Michelle Bodenheimer finds 5 essentials for camping that she plans to use during her personal #DisconnectDay. Find out more about her choices and about this concept, created by the good folks at Cabela’s.
Summer is upon us. The season is never complete without fitting in several camping trips with friends, sharing s’mores and campfire stories. Alll I need are the basics in order to enjoy my time in the woods – a tent, sleeping bag and sense of adventure. There are a few other accessories, however, that make my camping excursions more comfortable. I’ve listed 5 essentials for that reason.
Cabela’s Camo Camp Cot
This past year I sustained a significant back injury after a car accident. As a result, I realize tent camping and sleeping on the ground — with only a sleeping pad and sleeping bag — is no longer an option. With this in mind, I purchased a Cabela’s Camo Camp Cot. I know I can always count on the Cabela’s name to help add comfort to my campsite and help me continue to enjoy one of my favorite pasttimes.
The Camo Camp Cot, made of heavy-duty 600-denier nylon in Cabela’s own Zonz Woodlands pattern, is durable and comfortable. The reinforced steel frame is a bit heavy, but the cot’s travel bag makes it easy to transport from vehicle to campsite. It folds into place in seconds, requiring no tools for assembly. I appreciate that I can set it into place by myself without assistance, unlike many off-brand cots. The Camo Camp Cot is very sturdy and does not squeak or wobble, allowing a restful night’s sleep. The system also includes a hanging nightstand to help organize camp necessities such as eyeglasses, a flashlight, a water bottle and more.
My friends at YETI recently sent me the YETI Hopper to put to the test. This soft-sided cooler bag is unlike any other I have tried. Smaller than most traditional hard-sided coolers, the Hopper has a convenient carry design that’s perfect for packing for a picnic or taking on the boat for a day trip away from camp.
Having repeatedly used the YETI Hopper, I am continually impressed by its ability to keep our food and beverages ice cold for the duration of our trips, especially in the extreme heat the Pacific Northwest has been experiencing so far this year. The Hopper is made of a YETI’s solid Dryhide shell, with a Hydrolock zipper and Coldcell insulation. The combination provides exceptional heat resistance and ice retention.
The Hydrolock zipper is extremely firm and can prove difficult to manipulate at first. With use, however, it softens and becomes easier to pull. There is no question of the Hydrolock zipper’s durability and functionality to help keep beverages both cold and secure.
The Hopper’s boastful price tag can be a bit intimidating, but the cooler quickly proved that it lives up to the YETI brand name and is worth the expense. YETI is confident in the Hopper design and stands behind the cooler with a robust 3-year warranty.
The YETI Hopper is available in 2 sizes: the Hopper 20 and Hopper 30. The Hopper 20 measures 21 ½ x 13 ¾ x10 ½-inches, with an interior compartment large enough for 12 cans of beer or soda and ice. The slightly larger Hopper 30 boasts an interior compartment large enough for 18 cans of beer or soda.
The Hopper series coolers are available for purchase at major outdoor retailers nationwide, and can also be ordered directly from YETI’s online store. MSRP: $299.99, Hopper 20 and $349.99, Hopper 30
Thermacell Repellant Camp Lantern
Mosquitos and other flying pests can quickly ruin a comfortable evening in camp with both buzz and bite. Fortunately, the perfect solution is found in the Thermacell Repellent Camp Lantern.
Having enjoyed nothing but success in the past with Thermacell’s Mosquito Repellent Appliance, I am an admitted fan of the product line. The odorless device consistently provides a 15-square-foot bug-free zone, repelling not only mosquitos, but also all other flying pests. This year, Thermacell sent me the Repellent Camp Lantern to put to the test. This newly designed lantern combines Thermacell’s proven mosquito repellent with a bright, 300-lumen light.
The lantern met my high expectations, offering 4 separate light settings (low, medium, high and flashing SOS). One of the drawbacks of using any lantern in camp is that the light inevitably attracts flying insects. This is not the case here. The repellent consistently works as anticipated, immediately dispersing any mosquitos in the area.
The lantern portion of the appliance runs on 4 D batteries, providing up to 50 hours of light at the highest setting, while the repellent operates separately off an inexpensive butane cartridge. I appreciate the versatility the Camp Lantern offers, as the light and repellent functions can be used simultaneously or separately, depending on need.
The Thermacell Repellant Camp Lantern is available from major outdoor retailers nationwide, as well as from Thermacell’s online store. MSRP: $59.99
Helinox Chair One Black
Relaxing around a campfire, no matter the time of day, is one of life’s greatest comforts. Yet as much as I enjoy this experience, I don’t enjoy lugging heavy, awkward camp chairs next to the fire. Thankfully, Big Agnes, known as “The Mother of Comfort,” has lessened this burden with its Helinox Chair One.
The low-profile Helinox Chair One weighs only 1.9 pounds. The collapsible chair consists of sturdy aluminum poles and a breathable mesh seat, a durable and lightweight yet comfortable combination. Each chair packs into its own carrying case that measures only 14 x 4 x 5 inches, allowing easy storage and transport. The dimensions make it perfect for a backyard cookout, weekend camping adventure or backpacking expedition.
The Helinox Chair One is available in black, coyote tan, green, apple green, red, blue tiger camo and a multicam print. It can be purchased directly from BigAgnes’ online store, and from select retailers nationwide. Click here to find the retailer nearest you. MSRP: $99.95
Carhartt Force Performance Quarter-Zip Shirt
One of the easiest ways to camp in comfort is to simply dress in comfort. Carhartt recently provided me with its women’s Force Performance Quarter-Zip Shirt, which meets this challenge with style and sensibility. The Force Performance Quarter-Zip shirt is the perfect layering piece to wear while camping. With a slightly fitted cut, it’s made of a soft polyester-cotton-Spandex blend that wears and washes well.
I wear my Force Performance shirt regularly, including while I’m fishing or relaxing around the campfire. Both of these activities expose me to certain aromas that can be less than desirable, but the Force Performance shirt is designed to help repel stains and fight odors. Each time I return from my excursions and wash the shirt, it comes out looking—and smelling—good as new.
The Carhartt Force Performance Quarter-Zip Shirt is available in a variety of fun summer colors, including black, spearmint, heather, asphalt, magenta and geranium coral, and spans a wide range of sizes — from XS through XXL. The shirt pairs well with the Carhartt Force Equator Cap (pictured), to complete a comfortable and stylish outfit for any outdoorswoman.
Both the Carhartt Force Performance Quarter-Zip Shirt and Force Equator Cap are available for purchase directly from Carhartt’s online store, as well as at retailers nationwide. Click here to find the retailer nearest you.
MSRP: Shirt, $37.99; Cap, MSRP: $24.99
Perhaps the best way to make a camping experience more comfortable is to leave the distractions of everyday life at home. Like many Americans, I have been getting a little too much screen time lately and need to make a better effort to disconnect. I need to stop viewing the world through social media and start looking at things a little differently.
In an effort to step away from my iPhone, iPad, television, and computer, I have pledged to participate in Cabela’s Disconnect Day. By taking the #MyDisconnectDay Pledge, I have agreed to leave all my electronic devices at home in order to limit distraction while I reconnect with myself, my family, friends, and the great outdoors.
I challenge each of my readers to pick your own Disconnect Day. Whether you’ll be camping, hiking, fishing, or engaging in some other outdoor pursuit, challenge yourself to pick a day to disconnect and mark it on your calendar now.
You can read more about Disconnect Day and take the pledge here. How will you be spending your Disconnect Day?
An experienced huntress, Michelle Whitney Bodenheimer has pursued big game, upland birds and waterfowl throughout North America and Africa. Although Michelle loves to hunt and shoot (both rifle and bow), her biggest passion in life is sharing her love for the outdoors with others. Michelle is the dedicated gear review columnist for Women’s Outdoor News, in a column called “Her Gear.” Michelle’s writings and photography also have been published in a number of outdoor journals, including On Target, Lady Angler, The Gun Dog Journal, The Shooting Channel and African Hunting Gazette. Michelle has been a repeat contributing guest on Outdoor GPS,a live hunting and fishing television program broadcast on Comcast SportsNet NW. When Michelle is not writing, she is serving her time as an outdoor educator. She is an active volunteer for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Outdoor Skills Program. Her primary responsibilities with ODFW are serving as a shotgunning coach and dog handler/guide for ODFW’s upland bird hunting clinics. Michelle also teaches regularly for Women in the Outdoors (WITO) and Becoming and Outdoors Woman (BOW) programs. She serves on the Pro Staff team for Cabela’s, as well as for the NW Ladies Hunt Camp, an educational outreach program hosted in conjunction with the NRA’s Women on Target Program and Extreme Desire TV, and is a member of the field staff for Próis Hunting and Field Apparel for Women. A current member of a number of national conservation organizations, Michelle is a life member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundations, as well as a life member of the National Rifle Association. She also served as a past director for the Southwest Washington chapter of Safari Club International. Take caution, however, if Michelle invites you along on a hunt. Having been stalked by a cougar and attacked by a cheetah, she tends to live life a bit on the wild side. View all posts by Michelle Whitney Bodenheimer