Gear For Your Photo Basecamp

Equipment to outfit your campsite for comfort and safety
Overnight camping in wild places allows you to get out early and stay out late to capture exceptional wildlife and landscape photos. Here are our suggestions for gear to make your campsite a relaxing place to stage your photo adventures.

Quick Meals & Hot Drinks

Quick Meals & Hot Drinks

For hot drinks and basic meals that require boiled water, it’s hard to beat the convenience and ease of use of the MSR WindBurner. The windproof, enclosed design boils water quickly in practically any weather, and is self-contained with an integrated 1.0 or 1.8-liter pot, which stores the WindBurner components when packed. List price: $129 (1.0 liter); $149 (1.8 liter). Contact: MSR (Cascade Designs), cascadedesigns.com.

Full-Service Cooktop

Full-Service Cooktop

A two-burner gas stove like the Primus Tupike lets you cook more substantial meals, with its aluminum and stainless steel design that includes a removable drip tray for simplified cleaning. The built-in piezo igniter makes it easy to light, and adjustable side windscreens help ensure consistent heat. Also included is a non-stick griddle plate for grilling. Fold-out legs allow you to use it tabletop or directly on the ground. List price: $229. Contact: Primus, primuscamping.com.

Premium Table Settings

Premium Table Settings

Durable, reusable tableware like the GSI Pioneer Table Set is environmentally friendly and easy to clean. The set includes four plates, bowls and mugs to accommodate typical campsite meals. Available separately are matching accouterments like cutlery and salt and pepper shakers. List price: $69. Contact: GSI Outdoors, gsioutdoors.com.

Pack-Friendly Menu

Pack-Friendly Menu

Create a custom multi-day menu with Backpacker’s Pantry Weekend Gourmet Meal Kit. Multiple menu options are available to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus dessert and snacks. Choose your own mix from selections like Organic Cinnamon Apple Oats & Quinoa, Southwestern Corn Chowder, Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake. Price varies depending on items selected. Contact: Backpacker’s Pantry, backpackerspantry.com.

Ultimate Water Purifier

Ultimate Water Purifier

With filtering technology originally developed for military use, the MSR Guardian Purifier employs a medical-grade hollow fiber filter that removes bacteria, protozoa, dirt and sediment and even waterborne viruses. Capable of processing up to 2.5 liters per minute, the filter can treat up to 10,000 liters and features a self-cleaning design—no backflushing or filter washing required. List price: $349. Contact: MSR (Cascade Designs), guardianpurifier.com.

Foldable Water Storage

Foldable Water Storage

Keep ample drinking water around the campsite with the 5-gallon REI Folding Water Carrier. Made from BPA-free, food-grade polyethylene, the lightweight design is collapsible when empty for compact packing. List price: $10.50. Contact: REI, rei.com.

Foldable Swivel Camp Chair

Foldable Swivel Camp Chair

The Helinox Swivel Chair upgrades the standard folding camp chair with a swivel design. Weighing just 2.6 pounds and able to support up to 265 pounds, it collapses down to just 15.7 inches long to pack in an included storage sack. List price: $149. Contact: Helinox (Big Agnes), bigagnes.com.

Puncture-Proof Sleeping Pad

Puncture-Proof Sleeping Pad

Although they take up more room in your pack than inflatable designs, foam sleeping pads like the Therm-A-Rest Ridgerest Solar have the advantages of being puncture-proof and not requiring inflation. Heat-trapping “valleys” and a ThermaCapture heat-reflecting surface provide a warm base to keep you comfortable in chilly conditions. List price: From $39. Contact: Therm-A-Rest (Cascade Designs), cascadedesigns.com.

Convertible Sleeping Bag

Convertible Sleeping Bag

Perfect for one, or expandable for two, the Kelty Calisto 20 Sleeping Bag offers a comfortable, quilted rectangular design with CloudLoft synthetic insulation. For solo use, it can be used as a standard bag or fully unzipped to serve as a comforter. Or, zip it together with another Calisto 20 for a double-wide bag that accommodates two. List price: $79. Contact: Kelty, kelty.com.

Eco-Smart Fleece Blanket

Eco-Smart Fleece Blanket

Perfect for extra warmth around the campfire or creating a cozier tent, Patagonia’s Synchilla blankets are 100-percent recycled polyester. We especially like that these blankets are made from remnant material left over from other Patagonia Synchilla products. Available in multiple colors and patterns. List price: $45. Contact: Patagonia, patagonia.com.

Roomy Tent With Storage

Roomy Tent With Storage

The Marmot Limelight 2P tent features a design with nearly vertical walls for an extra-spacious enclosure. An extra-large double door makes ingress and egress easy, and a rear D-shaped door provides access to two vestibules for gear storage. The tent includes a footprint groundcloth, interior pockets for organizing small items and a Lamp Shade Pocket that turns your headlamp into interior lighting. List price: $249. Contact: Marmot, marmot.com.

Lantern & Charging Hub

Lantern & Charging Hub

A modern, tech-friendly take on the camp lantern, the Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 outputs up to 250 lumens of LED light and has multiple brightness settings to last up to 48 hours on a single charge. You can recharge it via USB, with a Goal Zero solar panel (optional), or use the integrated hand crank in a pinch. Best of all, it includes a USB port capable of powering small electronic devices. List price: $79. Contact: Goal Zero, goalzero.com.

Easy Cargo Organization

Easy Cargo Organization

Four color-coded containers make the Mountainsmith Modular Hauler 4 a versatile solution for keeping camping gear organized. Sort items by type or owner for fast access. Each individual cube offers 26 liters of storage volume (15x7.5x15 inches), is padded for protection and has its own carrying handles. Tie-down loops allow you to secure the hauler in your vehicle. List price: $99. Contact: Mountainsmith, mountainsmith.com.

Complete First Aid

Complete First Aid

Be ready to handle practically any first aid emergency with the Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Comprehensive kit, which includes an array of supplies to treat a wide range of medical issues, arranged by injury type so you can find the needed remedy quickly. The kit also includes a guide to wilderness medicine and to treating typical problems with the included supplies. Supports groups up to 14 people. List price: $200. Contact: Adventure Medical Kits, adventuremedicalkits.com.

1 Comment

    I’m not sure how useful this list is or what the purpose is. Some of these things you would take out if backpacking and some you wouldn’t. If you’re car camping, why would you eat freeze-dried food or sleep on a foam pad? If you’re backpacking, why would you take a 5 pound sleeping bag unless you’re going to sub-zero-temperatures? Not to mention that a square sleeping bag of any weight is pretty inefficient for backpacking.

    It might be more useful to people if the purpose were more clear.

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