Camping’s a blast. That is, until your sleeping bag turns into a sweat-soaked biohazard, the massive boots rip up your feet and a weak headlamp sends you stumbling through a patch of poison oak. Enter technology. The newest camping gear utilizes ultra-advanced material–everything from high-lumen LEDs to ceramic particles to chemical coatings–to make the lightest, strongest, and most comfortable gear yet. Meaning you can devote your energies to something important. More s’mores anyone?
Launch our guide to the summer’s best camping gear here.
Hike at night—or find your way to the outhouse—with the strongest headlamp yet. Its six LEDs yield 350 lumens, which shine about 400 feet. Petzl designed circuitry that ekes the most power out of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, letting the 12.2-ounce lamp burn on its highest setting for two hours.
Petzl Ultra Headlamp $425; petzl.com
This light coat won’t tear or wear out under friction from your pack. Mammut imprints the shoulders, elbows and back with hundreds of dots made of hard-as-diamond ceramic particles. At a quarter-inch wide, the nearly flat dots are small enough that they don’t make the coat feel stiff or affect breathability. Mammut Qogir $300; mammut.comdiamond back This light coat won’t tear or wear out under friction from your pack. Mammut imprints the shoulders, elbows and back with hundreds of dots made of hard-as-diamond ceramic particles. At a quarter-inch wide, the nearly flat dots are small enough that they don’t make the coat feel stiff or affect breathability.
Mammut Qogir $300; mammut.com
Lafuma’s backpack swaps air for a hard plastic and metal frame. Blow into a hose to inflate a pad in the back wall, which provides stiffness to support your load and cushioning to protect your back. When your pack lightens (say, after you eat), let air out for a softer structure, similar to a frameless day pack.
Lafuma X Light 40 $180; lafumausa.com
Light on Your Feet
These super-lightweight hiking boots—just 13 ounces each—shed unnecessary materials. They use a thin sole with a reinforcing rib of hard rubber running under your arch. For a supportive upper, the boot wraps a breathable fabric in nylon webbing, replacing some parts typically made of leather or even metal.
Inov-8 Roclite 370 $120; inov-8.com
The Odor-Eating Bed
The Echo sleeping bag rids itself of smells. Spread it out during the day, and when light hits it, the titanium-oxide coating reacts with stinky molecules to break them down. The sour-smelling isovaleric acid from sweat, for instance, decomposes into water and carbon dioxide.
Sierra Designs Echo $440; sierradesigns.com