Best Camping & Hiking in 2020 (November Reviews)

Dorian Smith-Garcia Written by: Dorian Smith-Garcia Last Updated: 16 Nov 2020

To help you find the best camping and hiking gear for all of your summer adventures, we spent multiple hours testing many products over a wide variety of different categories. During our testing, we measured each item’s ability to add usefulness to your pack during both long and short trips. We also measured the products on their portability, durability and weather resistance.

With these features in mind, and after all of our testing was complete, we crowned the Teton Sports Leef sleeping bag as the winner of our top pick spot. It’s durable, lightweight and incredibly warm, with zero-degree performance. It can also be packed up into a tiny compression back for easier packing. Keep reading to learn more about these products as well as the other best camping and hiking gear on our list.

Top 10 Best Camping and Hiking Gear

 #1  Teton Sports Leef Sleeping Bag

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This sleeping bag is built with ultra-light materials that will keep you warm in temperatures as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also water resistant and compact for easier storage.


Pros

  • Best for winter; 0 F temperature rating
  • Extra durable construction
  • Water resistant

Cons

  • Compression sack is a little small
  • Narrower than some other sleeping bags we tried


The Teton Sports Leef sleeping bag is an excellent zero degree option that will keep you warm in even the coldest weather. Perfect for winter campers and backpackers, the Teton uses PolarLite micro-insulation to keep you as warm as possible, especially when compared to other sleeping bags. Plus, you get extra fill in the foot box, which is a nice plus. When paired with a high quality sleeping pad, you get an extra comfortable experience.

This bag is a little more narrow than other bags we’ve tested, especially in the chest region, so keep that in mind if you’re considering this option. However, we felt it was fairly roomy in all other areas. The bag also includes a full-length draft tube that keeps your body heat circulating through the bag without escaping it. The Leef is also made from 40D ripstop fabric that keeps water from absorbing and lasts a long time. To store the Leef, you’ll essentially stuff it into the included compression bag, which is a little tight. However, once you get the hang of it, storing the sleeping bag becomes easier.

 #2  Big Agnes Fly Creek HB UL2 Tent

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ultra lightweight, good for three seasons and fully waterproof, this tent is perfect for extended backpacking and camping trips. It’s also incredibly roomy for a two-person tent and easy to set up.


Pros

  • Compact size when packed
  • Pre-attached guy lines
  • Incredibly lightweight and waterproof

Cons

  • Not as durable as other options
  • Not good for high winds


The Big Agnes Fly Creek HB UL2 is the best lightweight backpacking tent on our list, weighing in at just 1 lb. 15 oz. This makes it the perfect fit for anyone taking long backpacking and camping trips who need to conserve space and weight in their packs. When packed up, it’s incredibly small as well, measuring in at just 19” x 4”. The Big Agnes tent sacrifices some durability and high-wind resistance in order to achieve this small size, but we think it’s a good trade off.

In spite of some sacrificed durability, you’ll still get waterproofing in the form of polyurethane tape, which is common in ultra-light camping gear. The tent is also big enough for two people, and surprisingly roomy with 28 square feet inside and 40 inches of head room. Other interior features include integrated media pockets with headphone cord passthrough, an additional three mesh pockets and loops to create a gear loft above. We were impressed with how easy it was to set up the Fly Creek HB UL2. The guy lines are already attached and the tent includes reflective elements to make it easier to get up in darker lighting.

 #3  Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth Water Bottle

Award: BEST FOR HYDRATION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This water bottle is nearly indestructible with its tough, BPA-free Tritan plastic while still remaining lightweight and portable. We also found that water consumed from this container avoids an unappetizing plastic taste.


Pros

  • Incredibly durable, lightweight construction
  • Wide mouth for easier filling
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Too wide for cup holders
  • Difficult to drink and walk simultaneously


Nalgene water bottles are incredibly popular all around the world and their premium build quality is the reason for that. This Nalgene wide mouth bottle is built from Tritan plastic which, is BPA free, dishwasher safe and nearly indestructible. This durability makes the Nalgene a good choice for hikers and campers. The loop that keeps the lid attached to the bottle also makes for a handy carrying handle that you can attach to your backpack via carabiner. And before you worry about the plastic in the bottle, you’ll be pleased to know that we didn’t experience any funky plastic taste in our water, even after a whole day of hiking in hot weather.

The wide-mouth design of the Nalgene is good for a number of reasons. For starters, it makes it easier to fill up and empty when needed, and it’s also easier to clean. Unfortunately, the wide mouth does have its downside, as we found it somewhat complicated to drink while hiking.. Since the mouth is so wide, it can cause water to slosh around and spill out if you try to drink and walk simultaneously. All in all, though, this downside doesn’t hamper the Nalgene’s overall usefulness.

 #4  LifeStraw Water Purifier for Camping

Award: BEST H20 PURIFIER

WHY WE LIKE IT: This water purifier straw is compact and extremely effective at keeping your water safe for drinking, no matter where it comes from. It can eliminate 99.99% of bacteria and fits easily in your pocket or pack.


Pros

  • Eliminates nearly all bacteria
  • 0.2 micron filter
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Takes physical effort to draw water
  • Neckband could be stronger


The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter filters out all of the microbes and harmful chemicals as you drink directly from an affected water source, including bacteria, microplastics and parasites. Instead of using chemical treatments like iodine tablets or heavy and bulky purifiers, the LifeStraw does more in a much more compact package. Even better, you don’t need batteries or pumping to pull water through the straw. You will find that it requires you to suck harder than you would through a regular draw, but that’s to be expected from a filtered purification straw.

The LifeStraw features hollow fibers with 0.2 micron pores to achieve such comprehensive filtration. These fibers don’t expire and don’t need replacing from normal usage, which essentially gives you a lifetime’s worth of use here. It’s also incredibly portable, measuring in at just 9” x 1” x 1” and weighing in at just 2 oz. It’s compact enough to fit into a small emergency aid kit, which is a huge plus. The LifeStraw includes a neck strap so you can wear it around your neck, but it isn’t the strongest, so we preferred to keep ours tucked away in our pack until we needed it. If you’re worried about survival beyond just water, you might want to bring the best emergency blanket too.

 #5  Coleman Gas Camping Stove

Award: BEST FOR COOKING

WHY WE LIKE IT: The portable gas camping stove features two adjustable burners, excellent wind blockage and innovative pressure control for more consistent cooking performance. It’s also durable and compact overall, perfect for camping trips.


Pros

  • Compact and portable, tabletop design
  • Superb wind-blocking panels
  • Precise temperature control

Cons

  • Doesn’t include fuel
  • Lid can stick occasionally


Coleman is one of the best camping gear brands, as well as the most trusted, and that trust comes from decades of durable and reliable products. The Coleman gas camping stove shows that dedication to reliability in its overall durable and compact design. This is the best camping stove for campgrounds that your money can buy because it can be placed onto a tabletop but still be folded up for easier portability. Be aware that the lid can sometimes stick when unpacking the stove, but it didn’t happen enough to ruin the experience.

When it comes to performance, you get two burners that feature precise temperature controls and heat up to 20,000 BTUs. A single 16.4 ounce propane cylinder will give you up to an hour of cook time, but your purchase unfortunately doesn’t include fuel. One of the best things about the Coleman gas camping stove is the integrated pressure regulation that automatically adjusts pressure control so you always get a consistent cooking experience. This helps improve performance in cold temperatures. This combined with the wind-blocking panels will allow you to cook no matter what conditions surround you.

 #6  Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Award: BEST MULTI-TOOL

WHY WE LIKE IT: This pocket knife features a classic Swiss army knife design with tons of functionality. It’s also super lightweight and compact, and able to fit into any pack or pocket with ease.


Pros

  • Multiple functions for greater versatility
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Multiple design and color options

Cons

  • Average knife blade
  • Narrow nail file


If you’re looking for a reliable multi-tool pocket knife, then look no further than the Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife. This knife measures in at a mere 2 ¼” package that weighs just 0.74 ounces. This makes it perfect for taking with you on backpacking and camping trips since it will take up virtually zero space in your pack or pockets.

You might be surprised with just how much functionality can fit in such a small package, too. The Vicorinox provides seven different tools in total, including a knife, scissors, screwdriver, tweezers, tooth pick, nail file and key ring. Most tools work perfectly well, but we do wish the knife blade was a little sharper out of box and a tad larger. The nail file was also a little narrow, but it works in a pinch. All in all, this pocket knife is reliable and useful for campers and backpackers alike. If you’re camping trip might also include rock climbing, take a look at the best carabiner too.

 #7  Sawyer Products Picaridin Flying Insect Repellent

Award: BEST BUG SPRAY

WHY WE LIKE IT: This insect spray uses picaridin instead of DEET for a more effective approach to eliminating flying insects like mosquitoes and flies. It also features an incredible spray bottle design that can spray in any orientation.


Pros

  • Superior tick and mosquito defense
  • Can spray in any orientation
  • Fragrance free

Cons

  • Doesn’t repel wasps or hornets
  • Not water resistant
  • Container smaller than other products we tried


The Sawyer Products Picaridin flying insect spray is incredibly effective because it uses a 20% picaridin formula that’s more effective than DEET at eliminating biting insects and disease-carrying bugs like mosquitoes. Picaridin is also safe for the entire family and even for your gear. The spray works best against ticks, mosquitoes and other biting flies, but won’t be nearly as effective against bugs like wasps or hornets. Sawyer Products lists this spray as fragrance free, but we did notice a slight citrus scent. Fortunately, this isn’t a bad scent at all.

One of the most impressive things about this spray is the actual spray bottle design. For starters, it features a proprietary spray nozzle design that allows you to use the product in any orientation, including upside down. It also sprays incredibly evenly so you don’t need to worry about reapplying over and over again. We do wish that the Sawyer Products spray came in larger sizes, although the six ounce bottle still goes a long way with its overall 12-hour effectiveness on your skin. If you’re using this repellant to gear up for your next walk, maybe consider packing a pair of the best compression socks too.

 #8  Lighting EVER LED Headlamp

Award: BEST ILLUMINATION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This headlamp is affordable, bright and extremely comfortable. It’s also more durable than other options with an IP44 water-resistance rating, making it an excellent choice for outdoors use.


Pros

  • IP44 rated for rain or splashes
  • More secure dual headband
  • More affordable than other products we tried

Cons

  • Could be brighter
  • Not very adjustable
  • Only 4 different modes


The Lighting EVER headlamp features an impressive 18 individual LED bulbs for a more comprehensive level of brightness. Sure, this isn’t as bright as some of the high-powered options available today, but it provides you enough light to keep your path forward illuminated. It also features four separate lighting modes: red flashing, two LEDs, 10 LEDs and all 18 LEDs. These modes give you a variety of different brightness settings so you can use the headlamp in a variety of different scenarios.

Overall durability and comfort of the Lighting EVER headlamp is worth note, as well. For starters, it’s got an IP44 rating for protection against water splashes and objects larger than 1mm. The headlamp won’t get ruined in the rain or snow, but you won’t be able to submerge it completely. The dual headband design is also much more comfortable than other options since it more evenly distributes the weight of the headlamp. This headband design also keeps the lamp securely in place on your head. While you’re on you’re next hike, you might consider bringing along one of the best survival knives too.

 #9  Ohuhu Stainless Steel Backpacking Stove

Award: BEST BAG FRIENDLY COOKING

WHY WE LIKE IT: The best backpacking stove on our list is collapsible, versatile and lightweight, making it a wonderful space-saving option. It can protect the heat source from wind and even converts into a grill for more variety in cooking.


Pros

  • Pan cooking mode
  • Made from durable stainless steel
  • Compact, collapsible design

Cons

  • Requires wood for fuel


Traveling light for backpacking trips can be made much more difficult when you factor cookware into the equation. However, the Ohuhu Stainless Steel Backpacking Stove eliminates that worry because of its ultra-compact and collapsible design. When folded, the Ohuhu is only 5.3” x 3” x 5.3” in size and weighs just under 13 ounces. It also includes a carrying case for better protection when stored.

Fortunately, the Ohuhu backpacking stove doesn’t sacrifice much functionality for portability. You can use the stove as either a grill with the included grill grid or a standard stove with the included pot supporter. Switching between the two is also incredibly easy. This is a wood-burning backpacking stove, so be aware that you’ll either need to pack your own wood or find it at your campsite. We were most impressed with how sturdy the Ohuhu was during cooking. You can place it directly on the ground without worrying about it tipping over.

 #10  Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets

Award: BEST H20- BACTERIA TREATMENT

WHY WE LIKE IT: These water purification tablets are strong and fast acting, making them a perfect alternative to other water purification methods. They also prevent the iodine aftertaste so you won’t have a hard time drinking the treated water.


Pros

  • No negatvie aftertaste
  • Effective against Giardia lamblia
  • Fast acting

Cons

  • May stain water bladder
  • Takes 2 tablets for 1 liter


These Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets are the best option for emergency situations when you suspect your water may have been contaminated by bacteria, including cysts from Giardia lamblia. Unfortunately, you have to use two tablets to purify a single liter of water, but the results are outstanding. For starters, it only takes 35 minutes to purify the water, which is quicker than many other options out there.

However, the best feature of the Potable Aqua tablets is that there is no iodine aftertaste or color after the purification process is done. This is due to the included PA+ tablets. Simply use the PA+ tablets after the iodine tablets to eliminate the taste and color. Just be aware that the iodine purification process may still stain your water skin before using the PA+ tablets.

How We Decided

As we purchased and reviewed a multitude ofcamping and hiking products, we determined our overall rankings based on usefulness. Now, this is a bit of a subjective measurement, as everyone’s needs will vary, but in general it’s a good factor to consider. To accurately measure overall utility, we asked a simple question: “Could we live without this item on a hike or at the campsite?” To answer this question, we took each piece of outdoor gear into nature to test it out.

We also measured each product based on its portability and size. If you’re camping and hiking, you’ll want something small and light enough to carry around with ease. This way, you’ll have more room in your bags to carry more gear. We also looked for portable gear that was easy to set up and tear down without a steep learning curve. This kind of gear saves you time on both ends.

Finally we rated the camping and hiking gear on our list based on how long it lasted. You don’t want your gear to wear out after a single use, so purchasing something with durability is of the utmost importance. Each item on our list is durable enough to handle casual camping and hiking trips, but the best summer hiking gear and camping items will include extra durability overall. We rated items higher if they were built specifically to withstand bumps, bruises, drops and exposure to water.

Best Camping Hiking Gear Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Utility
    The ultimate test in determining whether a piece of camping and hiking gear makes it into your pack ultimately lies in its overall utility as it pertains to your individual needs. Since you have limited space in your pack but an unlimited number of options when it comes to gear, you’ll want to make sure you only include items that you absolutely need. Determining exactly what you need and customizing your pack can take time over several different trips, so pay attention to the utility of your gear during every camping or backpacking excursion.
  2. Portability
    As mentioned above, your pack only has a limited amount of space, so you’ll want to be sure to include items that are as compact and as portable as possible. Camping and hiking gear comes in many shapes and sizes, with tents and sleeping bags taking up the most amount of space. On the flip side, there are circumstances when an added feature may increase the overall utility of your gear but decrease its portability. These are personal decisions to make, but if the added utility outweighs the added bulk or weight, then it’s well worth the swap.
  3. Durability
    Camping and hiking gear can take repeated beatings over their life, so you’ll want to be sure you purchase products that are built to last. Durability looks different for every piece of gear, but in general you can’t go wrong with products that are made from rip and water resistant materials or metals like stainless steel. You should also consider products that can be dropped without fear of breaking, since that’s a likely occurrence whenever you’re out in the wild.

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Camping Hiking Gear FAQs

What are the 10 essentials for camping?

When you’re out camping in the wild, you won’t want to miss out on packing any of these essentials:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Tent
  • Water bottle
  • Water purifier
  • Camping stove
  • Pocket knife
  • Flying insect spray
  • Backpacking stove
  • Water purification tablets

Who makes the best camping gear?

There are almost an infinite number of camping and backpacking gear manufacturers to choose from, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. The best companies on our list include Teton Sports, Nalgene and Coleman. Other companies include North Face and Kelty. The best hiking gear brands include companies like REI Co-op, Arc’teryx and Black Diamond.

What should you not wear while camping?

In general, the best advice when it comes to camping and hiking clothes is to not wear poorly fitting items. You shouldn’t wear too little or too much. Instead, try to match your clothing to the activities that you’ll be doing. Some swear by wearing hiking pants no matter the weather, but be sure you won’t overheat in hot temperatures if you do. Finally, wear a pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, along with hiking socks. These are the best hiking gear for beginners that you absolutely can’t forget. Also consider weather appropriate clothing. If rain is on the forecast, it’s not a bad idea to bring rain jackets so you don’t get soaked and cold.

What kind of food is best for camping?

The best food for camping includes items like trail mix, nuts, beef jerky and sandwiches. You should also consider dehydrated foods. If you’re not hiking into your campsite and eating from the comfort of your camping chairs, though, you can get a little more creative with the type of food you bring.

If I purchase these products online or in-store, will I get free shipping?

That truly depends on which store or website you decide to use. A well-known mainstream store is more likely to offer free delivery, hoping that it will encourage you to purchase items through their website. Whereas a smaller, privately owned online business or shop will need to charge a delivery fee to cover transportation costs and other expenses. Be sure to check several online sellers and carefully compare prices from more than one seller. Sometimes, sellers offering free shipping will charge more than the recommended retail price in order to cover delivery costs.

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