Top Bags & Backpacks For The Summer

With summer around the corner, we’re approaching camping season in a lot of areas. If you’re going out camping or hiking, you should note that bags are an important piece of gear because they let you bring everything else you might need on your adventure. Some bags are also better suited to certain activities or types of trips. With that in mind, we’ll explain some of those and give you bag recommendations to fit those niches. 

Overnight Hiking Packs

As you hike more and more, you may begin to take on more difficult trails that take longer to explore. This means hiking into the evening, setting up camp overnight, and then continuing the next day. For this, you’ll want a bag that’s versatile. You want something with enough space to carry everything you’ll need without being too cumbersome. While bags for overnight hiking are fairly expensive, their value comes from being able to hold and distribute heavier weight so that you can hike longer. Their efficiency in decreasing the physical strain of carrying your supplies makes them worth the investment. If you plan on overnight hiking, we recommend these two bags. 

Gregory Katmai 65

$299.95 – 4lbs 10.8oz – 45LB weight limit – The Katmai’s padded design keeps your comfort in mind, making it easier to carry everything you need in the wilderness. The back panel incorporates ventilation, giving you breathability to avoid that uncomfortable sweaty feeling and the bacteria that comes with it. The bag’s size, suspension system, and adjustability make it the perfect bag for adventurers of all sizes; you can even downsize to the 55 model if the 65 is too large. On a final and important note, the Katmai bag is made with recycled material and given a water repellent coat so that it is usable in a wide range of environments. 

Osprey Atmos AG 65

$300 – 4lbs 13oz – 40LBS – The Atmos AG’s state of the art suspension system is one of the most effective, making it a must have for overnight hikers. Its design also includes compression straps to keep everything contained and streamlined. This allows for more mobility so that it’s easier to maneuver through whatever environment you explore. The Atmos AG also has built in zipper hip-belt pockets for smaller items. Additionally, each bag includes a rain cover and a 3L hydration reservoir compartment so that your items remain dry and you can store extra water for those longer trips. It is built to help you last in the great outdoors. 

Day packs

While night packs are meant to carry a lot more supplies, day packs do the opposite. Generally, they’re small, lightweight bags without much structure so that they provide as little hindrance as possible while you’re hiking. They’re also useful as everyday bags to carry things like keys, wallets, phones, and even tablets. Overall, their minimalist designs make them great tools for a wide range of hikers. Here are our recommendations for day packs. 

Deuter Speedlite 20

$60-$100 – 1lb 1oz – The Deuter Speedlite is advertised as being able to carry low to medium loads. Due to its size, there’s a limit on the size of items you can pack in it, like laptops. It makes up for that with a V-shape design and adjustable straps to offer comfort to a wide range of people. It includes padded, air mesh shoulder straps so that the wearer doesn’t suffer any discomfort in the area. There’s also a removable hip belt to help distribute the weight you do carry in the bag. Although the Deuter Speedlite 20 is smaller, it includes a compartment designed to hold a 3L hydration system, allowing you to store extra water for longer hikes. Overall, this bag really shows that less is more. 

Osprey Daylite 13L

Osprey Daylite 13L Review - 2022 - Adventure Pending

$60 – The Osprey Daylite features a large panel-loading main compartment with mesh side pockets. Like a few of our earlier entries, this bag incorporates a space for a 3L hydration reservoir. The main compartment also offers enough space for a tablet or a 13 inch laptop, allowing you to potentially take your work wherever you go. The back panel is composed of mesh covered foam to strike the perfect balance between ventilation and comfort. With a mesh organizer and key clip, you also get smaller features that make packing all the necessities easier. With all those features, you can’t go wrong with the Osprey Daylite for hiking or everyday use. 

Duffel Bags

Duffel bags are a convenient, budget friendly middle ground. They’re ideal if you require more storage space than day packs provide but don’t need something as pricey as overnight hiking packs. Duffel bags are a good mix of both, practical for everyday use and with plenty of extra room for all your hiking needs. They are typically made so that you can carry them by hand, over the shoulder, or on your back, depending on what’s most convenient for you. Here are two high quality duffel bags with other great features. 

Columbia Men’s Outdry Ex 60L Duffle

$129 – 33.7oz – The Columbia Men’s Outdry Duffle offers adjustable straps to give a range of individuals the option to carry it by hand, slung over the shoulder, or like a backpack. This bag can also conveniently pack down into itself for easy storage. The Duffle also has four point haul handles & latch points to modify how you carry it or to attach things you may need, like bear spray. Its water-resistant zippers and polyester material will keep the contents inside protected from rain and other harsh environments. This is a solid piece of equipment that we highly recommend to those who are newer to camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. 

The North Face Base Camp Duffel M  71L

$149 – 3lb 9.1oz – One of the first things to note about the North Face Base Camp Duffel bag is that it comes in various sizes. Having options is always a good thing when you’re getting ready to go out hiking. This product’s shoulder straps are designed to fit comfortably and allow for backpack carry with minimal twisting. This duffel bag also includes two internal mesh pockets to help you sort out and organize smaller items. In addition to that, this bag is equipped with compression straps to make storing & hiking more convenient. Like other bags on this list, the North Face Duffel is made from recycled, water-resistant materials and boasts durability as one of its many features. This Duffel bag is another reliable piece of equipment you should consider getting if you want the best. 

Stylish bags

 In our last category of bags, we have more stylish options. If you want to make a statement, capture a certain aesthetic, or have a colorful personality that you have to show off, these types of bags might be for you. Some manufacturers design their bags with fashion in mind while still retaining functionionality. Here are two great options if you’re looking for more than just a typical hiking bag. 

Cotopaxi Batac 24L Backpack

$80 – 11oz – The creators of the Cotopaxi Batac Pack note that this pack is as stowable and lightweight as its smaller, 16L version. Made from repurposed excess fabric, the Batac is not only stylish, but good for the environment. The bag offers a range of color palettes as each piece is designed and sewn to be unique from the rest. The Batac also has numerous pockets to help you store various small items inside as well as a large central space. As with other bags we’ve reviewed, there are mesh shoulder straps to make carrying this pack on your back comfortable. This pack is definitely worth the investment if you want to make a statement on your next hike. 

Kelty Hyphen Pack Tote 30L

$65 – 1lb 2oz – Unlike other bags on this list, the Kelty Hyphen Pack can be held and used like a Tote. As with others, it has comfortable shoulder straps for a backpack-like feel. That kind of versatility gives this bag some unique utility. As one of the more affordable entries on this list, this bag comes in a variety of colors & designs, making it a very good beginner pack. With its size, comfort, and carrying capacity, it’s great everyday use in addition to camping and hiking. Even with its storage space, reviews note that it works well as a carry-on bag for plane trips. It’s simple, sleek, and you can’t ask for much more in a good bag.  

Hydration & Filtration

Top 5 Camping Water Bottles On Amazon

When camping, hiking, or doing any outdoor activity, hydration is important. Part of that is having something reliable to carry your water so you can stay hydrated on long trips. The best equipment is going to help you make the most out of your trip. An important piece of equipment is a reusable water bottle. Not only does this cut down on discarded plastic, but it also reliably lets you bring more water with you without any concerns about the heat impacting the water quality. 

1 – Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle

This bottle is Amazon’s highest rated reusable water bottle. You have three different lids to choose from, allowing you to prepare for a variety of situations. This bottle has insulated stainless steel, making it leakproof, durable and easy to clean. The insulation also allows it to keep things cool or hot for longer periods of time. The logo is engraved on the bottle, so you don’t have to worry about it slowly fading or getting scratched off. This product provides a lot of positives, so it’s easy to see why it’s one of Amazon’s top rated water bottles. This product starts at $17.95 for a 14oz bottle and comes in a variety of colors. 

2 – Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Straw Lid Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottle

If you’ve been on the hunt for a reusable water bottle, you may have heard of Hydro Flask. This brand is popular for a reason. Their bottles are also made from stainless steel, making them a top contender when it comes to durability. Additionally, each bottle has a straw lid with a built-in carry loop, so you can hitch it onto a bag for convenient carrying. The Hydro Flask bottle also advertises temp shield insulation, meant to keep contents cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. With all of that, you can see why Hydro Flask has its reputation as a leader in reusable bottles. You have the option of purchasing this bottle at 24oz, 32oz, or 40oz with the lowest price being $29.96 for the smallest one. 

3 – Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottle

If you want something a bit more budget friendly, then Nalgene delivers. At 32oz and with most of the prices around $12, this gives you a lot for your money. Its simple design allows you to measure and keep track of how much water you drink, making it perfect for people who want to hydrate more effectively. This bottle also has the convenience of being dishwasher safe, as well as BPA free. It’s also made with material derived from 50% plastic waste; this is a significant factor if you want to reduce your impact on the environment and preserve the campsites you hope to explore on future adventures. Although it’s not made of stainless steel or insulated, it makes up for that in some big ways. 

4 – Pogo BPA free Plastic Water Bottle with Chug Lid

The Pogo Plastic Water Bottle is another affordable option if you’re looking for a high-quality bottle to take on your trips. Your options for this bottle in terms of volume are 18oz, 32oz, and 40oz, each priced at $7.99, $9.99, and $10.99 respectively. This bottle also allows you to track how much water you drink. Similar to the last entry, this bottle is BPA free, which is important for plastic water bottles. This also comes with a carrying loop to attach it to your backpack. With a leak proof lid and wide mouth when unscrewed, you have your options in how you dispense it. Like other reusable plastic bottles, this product is dishwasher safe. You can’t go wrong with bringing this solid piece of gear with you on your next trip. 

5 – Thermoflask Double Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle

To round out this list at number five, we have another stainless steel water bottle. As with the other steel bottles on this list, this product is durable and insulated to keep the contents inside hot or cold for hours, letting you enjoy that cool water after a long hike or that hot cocoa on a cool night. At $17 for an 18oz bottle, the Thermoflask is a fairly budget friendly option for potential campers who want to get the most for their money. You also have the option of sizing up all the way to 64oz. This bottle also comes with two different types of lids with carrying loops for convenience. Overall, this is another solid option for an important piece of equipment. 

You can’t go wrong with any of the reusable water bottles on this list. Consider what your specific needs will be when you go camping or hiking. Are you gonna need something with good insulation, lots of space, or just something that won’t break the bank? Find what works best for you and remember to stay hydrated out there. 

Easy Camping Guides

Should I Play Dead If I Come Across A Bear

It’s a valid question, and one that a lot of newer campers ask themselves. Statistically speaking, bear attacks are actually rare. Encountering a bear is still a concern because they can be dangerous to humans. The question then remains. Should you actually lie down and play dead if you encounter a bear in the wild? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no, but we’ll get into that and provide some other advice in this piece, so keep reading. 

Precautions – The most important advice we can give you is to take precautions when camping so that you can avoid coming face to face with a bear in the first place. The first tip is to know whether or not you’re in bear country. If you know that you are, you’ll want to research and see if there are any active habitats in the area. Avoid those areas if you can. Another precaution is to make sure you store any food in bear-proof containers; some states and parks may mandate this. Finally, make sure that when you take these trips, you carry bear spray with you and have it readily available when you’re out in the wilderness. 

If you are camping or hiking in bear country – Try to remember that bears do not want to hurt you. In fact, they typically avoid humans as often as they can, unless they’re startled, guarding food, or protecting their cubs. If you make noise when you hike or set up camp, there’s a chance that bears in the area will move away to avoid you. Making them aware of your presence ahead of time will reduce the chance of you startling them. If you stick to hiking trails and remain aware of your surroundings, you should be able to see bears before you get too close. That should help you avoid those circumstances that make them more likely to attack. 

If you do run into a bear – Remain calm. Another important piece of information is that you should not try to run away. Running will likely set off the bear’s predatory instincts. They will outrun you and catch you. So again, DO NOT RUN. Start backing away slowly and speak firmly in a low voice. Bears typically won’t lash out immediately. If you can, try to identify the type of bear you see. In North America, you’ll typically run into black bears or brown bears. Black bears are the smaller of the two, typically around 4.5 feet. Generally, they’re less aggressive and more likely to run away when they encounter humans. Conversely, brown bears are much bigger, growing up to 9 feet tall. These bears are more likely to be aggressive and attack humans. Still, they won’t go out of their way to attack. They will only do so if they perceive you as a threat, which is why the best course of action is to back away slowly and speak in a low voice. Knowing that type of bear you’ve encountered can inform your next decisions. 

What if the bear starts charging? – If you’ve taken all the precautions and find a bear approaching you aggressively, your best bet is bear spray. This is widely available online, at campgrounds, and markets in bear country. When you go to the camp sites or hiking trails, you’re going to want to make sure that your spray hasn’t expired. You’ll also want to make sure you follow the instructions it comes with and store it properly to ensure it works if the need for it arises. Typically, when you use bear spray, it will fire about 25-35 feet. You’ll want to make sure the bear is within that range and that you spray the area between yourself and the bear, so that it has to cross into the spray to get to you. You’ll also want to keep the direction of the wind in mind so you don’t spray yourself. In most cases, this spray will deter the bear from pursuing you and make it run away, or at least give you the chance to safely escape. 

If all else fails –  If you don’t have bear spray or if you’re in the rare situation where it doesn’t work, you still have a few last resort options. You can play dead, in the hopes that it loses interest and leaves you alone, or you can try to intimidate it and injure it, scaring it off in the process. The former is the safer option of the two. You’ll want to make sure you lie on your stomach and cover your head & neck with your arms. This position will provide your vital organs with at least some extra protection. The bear may bite and scratch you, but it’s likely to lose interest in you and leave. If the bear does leave, stay down for an extra 10-20 minutes. You don’t want it in the immediate area if you get back up to leave. 

It might not seem all that helpful to lay down if you run into a bear, but it can save your life. The practice has saved lives in the past. But remember, there are other significant steps you can take to avoid a bear attack in the first place. They’re very rare to begin with, but taking every precaution you can will put you in the best position to enjoy your camping and hiking trips. 

Easy Camping Guides

I Didn’t Grow Up Camping. Why I Want To Start Now

I’ve always lived in apartment buildings in New York City. I’ve never been the outdoorsy type either, which I guess makes me a city-slicker. For a long time, the closest I had ever been to “the great outdoors” was my grandmother’s concrete backyard. Needless to say, I didn’t get to grow up camping. Maybe you relate to some or all of that. Like me, you might not have had a lot of exposure to the more natural parts of the world. For me, that changed when I went away for college.

When I decided to leave home and pursue my education, I found myself in Upstate New York. In the much less urban environment, I expanded my horizons in a variety of ways. It started with a trip to a cabin in the woods. There was so much in that trip I hadn’t previously experienced. I didn’t have cell service or wifi. The remoteness was anxiety-inducing, but also exhilarating. It was peaceful and quiet, which was different from the symphony of city noises to which I had been accustomed. The people I went with also made it memorable. That experience stuck with me through the pandemic as something that I want to explore again. However, I want to take that experience to the next level and try camping.

In our technologically driven world, a moment of peace is rare. When we aren’t at work or thinking about it, we’re immersed in the maelstrom of news, current events, and celebrity drama through social media channels. Their algorithmic designs bombard us with story after story, keeping us on the hook and scrolling through a good portion of our free time. Taking the retreat into nature through camping offers the chance to unplug from all of that. It’s healthy to get a break from our normal day-to-day routines, especially when they include so much screen time. Disconnecting from that sphere gives you the chance to reconnect with yourself, your body, and your mind.

If you’re like me and you’ve never been camping before, going out and doing that would be a novel experience. Despite the nerves, doing something you haven’t done before is new and exciting!! It is an opportunity to shift focus and potentially learn something new. You may be surprised with what you can learn about camping, nature, or even yourself. Out there in the elements, you will likely forget about all the distractions of the world because you’re forced to be mentally present and conscious of your surroundings. When you find yourself in that environment focused on surviving and appreciating nature, you may discover that you really enjoy spending time in the wilderness.

If you’re reading this and have identified with what I’ve said, I imagine you’re used to feeling comfortable. Sometimes, we need experiences that not only push us out of those comfort zones, but remind us of what else is out there and how small we really are. Stepping out of the safety of your home and spending time outdoors, admiring and experiencing nature’s more hidden gems can put so much else into perspective. Having moments where you sacrifice those creature comforts will give you more appreciation for them, as well as other things in your life.

On a more personal level, you’ll never grow if you refuse to push yourself and stay within the confines of your comfort zone. Camping is something that scares a lot of people. On some level, the idea of it scares me. It requires strength and courage to go out and be that vulnerable, especially if you’ve never done it before. Of course there are safety measures you can take to minimize any potential risks; camping does not have to be dangerous by any means, but the point still stands. That initial leap is the hardest part. I want to take that leap and see where it leads me. I hope that, after reading this, you will too.

Easy Camping Guides

5 Camping Myths In Movies & On TV

It’s no secret that camping gets a bad rep. A fair amount of that comes from how camping is portrayed in the media we consume on a day to day basis. Think about how many sitcoms or movies you’ve seen where a group of people go out camping only to be miserable the whole time. In a lot of depictions, the activity is portrayed as boring, dangerous, and not worth the investment of time or energy. However, when you really take the time to plan your trips out carefully, you’ll find that a lot of what’s shown in popular media is false.

Myth 1 – Camping is not a good couple’s activity

 You see this one in a lot of sitcoms (King of Queens, Parks and Rec, to name a few). Typically, things go wrong that put the couple at odds and/or kill any romantic mood. However, in reality, camping can be a great activity for couples to enjoy together. As long as you’re prepared and take the necessary precautions, you can enjoy cuddling up by the fire together or gazing up at the stars in the night sky. You can even cook together and enjoy a nice picnic with a view you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.

Myth 2 – Animals are everywhere

 This is another trope you see in a lot of comedy films and shows that involve camping. Usually a bear will parade around the campsite, get into the food, and terrorize the campers; this is the whole premise of Yogi Bear. Other examples include raccoons and cougars being pesky or disruptive. While this is certainly possible depending on where you go camping, larger animal attacks are not as common as the movies make them out to be. If you go camping where you know there’s the potential of running into larger animals, ensuring that you don’t leave food out and have somewhere secure to retreat if animals do show up will minimize any risks. For more advice regarding animals (wild cats in particular), you can also check out our article, “How to Identify Cougar, Lynx, & Bobcat Tracks.”

 Myth 3 – You’ll be completely isolated and disconnected from the rest of the world

 Another popular myth spread by the movies and shows is that camping means being completely separated from the world. Horror movies in particular like to use this trope to create conflict and suspense. While some campsites are remote and lack service/wifi, there are others that provide wifi to patrons. There’s also the fact that a lot of cellphone carriers and networks are continuing to expand their coverage, leaving fewer “dead zones,” where there’s no connectivity. Finally, there’s the fact that you don’t have to travel somewhere far and isolated to camp. There are plenty of camp sites and areas near cities that allow you to stay connected should any issues arise or if you need the internet to keep yourself entertained while you’re laying in your tent.

Myth 4 – Sleeping outdoors is impossible

 Chances are if you’ve seen camping in a movie or tv show, you’ve watched someone struggle to fall asleep in an uncomfortable tent while being serenaded by the nocturnal wildlife. That brings us to the next myth, that sleeping outdoors is incredibly difficult. While that might be the case for some people at first, sleeping outdoors when camping can be easier and better than sleeping at home. Being outdoors and not as exposed to artificial light can actually make it easier to sleep. The right equipment and set up can make any tent or sleeping bag comfortable enough for you to get some shut eye. For any advice on how to make camping more comfortable and sleeping easier, check out some of our other articles.

Myth 5 – Camping is boring

 The final myth is that camping is a boring activity that no one ever has fun doing. That simply isn’t true. The fun you can have while camping is limited by your imagination and the people who come with you. Admittedly, you might be limited by what you can carry in your car/bags. However, you’ll find that when you go camping, you will have access to natural landscapes you wouldn’t be able to enjoy otherwise. Explore them. Take the sights in. Climb trees or rocks with your friends. Above all, go into it with an open mind and you’ll be surprised how much you might actually enjoy it.