Summer Camping Gear Review
Reviewed by staff and friends of Activity Maine, here are our picks for great camping/hiking gear that we think you’ll like.
The 2018 Haversack by Raging River Trading Co. is packed with all the features any outdoor adventurer could ask for. This compact haversack is handmade with high quality military specification materials, specifically, 1000D Nylon Cordura with a Raging River Trading Co. Nylon liner. It comes with with two zippered inside pockets that will keep anything of value safe and secure. It also has a nice map pocket incorporated into the back outside panel for easy access while on the move. The main compartment has Velcro closer flaps at the top to hold gear securely in place. To secure your gear, there is Molly webbing on the front, bottom, side sleeve and shoulder pad, which is great for any add-on equipment, such as a bed roll, tarp, knife, etc. Under the flap on the front panel, you’ll find an axe or hatchet sleeve, a very useful feature. For 2018, Raging River has added a cinch-close water bottle pocket complete with a camo-colored stainless steel water bottle. Raging River Trading Co. is Veteran-owned and operated by Dan Edwards, a 20-year Veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. These Haversacks are made to be used and last a life time; they are great to keep gear sorted and at the ready…an excellent carry system for all your Bushcraft, hiking, hunting and outdoor adventures. Price: $99.95
Made right here in Maine from reclaimed sail material, Flowfold builds minimalist outdoor gear for everyday adventures. Their wallet is lightweight (only .07 oz) and very durable. I thought my last wallet was slim, but when I transferred my cards and cash into it, the Flowfold wallet was noticeably thinner and lighter weight. This design features a cash pocket, two ID windows and two hidden rear card pockets. This wallet is built for outdoor adventure, weather resistant, and backed by a lifetime warranty. Using sailcloth technology, it is supposed to float, if accidentally dropped in the water, which is a huge bonus for anglers and water sports enthusiasts. Made with a Lifetime Warranty, these wallets range from $12 to $40 and you may never need another one after that!
— Stanley J. Rintz
LOWA RENEGADE GTX MID
From a wooded walk along the Maine coast to an ascent of majestic Katahdin to the rigors of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike, Lowa Renegade GTX Mid boots are up to the task. Lightweight and comfortable, these 2.5-pound boots are trail-ready right out of the box, with minimal breaking in required. Nicely cushioned around the ankle, with solid leather uppers, an easy and secure lacing system of locking hooks, wrap-around rand, and a knobby, grippy Vibram sole, Renegades provide the support of a much heavier boot, but wear like a trail runner. Splashing across a stream or mucking it up on a wet trail is no problem with weatherproof Renegades, owing to a Gore-Tex lining inside and water repellent coating outside. When it comes to fit, hiking boots are as varied as hiker’s feet, but the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid gets high marks for its true-to-size build, snug heel and roomy toe box. Size options range from 7.5 to 15 in men’s and 5.5 to 11 in women’s, plus narrow, medium and wide widths. Downside: the toe rand tends to separate where it’s fused together, but this is easily remedied with epoxy. Price: $230
— Carey Kish
JETBOIL FLASH PERSONAL COOKING SYSTEM
The Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System is efficient, compactible, and lightweight. I’ve used it on week-long Appalachian Trail hikes and overnight campouts, and I’ve never felt I needed anything different. It can boil two cups of cold water in two minutes due to its high-speed burner. Be sure to push the ignite button on low gas and then increase the flame to avoid burning the hair off your hand. The one-liter, insulated cooking cup is easy to handle while hot because its notched bottom and side strap make it easy to detach from the burner and pour into a bowl or bag. I would avoid cooking saucy pasta meals directly in it, since it will scorch the sides.
A two-cup bowl is included and is great for instant oats or grits. All amenities pack into the cooking cup to about the size of a Nalgene water bottle, making it weigh only 15 ounces. If you want to go fancier than instant coffee, you can purchase a French press add-on, which can all fold up into the cooking system conveniently as well. Given its convenience and efficiency, the Jetboil is a great companion to have along the trail. Prices range from $75 to $100 and $10 extra for the coffee press add-on.