Summer Adventure Series: Camping

Hey Everyone! We’re excited to kick-off our new Summer Adventure series where we plan to inform and equip you with useful resources for making the most of this summer. Starting today, and in the coming weeks, we’ll be hitting topics like: camping, hiking, mountain biking, and more.

Our goals for each article are to:

1. Equip & Inspire – Each article will be specifically crafted to outfit you and your vehicle for the given topic.

2. Dive Deeper – Though some of the recommendations will be straightforward, we’ll also include products you’ve never thought of or know much about, but can have an impact on your adventure.

3. Support Local – We’re a local small business and want to support other local small businesses. That said, we also want to give you options, so we’ll include both a local business and an online outlet for you to choose from.

This Week’s Focus: Camping

When we think Summertime, one of the first things that comes to mind is camping. Getting out of the hustle and unplugging from our daily routines is so enriching to our lives. Connecting with nature and the ones we love truly has mental and emotional health benefits. Lucky for us, we live in a beautiful state with so many places to explore and find that peace. 

Did you realize that 70% of Idaho is public lands? Amazing! With 9 national forests and 12 wilderness areas, there are nearly infinite places to explore and “get lost” for a while. To help you make the most of those adventures where you’ll camp, we’ve curated this list of gear for you to maximize your time and minimize frustrations.

Equipping Your Vehicle

1. Vehicle Awnings 

Price Range: $150-$800 // The brutal heat of the summer sun or unexpected stormy weather make it essential to have a safe haven, and it’s especially convenient to have one directly next to your vehicle. Vehicle awnings are generally designed for trucks and SUVs, but if you have a roof rack on your sedan, you can attach one too. Several options are available, from those that provide overhead cover, to those that extend to the ground offering protection from wind gusts and sideways rain.

2. Gear Organizers 

Price Range: $500-$4,000 // Keeping track of gear can be frustrating and even exhausting. Purchasing a gear organization setup for your vehicle maximizes space use and shortens time setting up/breaking down the campsite. These add-ons are generally designed as setups for the trunk, bed, or third row of a vehicle and feature rollout or fold up drawers. The more expensive versions usually lock as well so your pricey camping or camera gear is safe while you’re out fishing or hiking. Setups range from basic nylon baskets to custom fabricated stainless steel drawers.

4. Roof Rack Tent 

Price Range: $1,000-$4,000 // Scoring that perfect campsite, especially during peak camping season, isn’t always an option. Or maybe you’re simply wanting to be as remote as possible. These handy roof mounted tents can be set up in a few minutes and let you get a good night’s sleep pretty much anywhere. They also keep you high off the ground and away from insects, snakes, and other wildlife. Campers access the roof rack tent via ladder, and some models even incorporate an extended cover for the ladder space, which can also double as a cozy hangout offering protection from the elements. 

5. Bumper Dumper 

Price Range: $50-$100 // Doing your business in the middle of the woods can be a real bummer, pardon the pun. No longer must you squat awkwardly! You can get the Bumper Dumper, a hitch mountable toilet. For less than a $100, you can post up on the john and enjoy much better scenery than even your home has to offer. Feeling extra crappy errr crafty? Check out this DIY Bumper Dumper build video!

Buy Local: We’re not seeing these anywhere in a local shop, but you might be able to find a handy neighbor with a welder to do the job for you. 

Buy Online:

Uncle Booger’s Bumper Dumper 

5. Insulated Coolers

Price Range: $100-$500 // Without a full solar/battery bank setup, even small, energy efficient refrigerators aren’t a realistic option for extended camping. These hardshell, insulated coolers hold ice for several days and most come with bear-proof latches, so your meals don’t end up in their stomach instead of yours. Some models even come with dividers and wire baskets to keep food dry. Pro Tip: Fill the bottom of the cooler with some cold water and ice, let sit for a few hours, then remove to cool the interior immediately before use. To keep food cold for several days, use blocked ice instead of crushed.

Equipping You 

1. Laundry Cleaning Bag 

Price Range: $30-$100 // Let’s face it, camping is a stinky business. Dirt, sweat, fire smoke, and food stains can make for some pretty nasty laundry. These handy bags allow you to pack less clothing and clean small batches of laundry to hang dry. Simply fill the bag with laundry, water, and a bit of detergent, then shake/turn until your heart’s content. (Bonus: you’ll also get a nice arm workout.)

2. Bunk Bed Cots

Price Range: $200-$400 // Navigating a tent full of sleeping campers without smashing any fingers can be an ordeal. Luckily, you can manage your space better and avoid discomfort from the cold hard ground with a pair of bunk bed cots. Some models even come with extra storage slots for sunglasses and headlamps. Disclaimer: These obviously work best in larger, family-style tents. 

3. Portable Water Filter

Price Range: $30-$100 // In a bad spot, these things can be the difference between life and death. They are also pretty handy if you know you’ll be camping near a water source and you don’t want to pack a bunch of H20. Now, you’ll see smaller straw-type designs, but those don’t allow you to store water in larger containers. Going with a pump filter means getting filtered water faster and in large amounts.

4. Camping Table

Price Range: $50-$100 // Kitchen amenities are pretty convenient. Out in the woods, you quickly notice how essential basic items like tables make a massive difference when it comes to simple tasks like meal prep. Camping tables are manufactured in a variety of heights and sizes to fit your needs, whether you’re planning to go out with the whole family or do a solo excursion.

5. Portable Fire Pit

Price Range: $50-$200 // Landing a campsite with a designated fire pit can sometimes be a challenge, and you don’t want to be responsible for a potentially devastating forest fire. So, bringing along a portable fire pit is a great alternative. These fire pits set up quickly and some are even designed for cooking attachments. 

We hope you’ve found this list to be helpful as you plan this Summer’s adventures. If there are items you love to use and we didn’t include, feel free to shoot us an email or message us on social with your thoughts. It’s always great to hear from you and for all of us to share with each other.

Next Week: Mountain Biking