With spring right around the corner, it’s time to get excited about sleeping outside again. What makes this spring different than the past is that there happens to be new camping gear on the market that has caught my eye so I’m getting ready to make a fairly sizable investment to upgrade my camping style.

The Pack: Osprey Atmos 50 AG – $230

The Osprey Atmos 50 AG Front and Back
The Osprey Atmos 50 AG Front and Back

For the past 12 years or so, my go-to weekend pack has been the Gregory Z-Pack 50. Overall, it’s been a fantastic backpack. I’ve put it through the ringer, run it up and down Machu Picchu, and used it as a general beat around backpack. It is, however, very outdated. I had the opportunity to try on the AG series at a trade show last year and fell in love with the suspension. While I’ll be gaining a bit of weight (about a pound) I think that the bonus I’ll get out of organization and updated suspension is worth it. It’s my personal opinion that Osprey is producing some of the best all around backpacks on the market. My Gregory pack is fine, but it’s time to upgrade to something with a stronger suspension, better overall design and some newer tech.

Shelter: ENO Double Nest Hammock ($69.95) and Pro Fly (79.95)

ENO Doublen Nest Hammock and Pro Fly Rain Fly
ENO Doublen Nest Hammock and Pro Fly Rain Fly

I’ve never been much of a hammock camper. I’m a little old school and prefer a sturdy tarp and the ground. As hammock camping becomes more and more popular though, I’ve decided to give it a shot. I love the idea of not needing clear or flat ground and also look forward to saving some space. I don’t need all the bells and whistles, but I like to sleep comfortably so I’ve decided to only go with the hammock and fly. The way I look at it, I don’t use a bug net now, so I won’t need one then, either. I’ll also take a set of the ENO Twilights with me as well. I actually already own a couple sets of these. One I’ve rigged into the bed of my truck and the other I use for general lighting around camp (tent or tarp). I love them. They’re lightweight, compact and worth every ounce.

Stove:  JetBoil Flash Cooking System

JetBoil Flash Cooking System
JetBoil Flash Cooking System

We rave about the JetBoil systems on this blog. I’ve used them extensively and have never had a problem. Admittedly, the only reason I’m upgrading my stove is because after many, many trips my first JetBoil stove has finally bit the bullet. I bought the generation 1 the year it came out and it’s treated me well ever since. These lightweight, compact stoves are perfect for short spring/summer trips. They fit perfectly into a backpack, are easy to use and accommodate everything I need to a little solo hiking. On longer expeditions I’ll normally carry a liquid fuel for better cooking options, but for weekend trips a couple of bags of Backpackers Pantry and a JetBoil will treat me just fine.

I’m really excited to get out and test all this new camping gear! Keep an eye out for updates on how it’s worked, what I’ve learned, and exciting photos of me undoubtedly falling out of my hammock. Happy Trails!

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