While I was “roughing” it this weekend I took a few hours to casually roam around the various camp grounds.  Yes, partially to soak up the fresh air and bright shining sun… but also, and more importantly, to take notice of what other people brought along with them.  From what I could see, Coleman has got to be the King of all things outside.  Granted there were a few other brands I noticed (Cabela, Columbia, Burton) but overall Coleman rules the roost.  When I got back to my campsite I started to take notice of my eclectic gear and also noticed… lotsa Coleman.  So, for this post let’s talk a little about the Camp gods.

First thing I noticed was my lantern… a completely classic take on wilderness lantern.  Rugged, easy to handle, definitely not too heavy or bulky, and hung easily from the inside of our tent for easy to use lighting.  You never think much about it… but once that sun goes down it gets pretty stinking dark!  Yes, there is usually a campfire nearby… but that doesn’t help you in the tent.  Or when it’s down to embers and you’re stumbling around looking for more wood.  It’s necessary, it’s one of the more important nighttime tools and it’s easy to use.  Coleman lantern ($29).  For an updated version of the campsite classic which includes 4 removable, and rechargeable, sections that can be taken off of the base (for potty runs, beer runs or grabbing that big jacket) and easily plugged back in check out the Quad Lantern ($70).

With regards to the thing you probably do the 2nd most while camping… sitting… I also noticed the white and red moniker all over.  (side note* it’s funny how you don’t really notice branding with some items until you get a little more versed in what’s-what.  I had no idea we bought such great camp gear.  Especially when I began to hear horror stories about chairs breaking, lanterns not working, etc. while in the middle of a week-long trip)  Back to chairs… for years we’ve been parking our back-sides on the most comfortable and durable fold out chairs we’ve ever owned.  Camping, tailgating, 4th of July in the front yard… you name it and we’ve lugged these light-weight and super-easy to set up chairs around.  Now I know why they’ve lasted for so long… they were made by the camp gods.  Coleman quad Chair ($35) is the closest version to what I have used for years… and with the growing group of friends from regular camping park meet-ups, it’s time for me to pick a few more up.  it’s not a campfire without friends!

One thing that is essential to having a great day of hiking, fishing, swimming & whatever else your heart desires… a good nights sleep.  It’s pretty unanimous that this can be difficult to come by in the wild, and everyone has a horror story involving rowdy neighbors… ants… or bears, but with the following 1-2-3 combo its lights out for sure!  #1 the Tent!  While we’ve had our tent for quite a while now (I keep waiting for it to break down so I can get a new one, but the damn thing keeps up with our shenanigans and keeps rolling along), and the closest model that Coleman currently sells is the WeatherMaster 8 Tent ($229).  More than enough room to sleep 4, and have a little standing room for changing… this tent was almost insulting it was so easy to put up.  I felt like those damned 4 hours spent learning to pitch a tent in boy scouts was all for nothing.  This bad-boy kept us not only warm on the chilly nights… but has kept us warm, and dry during the occasional storm as-well-as that annoying coastal mist that makes everything damp.

In order to get a great night’s sleep you need to more things… a great air mattress and a sleeping bag.  I use a Coleman air mattress I purchased about 5 years ago, and is your typical Queen size… comfortable as hell… mattress.  I never really thought air-matress tech would really be excited, but before my next trip I am absolutely going to go out and pick up a Queen Quickbed ($65)… it looks dope!

Finally the Sleeping bag.  We don’t ever camp in frigid climates or during the time of year where a blizzard could affect us, so sub-zero mummy bags aren’t on our radar (we sleep the 30°-50° level bags).  If you’re looking for an incredibly warm (but not too warm) bag that will breath and keep you warm/dry at the same time… look no further than the Oak Point Sleeping Bag ($45).  It’s insulated and has “sections” to keep the insulation from bulking up in one area, has a pretty decent warranty (5yrs), has a nice design which keeps the freakin zipper from snagging and jamming the zipper (I HATE THAT!!) and is super easy to roll up… which is a big perk in my book.  All-in-all, a great night sleep!

So there you have it… a few of the essentials for a great weekend under the stars, brought to you with a few of the best-of-the-best (without breaking the budget).  While it may cost a few nuggets to set-up your camp with this amazing gear the first time around… everything I wrote about above will last you years, and I can almost guarantee you’ll never complain once about their performance.  Bite the bullet… you’ll thank me later!