Camping Gear: 3 New Essentials

Heading into the wild this weekend? Get geared up right — here are three awesome items to enhance any camping trip:

Heading into the wild this weekend? Get geared up right — here are three awesome items to enhance any camping trip:

Ecco BIOM Hike 1.2 — $290

Weight: 1.27 kg (2.8 lbs)

Best For: Everything from rough day-hikes to multi-day missions.

Ecco is going for a barefoot feel without sacrificing stability and protection — we noticed this from the first stride to the twentieth kilometre. Right away, we felt a spring in our step, probably generated by the rockered shape of the outsole — a flexible forefoot as well as a low-profile-but-well-padded midsole that helps encourage natural movement. The synthetic upper, backed by Gore-Tex, includes stabilizers in the heel that supported us when we over-packed, but didn’t get in the way on a day hike. Watch the sizing: these fit wide and long. Women’s and men’s models available.

Bottom Line: A burly boot that doesn’t feel like one. ECCO

Big Agnes Lone Spring 3 — $295

Weight: 2.6 kg (5.8 lbs)

Footprint: 4.4 sq-m (47 sq-ft)

Vestibule: 0.83 sq-m (9 sq-ft)

Best For: Lightweight backpacking on a budget.

Yes, the Lone Spring only has one door and one vestibule, but we think that is a small price for a tent, which, per-person, weighs less than one kilogram and costs less than $100. Testers appreciated the tent’s small footprint when travelling off-trail — it meant easy setup in cramped quarters. The four-pronged hubbed pole design set-up fast and easy and can even be used with the fly-only for superlight missions. But despite all the weight-conscious kudos, the tent still feels robust. “They cut weight, not corners,” said one tester, noting three interior pockets, lots of guy-out points and solid fabric.

Bottom Line: A tester summed it up best, “I wouldn’t hesitate to take this into the mountains from May to October.” Big Agnes

Mountain Hardwear UltraLamina 32 — $240

Temp: 0°C

Weight: 0.8 kg (1.8 lbs)

Best For: A synthetic lightweight option.

In sleeping bags, extra room equates to inefficiencies in bulk, weight and warmth. Aiming to be the most efficient synthetic fill bag, Mountain Hardwear shrink-wrapped this toaster aiming for a snug, tailored fit. It’s certainly lightweight and it packs small, but some may find it claustrophobic and cramped for sleeping. No one will complain about the Thermal.Q insulation, which is laminated to the windproof nylon shell, eliminating the need for stitches and cold spots.

Bottom Line: Lighter and more compact than many down bags with all the attributes of a synthetic, this is a top choice when wet conditions are on the horizon. Mountain Hardwear