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Summer is over, but that’s not going to stop me from enjoying what the great outdoors have to offer, even if I’m only going as far as my backyard. If you’re a hardcore outdoorsman who walks miles into the wilderness to sleep under a blanket of pine needles for one week straight, this guide isn’t for you. If you’re interested in the occasional campout with a bit of comfort and convenience, no matter what your size, read on for more of our picks.
Finding a Tent
I needed a tent spacious enough for me and at least another person. The one I settled on was the Alps Mountaineering Zenith 3 Tent($149). It’s made for 3 seasons, and since that’s mostly what we get here in Oregon, where I live, it was a perfect option. You can open it up for full ventilation with the mesh walls, but if you need coverage from the elements, the weatherproofed cover will keep the badness out. I can vouch for this, because right after this photo shoot, it rained for about 4 hours, and the interior stayed just as dry as when I originally put the tent up. Had any rain made its way into the tent, any important gear would have been ok because of the elevated interior storage pocket, and some covered exterior storage right outside the door.
The Ultimate Big Men’s Camping Chair
I’ll admit, one of the reasons I haven’t loved camping in the past is that a lot of the gear isn’t made to hold me, especially camping chairs. I’ve blown out one or two in my day. Sierra Trading Post understands that this is a problem for some people, and offers the Alpine Mountain Gear Mega Camp Chair ($49.95) to combat it. First off, the chair sports a steel frame, which helps ensure it can stand up to whatever sits on it. The polyester fabric that covers the chair is made to hold up to 500 lbs. When I sat on it, I didn’t feel like I was going to break it. In fact, the chair didn’t have a lot of give (while still being comfortable to sit in), which is a good thing. It felt like it would last for years.
The icing on the cake? This wide camp chair includes two large cupholders that seem pretty well reinforced, meaning you probably won’t have to worry about wearing them down.
A Sleeping Bag for Most Seasons
Here in Oregon, with the exception of a few months of the year, temperatures tend to dip quite a bit when the sun goes down. It can be disconcerting if you’re not used to it. I wanted to make sure that I had a sleeping bag that would be able to keep me warm throughout the night if I decided to go camping in late October, early November, or even mid-January. The Alps Mountaineering 0°F Echo Lake Sleeping Bag ($59.99) states pretty clearly that it’ll keep you warm almost anywhere you take it. This beast is filled with polyester fiber batting, ensuring you’re warm even if you camp in the snow.
Since I have a round body, I was concerned about finding a sleeping bag that I fit into well. This bag is mummy shaped, meaning that there’s more room in the stomach area than in other types of sleeping bags. I found it to be just the right amount of roomy for my needs. As it got cooler and rainier later into the evening, the Echo Lake Sleeping Bag kept me very warm. Trust me, that won’t be an issue for you with this one.
Top of the Line Camping Storage
When it comes to camping, (especially backyard camping) I tend to travel light. That doesn’t mean I don’t need a good solution for packing and transporting food and drinks. The collapsable Mountainsmith Zip Top Tote is my choice for sheer portability, ease of use, and space, but any of their storage systems will make your life easier. This particular bag features a molded bottom for stability and ballistic poly construction. Basically, it’s made to take a beating and still survive. ($20 and up)
There you have it, everything you need for some good old (backyard) camping. Keep an eye out as we leave the yard and head out into the great outdoors to bring you more products that are perfect for the plus size adventurer.