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by Diane Spicer
"Hiking camping equipment" is a phrase that smooshs together two separate universes.
If only astrophysicists could do the same!
The hiking universe does overlap the car camping universe, however.
And that's why you need to read this before you buy hiking equipment or invest in camping gear.
You want gear that can pull double duty if you want to backpack AND camp at established campgrounds.
In my long experience with outdoors companies, gear stores, backpacking and camping, the differences between hiking and camping equipment revolve around three factors:
Hikers want lightweight hiking gear, because they are transporting it on their backs.
Car campers don't have to check for exact ounces in a flashlight or sleeping bag.
want comfort above all, and have plenty of room in the car for comfortable camping equipment. A cozy blanket for the tent, a heavy sleeping bag, extra clothing come to mind.
Hikers crave comfort, but most are realistic about the direct
relationship between weight and comfort. They have gear hacks to get the most out of the least amount of gear.
Hikers bring less gear on a backpacking trip, not because they're martyrs but because they understand how to make camping equipment do double or triple duty.
In fact, it's an art form! See these tips about bandannas for an example.
And backpackers don't have the luxury of multiple options which campers enjoy. Gravity (i.e. weight) is a stern mistress.
On the other hand, campers are folks who can get away with "only one use" camping equipment: an omelet pan or a lantern.
There is no motivation to make any one piece of gear perform multiple uses.
What should be the same is the quality of the hiking camping equipment.
But in my experience, it isn't - unless you know which brands to choose.
It's possible to purchase inexpensive camping equipment and be disappointed when it's too heavy and/or too flimsy for hiking usage.
Backpack camping gear is a sub-set of camping equipment.
So don't be fooled!
A hiker needs to scrutinize camping equipment for these features:
I'm a firm believer in bargain hunting for hiking camping equipment.
But sometimes I am willing to pay a higher price for bombproof hiking gear, like my titanium cookware set.
Or my sleeping bag.
It's always a dance between price and quality, and if you're on the fence about which side to land on, always take the long view:
You're building a repertoire of reliable hiking camping equipment to be used for many years into the future.
And to be handed down to the next generation, in the case of a titanium cookware set that is handled with care, or a Coleman lantern treated with respect.
If you're interested, my hiking equipment list, honed by many decades of trial and error, is ready for your perusal right there.
If you're just easing into the idea of backpacking, and you are up for the adventure of a camping trip, why not choose a campground that offers you easy access to several hiking trails?
You can day hike every day, but have some of the comforts of home in the evening:
Use my tips for planning the best car camping for hikers experience!
Have I convinced you that hikers camp, campers hike, and therefore all of them need hiking camping equipment?
But now you realize that camping hiking equipment doesn't have universal applicability.
When scanning ads or trolling through gear stores, as a hiker you want to head for the backpacking and hiking items, not the camping equipment.
The brands will be different.
Here's a good example:
Note: They use different fuel canisters, and need to be set up and used differently. Maintenance and used fuel canisters are also a consideration.
Always handle your hiking camping equipment at home to avoid disasters.
Read about backpack chairs -vs- camp chairs.
Or take a look at a portable, rechargeable, independent power station camping lantern that's way too heavy for backpacking.
Here's one more:
Here's a great example of gear that can perform well for backpacking as well as for car camping: camp shoes.
For a backpacker, a lightweight and indestructible pair of shoes for foot protection during a water crossing is invaluable.
They lash onto your pack and weigh nothing.
They're also something nice to have at the end of the day, to get out of those cramped boots or trail shoes. This cuts down on hiking toe problems.
A camper also knows how relaxing it is to have a pair of camp shoes, while making dinner or puttering around the campsite.
Here's what I use: good old fashioned Crocs.
Are you beginning to see that acquiring hiking and camping equipment could be an expensive (and fun) habit?
So it's worth some thoughtful planning for your safety, comfort and budget, isn't it?
Hike and camp to your heart's content, and maybe even use the same equipment.
Just don't forget to plan your camping hygiene essentials :)
Best Hiking Camping Equipment
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