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Gear Up for a Camping Trip

Whether you’re heading out into the wilderness for two days or two weeks, you need some good gear by your side. Check out our picks for all the best to keep you warm, keep you cool, keep you entertained, and, most importantly, keep you not lost.

For the Lazy Man:

Quechua 2 Seconds Air III
Hate pitching a tent? You barely have to with the 2 Seconds line from Quechua, which features tents that go from flat to fab in literally two seconds. Don’t believe us? Check out the videos at Quechua Tent's website, where they demonstrate how to set up and take down the wonder-tents. If you really get good, you can pack the whole thing up in 15 seconds (but even if it took, say, two minutes, would that really be so bad?). The Air III fits up to three people and is perfect for those hot summer nights, as it features an air-cooling system that can be controlled from inside the tent.

For the Entertainment:

Gibbon Slacklines
There’s a lot to enjoy in the great outdoors, but if you get bored with any of it, create your own fun with these slacklines from Gibbon. Secure each end to a tree or other object—it looks like a tightrope, but instead of being taut, these lines have some bounce, allowing for much more movement. Try walking and turning around if you’re a beginner; move to moonwalking, sitting down, and jumping as your skills progress.

For the Geocacher:

Download maps, track where you’ve been, plot a path, find out how fast you’re trekking, and share it all through Facebook and Twitter with the MotionX-GPS app for the iPhone. What more could you want for less than $3?

For the One Who Wants a Good Night’s Sleep:

Sleeping bags aren’t especially varied. Sure, there are some that keep you really warm, and some that keep you cool, some that roll up into a tiny ball, and some that have all kinds of state-of-the-art materials. But for one that really stands apart from the pack, check out MusucBag. The innovative design has separate arms and legs so that you can move freely—stand up, walk, cross your arms, etc.—all while staying warm, with a comfort temperature of 7ºC/45ºF (you don’t want to wear it in the bitter cold). Plus, it just looks cool—like a cross between the Marshmallow Man and an astronaut.

For the Old-Fashioned Navigator:

National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps
Remember the days when if you didn’t know how to get somewhere, you pulled out your trusty map instead of turning on the GPS? No? Well it’s about time you learned how to navigate yourself around without the help of a computerized voice. Each Trails Illustrated map from National Geographic is reviewed by local land managers for accuracy, then printed on waterproof, tear-resistant material that can withstand your tromping through the backwoods. The detailed topographic information, clearly marked trails, points of interest, and navigational aids will help you get around—and you can say you did it all on your own!
(US$9.95 to US$11.95)

For Illumination:

Coghlan’s Micro Lantern
Shed a little light on a subject with this teeny-tiny lantern. It packs a big punch despite its diminutive 2-inch stature, illuminating six-and-a-half feet in diameter. With a battery life that gives 25 hours of continual shine, it’s perfect for reading in your tent or a middle-of-the-night bathroom run.

For the Trailblazer:

Cub Cadet Volunteer 4x4 EFI
Are you the super-adventurous type who wants to blaze your own trail, delving far into the woods in search of the best camping spot? If you’ve got $11K USD or so to spare, then you’re in luck. This utility vehicle has a towing and payload capacity of 1,400 pounds (635 kilograms), so you can lug all the gear you need to (at least, we hope you can—if you’ve got more than 1,400 pounds worth of stuff, we can’t help you). Cruise up to 32 miles per hour as you ride smoothly over the terrain, thanks to a fully independent suspension, and look good while you’re doing it.

For the Chilly-Weather Camper:

Coleman Disposable Toe Warmers
You know the drill: Keep your head and feet warm, and the rest of you will stay warm, too. To help keep those tootsies from feeling like they’re falling off from frostbite, pick up a pack of these disposable toe warmers. To activate the heat, all you’ve gotta do is shake ’em. You’ll thank us later—namely, when everyone else’s toes are purple.

For the Food Preparation:

Pocket Grill
What if we told you that you could pack a 5.7-inch-by-2.75-inch (14 cm x 7 cm) grill in your pocket that holds up to two turkeys? Would you believe us? We’re not sure we believe us, either, but it’s true—this handy little grill (emphasis on little) expands to 1 foot tall, 1 foot long, and 2 feet wide (30 cm x 30 cm x 60 cm), assembling in just 30 seconds. This groundbreaking contraption, the smallest of its kind, is new for 2010, so scoop one up early and impress all the other campers when you literally pull a grill out of your back pocket.