For some, camping is a bare bones experience – how few pounds can I carry, how uncomfortable can I make my sleeping experience, etc. For others, the campground is home away from home, sometimes one just steps from a parked car overflowing with all the necessities (and then some). These three products won’t necessarily fit into the minimalist backpacker’s pack (aside from the 1 oz wind meter, perhaps), but they’re well worth bringing on your next car camping trip – especially the beer-spouting growler.
Find your way with the Mini Houki as though it were a flickering candle or perhaps a glowing fire. Hozuki uses 3AAA batteries to deliver three brightness settings in candle or standard modes. Active Junky favors the attached hanging system, though this silicone ball of illumination stands upright on its own as well. While pricier than survivalist lights, this one will get used at home and away.
Best For: Patios, parks and basecamps
At well under 1oz and below $50, raise a cup (two, actually) to the wind on your next excursion. While toy-like in appearance, this gadget's app makes the easy-carrying Vaavud a no-brainer for smart phone- and tablet-toting hikers and skiers. Active Junky’s sold on this inexpensive trip-saving tool that captures and tracks data like a pro for 1/3 the cost of dedicated weather instruments.
Best For: Backcountry and high-altitude trekkers in turbulent environments.
Don’t fill Drink Tank with ordinary swill: such a chalice merits the finest of Colorado microbrews. Summer ales, winter stouts and everything in between stay cold and frothy inside the stainless steel, double-walled vacuum growler. While excessive for multi-night treks, the Drink Tank supplied three backpacking testers with a couple IPAs each on an overnight in Colorado’s alpine dales. “There’s nothing better than a cold beer miles away from roads, let alone a brewery,” said one wistful tester upon his return. The Drink Tank shines as a novel way to enjoy a carbonated beverage at the park or on the trail. Convert your Drink Tank growler into a portable keg with the Keg Cap; you’ll marvel at the still-frothy draught a full 24-hours after topping it off at your local brewery.
Best For: Tipping one (or two) back with a friend on the trail