If, like us, you’re busily examining and cataloging your gear shed to be sure you’re ready for summer camping, rafting, fishing, backpacking, or, hell, even a garage sale. Whatever adventures the summer may bring, you may find that you have gaps in your camp goodie gear section. If so, here are a few favored camping gizmos and goodies tested over the past few months.

Oboz Campsters

As a newcomers to non-thong sandals, I’m still getting used to the idea of these kinds of shoes. They are not sexy. They are not fashionable. But they are indispensable camp shoes. Rugged enough for light hiking, but then slide the heel strap up to the webbing and you have a pair of slip-ons for lounging. Super lightweight, perfect for water crossings, excellent comfy shoes after peeling off boots and socks, easy to tie to the outside of a pack—campsite footwear doesn’t get much better. $90

ManCan Growler

Not sold on the name, definitely sold on the robust little growler that holds 64 ounces of beer, is very easy to clean, and can get banged around in the back of a truck without fear of breakage, unlike a glass growler. Keeps beer nice and frothy and prevents you from dealing with bottles and cans everywhere. $45



Had no idea how much I wanted to hang things from trees until I started to use the HeroClip. It’s like a modified carabiner that holds up to 50 pounds and can attach to just about anything with a swivel-based, rubber-tipped hook. Bags of food, dripping wetsuits or waders, lanterns, misbehaving children, anything you need to suspend in the air, the HeroClip can accommodate. $20

WakaWaka Power+ Charger

It’s a charger and a powerful light in one, powered by the sun. An invaluable little tool that after a full-day in the sun (about eight hours) is ready to power up a depleted cell phone 1.5 times and provide a couple hundred hours of light. It’s a durable, lightweight little unit with an ingenious kickstand so you can set it on a table and use as for cooking, reading, or making shadow puppets. $60

Otterbox Drybox

So simple—just a bombproof little box that protects your valuables from submersion or impact. A must if packrafting, camping by boat, bringing electronic gizmos on a paddleboard, anything like that. Waterproof for 30 minutes at 90-feet of depth. It even floats, so if it gets pitched out of a boat, your keys won’t necessarily sink to the bottom of a river. Weighs only 14 ounces, provides a ton of protection—great ratio. $29

Therm-A-rest Compressible Pillow

Filled with upcycled foam from their sleeping pads, Therm-A-rest’s compressible pillow is a joy while camping. It packs up into its own stuff sack, then fluffs out nice and full and soft. Weighs anywhere from 7-25 ounces depending on size. Doable for backpacking, though a bit big, the luxury makes it worth considering for long-haul backcountry trips. For car camping? Can’t beat it. $20

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