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North Hills Monthly

Seriously Cool Camping Gear

Mar 31, 2015 09:55AM ● By Clare Heekin Lynch
For some people, ‘roughing it’ means staying in a three-star hotel. For others, it means getting outside, sleeping under the bright moon and stars, and enjoying all of the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.

There’s something to be said about breathing in the fresh air and getting back to basics. According to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), camping is more than just good for the soul. The NWF reports that it also helps increase imagination and cognitive focus, and leads to longer, healthier lives. So, if your kids don’t regularly unplug and play outside, it’s even more important to reserve a campsite and plan a family camping trip.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to do completely without while in the wilds—even in the great outdoors, you can reap some of the benefits that today’s technology has to offer.

Taking a long hike with your kids not only promotes exercise but can open their minds to exploring new things. The Silva® Starter 1-2-3 compass, used alongside a map, helps your little adventurer develop navigation skills. The clear base plate is sized specifically for children’s smaller hands and makes map reading and course plotting easy. The compass is simple and easy to use.

And when children get thirsty on the hike, the LifeStraw Go 22 oz. Filter Water Bottle provides them with clean water to drink. The bottle incorporates a LifeStraw filter, which removes harmful substances from contaminated water, and includes a lanyard for easy attachment to a backpack.

When you’re back at camp, and ready to settle down for the evening, there’s some cool new sleeping gear on the market that will keep you warm and toasty. First off is the wearable sleeping bag—seriously! Think SnuggieTM, made from traditional sleeping bag material. Complete with hands and feet, the bag is surprisingly maneuverable and kids can zig and zag within the small confines of a camping tent.

Another must-have for the cold-weather camper is the Junior Field Scout 20 Degree Sleeping Bag. This sleeping bag, created by Field & Stream, a DICK’S Sporting Goods exclusive brand, offers campers a double-layer quilt that eliminates cold spots. The bag features an adjustable drawstring hood and carrying sack to make for more efficient packing.

For making your way from the campfire back to your tent, the Coleman® CPX™ 6 Rugged Personal Size LED Lantern is great for providing long-lasting light using LED technology. Its durable carry handle is perfect for unsteady little hands, and the lantern is also water resistant.

If your kids are anything like mine, they have a tendency to trip over their own shadows. The Lifeline First Aid® Weather-Resistant First Aid Kit is ideal to have in case of an emergency. This kit includes a weather-resistant carrying case, a carabiner, antiseptic towelettes, alcohol prep pads and a roll of adhesive tape, along with a selection of bandages.

Finally, if the kids get bored despite all that is going on around them, bring along the book The 175 Best Camp Games: A Handbook for Leaders by Kathleen Fraser. Camp games should be fun, and this book offers the very best, camp-tested games for boys and girls ages 4 to 16, with easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations. Whether you’re looking for active movement games or sitting-around-the-campfire games, they’re all in here!

While any of these products can help provide an optimal outdoor fun experience, it’s important to remember that just spending time bonding with loved ones will provide the best and longest-lasting memories for years to come.