Reviews

LAST UPDATED: December 5, 2019

Best Outdoors Gear: The Ultimate in Wilderness Comfort and Style

Get the most out of the backwoods with this outdoors gear

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The Review Team

  • Product Network

    26 Products

  • Clock

    15 Hours

  • Reviews

    17 Reviews

How We Decided

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PUBLISHED ON December 5, 2019

You may love taking your car on adventures to the woods, the beach, the mountains, and beyond. But what do you need when you get there? With the wilderness gear featured in our buying guide below, there’s no need to sacrifice comfort or performance once you’ve arrived at your backwoods destination. Check out a few of our top recommendations for products that’ll power your adventures far off the road.

  • Best Overall
    Coleman Sundome Tent
    Coleman Sundome Tent
    Summary
    Summary

    Available in sizes for two to six campers, this warm-weather tent is designed to be waterproof and comfortable. Includes a flashlight loop, air vent, stakes, and an electrical access port for powered campsites.

    Pros
    Pros

    One of the most waterproof tents on the market, the Coleman Sundown’s polyester construction will keep you dry indefinitely. Setup is quick and easy. Durable materials withstand years of use.

    Cons
    Cons

    It needs to be weighted or staked in high wind, as it’s prone to blowing away. Coleman is stingy about offering replacement parts if one goes missing or breaks.

  • Best Overall
    Coleman Sundome Tent
    Coleman Sundome Tent
  • Best Value
    AceCamp Lightweight Sleeping Pad
    AceCamp Lightweight Sleeping Pad
    Summary
    Summary

    This lightweight sleeping pad is made of convoluted polyethylene foam and will ensure you sleep soundly like a baby. It only weighs 11.02 ounces, so you won’t have a hard time carrying it around.

    Pros
    Pros

    Its accordion design allows you to pack and unpack it quickly. There’s no inflation required, so you can quickly set it up after a hard day's trek to camp. A compression strap ensures it stays closed.

    Cons
    Cons

    It is bulky when folded and cumbersome to carry around. It is also very thin and uncomfortable to sleep on. It stains easily.

  • Best Value
    AceCamp Lightweight Sleeping Pad
    AceCamp Lightweight Sleeping Pad
  • Honorable Mention
    Outdoor Products Arrowhead Mammoth Technical Backpack
    Outdoor Products Arrowhead Mammoth Technical Backpack
    Summary
    Summary

    This backpack has adjustable straps for hands-free carrying that ensure you don’t get tired as you would with an ordinary backpack. It has a 47.8-liter capacity and many pockets and storage options. It is hydration-compatible.

    Pros
    Pros

    The top drawstring closure lets you easily pack up gear through the large upper opening. Its padded hip belt supports heavy loads. The bag comes with a lifetime guarantee so you can use it for years to come. There’s a zippered pocket on each side.

    Cons
    Cons

    It is slouchy and weirdly shaped and not a high-tech hiking backpack. It’s only suitable if you need to carry less than 20-25 pounds. If you carry anything heavier than that, it sags.

  • Honorable Mention
    Outdoor Products Arrowhead Mammoth Technical Backpack
    Outdoor Products Arrowhead Mammoth Technical Backpack

    You may love taking your car on adventures to the woods, the beach, the mountains, and beyond. But what do you need when you get there? With the wilderness gear featured in our buying guide below, there’s no need to sacrifice comfort or performance once you’ve arrived at your backwoods destination. Check out a few of our top recommendations for products that’ll power your adventures far off the road.

    Best Outdoors Gear Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    This tent is the first thing you need to pack when going out into the wild with friends or family. You will love its capacity, its durable polyester material, and the fact that it is waterproof. It is built to withstand rain and humidity, and its interior stays dry at all times. 


    The tent is well-ventilated to maintain proper air circulation. If you have small items, you can put them inside the pockets, which are quickly accessible. It features a loop that can hold a light at nighttime. If your camping area is powered, the charging port will come in handy. 


    However, despite Coleman’s great reputation, you may get frustrated when trying to get a replacement tent if yours has any issues. Additionally, you may have to pack stronger stakes, as the tent may not be able to withstand strong winds.

    Best Value

    Getting a good night's sleep on a camping trip was once a rarity, but today's sleeping pads are much better than their predecessors. They offer superior comfort with advanced cell designs and their weight and packed size continue to drop. If there's nothing you love more than camping or backpacking—and you are in the market for a sleeping pad—get the AceCamp Portable Foam Sleeping Pad. 


    It is made of convoluted polyethylene foam and is quite comfortable to sleep on. Its accordion design allows you to pack and unpack it easily. You don't need to inflate it—all you have to do when you want to sleep is unfold it. The manufacturer provides a compression strap so you can keep it compact when it’s not in use.


    We also love the fact that it only weighs 11.02 ounces. You won't have a hard time carrying it around when backpacking. However, the sleeping pad stains easily and becomes quite bulky when folded. It is also not comfortable to sleep on because it's very thin.

    Honorable Mention

    Whether you are heading to the mountains for a week or for a quick hike, having the right gear is of utmost importance. The most important feature you should look for in a backpack is comfort. If you'll be carrying heavy loads, choose a backpack with a hip belt, like the Arrowhead Mammoth Internal Frame Backpack. It is the perfect backpack for overnight or multi-day trips.


    The backpack is large enough to carry all your gear and has a capacity of 47.5 liters. Its adjustable comfort straps make for hands-free carrying and ensure you don't get tired on your hike. Its padded hip belt supports heavy loads while its cool mesh padded back keeps your back comfortable. 


    This technical backpack has four compression straps that secure and stabilize contents. It also has many pockets and storage options. But you can only carry loads weighing up to 25 pounds. If you overload it, it may start to sag. It is also not a high-tech hiking backpack and will not offer you many years of service.

    Why Trust Us


    All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

    Learn more

    Benefits of Outdoors Gear

    • Comfort.As you are out exploring the great outdoors, it’s important to be comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, you won’t have a great experience. Good outdoor gear creates a comfortable environment for you away from home.
    • Convenience. The best gear for the outdoors makes backpacking easier. Whether it’s providing shelter or keeping your equipment safe, the gear helps you to make the most of your surroundings. 
    • Quick emergency response. Anything can happen when you’re outdoors. If you have the appropriate outdoor gear, you can quickly respond to emergencies such as accidents. Your outdoor gear might also help other hikers around you. 
    • Enhances safety. The best outdoor gear keeps you safe as you explore. You won’t have to worry about injuring yourself or nature-related attacks. 
    • Durable. The best outdoors gear is designed to last and may not require a lot of maintenance. You won’t have to keep digging into your pockets to replace faulty gear. Some of the gear can also be multipurpose.

    Types of Outdoors Gear

    Emergency Outdoor Gear

    This refers to gear that is used in emergency situations. Whenever you’re buying outdoor gear, get some stuff in this category. The gear includes first aid kits, flares, navigation equipment, multi-tool survival kits, backup power sources, and communication devices. Keep the items in good condition so you can use them whenever they’re needed. 

    Shelter Gear

    As the name implies, this is any gear with the sole purpose of providing comfortable shelter. Items you’ll find in this category include tents and bivy sacks. Most of the items come with interior features and reinforcements that maintain their structural integrity. But because the items are exposed to the elements and can easily get damaged, they may require regular repairs or replacement. 

    Kitchen Gear

    Even when you’re backpacking, you have to eat. The kitchen gear you choose will depend on the nature of your excursion—you may need more gear for longer excursions. Some kitchen gear is multifunctional. For example, an outdoor grill can cook and warm food. Choose your kitchen gear and cookware based on two things: the number of people and the food you’ll be cooking.

    Traveling Gear

    Your outdoor activities will determine the kind of gear you’ll need. Traveling gear is essential and should be among the first things you buy. It includes bags, flashlights, water bottles, and survival kits. If you want to avoid the hassle and pack a single bag, choose the most essential gear.

    Top Brands

    Coleman

    Coleman’s history dates back to the early 1900s when it began selling lamps. But the company only started producing camping equipment in 1960. Currently headquartered in Wichita, it is well-known for its tents as well as other outdoor equipment. A prime example of the company’s love for durable products is the Coleman 4-Person Cabin Tent with Instant Setup.

    Garmin

    Garmin is an American company specializing in wearable fitness devices, navigation equipment, and women’s and men’s gear. It was established in 1989 and is currently situated in Kansas. It quickly became a global brand with a notable presence due to the high functionality of its gadgets. You can go explore the outdoors with a Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch or find your way around with the Garmin Glonass and GPS Receiver.

    Earth Pak

    Manufacturing eco-friendly and convenient bags since 2015, Earth Pak is known for one thing: its love for the environment. The company was started as a project by friends and has rapidly grown over the years. It now sells traveling gear to outdoor enthusiasts. Its highly-rated bags include the Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag

    Outdoor Gear Pricing

    • $10-$50: In this category, you’ll find highly useful items such as day packs, lighting equipment, ropes, and some emergency supplies. Most of the items here have basic functionality.
    • $50-$100:Here’s where you’ll find multi-day packs and multipurpose lighting equipment. You’ll also find one-person tents and energy-efficient stoves for preparing meals.
    • $100-$200: If your budget is $150 to $200, you can get a good deal on a camping tent that can accommodate up to eight backpackers. High-quality stoves and camping tables are also in this class.
    • $200-$500: If you’re going on a camping trip with your family or a group of friends and you prioritize comfort, look for outdoors gear in this price range. Glamping tents, high-end camping cots, and portable movie screens are all here.

    Key Features

    Portability

    If your excursion calls for a lot of outdoor gear, portability should be your priority. Portable gear will be easier to haul when you’re tackling harsh terrain. It is also easier to pack and unpack once you get to your destination. Less time spent unpacking means more time to explore.

    Weatherproof 

    Due to the unpredictability of nature, your gear must be able to withstand weather elements. Harsh sunlight, strong winds, and rainfall can quickly ruin your experience. Good outdoor gear offers protection against different weather conditions. Make sure your backpacks, sleeping bags, hiking boots, and cutting equipment are waterproof so you can use them at any time.

    Ease of Installation

    Can you imagine spending six hours putting together a tent? It’s hard to imagine, but it happens when people buy the wrong tents. The outdoor gear you choose should be easy to set up and dismantle—if the setup is needed. Your camping gear, table, stove, tent, and other equipment should make your trip easier, not harder.

    Other Considerations

    • Power Requirements. It’s vital to check if your outdoor gear has any power requirements. That way, you can set aside money for a power source. If any gear you buy uses batteries, get rechargeable batteries. They can be used in most devices that use standard alkaline batteries.
    • Safety Certifications. Some outdoor gear must pass safety tests before being released to the public. Make sure your gear is free of harmful contaminants. Chemicals in some gear can cause fires or interact with water to create dangerous byproducts. Understand how your gear interacts with the elements to avoid on-site accidents. 

    Best Outdoors Gear Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall
    Coleman Sundome Tent

    This tent is the first thing you need to pack when going out into the wild with friends or family. You will love its capacity, its durable polyester material, and the fact that it is waterproof. It is built to withstand rain and humidity, and its interior stays dry at all times. 


    The tent is well-ventilated to maintain proper air circulation. If you have small items, you can put them inside the pockets, which are quickly accessible. It features a loop that can hold a light at nighttime. If your camping area is powered, the charging port will come in handy. 


    However, despite Coleman’s great reputation, you may get frustrated when trying to get a replacement tent if yours has any issues. Additionally, you may have to pack stronger stakes, as the tent may not be able to withstand strong winds.

    Best Value
    AceCamp Lightweight Sleeping Pad

    Getting a good night's sleep on a camping trip was once a rarity, but today's sleeping pads are much better than their predecessors. They offer superior comfort with advanced cell designs and their weight and packed size continue to drop. If there's nothing you love more than camping or backpacking—and you are in the market for a sleeping pad—get the AceCamp Portable Foam Sleeping Pad. 


    It is made of convoluted polyethylene foam and is quite comfortable to sleep on. Its accordion design allows you to pack and unpack it easily. You don't need to inflate it—all you have to do when you want to sleep is unfold it. The manufacturer provides a compression strap so you can keep it compact when it’s not in use.


    We also love the fact that it only weighs 11.02 ounces. You won't have a hard time carrying it around when backpacking. However, the sleeping pad stains easily and becomes quite bulky when folded. It is also not comfortable to sleep on because it's very thin.

    Honorable Mention
    Outdoor Products Arrowhead Mammoth Technical Backpack

    Whether you are heading to the mountains for a week or for a quick hike, having the right gear is of utmost importance. The most important feature you should look for in a backpack is comfort. If you'll be carrying heavy loads, choose a backpack with a hip belt, like the Arrowhead Mammoth Internal Frame Backpack. It is the perfect backpack for overnight or multi-day trips.


    The backpack is large enough to carry all your gear and has a capacity of 47.5 liters. Its adjustable comfort straps make for hands-free carrying and ensure you don't get tired on your hike. Its padded hip belt supports heavy loads while its cool mesh padded back keeps your back comfortable. 


    This technical backpack has four compression straps that secure and stabilize contents. It also has many pockets and storage options. But you can only carry loads weighing up to 25 pounds. If you overload it, it may start to sag. It is also not a high-tech hiking backpack and will not offer you many years of service.

    Tips

    • When shopping for backcountry gear, consider not just comfort and price but also space and weight. Even if you’re car camping, you’ll need to fit everything into your vehicle’s storage space, so take care not to fill your trunk with your tent, stove, and hammock before you’ve put any food or water in there.
    • To test out a backpack, tighten the hip straps as much as possible by leaning backward so your pelvis is a little behind your feet. You want a pack that sits easily on your hips, chest, and shoulders and has all the space you need for the length of the trip you’re planning.
    • Plan ahead. A wilderness adventure is only as good as what you do to prepare for it. Get maps of the area from the National Park Service or U.S. Forest Service, decide how much food and water everybody is going to need, and if you’re hitting the trail make sure to pack and wear your backpack while you’re still in civilization. Remember, a bit of planning can save your trip—or your life—down the trail.

    FAQs

    Q: Do I need 4WD or AWD to take my vehicle into the wilderness?

    A: No. As long as you’re cautious and pay attention as you drive, 2WD vehicles perform perfectly well on gravel, dirt, or rutted roads. However, it’s best to stay on marked roads. If you want to leave the path entirely, it’s best to have a bit more power and height.

    Q: What’s the bare minimum I need to get started on my first wilderness journey?

    A: If you’re car camping, you’re going to need a vehicle to get you there, a tent, bedding, food, and a flashlight or lantern. If you want hot food or drinks, you’ll need a camp stove and something to fuel it, like white gas or propane. Most campgrounds have water, but if you’re going to one that doesn’t, bring your own water or a method of purifying the water you find. Don’t trust the water in the wilderness.

    Q: Do self-inflating sleeping pads require power?

    A: No, they inflate themselves through built-in mechanical valves. Just open the valve, leave the pad alone for a few minutes, and then close the valve when it’s gotten to your desired firmness. If you still aren’t sure about self-inflating, you can always go with an accordion-folding foam pad (they’re also lighter).

    Final Thoughts

    We recommend the Coleman Sundome Tent for keeping warm and dry in the backcountry. 

    The AceCamp Portable Foam Sleeping Pad adds comfort to the experience at an affordable price.