Technology has raised the comfort level of camping to penthouse heights, and you could fill several Grand Canyons with today's state-of-the-art gear. Take a look at this brief assortment to add luxury and safety to your next camping trip.
A silk sleeping bag liner that's decadently comfortable and light.It also helps keep the inside of your sleeping bag clean. (Washinga sleeping bag does more to shorten its life than anything else.) $59. DreamSack; (800) 670-7661; www.dreamsack.com
SunnyRec Hexagrip Sleeping Pad with Pillow
Self-inflating sleeping pads revolutionized an outdoor night's sleep. This one has a comfortable 10-by-20-inch pillow that rises gently from your shoulders to your neck. Packs light at 2 pounds. $74. SunnyRec Corporation; (310) 638-4368
Montane's Mission Kitchen
Never lose the can opener or schlep your kitchen in unraveling paper bags again. This soft-sided cooking gear organizer is big enough - 3 cubic feet - to hold plates, utensils, and assorted kitchen paraphernalia, and it's filled with dividers and pouches tokeep everything in its place. A nice touch, the hard top serves as a cutting board. $129.95. (877) 666-8263; www.montane.com
Wilderness Wok Solo
No more eating raw-at-the-edges food cooked over a narrow stove flame. Made from carbon steel (it's only 22 ounces), with a 2-quart capacity and even heat distribution to boil soup, stir-fry veggies, bake bread, and melt snow. $28.50. Wilderness Wok Company; (401)247-1965
Platypus Thunderhead Hydration Pack
A small backpack that rests comfortably between your shoulders and holds a 3-liter bladder. At one end of the bladder, a watertight zipper through which you can stuff ice, powdered drink mix, etc. At the other end, a tube that snakes over your shoulder and into your mouth for hands-free drinking. $75. Cascade Designs; (800)531-9531; www.cascadedesigns.com
Camping means walking, and there's no better body part to pamper than your feet. The Summit, Trekker, and Trail socks are made of soft new wool and designed to wick away moisture, lessening the odds of blisters and cold feet. $13-$18. (888) 797-6257; www.bridgedale.com
Sparklite Firestarter Kit
U.S. military soldiers carry this, and you should, too. The small flint sends off a spark shower, and the tinder is designed to light even when wet. $7. (800) 338-4327; www.actiongear.com
Star Flash Signal Mirror
Signal mirrors can send flashes that are visible as far off as 100 miles. This one floats and is unbreakable. $8. Star Flash; (800) 292-4707; www.ultimatesurvival.com
The SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in AnyClimate, on Land or at Sea,
by John Wiseman
Knowledge is power, and this thorough outdoor manual has most of that knowledge. $20.
From HarperCollins. - K.M.