While I enjoy all-season camping, my best nights are those spent in the warm air, wrapped in a cloak of stars, next to a fire and an ebbing body of water. I head out a lot and my method is to always choose the best gear I can afford and make it last.
I scoped out some choice spots in the coastal rainforest of British Columbia to test a camping kit for Momentum. This time, I brought along a selection from Cascade Designs in Seattle, WA. Known for their innovative product line and rugged manufacturing standards (many items are made in Seattle), Cascade is a go-to brand for outdoors folk.
Rolling into camp, we start with shelter. The MSR Hoop is a three-season, two-person freestanding tent weighing between four and five pounds. This isn’t your lightest option, but it’s very livable: tons of headspace (sitting is no problem), doors on both sides and roomy vestibules that fit everything, even (sections of) your bike if needed. Without the fly, the twinkle of starlight overhead lulls you to sleep.
Under the sleeping bag was the ultralight Therm-a-Rest NeoAir, an inflatable mattress that packs down tiny and keeps you well insulated. Compared to my regular Therm-a-Rest, this did the trick at a fraction of the size and weight – important for conserving pannier real estate.
For dinner, I paired my well-used stove with the MSR Base 2 Pot Set – nonstick aluminum pots with a handy strainer lid. Coupled with the Alpine Folding Utensils – each cleverly designed to be two utensils in one – this minimal setup helped me whip up gourmet meals for our group with ease. Cleaning was a piece of cake. Which reminds me – next time I’ll find a backcountry oven to try out some desserts!