The Best New Ultralight Luxuries for Backpacking
One of the reasons backpacking camping is so liberating is that it forces you to carry only what you need for a few days. But with so much focus on the ultralight gear available now, there's no reason you have to leave all the creature comforts behind anymore. These eight ultralight camping gear luxuries will soon become necessities in all your trips. Espresso, anyone?
1. The Foon
What do you get when you combine wooden chopsticks with a long-handled "foon" (fork/spoon)? GSI Outdoors' Glacier Stainless Kung Foon ($12), of course. Use the chopsticks and foon on their own, or combine them into an ingenious long-handled scooper and scraper, perfect for mixing up every last drop of that freeze-dried dinner and then shoveling it into your mouth. Bonus: this foon's "bowl" is deep enough to use for eating soups, cereals, oatmeal, or whatever else your camp cook throws your way.
2. Espresso, Anyone?
Weighing in at less than a pound and standing only 6.8 inches tall, Wacaco's Minipresso (about $59) won't take up much room in your pack but will make you the only barista within miles around. Pour in some ground coffee and a little hot water and give it a few pumps, and your own Morning Joe is ready to go. Whip up a few shots for later by the campfire with this espresso martini cocktail.
3. Trick CookSet
For compact, complete, and ultralight camp kitchens, you can't beat MSR's PocketRocket Stove Kit ($99.95). Weighing in at just over 3 ox, the PocketRocket stove can boil a liter of water in less than 4 minutes. The minimalist, nesting cookset includes a 2-liter pot with lid, and two deep bowls, two insulated mugs with sip-through lids, and two folding sporks -- all of which nests within the pot for easy packing.
4. Sensational Sleeping Bags
The new line of warm and highly compressible Patagonia Sleeping Bags feature 850-fill goose down, which, according to its site is "traced from ($279-$519) parent farm to apparel factory to help ensure the birds that supply it are not force-fed or live-plucked." The sleeping bags also come with a host of nifty features borrowed from 45 years of the company 's expertise designing and manufacturing jackets and other outdoor wear, such as lightweight stitch baffle construction, replaceable center zippers, Houdini liners that dry quickly and are soft next to the skin.
5. Hammock Hang Time
Let's face it, there's no better way to relax at the campsite than hanging in a hammock. The Kammok Roo ($99) can accommodate up to 500 lbs — invite a friend! If you're hanging out overnight, you'll want to keep the creepy crawlies at bay with the Dragonfly Bug Net ($75). Pair your power relaxation with some lemonade and you've got an afternoon of heaven ahead of you.
6. The Cleanest Water
Water purification tools have come a long way. The SteriPEN Ultra ($100) is state-of-art when it comes to convenience and "strength-to-weight" ratio. It has a USB-rechargeable water purifier no bigger than a magic marker that utilizes ultraviolet light to kill not just bacteria and protozoa but viruses as well, sans any chemical aftertaste.
7. Super Scooper
When you've gotta go, The TentLab's Deuce of Spades is there for you, if you can find it in the recesses of your pack. Weighing in at just 0.6 of an ounce, this paper-thin potty trowel ($19.95) makes good use of aerospace-grade aluminum to cut through small roots and tough ground so you can dig a hole in no time.
8. The Ultimate Waterproof Shoes
Love ‘em or not, Crocs are hands-down the ultimate camp shoe, classic Crocs ($35) are lightweight and tough (strap ‘em to the outside of your pack while you hike). Rubbery in feel, Crocs are made with Croslite material, which does not contain latex. They work with or without socks and since they don't absorb any moisture, they're perfect for stream crossings, and come out of the water as dry and light as when they went in.
9. A Neat Night Cap
Snow Peak's sleek Titanium Curved Flask ($150) weighs in at only 2.5 ounces and holds 6.7 fluid ounces of your favorite scotch or whiskey without adding any metallic taste. There are cheaper camping flasks out there, but is it really worth skimping when style points matter?
Related: The Best New Camping Luxuries