark.
A good set of cutting tools is just as important in the bush as it is in your home kitchen. GSI Outdoors’ new Rakau Knife Set is a compact camp knife set with all the essentials, namely a chef’s knife, paring knife, and serrated knife. The three blades, along with a bamboo cutting board, a microfiber dishcloth, and a knife sharpener, pack into the included carry case for ultra-safe portability.
Even a mostly digitally detoxed wilderness escape involves some tech: Digital cameras, electric lighters, a portable speaker or two. Goal Zero’s Yeti line keeps you powered up on the go. The 500X Portable Power Station is well-sized for most weekend car camping trips, with enough juice to charge most smartphones dozens of times, and it’s even powerful enough to run a portable fridge or pellet grill if you’re getting fancy.
Outdoor Tech brings a little more party to your campsite with the Turtle Shell 3.0. This wireless Bluetooth speaker streams just about anything from your smartphone. But, the unique geometric shell is also IPX7 waterproof, making it ideal for the backcountry.
Of the thousands of lighter styles on the market, we appreciate the simplicity and reliability of Zippo’s traditional pocket lighters. The all-metal construction is time-tested with a windproof design that works in almost any condition. Plus, the latest version is available in dozens of colors, with or without the Zippo logo.
DEET-based insect repellents are hands-down the best on the market. But they’re also toxic. Sidestep any future health issues or allergic reactions with a DEET-free, plant-based alternative like Repel’s Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent. Bonus: The strong, herbal scent helps mask any, ahem, odors you and your campmates may develop after a weekend in the bush.
Whether you’re thru-hiking or car camping, tarps are among the single most versatile pieces of camping gear. They work as awnings, ground coverings, tent footprints, rainflys, emergency shelters — the list goes on. B-Air’s Grizzly Tarps are thick, ultra-durable, and available in a wide range of sizes to fit your needs.
Just because you’re planning to spend a week in the woods doesn’t mean you have to smell like it. Advanced Elements’ Summer Solar Shower uses the sun’s rays to provide a nice, warm (even hot) shower anywhere, anytime. The three-gallon model is ideal for most one- or two-person camp outings, while the five-gallon model is a capable upgrade for larger groups.
For those times in-between camp showers, you need a proper body wipe. There are plenty of options on the market, but none tackle the hard job of keeping campers clean like Epic Wipes’ XL Massive Wet Wipes. At 2.6 feet by 1.6 feet, they truly live up to their name and feel more like a full-sized bath towel than a puny wet wipe. They’re also made from bamboo and are 100% biodegradable.
Of course, the best camping gear in the world isn’t of much use if you can’t get it all from your home to the campsite. Front Runner offers a deep catalog of roof racks designed to fit just about every car, truck, and SUV on the planet. The best part is the company’s equally deep catalog of roof rack accessories, so you can build the exact setup that works for all your gear.