Gear Essentials: Camping Gear & Apparel

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It’s almost winter and whether you’re a year-round overlander in need of some warm camping gear or if you’re simply keen to stock up on gear for those chilly mornings next spring, now is a great time to stock up on warming (i.e. life-saving) gear.

We pulled together a bunch of our favorite camping gear and apparel for this month’s Essentials, from long underwear to hoodies to a campfire reflector that can ensure all your fire’s heat goes where it’s intended — toward you.

Without further ado, here is our list of Overland Camping Gear and Apparel Essentials.

Atlantic British — Clearview Easy Slide

Anyone with a 12-volt fridge/freezer mounted to a drawer system knows how difficult it is to access your fridge quickly. It is even more difficult to see into it without climbing on your tailgate and contorting your body into the narrow opening to get to your fridge.

For those tired of performing a contortion act every time they want to grab something out of the fridge, Clearview comes to the rescue with their new EasySlide. This slide pulls your fridge out of your storage compartment toward you and lowers it a full 11.5 inches, making it simple to see exactly where the milk went.

Built from high-quality steel, the EasySlide uses 337-pound gas struts and a safety gear mechanism to safely lower your fridge to eye level. The Clearview EasySlide is available in three sizes and can accommodate nearly every brand of fridge on the market. Clearview has a host of well-thought out optional accessories including a clip-on food prep tray attachment, electronic cable saver, and a pantry kitchen kit to make your overland rig a rolling chuckwagon.

We love the Clearview EasySlide for its convenience and durability. This is a perfect upgrade for making your overland cooking experience a breeze.

MSRP: $699-95 – $759.95


Prometheus Design Werx — Defiant Hoodie Soft-Shell

Wading through the details of a good technical jacket to choose the best one for your needs can be a daunting task. One of the hallmarks of a good jacket is how much research and development goes into the design. Prometheus Design Werx (PDW) raises the bar with their new Defiant Hoodie, constructed with waterproof, four-way stretch, breathable Schoeller fabric and YKK AquaGuard zippers.

It is the distillation of real-world user feedback from folks who test this gear on all seven continents.

PDW’s Defiant Hoodie includes thoughtful design details like four external zippered pockets with dummy cord anchors to keep your EDC tools secure, a zippered internal pocket — for important items, bias cut cuffs and laser-cut cuff tabs to allow for more fluid movement, and pit zips to manage heat build up.

We love the PDW Defiant Hoodie because it is a well-tested technical jacket that can adapt to changing weather conditions. This jacket is a perfect compliment to your overland/outdoor adventures.

MSRP: $395.00


Prometheus Design Werx — CC12 Storage System Duffel

If you’re hunting for the world’s most versatile duffle, look no further than the PDW’s CC12. Ideally suited for storing your gear and supplies when overlanding, the CC12 doubles a grab-and-go garage storage system for organizing gear that you want to keep accessible and transport quickly. Sized to hold standard 12-gallon storage totes (not included), the CC12 can fly solo or be paired with a bin. When traveling with the CC12 and a 12 gallon tote, the two can easily be un-nested and quickly double your storage capacity. The duffel’s zippered main opening is specifically designed for easy opening, with or without a bin inside. Made of bombproof 1000D PVC tarpaulin material with a full rain flap around the main zipper, the CC12 is built to stand up to the rigors of the road and all sorts of inclement weather. The duffel also has several zippered mesh organizer pockets for sorting out the small stuff and a velcro patch on the exterior for attaching morale patches to identify the contents. 

MSRP: $199.00


Prometheus Design Werx — A.G. Wilderness Quilt

One of the key components to the success of any trip into the backcountry is ensuring yourself a good night’s sleep. Once you have a suitable surface to sleep on, tucking in under the A.G. Wilderness Quilt is the next step to staying comfortable as temperatures plummet overnight. Filled with RDS certified 800-fill power goose down, this 84 inch by 92 inch (213 centimeter by 233 centimeter) quilt was designed to amply cover two people sleeping in a roof-top or 2+ person tent. This box baffle construction quilt is made from 20D mini-rip stop nylon with DWR to ensure durability and water resistance, meaning this blanket will serve as a solid investment for years to come. The temperature rating for a warm sleeper is 20 degrees and for a cold sleeper it is 30 degrees. The A.G. Wilderness Quilt tucked into a summer sleeping bag will keep even the extra-cold sleeper warm in sub-freezing temperatures. Prometheus Design Werx includes a mesh storage bag and a travel stuff sack, so this two pound, eight ounce blacket can pack down to 8 inches by 15 inches (20 centimeters by 38 centimeters).

We love the PDW A.G. Wilderness quilt for being a dynamic piece of gear that you can cozy up under next to a campfire in your own backyard or being that blanket that keeps you warm in your roof-top tent as a giant ice cube forms in your water bottle next to you. The orange underside means that this piece of your kit can also be used to make you stand out to a search crew, should you get into a tough spot in the wilderness and require rescue. 

MSRP: $319.00


Patagonia — Capilene Air Hooded Top & Bottoms

The best long underwear is as versatile as your duct tape, as good for hanging out by the campfire as it is keeping the chill off on a blustery trail day. Patagonia’s Capilene Air Hooded Top is made of an airy wool blend that wicks away moisture as your heart rate rises.

The natural odor resistant properties of the Merino wool will keep you feeling fresh, even as you’re sweating with your winch line. Like all of the best baselayers, the Air Hoodie fits close to the body without binding or chafing thanks to the seamless construction. On particularly cold days, the high collar hood with anatomical shaping can be pulled up under your moto helmet or beanie for extra warmth. You can pair the hoodie with Patagonia’s Capilene Air Bottoms for head-to-toe backcountry comfort.

The innovative 3D knit structure offers an amazing warmth range and the blend of 51% merino and 49% recycled polyester dries in a flash. Plus, all of the wool Patagonia sources is certified to the Responsible Wool Standard, so you can make the world a better place and stay cozy at the same time.

MSRP: Top $149; Bottoms $129


MC Ranch Overland — Original Fire Reflector

Building the perfect campfire is one thing, but managing to control and optimize your blazing masterpiece is quite another. MC Ranch Overland created “The Original Fire Reflector” to help you do just that by utilizing “the principles of parabolic arc and the properties of aluminum,” this heirloom-quality piece of equipment greatly enhances the experience of cooking over a fire or simply relaxing next to one.

By blocking any wind or airflow coming from the opposite direction, the screens ensure maximization of your fuel resources. If you’re cooking over flames, “The Original Fire Reflector” can be used as a shield to enable you to get closer to the backside of the fire as it will block some heat and provide protection from any low-flying sparks. On a chilly night, the CNC machined, hand-finished screens reflect heat and light back towards your camp, resulting in a cozy, warmly lit atmosphere for you, your friends and family to enjoy as the stars appear in the sky. “The Original Fire Reflector” weighs in at 27 pounds, packs down to 24 inches by 24 inches by one inch, and comes in a hand-made, military-grade 1,000 Cordura carrying case. 

Our least favorite thing about sitting by a fire is having to get up and move every time the wind direction changes. As such, one of the things we love about “The Original Fire Reflector” is that it helps us control the direction the campfire smoke wafts. 

MSRP: $375.00


KUHL — M’S LAW FLEECE LINED HOODY

There are few items in your traveling kit more important than a warm outer layer. The KUHL Law Fleece-Lined Hoody is a tough and well designed outer layer that is over-engineered in all of the right places. Parts of the jacket that are prone to heavy use and abrasion have been wax-coated for longevity. The body of the jacket is lined with ultra-soft fleece to keep warmth focused around your core. The sleeves are designed with maximum range of motion in mind and additional touches like thumb-holes inside the sleeves make wearing the Law Hoody a real treat. 

We love the KUHL Law Hoody because of the everyday-use details like zippered and fleece-lined hand warming pockets, chest pockets, and interior chest pockets. The attention to detail continues with micro-suede on the inside of the main zipper to prevent chafing on the chin when fully zipped. Hem and knit cuffs help to keep warmth in your sleeves. This well thought out hoody is great for exploring the backcountry in your truck or simply carrying in wood from the wood pile. 

MSRP: $169.00


HELINOX — CHAIR ONE HOME

Have you ever had a camp chair that you A.) like the feel of so much and B.) spent enough money on that you are tempted just to set it up in your living room? You’re just like us, if so. That’s why we like the Helinox Chair One Home. It is incredibly comfortable and it’s also equally handsome. So, it wouldn’t totally look out of place in your place — not that we’re advocating for you to fill your home with camping equipment. That’s a bit tacky.

The Chair One Home ’s chief selling point is not its indoor decor-level style. No, its bona fides are its compactness, packability, and robustness.

The chair is covered in 1,200 denier polyester. Don’t know what 1,200 denier polyester is? Neither did we. Essentially, it’s a thick, finely woven polyester fabric that has the soft touch of cotton. This enables the Chair One Home to resist weather and UV rays as well as tears and abrasion. Plus, it wipes down clean with just soap and water. If that weren’t enough, it is low profile. This allows it to fold down tight, making it super packable — even in tight spots.

That’s why we love Helinox’s Chair One Home. It is hardy, long-lasting (backed by Helinox’s five-year warranty), packable, and really aesthetically pleasing. So, go ahead and pick up a pair for your campsite and your living room (we won’t tell anyone). 

MSRP: $124.95


THE NORTH FACE — Terra 65L Backpack

Whether you’re using your overland rig as a basecamp for day hikes throughout your journey, or if you’re simply looking for a smart way to organize your essentials in your rig, there are few items we like better than a good, all-round backpack. And there are few full-feature backpacks as The North Face Terra 65L.

If it weren’t obvious, the Terra 65L has a 65-liter interior capacity. This should be more than enough room for your essential gear. You can also add on a hydration pouch, if you want to bring along additional water. No matter how you pack it, you can access your gear from either the top or side zipped access points.

The fit of the Terra — thanks to The North Face’s Optifit suspension system — is adjustable to ensure the most comfortable fit. What’s more, the shoulder pads are heavily cushioned and the hip belt is mesh-lined. These features aid in both comfort and weight distribution. Further ensuring comfort are vertical channels that promote airflow. In less elegant terms, the Terra is designed to prevent sweaty back — all too common with other backpacks.

That’s why we love The North Face’s Terra 65L backpack. It’s big but not too big. It’s comfortable and versatile. And it had smart design features that make wearing it a lot more comfortable. Plus, it’s available in two colors: Grisaille Grey/Asphalt Grey or Twill Beige/Sullivan Green.

MSRP: $189.90


SJK Utility Bin — Spare Tire Bag

One of the first modifications many overlanders make is to relocate their vehicle’s spare tire out from underneath the rig up onto or just behind the tailgate. Not only does this improve ground clearance (you don’t have a huge mud tire slung under your rig), it also makes the vehicle look a lot cooler. So, it’s a win-win.

More than improving off-road performance and on-road aesthetics, mounting a spare on your tailgate also enables you to mount additional storage solutions. Our favorite in this category is SJK Utility Bin Spare Tire Bag. And, yes, this is more than just a canvas trash bag.

The inside offers 50 liter of storage and it features a utility bin with enough room for the extras. That means you can stuff it with extra gear, firewood or packing out any trash you find on the trail. Plus, if you line the Spare Tire Bag with a trash bag, it can also be used as a cooler.

No matter what you stuff into it, the drain hole at the bottom ensures you can clean it out with ease. So, you can snag trash on one trip and fill it with firewood on the next.

We love the Spare Tire Bag because it fits stock tire sizes as well as those up to 40 inches in diameter. The main compartment zips closed, so you can rest assured your gear won’t bounce out — even on the toughest of trails. Plus, it features a PALS attachment system on the side panels for extra utility. 

MSRP: $89.95


Header image: Four Points Adventures/Todd Rogers

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Photo by Brett Willhelm

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