The Best Camping Gear of 2017 Tested by our Editors for Alaskan Hunters
Klymit Insulated Static V Luxe Mattress
The mattress is very easy to inflate; opening and locking inflation valves are simple to use and effective. It rolls up compactly and is perfect for taking on long adventures. It provides good insulation from the cold ground. The mattress is large enough to accommodate our 6-foot, 2-inch tester and provided good rest.
Stansport Cree Lantern 1200 Lumens
We find this lantern to be the perfect camp table lantern and at 1,200 lumens it easily lights up the whole camp for your group. It’s a good choice for a base-camp while hunting on the road system.
Jet Boil Genesis Base Camp System
Our tester commented that this was her favorite item of 2016. It includes a 10-inch ceramic non-stick fry pan, a 5-Liter pot with lid and a Genesis 2-burner stove. The system nests to take up little space and comes with a carry bag, making it easy to pack and take on remote adventures. It is compatible with a standard 1-pound propane bottle.
Camp Chef Pro 30 Deluxe One Burner Stove
This 14-inch outdoor stove is capable of cooking nearly anything you want to cook at camp. It can put out 30,000 BTUs. It has a foldable side-shelf for convenience and is compatible with Camp Chef’s 14-inch accessories such as their griddles or Dutch ovens. The range of heat-control is fairly wide, allowing you to simmer stews slowly or sear steaks quickly. It comes with adjustable, removable legs that make it easy to cook over as well as providing ease of transport and storage. The burner is cast-aluminum, which prevents it from rusting. Our tester takes it camping but also uses it as the heat source in his homemade smoker. The wide range of heat control allows him to start smoking at 110 degrees and gradually raise the temperature through the smoking process. This is a versatile stove.
We tested the Niak this year in the summer and fall. It is a super-lightweight 3-season tent that is a great choice as a solo tent. Our tester used it with his 6-year-old son and reported itwas an ideal size for an adult and child and the vestibule provided ample space for their gear. It is incredibly easy and fast to pitch; two poles hold up the entire structure. The sleeping space is about 7 feet by 4 feet and is a little more than 3 feet tall. The highly functional backpacking tent weighs only 3 pounds, 12 ounces.
Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top Heater
This product made a favorable impression for our group, enjoying the great outdoors in cool fall temperatures. It works great for outdoor heat while camping, hanging out lakeside or at the beach, and it provides a great alternative to starting a fire. This makes it equally useful in hunting camp, where you might not want to start a fire and spook game. The heater warmed up a large area and made it quite comfortable to remain outside. The direct, super-warm heat was very enjoyable, and it eliminated smoke in the eyes and on the clothes that comes with a campfire.
Alaska’s climate varies from season to season, and this bag adapts just as quickly. The Thylacine base bag alone keeps you warm down to 30°; add in the liner and it keeps you warm down to 15°. If you add in the liner insert, the bag will keep you toasty warm down to 0°. We appreciated the temperature flexibility of this bag, the CustomFit contour straps that allowed us to make the bag more fitted where we wanted, and the vaulted, roomy footbox.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper SV
While definitely comfortable, thanks to the thick, supportive design, the NeoAir Camper SV is special because it inflates and deflates quickly with less effort. The wide SpeedValve allows for physics to assist your lungs during inflation for quick setup, then reverses and releases the air almost instantly when it’s time to pack camp.
Heather’s Choice Smoked Sockeye Salmon Chowder
Developed to provide a healthy food option for backcountry enthusiasts, Alaskan Heather Kelly is a sports nutritionist whose inspiration for the product line comes from home-cooked meals of locally-harvested, sustainable foods. Her smoked sockeye chowder is ideal during or after a long day stalking big game. The salmon is wild-caught and then cold-smoked and one packet contains six ounces of smoked sockeye salmon, peas, carrots and potatoes—all added into a chowder that’s been lightly spiced with dill and cayenne pepper. This will warm you up and fuel you for another day battling the elements in pursuit of game.
Paleo Meals To Go Caldera Chicken Curry
Our tester was so happy to learn about this freeze-dried food company, and she said the Caldera Chicken Curry was among her favorites for the light, clean flavor. It is gluten-free, milk-free, soy-free, preservative-free and grain-free, so it works great for a lot of different diet styles that may be followed by backcountry enthusiasts.
Sea to Summit X-Pot
The X-Pot is a camp cooking pot that is very light, packs down to a 1-inch tall disk and combines an aluminum base, silicone walls and a stainless steel rim for rigidity. It’s light and highly-packable, and our testers were impressed with the design. The lid includes an integrated strainer, which our field editor thought was a nice touch. It is available in 1.4L, 2.8L and 4L sizes; we tested the 1.4L model.
Kershaw Ration Spoon and Fork Tool
This convenient tool is handy for hunters, backpackers, campers, anglers and pretty much anyone eating on the go. It combines a fork, spoon, bottle opener and a carabiner in a 1.1-ounce tool.
Mountain House Chicken Noodle Casserole
We’ve noticed that Mountain House meals continue to get better. We enjoyed the Homestyle Chicken Noodle Casserole when in the field in 2016. Just boil two cups of water and in 10 minutes you’ve got a hot meal of chicken, noodles, green pepper, celery and mushrooms in a cream sauce. Each bag holds three 290 calorie servings.