Summer Camping Essentials

From hammocks to sunscreen and a UFO-sighting notebook, products that accentuate adventures

It’s not summer until you’ve made an escape to the great outdoors—and maybe cooked a S’more on an open fire. As we quickly approach August, those in the Northern Hemisphere are taking time out in the wilderness; floating in rivers, hiking, and swimming. Immersion in nature offers undeniable rejuvenating and its own form of entertainment. Some city folk, however, might need help with both. With that in mind, we’ve selected several items that will make your next camping trip extra fun, relaxing or pragmatic—from games to hammocks, sunscreen, hats and kayaks. Be sure to check out all our previous camping suggestions, as well.

Hammock Kit

Two brands that love the outdoors and great design, Topo Designs and Kammok have teamed up for a seriously fun hammock kit. Included is the 500-pound capacity Kammok Roo ($128), which is designed for comfort and easy set-up (and the all-important packing away) in a custom Topo colorway of bright red and aqua. Made from durable ripstop fabric and with double-certified climbing strength carabiners, this hammock is built to last. Also in the kit, you’ll find tree-hugging Kammok Python Straps, to ensure you’re safe while you snooze.

“NO” Cap

If you’re going to be dodging sunlight with cap, it might as well be a statement-making one. 100% eco-friendly and fair-trade, this one ($40) by Slow Factory is part of their Resist collection, and introduces a new, alternative voice in the politicized red hat movement. The cap is made in the USA and boldly embroidered “NO.”—with that all-important period in place to reminds us that this one word can be a complete sentence. Of course, it’s also practical for staying sun smart when outdoors in the height of summer.

Project Blue Book UFO Sighting Guide

Not just a blank notebook, the Project Blue Book UFO Sighting Guide ($5) is full of important factors to record in case you ever see an alien craft. It’s a copy of the declassified official government UFO sighting survey which used to be issued to members of the US Air Force—in case they saw anything out of the ordinary. With sections asking whether the object changed shape, gave off smoke, flickered, etc, there is plenty of information to fill out. Embrace your inner Mulder or Scully, and find the truth out there.

Surf Mud Sunscreen

This Brooklyn-based brand was founded by Jun Lee to develop natural, healing remedies that kept up with her active lifestyle. There are no frou-frou formulas here, just effective protection and recovery: like non-toxic Surf Mud sunblock (made using coconut oil, cocoa butter and zinc), an extra-strength menthol oil roll-on for headaches and muscular pain, tea tree and myhrr-infused antiseptic balm for rashes to scratches, and natural deodorant in push-stick form (no more scooping with a spoon). The eco-friendly cardboard and tin packaging seals the deal.

Keith Haring Voyage Poncho

Herschel’s newest collaboration is with the estate of the beloved iconic pop artist Keith Haring. Our pick from the collection is a cute and practical poncho ($70), which features a wind-resistant and water-repellent coating, as well as a snap closure at the neck. Available for all genders, the poncho’s charming print emits cheer even on the rainiest of days.

DP-16L Olive Daypack

With a shell of Cordura Ballistic Fabric and a ripstop nylon interior lining, Repelica’s Daypack ($215) can handle just about any irregularities in the weather. It weighs in at 2.5 pounds and an EVA compression molded back panel guarantees comfort. All of the additional hardware is heavy duty and weather-defiant—so no matter what the wilderness throws at you, your treasures will remain protected.

Expression 11.5 Kayak

A dynamic 11’7″ long kayak, the Expression 11.5 ($829) by Perception has the technical capabilities to handle day-touring comfortably. The sleek, stable design allows for maneuverability in many conditions. Ideally, this is a recreation kayak for ponds, lakes, slow rivers and gentle coastal waters but with features such as a cockpit-deployable TruTrak skeg system for windy conditions and a foam-encased pocket to cradles a user’s lower back, this flatwater kayak can handle small challenges safely.

Cactus Tent

Covered in very cute illustrations of cacti, this bright yellow tent ($99) by Australian brand Camp Pineapple is a delightfully playful alternative to standard issue tents. Since the tent is a pop-up it’s easy to assemble, and once set up it stands at 91cm tall. Whether you’re camping at a music festival or in the middle of the woods, this tent will stand out.

All-in-one Coffee Maker

If you, like us, can’t start the day without a coffee, the idea of camping might fill you with fear. While your fancy pour-over might not be possible in the wilderness, the very clever all-in-one Cafflano ($95) coffee-maker and tumbler will do the trick. This contraption grinds your favorite beans and brews your cup of coffee—without filters—wherever you might be.

Meet Me in the Bathroom

Arguably this summer’s most zeitgeisty book, Lizzy Goodman’s “Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011” ($15) is the incredible story of NYC’s explosive music scene in the early 2000s—during which time bands like The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem and more were propelled into fame. The behind-the-scenes insights are from some 200 interviews with musicians, journalists, photographers, managers, music executives, groupies, DJs and more. It’s a fascinating read—full of gossip—and not just for rock enthusiasts.

Woman Playing Cards

In a regular deck of playing cards there are only four women, but in Zach Wahls’ version all 54 cards ($20) feature smart, resilient and inspiring women. Beyoncé is (of course) the queen, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the king, Harriet Tubman is number eight, and other well-known names to grace these cards include Ida B Wells, Rosa Parks, Sylvia Rivera, Dr Sally Ride and more. Featuring 15 original hand-drawn portraits, these cards offer endless games while sitting around the fire or huddled in your tent.

Muurikka Leisku Camping Frying Pan

Whether cooking up eggs and bacon for breakfast or steaks at dinner time, Muurikka’s Leisku frying pan (£28) is made from high-quality steel but still easy to transport—thanks to its folding handle and carry bag. It can be used over a campfire or grill.

Images courtesy of respective brands, lead image courtesy of Topo Designs