My family and I spend as much time outdoors as possible. Living in Oregon gives us tons of opportunity to hike, camp, and try out gear. Our garage is packed with stuff and we’re always adding to it.
In addition, I try to backpack somewhere new each year. I’ve explored areas around Mt. Hood, the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Broken Top, The Wallowas, Goat Rocks, and the Sawtooth Mountains.
Feel free to ask me about anything!
Summer Infant Pop 'n Sit Portable Booster Seat
Makes Meals Easy
Our 1 year old loves having her own chair for mealtime when we're camping. We put it right up on top of the table so she's above us all and she'll stay there the whole meal, enjoying all the different food on her tray. Cleaning it up is super easy with the quick drying canvas material. Our 3 year old loves using it by the fire without the tray as well. Only reason for not giving it 5 stars is that folding it up is a little trickier than I'd like.
Loksak Opsak Resealable Odor Proof Storage Bags
Let the critters (small and big!) go to the next campsite
My friend had some of these and all the squirrels ended up on my bag at night. I, too, have two, one for my food and one for garbage. I'm not convinced they are 100% odor proof but I believe it's all about having less of a scent than the other people. Just like with bears, as long as someone is slower than you, you're safe, right? I really recommend, especially paired with URsacks.
TAXA Outdoors Cricket Trailer
Perfect little camper
My wife and I researched for months to find the right trailer for us. We wanted something that was light to tow, could be stored in our garage, could sleep two adults and two kids, and felt like we were still outside instead of inside an RV. It does the trick on all fronts and has been totally worth the investment. The biggest realization we’ve had is that it’s awesome for storing gear as well. We just keep everything in it, hitch it up and go. Other collapsibles don’t allow this. It would be nice to have an outdoor kitchen but the big backdoor is great to leave open at night.
Starbucks Via Instant Coffee Italian Roast
So easy and tastes great on the trail!
With Via I'm always the first one at camp with coffee in my hand while everyone else messes with their filters. It tastes really good for instant and if you buy it in bulk, the price is really good, too. I definitely recommend it if you like Starbucks and simple pleasures when camping!
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Pump-Spray Insect Repellent
Trust me, it works!
I’m the guy that gets 100 mosquito bites while no one else gets touched. I have Ultrathon for backpacking but with all its deet, I try to only use it when necessary. For car camping or dinner outside, this Repel is great. I can now enjoy summer nights like normal people!
Rainbow East Cape Flip-Flop Sandals
Love these for water
I’ve been a rainbow wearer for years but always had a hard time around lakes and rivers and not wanting to get the leather wet. I ordered these and my problems are solved! I can walk right into the river or lake now without worrying about the leather getting damaged. They don’t seem quite as comfortable as the leather but still really nice.
REI Camp Bed Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad
I can’t say enough about these pads for car camping. They’re self-inflating so no work to set up, and I honestly think they’re more comfortable than the mattress on my bed. In fact, I use it at home all the time and take it with me when I stay at friends’ houses. The only downside is the effort it takes to roll it back up tight enough to fit in its bag, but it also comes with straps so you don’t need to deal with it. Get some!
La Sportiva GTX Hiking Shoes
So comfy, slightly narrow
I’m a big fan of La Sportiva and these shoes don’t disappoint. They fit extremely well and feel like they’ll last forever. I’ve only done about 75 miles in them so far but each outing feels even better. They do have round laces which I have to double tie, but that’s a small issue. Highly recommended.
ISLE Explorer Inflatable Paddle Board
Great for families!
We love this paddle board. Being inflatable, it’s super easy to throw in the back of the car and take wherever. Pumping it up is part of the fun when you have kids. And the softness of it makes it really forgiving when the water battles begin. The price point was good for a quality product. Get one!
Yakima SkyBox 16 Carbonite Cargo Roof Box
Can carry way more stuff, not totally sturdy
Adding this box to our car changed everything for our family when it comes to car travel. It's the biggest we could fit on our Subaru and fits so much stuff that our dog can now ride comfortably in the back of the car. The hinges have come undone a couple times and i do wish they were more sturdy.
Suokeni Quick Drying Mesh Slip on Water Shoes
Never take them off!
I bought these for crossing water when backpacking and now I use them all summer at lakes and rivers when I’m hanging out, swimming, paddle boarding, etc. They’re so light and dry so fast you forget they’re on. My whole family has them now!
REI Kingdom 6 Tent
This tent has been awesome for our family with three kids. We all slept in it again last night and there’s more than enough room. There are lots of great pickets to store everything from books to stuff sacks and the half mesh, half material design allows for good air flow, while also giving some privacy if needed. When I got it I was concerned about wind but when tied down this thing doesn’t budge!
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Jacket
I wear it everyday
Might be my favorite jacket ever! I was a little concerned in the store about its durability because the material is so thin, but after a year of hard use I’ve had no tears or issues. I’m not sure how they do it but it gives me the perfect warmth, whether it’s 40 degrees or 60! This dark blue color is awesome too.
Black Diamond Alpine Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
Really happy with these
These are my first poles and I’m really impressed with how much they lighten the work. Feels like they take 10 pounds off me! My 6 year old son loves collapsing them to use as well. The quick change lever is great for transitioning from uphill to downhill.
Osprey Porter 46 Backpack
Unique design still has me on the fence
This is a great bag by a great brand. Like all Osprey gear it’s high quality and super comfortable. The unique thing about it is the hard sides. They’re great when it’s on it’s back and you’re putting things in or taking them out. They also help keep its shape really nicely when you have less stuff in it. But there’s just something about them that I haven’t quite gotten used to. Maybe I’ll miss them one day when I get a new pack. Who knows!
Cocoon Hyperlight AirCore Pillow
I love this little light pillow
I was worried when I bought this that it wouldn’t be comfortable. Other air pillows have felt like my head is on a balloon. But the Cocoon feels better than others I’ve tried. I got it a few years ago and have since seen other pillows in the store that might be more comfortable, but the Cocoon does a great job, is super lightweight, and has lasted all this time. I recommend!
Whynter Ice Cream Maker
Make ice cream fast!
Our family has so much fun putting random stuff in this ice cream maker to experiment with different flavors. We keep some base material around the house (cream, sugar) then throw fruit, honey, chocolate, nuts and whatever else we have at the time. One great ingredient is leftover birthday cake! It makes ice cream in 45 minutes and enough for a dinner party of 10.
La Sportiva Wildcat 2.0 GTX Trail Running Shoes
So comfy, had to buy another pair!
I had the first version of these and loved them so I bought the 2.0 recently and they feel even better. Lots of good support on the bottom but still are really nice for relaxing in. I wear them for runs, light hikes, and anytime I’m camping. My wife is so jealous about the colors we’ll probably get another pair soon!
Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Sleeping Pad
Quiet and Comfy
It’s amazing how much more comfortable backpacking got with this pad. I had an older thermarest and just never slept well. With the Q-core I’ll sleep all night and it doesn’t make those loud noises like others do when I roll over. I even use it at home for naps because the valve is so fast!
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System
While my friends unload their packs to get their big filters and start their whole water routine, I can easily pull this from a pocket and get a quick drink. I also tend to carry less water because of it, which means less weight. However, it is nice at the end of the day when my friends fill up the big bottles for cooking. My takeaway is get one of these and bring friends with bigger filters!
Ursack AllMitey Bear and Critter Resistant Food Sack
Seems strong and well made
I haven’t had the fortune of having a bear attack this bag yet but I am happy about how it’s kept squirrels and other rodents out. I pair it with the OPsack for scent control and it seems to keep activity low. I’ll update if a bear ever goes for it!
Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Water Filter
I just took this on a four day backpacking trip and it worked great. Very light and easy to fill in streams and lakes. Others on the trail were envious and said they’d buy them. Downsides might be that when it’s half full it’s a little awkward to carry in a pocket because of its soft shell and I was nervous the pouch might break if I squeezed to hard but overall I’m more happy with it than my sawyer mini. I carried way less water in my pack and just drank every time we found water. Just fill and go!
Mountain Hardwear Chockstone 24/7 Pants
Favorite camping/hiking pants
I tried on six different Mountain Hardware pants and these felt and fit the best by far. Super comfy and warm with fleece lined pockets. Can’t wait to use them for camping and hiking when the weather isn’t nice. Did have to hem the inseam as it only comes in one length. Love them though!
YETI Tundra 65 Cooler
Great cooler, keeps things cold! Price?
We use the yeti 65 cooler for our family and really have enjoyed it. It keeps things colder longer than our old Coleman for sure, but not sure if it’s better than all the other new coolers out there. My guess is that the cooling technology is the same and it really comes down to features. We like the handles in the side for two people carrying (it gets heavy when full!) and love the rubber feet when the cooler is in the back of our moving truck but don’t like them when we want to slide it out. The inside tray is handy to keep things dry and the latches to close the cooler are easy to use, although they do sometimes flip up into the opening and cause the cooler to be propped open if you just drop the top and aren’t paying attention. Overall I’d say this is a good cooler but I do think we could have gone cheaper and had a similar experience.
Sawyer MINI Water Filter
Great little filter!
I’ve used the mini for a few years and love how easy it is to get a quick drink from lakes or streams. I’d like it to have a better flow rate and the small holes in the bags make them a bit challenging to fill. Still think it’s great, but I just bought a Katadyne BeFree for this weekend’s trip to compare. Will review soon!
Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion
Bugs be gone!
I first used this stuff for a trip to Thailand in 2005 and have never used anything else since. I’m one of those people that gets eaten alive when no one else has any issue but this levels the playing field for me. Just a tiny bit goes a long way so the bottle lasts forever. Some of my bottles are old and they still work great. I never camp or hike without it!
REI Camp Stowaway Low Chair
Great chairs for years!
Of all our gear, these chairs are some of our favorites. While it’s a little harder to get in and out with their low profile, it’s that same design that makes them super chill and comfortable. We keep them in the car all summer for concerts, parks, rivers, lakes, and camping!