We love testing out new gear on 50 Campfires Field Trips. It is, in fact, one of the main reasons we head out on the road in the first place. Every year outdoor gear companies innovate in exciting ways, and it’s fun to see how it performs in the field. On our last trip we were making our way through New York and New Jersey, and we spent a lot of time at the lake (it was glorious). Here are our thoughts on the gear we hauled halfway across the country this summer.
We’ve been a fan of these chairs for a long time. On this particular trip we did a spoon carving piece and wanted a rocker-style chair with more lumbar support. Out of the GCI lineup, the Freestyle Rocker was the perfect one for sitting more upright while carving a spoon around a crackling campfire.
We knew we’d be fishing with a lot of first-time anglers, and the Zebco spincast reels are an excellent choice for that. They never tangle, and it doesn’t take long to learn how to cast with one. One thing worthy of mention: we got to try out the new Zebco 33 Reel, a brand new offering from Zebco. It has a 20% faster retrieval rate that was AWESOME.
Sharp knives are safe knives! We like to keep a sharp edge on blades throughout the week, and the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharper is the perfect tool for the job. The 20-degree angle guide makes it foolproof, and we used it daily to keep our carving knives razor-sharp.
Headphones on a camping trip? When you have to fly there, yes. Big adventures often mean air travel, which means several hours of random sounds that we’re not particularly interested in. If you haven’t flown with a good pair of noise-canceling headphones, trust us: it’s a real game-changer. That incessant hum of the engine is gone. You arrive at your destination refreshed and ready for a road trip.
We make a lot of campfires on the road, which means that we need a lot of kindling. We’d rather not fly with an ax, and we prefer to baton wood for kindling anyway. This requires a sturdy fixed-blade knife, and the Benchmade Bushcrafter is virtually indestructible. The CPM-S30V blade is incredible.
If you’re spending a day on the water, a good pair of sunglasses is a must. On this trip we two different pairs: the WX Kingpin and the WX Nash. The Kingpin was great for mornings and evenings, and the WX Nash did a great job on the water when the sun was blasting our faces off. The Wiley X lineup also meets or exceeds ANSI Z87.1 impact standards, which makes them extremely durable.
We camped with the folks from NEMO a few years ago, and they gave us one of these kits before we parted ways. It was everything you need to start carving spoons around the campfire, and the knives are high quality. The waxed canvas tool roll makes it easy to tote everything around.
L.L. Bean Cresta Zip Off Pants
We’re addicted to zip-off hiking pants. The ability to go from pants, sweater, and shoes, to shorts, t-shirt, and flip-flops in a minute is true freedom! The mornings were chilly and the afternoons were hot, so zip-off pants made it easy to stay comfortable all day long. The water-resistant zippered pockets are perfect for boating.
We always throw a few of these in our checked baggage when we travel. Can we get by without them? Sure. Does the fire start much faster with them? Yes, it does. They burn insanely hot (750F) for up to 10 minutes and they make campfires easier to get rocking.