New Camping Classics with Chevy
THIS GEAR CAN MAKE ROUGHING IT A LITTLE
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.