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!
In my long experience with outdoors companies, gear stores, backpacking and camping, the differences between hiking and camping equipment are these:
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.
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, including a cooler filled with food, a roomy tent, camp chairs to rest your weary bones, and a campfire for roasting marshmallows.
Have I convinced you that hikers camp, and therefore 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.
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're also something nice to have at the end of the day, to get out of those cramped boots or trail shoes.
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?
But it's worth some thoughtful planning for your safety, comfort and budget, isn't it?
I certainly think so!
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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About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She's been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for 5+ decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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