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Best Camping Gear For Your Climbing Road Trip 2023

Jul 03, 2023

The climbing road trip and the camping that’s associated with it is a tradition that goes back to the sport’s early dirtbag roots. And while some climbers have embraced AirBnbs and ostentatious camper vans (you realize that you look like your retired grandparents?), many still prefer the traditional car camping experience when road-tripping. Modern car camping offers a surprising combination of comfort and convenience without completely removing you from the beautiful outdoor environment and the obligatory late-night beta sprayfest around the campfire.

Here are some of the best deals on some innovative car-camping kit for your upcoming climbing road trip.

A roomy three-season down sleeping bag.

The Doradus may be the perfect three-season car-camping sleeping bag. Allow me to explain. Technical sleeping bags feature a body-hugging mummy shape that offers greater thermal efficiency, lower weight, and increased compressibility. Unfortunately, these mummy-shaped bags can feel restrictive for many users, especially in warmer conditions. And this is where the Doradus really stands out. By using a barrel-shaped body with a full-length wrap-around zipper, the bag delivers most of the efficiency found in mummy-shaped bags but is less restrictive and can be fully opened and used as a quilt in warmer temps. The bag is insulated with 650-fill duck down for excellent warmth, compressibility, and low weight.

A lightweight and highly adjustable camping table.

If you’re looking for a lightweight and stable table to prepare your evening gourmet meal or simply a spot to place your post-climbing hydration beer, check out the Base Camp Table. Consisting of an aluminum table top that’s mated to a folding aluminum and stainless-steel frame, the Base camp table can be quickly deployed at any campsite. The legs offer a substantial range of adjustment (from 46 cm up to just over 70 cm) to accommodate different users and allow for easy levelling on less-than-flat surfaces.

A light and very airy two-person tent.

Does your climbing partner snore? Or maybe they’re a bit flatulent during the evening. Either way, rather than suffering through numerous road-tripping nights in the same tent, consider getting your own sleeping accommodations. The MEC Ohm 2-Person tent is light and sufficiently compact to avoid any packing issues when you’re loading the vehicle. When deployed, it offers a very roomy sleeping option for one climber and, as its name suggests, can easily accommodate a second. The Ohm features an all-mesh body, making it an ideal choice in warm conditions. And if there’s no rain in the immediate forecast, you can also roll up the sides of the fly for additional venting. In terms of interior space, the Ohm punches above its specs primarily due to its near-vertical pole structure, which avoids the coffin-like feel of similarly sized tents. This is a versatile and well-priced tent that will serve you when you’re road-tripping or participating in more self-propelled adventures.

A lightweight, compact camping chair.

One of the highlights of any climbing road trip is sitting by the fire with an adult beverage and recounting the day’s climbing exploits. But unless you’re planning on sitting in the dirt (not recommended), you may want to get yourself a MEC Ultra Lite Chair. This lightweight chair is surprisingly comfortable and, thanks to its aluminum frame, can support climbers weighing up to 113 kg. When travelling, the chair folds up and fits in a small stuff sack that can be stored in your vehicle, ready for deployment.

A palatial three-season tent with plenty of headroom.

Lightweight and highly compact tents are ideal for hiking or backcountry climbing, but if you are on a cragging road trip, a more spacious alternative like the MEC Cabin 2.0 makes infinitely more sense. The Cabin 2.0 has a square footprint to maximize usable interior space, and its almost two-metre tall interior height eliminates the claustrophobic feel encountered with smaller shelters. MEC specs multiple large mesh panels for exceptional ventilation in warmer conditions, and the addition of a front and rear door ensures easy exits during those late-night bathroom runs. The tent sets up quickly thanks to the mostly clip-and-hub pole attachment system (there is one short pole sleeve). This sturdy tent frame, combined with the full coverage fly, delivers solid three-season wind and weather protection. This is a solid tent option for large climbers, a climbing family, or anyone who wants more sleeping and living space when road-tripping.

A double-wide technical sleeping bag.

This double-wide sleeping bag is perfect for road-tripping with your significant other. As with other MEC synthetic sleeping bags, the Fireside 0C is insulated with MEC’s Hyperloft insulation, which delivers an excellent combination of warmth, compressibility, and low weight at a very affordable price. The bag features a soft polyester lining that feels like cotton for extra comfort against bare skin, while the full perimeter zipper permits independent venting. The zipper can also be fully opened, allowing the top panel to be used as a blanket. Other compelling details include a low-profile hood for additional warmth in cool conditions and adjustable bottom-panel straps to secure sleeping pads. Pro tip: This sleeping bag mates perfectly with the MEC Reactor 10 Double Sleeping Pad (see below).

A double-wide, well-padded and well-insulated sleeping pad.

Coming in at 10 cm in height, the Reactor 10 Double Sleeping Pad is the epitome of camping luxury. This double-wide pad offers plenty of space for two adults and, thanks to its substantial thickness, provides plenty of insulation even during cold fall conditions. The pad can be quickly inflated to the desired firmness with the supplied stuff sack that also serves double duty as a pump, and MEC has spec’d two deflation valves to simplify packing. The polyester jersey fabric on the top feels soft against the skin, while the non-slip surface on the bottom prevents unwanted pad migration during the evening.

A versatile tarp that affixes to the back of your vehicle.

The Waypoint Tarp is the perfect quick-pitch shelter for cooking or waiting out rainy weather. The waterproof tarp easily affixes to the back of your vehicle (without the need for a rack) and allows you to access the vehicle’s interior through the back. A beefy steel pole creates an A-frame style shape to better shed wind and rain, and the multiple guy-out points provide additional security if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

An affordable larger-sized sleeping pad for three-season use.

If you’re tired of spilling off your sleeping pad in the middle of the night, consider the long and wide version of the Reactor 4 sleeping pad. This affordable self-inflating pad provides cushioning and insulation for less extreme conditions and, thanks to its oversized dimensions, is ideal for larger climbers or those who tend to thrash about when they’re sleeping. While the increased proportions may not make this the best choice for ultra-light hikers, the additional weight and bulk will not negatively impact road-tripping climbers.

MEC Doradus -5C Down Sleeping Bag

Buy Now - $167.97 (30% Off)

MEC Base Camp Table

Buy Now - $62.97 (40% Off)

MEC Ohm 2-Person Tent

Buy Now - $221.97 (40% Off)

MEC Ultra Lite Chair

Buy Now - $66.47 (30% Off)

MEC Cabin 2.0 4-Person and 6-Person Tent

Buy Now 4-Person - $412.97 (30% Off)

Buy Now 6 -Person - $454.97 (30% Off)

MEC Fireside 0C Double Sleeping Bag

Buy Now - $233.97 (40% Off)

MEC Reactor 10 Double Sleeping Pad

Buy Now - $319.96 (20% Off)

Kelty Waypoint Tarp

Buy Now - $141.94 (25% Off)

MEC Reactor 4 Sleeping Pad Long Wide

Buy Now - $71.97 (40% Off)

MEC Doradus -5C Down Sleeping BagMEC Base Camp TableMEC Ohm 2-Person TentMEC Ultra Lite ChairMEC Cabin 2.0 4-Person and 6-Person TentMEC Fireside 0C Double Sleeping BagMEC Reactor 10 Double Sleeping PadKelty Waypoint TarpMEC Reactor 4 Sleeping Pad Long Wide