New Camping Classics with Chevy

March 16th, 2017 by



By Bob Butz
Photos by Craig Washburn

The New 2016 Colorado Diesel is America’s most fuel-efficient pickup.2 And no matter what part of the country you’re in, many great camping locations are reachable in a round trip of 651 miles or less.

Among experienced campers, the real thrill of the outdoors is the ability to maintain a sense of civility—thriving, not merely surviving—without the comforts and conveniences of home. Doing it right requires more than adequate shelter and an ample supply of food, water and duct tape.

While the basic form and function of these next-level essentials hasn’t changed for decades, modern ingenuity has greatly improved these classic pieces of old-school camping gear.

The most iconic camping stove of all time, the suitcase-style Coleman two-burner stove has been simmering beans, boiling water and frying up fish, eggs and breakfast bacon for campers since the 1950s.

Its near-perfect design means the only major update in over 50 years has been the addition of a propane-burning model.

Propane and, to a lesser degree, butane first became popular with tailgaters and car campers in the late 1980s. Propane stoves might be more convenient, but the fuel/canister cost will arguably nickel-and-dime you over time. The Dual Fuel version works off both Coleman “white gas” or, in a pinch, regular unleaded gasoline.

According to the company’s website, this two-mantel Dual Fuel lantern with one full tank of “white gas” or standard unleaded will burn for up to seven hours on its highest setting. Modern versions of Coleman’s original include models powered by propane, batteries and kerosene. But estimated sales of over 50 million units suggest that the updated original version of this camp classic is still the most foolproof, versatile and reliable outdoor lighting choice.

If you spend any amount of time recreating outdoors, you know that finding the right pack to carry your stuff is complicated. Backpacks for mountaineering, backcountry hunting or multiday hiking excursions are very specialized pieces of gear. But if you want an all-round pack made for the traveler—a pack that can hold enough contents for a day’s hike or a day’s worth of just about any other activity—here it is.

For over 100 years, the Original Duluth Pack has been made in the same Minnesota factory to the same specifications. Made of traditional materials—heavy canvas and leather—the pack design preferred by North Country hunters, trappers and forest workers uses buckles instead of failure-prone zippers. The boxy shape also means it’s easier to stow in a canoe or car along with your other gear. As functional as it is stylish and retro-cool, the Original Duluth Pack is available in 15 different colors, from olive drab to hunter orange and even pink.

Every camping excursion requires a tool for chopping and pounding. For driving tent stakes and cutting small limbs and kindling for firewood, American campers have long reached for their trusty hand ax or hatchet.

Hand axes and hatchets are two completely different tools. A true hatchet has a short handle (around 15 inches) and a hammer head on the backside for pounding. A hand ax is about two-thirds as long as a normal ax, with the same broad, flat head on the backside.

Enter the modern tomahawk, such as the Woods Chogan T-Hawk from Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT). It includes a backside hammer head for pounding and a hefty carbon-steel edge to cut through cordwood like a beaver.

Inspiration for this product came from two brothers who loved hunting and fishing and were tired of replacing coolers because of broken handles, collapsed lids and failed latches.

Roy and Ryan Seiders built a cooler around the same durable, “roto-molded” process that’s used in constructing whitewater kayaks.

They beefed up the insulation, hinges, drain plugs and handles and installed heavy-duty, bear-proof latches that actually locked.

Founded in 2006, YETI now offers a wide selection of “super coolers” for hunters, fishermen, campers and tailgaters. The Tundra 65 (cost $399.99) is the flagship model for the generalist and makes the perfect drink-and-food hub for a tailgate party. It has enough room to hold 39 beverage cans and plenty of food. This cooler also has dry-ice capability.



The new 2016 Colorado Diesel is America’s most fuel-efficient pickup.1 The 2WD model is rated at 31 MPG highway.1This unprecedented efficiency, combined with a fuel capacity of 21 gallons, means Colorado Diesel offers a maximum highway range of 651 miles per tank.2 No matter what part of the country you’re in, the number of great camping locations reachable in a round trip of 651 miles or less is mind-boggling.

Texas, of course, is truck country. And perhaps no area better showcases all that the Lone Star State offers than Texas Hill Country. Home to the state capital, Austin, rolling hills and sparkling rivers, this region offers a dynamic, diverse blend of cultural and natural features.

One of the natural features that draws people from around Texas and the U.S. is Inks Lake State Park, a 400-mile round trip from Dallas.

Inks Lake State Park is great for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Because the lake’s level usually stays constant, activities are available year-round.

On land, you can camp, backpack and observe nature. There are 7.5 miles of hiking trails through shady forests and across rocky hills. On the water, you can swim (no lifeguards on duty), boat, water ski, scuba dive and fish. A large no-wake zone is thoughtfully provided for paddling. Nearly 200 campsites and 22 cabins are available for rental.

Here are five more one-tank trips to consider. Remember, the campgrounds can get crowded in the summertime, so reservations are strongly recommended:

Boston to Acadia National Park, Maine (Round trip 560 miles): Acadia has been called one of the most beautiful parks east of the Mississippi. Its beauty lies in its diversity—mountains, copious ocean shorelines, islands, lakes and gorgeous forests. There are three campgrounds to choose from. Visitors can hike or bike as well.

Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park, California (Round trip 560 miles): Camping here is a bucket-list item; even the most pampered tenderfoots have been known to harbor a secret desire to savor Yosemite’s splendor. Giant sequoias, the Sierra Nevada, granite cliffs, waterfalls—it’s been called one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Yosemite has a whopping 13 different campgrounds, all offering a distinctly different experience. The park is nearly 1,200 square miles.

San Francisco to Lake Tahoe (Round trip 400 miles):
Lake Tahoe, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, has long been a destination for world-class athletes, serious adventurers and hikers, as well as casual travelers. Skiing, along with snowboarding, is the draw in the winter. Summer visitors take advantage of the beautiful lake and its beaches. The vibe fuses the Old West frontier and West Coast chill.

Chicago to Ludington State Park, Michigan (Round trip 490 miles): The Midwest sometimes gets unfairly overlooked by outdoors editors. It may lack mountain ranges, but it’s home to America’s third coast, the Great Lakes shoreline. The sand dunes, lighthouses and beaches are the attraction to this park. LSP is wedged between massive Lake Michigan and vastly smaller Hamlin Lake, with beaches on each side. The three modern campgrounds feature 355 campsites and three mini-cabins. There also is a remote campsite for backpackers. A great alternate route from Chicago or Milwaukee involves traversing Lake Michigan on a car ferry.

Atlanta to Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina (Round trip 500 miles): The Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina combines dramatic 5,000-foot peaks of the Appalachian Mountains with acres of old-growth forest and hundreds of miles of trails. There are 11 different camping areas, some of which are open year-round and some on a seasonal basis.

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