CAMPING AND HIKING EQUIPMENT
WHAT TO BUY… Good camping equipment is both sturdy and light. It is generally more expensive in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK than in North America.
Sleeping Bag: Most sleeping bags are rated by season (â€œsummer” 30-40Â°F at night; â€œfour-seasonâ€ or â€œwinterâ€ often means below 0Â°F). They are made either of down (warmer and lighter, but more expensive and miserable when wet) or of synthetic mate rial (heavier, more durable, and warmer when wet). Prices range from US$80-210 for a summer synthetic to US$250-300 for a good down winter bag. Sleeping bag pads include foam pads (US$ 10-20), air mattresses (US$ 15-50), and Therm-A-Rest self- inflating pads (USI45-80). Bring a stuff sack to store your bag and keep it dry.
Tent: The best tents are free-standing (with their own frames and suspension systems), set up quickly, and require staking only in high winds. Low-profile dome tents are the best all-around. Good 2-person tents start at US$90, 4-person at US$300. Seal the seams of your tent with waterproofer, and make sure it has a rain fly. Other tent acces sories include a battery-operated lantern, a plastic groundcloth, and a nylon tarp. Backpack: Internal-frame packs mold better to your back, keep a lower center of grav-ity, and flex adequately to allow you to hike difficult trails. External-frame packs are more comfortable for long hikes over even terrain, as they keep weight higher and dis-tribute it more evenly. Make sure your pack has a strong padded hip-belt to transfer weight to your legs. Any serious backpacking requires a pack of at least 4000 cubic inches, plus 500 cubic inches for sleeping bags in internal-frame packs. Sturdy back packs cost anywhere from US$ 125-420. This is one area in which it doesnâ€™t pay to economize. Fill up any pack with something heavy and walk around the store with it to get a sense of how it distributes weight before buying it. Either buy a waterproof back pack cover, or store all of your belongings in plastic bags inside your pack.
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