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Adventure Magazine

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Gear Guide
Packing in the Ritz
Seven essentials for camping decadence: Bring them all.

   • Martin Backpacker: The Stripped-Down Six String
   • Sierra Designs Nomad 4: Under the Big Tent
   • Zodi Hot Camp Shower: Hours of Showers
   • Coleman Xpedition: (Flame)2
   • UCO Duo: The Right Light
   • GSI Lexan JavaPress: Coffee for Four
   • Mountain Hardwear Backcountry 72 Chair Pad: Sitting—and Sleeping—Pretty

A puritanical ultralightism has overtaken backpacking recently, complete with true believers using beltless backpacks, uncooked food, and tents without floors—fine innovations if you're hiking 35 miles (56 kilometers) a day and comfort is far down the priority list. But if you're strolling just a couple of miles to a weekend idyll at the lake, the new minimalism seems a bit absurd. Repeat this mantra: Comfort is good.

Go ahead and pack the roomy tent, the double-burning stove … even the propane-fired hot-shower device. They're not just for car camping—everything here can be shoved into a (big) backpack for a short hike. The payoff? A significant boost in campsite cushiness.

All prices in U.S. dollars


• Martin Backpacker: Stripped-Down Six String
Price: $274
Weight: 2.5 pounds (0.9 kilogram)
Dimensions: 35 inches (89 centimeters) long, 8 inches (20 centimeters) wide
Telephone: 800 247 6931 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.martinguitar.com

The Martin Backpacker is welcome acoustic company for any trip. It's only 35 inches (89 centimeters) long and 8 inches (20 centimeters) wide and weighs just two and a half pounds (0.9 kilogram) (including its padded bag). The solid spruce top helps the guitar achieve a depth of tone that belies its slight dimensions.
 

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Sierra Designs Nomad 4

• Sierra Designs Nomad 4: Under the Big Tent
Price: $349
Weight: 14 pounds (5.2 kilograms)
Dimensions: 66-inch (1.7-meter) peak height, 56 square feet (5.2 square meters) of floor space, 22-square-foot (2-square-meter) vestibule
Telephone: 800 635 0461 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.sierradesigns.com

Minimalist backpacking tents work fine during slumber but can leave you fighting claustrophobia during waking hours. Not so with the Sierra Designs Nomad 4, a four-person shelter with a generous peak height and 56 square feet (5.2 square meters) of floor space. A 22-square-foot (2-square-meter) vestibule and copious gear pockets mean you won't be sharing precious real estate with soggy gear or your hiking partner's footwear.

At 14 pounds (5.2 kilograms), the Nomad 4 is reasonably lightweight, considering its size.
 

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Zodi Hot Camp Shower

• Zodi Hot Camp Shower
Price: $139
Weight: 8 pounds (3 kilograms), plus 16-ounce (498-gram) propane-fuel canister (not included)
Telephone: 800 589 2849 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.zodi.com

Want to see a backpacking ascetic cringe? Fire up the Zodi Hot Camp Shower when you reach your campsite. At 8 pounds (3 kilograms), the shower is a hefty luxury item; you'd be wise to induce your hiking buddy to carry the separate, 16-ounce (498-gram) propane-fuel canister (not included). Then combine them for three hours' worth of steamy hot water.
 

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Coleman Xpedition

• Coleman Xpedition: (Flame)2
Price: $90
Weight: 26 ounces (809 grams)
Telephone: 800 835 3278 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.coleman.com

With two independently adjustable, 10,000-BTU burners, the Coleman Xpedition banishes forever one-pot surprises and long waits for burner space. Both burners are fed by a single, thread-on fuel cartridge. Unlike the bulky green camp stoves Coleman is famous for, the 26-ounce (809-gram) Xpedition folds flat for easy portability.
 

Click to Enlarge.
UCO Duo

• UCO Duo: The Right Light
Price: $29
Telephone: +1 425 883 6600
Web: www.ucocorp.com

After the sun goes down, the UCO Duo offers the cozy glow of a candle in a portable, wind-resistant design. Unfortunately, mood lighting doesn't always cut it. Enter the Duo's bright, half-ounce (16 gram) LED light. Leave it attached to the candle lantern's base, or wear it separately as a headlamp.
 

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GSI Lexan JavaPress

• GSI Lexan JavaPress
Price: $20
Weight: 11 ounces (342 grams)
Telephone: 800 704 4474 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.gsioutdoors.com

Cowboy coffee has its place, grounds and all, but an alternative is to use the GSI Lexan JavaPress, a nearly unbreakable device that brews 33 ounces (about 1 liter) of coffee. GSI has versions that make 10 and 50 ounces (0.3 and 1.5 liters)—and also offers such superfluous items as backcountry champagne flutes and cocktail shakers.
 

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Mountain Hardwear Backcountry 72 Chair Pad

• Mountain Hardwear Backcountry 72 Chair Pad
Price: $69
Weight: 3 pounds, 4 ounces (about 1 kilogram)
Dimensions: 6 feet long (1.8 meters long), 1.5 inches thick (4 centimeters thick)
Telephone: 800 953 8375 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.mountainhardwear.com

The Mountain Hardwear Backcountry 72 Chair Pad provides packable comfort, day and night. Insert a pair of aluminum stays into their guide slots, then clip together two buckles to transform the Backcountry 72 from mattress to chaise. Elapsed time? About a dozen seconds.

—Ben Hewitt

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Photographs by Spencer Jones

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May 2002:
In the Magazine | Excerpts | Park Guides | Yellowstone Photos | Yellowstone Map | Forum: National Parks | Gear Guide: Sunglasses | Travel Calendar




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