Advice on Camping gear?

My husband and I are planning on buying camping a tent and sleeping bags for warm weather camping. What are good brands of camping gear? Any advice on what to buy? Please help.


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Like most things, it depends on what is more important to you - price or quality. If you are into backpacking (or have limited packing space) than size and weight are going to be a factor (the lighter and smaller something is, the more expensive it is going to be).

REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) is a great national chain of outdoors stores found in most large western cities. They also have a good web site with a gear finder. In addition to carrying major high-quality brands, they also have their own line of gear (tents, sleeping bags, jackets, etc) which generally gets good reviews and is reasonably priced for the quality. Their salespeople tend to be outdoors enthusists who know their gear and can give good advice. Another good online outdoors product store is Campmor.

REI's Half-Dome tent is probably the most popular 2-person tent among backpackers and their Element water-proof clothing line is also well respected. Other top-ranked brands include Marmot, MSR, North Face, Mountain Hardware, and Kelty. While usually not top of the line, Sierra Designs has a reputation for being a good compromise of quality and cost if you are on a budget.

Backpacker magazine does a best-in-class Gear Guide issue every year. For this year, the best warm weather sleeping bags were the Marmot Atom and Helium bags (best quality) and the Kelty Light Year series (best value). Top ranked tents included the MSR Mutha Hubba (large - car camping), Marmot Aeolos, and the REI Mountain 2. Outside Magazine (and website) also has a good gear guide and reviews. Their recent top-pick tents include Sierra Designs Reverse Combi and (for large car-camping tents) the REI Hobitat and Eureka Blue Mesa. For bags, they recommend the Marmot Atom (quality) and Big Agnes Crystal (value).

Coleman brand (and Wenzel) is what you will typically find in big department stores (most noteably Walmart). It is inexpensive, but also tends to be very heavy, bulky, and not always the highest quality. They are a good choice for things like ice chests, kerosene laterns, and car camping cook stoves, but I would be hesitant to buy their tents (which have get bad marks for leaking in many reviews) or sleeping bags which tend to be cumbersome. They are probably fine for car camping at established campgrounds, but I would certainly never use them if you are considering backpacking or remote undeveloped campsites where weight is important and staying warm and dry is critical.

Be especially careful about what tent you buy - contrary to some comments above, not all tents are equal, and many lower priced brands (and even some higher priced ones) have a tendancy to leak around the seams. Another thing to watch out for is how well the tent ventilates. Even if rain does not leak in, a poorly ventilated tent will cause condensation ('sweating') to form on the inside which is almost as bad as leaking.

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Any major name brand is good. If you are car camping, make sure you upsize the tent. A tent listed as a 4 person tent will hold 2 people + gear. Tyhe best place to get gear online is

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I've used Coleman my whole life. I prefer it to any other brand. I would suggest buying online at amazon or someplace you can get it at a cheaper price.

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Go to your local army surplus store.They have cheap durable camping gear of all sorts.From mess kits to solar blankets and more.If the army uses it then you should to.Reliable is the key to a sucessful trip to anywhere in the out doors.Have a great day!! WILLIEGOGO:

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if you're just going to be doing it in the summer with nights getting as low as 60, I'd just go to target or wal-mart and get whatever they have there.. don't invest a TON of money in great gear... you only need to get into north face, columbia, kelty, etc., when you're buying specific functional gear like winter camping or light-weight backpacking gear.

you should always use "Seam Grip Seam Sealer" on the seams of any tent.. if you buy one that says it's waterproof, don't believe it unless you pay over $300 for the tent which has an extra lining on the seams to make it waterproof (which is what you're paying for vs the $50 wal-mart tent)... if you try any other sealer, it just won't work, i know, i've tried...

the one thing you should know is that you should always add 20 degrees to the sleeping bag's rating..
if a k-mart sleeping bag is rated at 40 degrees, think of it as a 60 degree sleeping bag.. if you happen to be camping and it might dip into the 50s, you should bring an extra blanket or sheet to line the sleeping bag with.. using a liner will add several degrees and make your sleeping experience more enjoyable...

another thing to know:
get cheap gear, but invest in your sleep with a therm-a-rest... this is an inflatable mattress you sleep on.. it's not like an inflatable bed, the therm-a-rest is only 1-2 inches thick... using a mat under your sleeping bag is the difference between just a night's sleep or a good night's sleep...

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be sure you can stand up in the tent. nothing worse than trying to get dressed bent over

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