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5 Best Camping Accessories You’ll Want to Buy Now

Our friends over at Roofnest put together a guide to highlight their 5 favorite camping accessories that help make their time spent outside even better. And no surprises here, Shower Pouch made the cut.

Check out the full list of accessories below, and just try to make it to the bottom without filling up your Amazon cart. -

For many of us, fall means putting away our hiking boots and camping gear for the season. Unless you have a hard shell roof top tent, that is.

A Roofnest allows everyone from mountain bike maniacs to backcountry ski bums to just plain outdoor enthusiasts to stay outside all winter long — and stay warm and cozy doing it.

The Roofnest team has been taking our camp setup all over this year — from weekend trips throughout our home state of Colorado to Norway and Canada. Some of our staff have even been seen nesting at The Burning Man Festival this last summer!

With all this outdoor adventuring, we’ve come to terms with the fact that there are certain camping accessories that have helped ensure our travels were smooth, comfortable, and memorable for all the right reasons.

Below are our top 5 favorite camping accessories to enhance your next trip and keep you happy in the outdoors.

1. The Shower Pouch

The first camping accessory on our list is one our entire staff won’t leave home without.

A Roofnest gives you the freedom to camp wherever your car can park, so you can keep enjoying camping season all year long. But whether you’ve worked up a sweat from a day on the slopes or a dusty day on the trails, there’s nothing fun about crawling into your sleeping bag when you’re filthy.

At the same time, there’s nothing fun about lugging around 30 gallons of water on your camping trip, either. And if you plan on using some of that water to try and shower, you’ll need a way to heat up all that water, too.

The Shower Pouch is the perfect solution for every outdoor adventurer who wants a refresh. It’s a light and compact full-body wipe that you can use like a portable shower wherever you go.

So say goodbye to stinky sleeping bags and say hello to a cleaner camp trip with a Shower Pouch.

2. BioLite Energy’s Camp Stove 2 Bundle

Photo courtesy of https://www.llbean.com/

Have you ever forgotten to bring the propane, or run out right in the middle of cooking? We certainly have, and it’s a good way to put a major damper on your trip. Left with a cold meal and an empty stomach, something needs to change.

That’s where Biolite’s Camp stove 2 comes in. Designed around cooking with wood the Camp Stove takes heat from sticks, twigs, and pellets and turns it into electricity. That heat and energy help cook your meals to perfection, all without the need for gas.

With the Camp Stove 2 Bundle, you can cook up to 4 burgers at a time or boil water for that morning coffee you so desperately need. And if you thought this little stove was all out of tricks, it also doubles as a portable battery to charge all of your devices, turning fire into cell phone juice. You read that right!

Photo courtesy of BioLite Energy

3. LuminAID PackLite Max Lantern

Photo courtesy of LuminAID

Camping in the middle of the forest can get dark quickly. Without the moonlight to guide you, you’re going to need a reliable light source.

That’s why we trust the PackLite Max Lantern from LuminAID. Both compact and lightweight this little lantern has an ingenious design. When in storage, the lantern compresses down flat, making for easy storage.

With a blink of an eye, the lantern can be inflated and put out up to 150 lumens. Thats a lot of light for such a small package!

Light up your tent, cook your meals, or even take it out on the lake for a midnight swim, this lantern has got you covered with up to 5 hours of full-powered light.

The PackLite Max also comes with a solar panel installed. Need to charge the lantern the next day? Just throw it out in the sun for the day, and you’re good to go.

Photo courtesy of LuminAID

4. Igloo IMX 24qt Cooler

Photo courtesy of Igloo Coolers

We all get hungry after a day in the woods. Once we all circle up around the campfire for the night, we to eat like kings — and so should you!

However, keeping your food cool for longer than 12 hours can be a challenge while camping. One company has been trying to change this and for the right price.

Igloo has been in the cooler game for quite some time. While known best for their cheap plastic coolers, in recent years, Igloo has revamped its lineup and they’ve done a great job at it.

One of the best coolers in their assortment is the IMX 24qt. Built for the outdoors this cooler is both tough and sturdy. Large enough to carry multiple meals, it can keep them cold for more than the duration of your stay.

If you’re planning on drinking more than eating, we won’t judge — we’re occasionally guilty of the same. The good news is that the IMX 24 can hold up to 35 12oz cans.

Photo courtesy of Igloo Coolers

5. Roofnest Down Blanket

Camping in the outdoors can result in all kinds of weather conditions, and sometimes the journey can get a bit cold.

Sure, a sleeping bag will help keep you warm. But is it always enough?

Our down blanket acts like a hybrid between a sleeping bag and a blanket, providing a powerful extra layer of warmth for those chilly nights.

Made with 20 denier fabric and 750 fill-power down, you no longer have to fear the cold on your camp trips. And with a surface area of 7ft by 6ft, you can wrap yourself up and stay warm outside of the tent, too. Grab a down blanket today and wrap you and a friend up and stargaze in bliss.

So there you have it — the top 5 accessories we won’t leave home without. Did we miss anything? What accessory do you not leave home without? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for more expert camping tips? Check out these 10 camp hacks that will make your next camp trip feel like glamping (not really, but you’ll love them anyway) »

Life Hack: How to exercise during your lunch break.

 

Remember when you were in elementary school, and lunch time was your favorite time of the day? It was the time when you ran with your friends and socialized the most.  

Now you may be more than happy to donate your whole lunch break to your employer. But Why? That may not be the healthiest thing for you. It's time to take back control of your lunch break and make it the most pleasant time of your day.  

Benefits:

Let me begin with the benefits you will gain by exercising during your lunch break.   You will gain time in your day, and you will lose weight (which can bring some of the childhood happiness back). You will learn invaluable time management skills and you will become a leader amongst your peers.  At the bare minimum, you will remove yourself from the stressful work environment.  

Lightbulb moment:

Horrible Boss.  Eating during lunch break.  Lunch Hack

When I started, working out during my lunch break, it was really to get away from a horrible boss that I had.  My boss wanted me to work during my lunch break, but even when I did so, my boss wasn't happy. Then I realized that I owned my lunch break, (my boss didn't) and I could do whatever I pleased with it (as long as I wasn't breaking the law or company policy).  

Common Fears

  • If I exercise, I will sweat, how can I feel clean again?
  • Will I be hungry the rest of the day since I'm trading eating for exercising?
  • Will I have enough time to exercise? What type of exercises can I do?
  • Will I be too tired to continue with my day?

Tips for beginners:

Time will be your only enemy, but luckily there are some tricks and hacks out there to make it all possible. The first challenge to tackle is; how to feel clean again? Specifically because most jobs will not have a shower available for you, or the only showers available may look like these pictures below:

Shower option at work.Job shower option 3

 

Your best shower solution: 

A portable disposable wet-wipe designed to clean your entire body such as Showerpouch is your best solution. This wet-wipe is much larger (2ft X 1ft) than a baby wipe, and is specifically designed to make you feel "shower" clean in 5 minutes or less.

Inside the pouch is a premium full-body wet wipe which contains a custom hypoallergenic, pH balanced, vegan formula formula that can remove up to 99% of body odor and sweat from your skin.  The wipe will cool you down immediately, so you can get dressed immediately after wiping off the sweat and odor from your skin. The formula leaves behind a pleasant gender neutral smell on your skin, which most people will compliment you on.  

You literally just do the following:

 

How to eat:

Eating is essential to a healthy lifestyle and I am not saying that you need to stop eating.  However, something light such as a salad or meal replacement shake is recommended (click here to see examples).  Eat after you have completed your workout and you have used Showerpouch to clean your body, and you have put your work clothes back on.

Eating at your desk after you have taken care of your body will feel rewarding and if someone sees you eating at your desk it will give the impression that you are working extra hard.   If you don't have a desk, and you have to eat prior to returning to your work station, then eating something light will allow you to get back in time.

A protein shake and some snacks for your break time will recommended to curve your hunger in the event you still feel hungry.  Note that your body will get used to this time of lunch and will prefer it to avoid "carb coma" in the afternoon.  You could experience an increase of energy as well.  

Preparing meals and snacks ahead of time at home is recommended. Remember that you will not have time to buy something, and you are trading shopping time to do something productive with yourself.   If you are worried that someone will steal your lunch?  Trust me, healthy lunches such as salads never get stolen. 

How to exercise:

If your job offers you a gym, this would be a good time to take advantage of it.  If they don't offer you can still do the following workouts (click here to see):  

  • Run up and down your parking lot/office stairs.
  • Walk or run around the company parking lot or around the block.
  • Run a mile around your job (a mile takes about 15 minutes to complete if you have not run for a long time).
  • Roller blade (be sure to know how already, lunch is not a good time to learn)
  • Drive to your local park to do pushups, pullups, etc.  
  • Shoot hoops or play tennis with someone. 

Will you have enough Energy:

One thing that I learned during my college kinesiology class is that your body will feel more energized when it does more exercise.  So don't be surprised if you have more jump in your step and you begin to look better than your co-workers.  

Finally, don't forget to share the benefits by inviting other co-workers or even organize the workouts for them and you will become a leader. Have a Showerpouch ready for them to relieve half of their concerns and remove their excuses.

 It's your lunch break, it's time to take control of it.  

The general do’s and don’t for your first offroading trip

The general do’s and don’t for your first offroading trip

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I bought my first four door Jeep Rubicon 6 years ago.  At the time I thought offroading was like a Jeep commercial.  Jump in your rig and find some random trail.  How wrong I was!  My very first weekend I took the stock jeep out with my wife and randomly searched online for an “off road” trail.  At the first glance of a “dirt trail”, I took it.  

What I drove on wasn’t an OHV trail, it was a fire trail road. It wasn’t just any fire trail, it was a fire trail that followed along a cliff.  Similar to this old school photo below.  After our near death experience, I decided that I would seek professional counseling when trying to learn more about this hobby.  In particular, how to be safe.

cliff off road jeep

Today I’m an active member of an offroad club called Southern California Off Road Explorers.  The members are extremely knowledgeable and willing to teach newbies how to successfully prepare for all the elements and situations that may occur on the trail.   I’ve not only learned how to properly off road, but I’m continuously trying to sharpen my skills.  You’ll learn, the more you learn the more you don’t know. It’s not required to be in an off road club, but I highly recommend joining one.  It’s a lot more fun going into this hobby with other like minded people who are just as passionate and possibly more knowledgeable than yourself.  Below, I’m going to capture the most basic offroad principles so you are safe and have a plan to make it back home safely.

At all cost, do not go on a trail by yourself

If something happens to you on the trail, what is your backup plan to get back home safely? Going alone is not wise.  At a minimum, it is recommended to have at least two rigs go out together.

Plan your route in advanced

Whether you are doing a day trip or plan to be out for multiple days, plan your trip out.  It’s not uncommon to use an off road GPS app that’s specific for being on unpaved roads. I am currently using Gaia GPS on my apple iPad. Gaia GPS integrates the best topo maps, offline navigation tools and planning features.  Since my apple iPad does not have a built in GPS beacon, I’m using a Bad Elf beacon. Between the Gaia app and the GPS beacon, I can plan out my adventure and share my route with my friends as a kmz file via email.  It’s always wise to have a paper copy. There are plenty of books that takes the guess work out of planning a trip.  One of my favorite books for off roading is a book called, Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails.  There are plenty of other books out there that is specific to your geographical needs. Familiarize yourself with a compass if you plan to use a paper map. Lastly, SHARE and OVER COMMUNICATE with your friends and family where you are going and when you plan to be back.  

Shower

If a mounted water tank or toting gallons of water inside your rig isn’t an option, I recommend using a product called SHOWER POUCH.  It’s a 2' x 1' full body wet wipe.  Between the three scents of Bamboo, Unscented and Bamboo you’ll feel cool and shower fresh after each use. The formula is pH balanced and is derived from vegan ingredients. Shower Pouch is providing a special discount code specifically for the offroad community.  Use discount code “OFFROAD” at checkout and receive a 15% discount from your first purchase.   

Back in the day, the only option for a wet wipe product were Baby Wipes.  We are all adults, it’s time we buy a product that is designed for us and our unique needs.   

If you have the setup to bring water on the trail, I recommend checking out this 5 or 8 gallon water tank from Road Shower. Pictured below, I’ve mounted my Road Shower on top of my Gobi Rack. A solar water bag like the Coleman Camp Shower is another option. From my experience, you have to be very delicate because these bags are susceptible to leaking.  

jeep jk showerpouch shower pouch gobi rack road shower roadshower

Airing Down & Airing Up

Airing down your tires before getting on a trail allows for greater traction and a smoother ride. I typically drop my air pressure to 12 psi.  This psi value could be different for you. It depends on the weight of the vehicle, the type of rim (e.g bed locks), tire and how you plan to ride. There is a point of diminishing return once you go too low on the psi to increase traction and the tires propensity to slip off the rim. I use an ARB tire deflator. This deflator pulls the stem from the tire, resulting in a quicker deflate time.  

After you finish the trail and it's time to get back to civilization, you'll need to air up. If you can't access a near by gas station, you should have an air compressor in your rig. Having an onboard air compressor like the ARB CKMTA12 is super convenient but they can be costly. Having a portable one isn't bad either. Smitty Bilt makes a good quality cost effective compressor.  

tire deflator arb arb air compressor air compressor smitty bilt

Your vehicle (rig) should be safe and be set up for the trails you plan to tackle

Common sense stuff, make sure all your fluids are up to par.  This should include your oil, differential oil, coolant, brake, power steering and etc.  Visually inspect your rig to make sure it is safe for the trail. There is no harm in taking your rig into the shop before you leave for the trail.  

A good practice is to bring an extra bottle of motor oil and some basic tools.  You never know when you may have to wrench under your rig if something goes “boom” on the trail. It will be a fine balance between bringing your entire tool set from the garage and gathering enough tools to handle the essential needs.  

It’s not required to have a 4x4 vehicle to go off roading, but it is highly advised.  A 4x4 can help you better maneuver gnarly transitions and obstacles. You must know the capabilities of your rig and make sure it matches the challenges that you will face while on the trail.  

Safety Equipment

Safety is fundamentally the corner stone for off roading.  Having the basic safety equipment can get you out of many challenging situations. You should have the following equipment stored away in your rig: a tow rope (with a tow weight capacity that can pull your entire rig and some), snatch block, Hi Lift Jack, D rings, tree assist tow rope, a winch that is rated for your vehicle weight, a weighted mat to suppress the winch line in the event it breaks and gloves.  In this blog I will not go into teaching you how to use all this equipment.  Research how to use each tool before using them.    

winch tow rope snatch block shower pouch tow rope jeep jk trail recovery

Communication

When you are on the trail, there is a high likelihood that you will not have cell phone service. The most popular piece of off roading equipment when it comes to communication are CB radios.  These are awesome tools for communicating when the rigs you are speaking with are in line of site.  However, when you need to transmit very far distances, I highly recommend purchasing a mobile HAM radio.  My favorite brand is Yaesu. Not only can you communicate further away than a CB radio, you can also transmit to a repeater that can broadcast your communication hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away.  The better your communication range, the better chances you’ll have to get help if you really need it.  Personally, I have both CB and HAM radios in my rig.  If you want to use a HAM Radio you’ll need to get your license through the FCC.  Pictured below is my setup for comms (bottom center) and navigation.  

ham radio cb radio navigation gaia bad elf

 

Tent Camping

On the ground tents are most common.  I recommend choosing a tent that is right sized for the number of people sleeping in it.  Excessive size tents can be a disadvantage since it will take up more space inside your rig and in extremely cold conditions, the heat gathered inside the tent will collect towards the top of the tent - furthest away from your body.  I’ve learned after many nights of camping, the one piece of material that will extend the life of a tent is a tarp that you can purchase at your local Home Depot store.  Place the tarp on the ground before setting up your tent. The tarp will protect you from rocks and sharp debris that could cut into the base of your tent.  

Having a reliable sleeping bag is essential.  Make sure it is rated for the temperatures you will experience on the trail. I personally own a spring/summer sleeping bag and a fall/winter sleeping bag.  

Food/Beverages

Before we talk about food.  You need to have a reliable cooler that will keep your perishables and non perishables cool. I don’t own this cooler but I plan to buy it soon.  It’s called Yeti.  They are built like a tank!  For many day trips on the trail, I’ve learned a little trick. Buy one small block of dry ice from your local grocery store and place it to the bottom of your cooler.  On top of the dry ice and depending on the size of the cooler, add bags of ice on top. Add the food contents where you see pleased.  If this too complicated you can always buy a plug in refrigerator like the ARB Fridge for ~$700.00. Running it to a secondary battery would be wise since you don't want to kill your primary battery.  

arb refrigerator fridge cooler offroading off roading

Take the Right Line & Be Safe

When approaching a large rock or a dug out rut from the past rainstorm, you MUST think about how your vehicle will respond when it approaches the obstacle.  The rule of thumb is this:

  1. Go around the obstacle if possible
  2. Go over the obstacle with your tires. Don’t allow the obstacle to potentially damage the undercarriage of your rig (e.g. oil pan, drive shaft, control arms, gas tank and etc.)
  3. Straddle ruts vs. putting your tire in it. This can result in your rig high centering or possibly flipping.

Pictured below is what will happen when you don’t take the right line and the second photo is the proper way to take the line when a rut is in your path.

tipping offroading off roading jeep jk rutjeep jk offroading off roading overlanding froader

 

Taking the right line is very important, but approaching your trail at the safe speed is just as important. Off roading isn’t about who finishes the trail first. Take your time and enjoy being on 4 wheels. You’ll have plenty of time to speed on a paved road later.  

Be Courteous

Off Road Lights - It blows my mind how affordable off road lights have become. Because of this there are more and more rigs with +50” light bars. It’s super fun to drive with your light bar on when you think no one is around.  However, you must be mindful that these lights can BLIND a rig closely approaching your “light tower” of terror.  The best rule of thumb is to only use the amount of light needed so you can judge the trail ahead of you.  Think about off road lights like your high beam when you are on a paved road.  Only turn them on when you really need to see further out.   

offroad lights offroading off road light bar rigid industries

Going up hill - When a rig is going down hill and a rig is going up hill on the same trail, give the rig going uphill the right of way.  

Passing a group of off road rigs / ATVs / dirt bikes - It’s customary that one group will pull to the side.  The group that is passing will use hand gestures to signal how many rigs are behind them.  For example, if there are 5 people in my group and I’m the first rig to pass. I’ll show 4 fingers to everyone I’m passing.  The person behind me would show 3 fingers … so on and so forth.  The last person passing would show a closed fist. A closed fist represents "no one is behind me".    

Have Fun

Off Roading aka  Froader aka Overlanding aka Desert rat aka Mudder aka Boondocker are all terms that describe those who love to explore the majestic lands we call home.  The most important rule to this hobby is to just have fun! Become one with nature and your rig and you’ll discover why thousands of people become off roaders for life. Don't forget to bring the wood for a camp fire, a harmonica and a bottle of whisky to pass around :)

camping offroading off roading camp fire rigs

Note - I have not went into specifics for any of the general topics I shared above. In future blogs, I'll write a deeper detail for each activity.