Gear Kits

Outdoor Gear Guide Summer 2018

Get the gear you need for all your summer adventures.

Curated by The Outbound Collective

We asked our Explorers and Editors to share their favorite gear for summer. Check out their go-to products, see more reviews on our Gear page, and prepare for your next summer adventure.

Cover photo: Katie Yaborough

Mike Fennell says: The Parsec is easily the most comfortable sleeping bag I've ever used, not only because of the extremely soft lining that is quiet and soothing to the skin, but also because it felt perfectly formed to my body without being too tight or too loose in any one area. When I attached the Parsec to the ProLite mattress with the SynergyLink Connectors, I immediately felt much more relaxed, fidgeted very little, and actually woke up squarely on top of my mattress for once!

Mike Fennell says: This has to be one of the most versatile and comfortable duffel bags I’ve ever used. The extremely durable and water repellent material that shells this bag made me feel secure in laying this bag down on any type of surface. The backpack straps easily clip on and are surprisingly comfortable and supportive against a soft unstructured duffel.

Mike Fennell says: When you’re spending a couple weeks living in a small trailer, Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Cubes can be your best friend to help you stay organized. Whether I needed a cube to keep my toiletries or a cube to keep my t-shirts, these little guys made travel very efficient. I would store them within larger bags and always knew exactly where to find everything rather than rummaging through a large open pack.

Holly Mandarich says: It's hands down the best sleeping bag I have ever had! Packs down small, is light and always keeps me warm.

Holly Mandarich says: From the perspective of somebody who has never really cared about a water bottle before, having a HydroFlask made A WORLD of a difference. Not only does it keep your water the temperature how you want it to be, but the outside stays room temperature, making it easy to handle.

Holly Mandarich says: It really is the best little contraption to have for the adventures that don't require a backpack. I use it on the daily for my morning walks with my dogs and keep it in the car so I am prepared for whatever happens.

Sara Sheehy says: The JobyPod is lightweight, fits in the side pocket of my back, and can be set up practically anywhere. The JobyPod is the perfect hiking tripod for epic selfies, taking pictures of moving water, and capturing the night sky.

Sara Sheehy says: Super light, packs up tiny, and keeps out the bugs and the rain. No mesh, so my dog can't claw holes through it by accident!

Kristi Teplitz says: I love my A6300! Compact and super light compared to my previous DSLR, I bring this camera everywhere and never stress about the extra weight this camera will add when packing for trips. I have yet to be disappointed by image quality and the AF is on point.

Haley Baker says: Super light and the kind of comfortable that makes you wish you could always be wrapped up in it. I have the 40 degree bag so it's perfect for warm summer nights.

ENO Double Nest Hammock

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Haley Baker says: I prefer the double sized hammock to the single for the sole reason that it’s easier to cocoon in them. Either way, a hammock is an essential piece of gear to add to your summer repertoire!

Haley Baker says: The Jetboil Mighty Mo is astoundingly small and lightweight. I could fit the entire stove in my pocket if I needed to, making it ideal for lightweight backpacking or carrying to the top of a mountain for morning coffee! Despite it being so small, the system works the same way as a regular Jetboil - a pushbutton igniter and a control for propane flow. You're not sacrificing ease-of-use at all by going small.

Haley Baker says: The Eureka! X Loft Tent has everything I could want in a two-person tent! From a door that unzips all the way (and stuffs at the bottom!), to an insane amount of headspace, to a gear pocket you can add at either your head or your feet, it's perfect for quick getaways. I also love the colors of this tent - they’re so unlike every other tent you see!

Garrett Schmidt says: Summer is for being able to enjoy the warm weather and long days and this pack keeps me out there longer. Perfect roll top for going light or heavy depending on the trip. And being one of the lightest packs available I can't be happier with it. Also their customer service is some of the best. I always like supporting companies that care about fixing their gear, and keeping you outside!

Jason Hatfield says: I've been using this ultralight backpacking pack for a few years now as it has the best blend of features for me. At 2.5 lbs it's not as light as some of the smaller brands, but I run hot and the mesh back breaths better than any other in its category. It has great hip pockets, a removable lid, and big stuff pocket on the back for rain gear or layers. I've used it for everything from a quick overnight to a couple weeks.

Jason Hatfield says: I've had a chance to try out the Kicker and I'm impressed! The sound quality is really clear all the way up to its loudest setting, which is loud enough to fill a whole house or group campsite. It feels rugged, is lighter than it looks, and the battery lasts more than long enough for a weekend camping trip. The Bluetooth range is better than my other wireless speakers, too. The only downside is no USB charging.

Jason Hatfield says: Lightweight, small, and easy to use. Perfect for backpacking, hiking, or long runs in the mountains.

Jonathon Reed says: I picked up the Buckshot 2.0 because I had a gift card to use up and I swear I didn't put it down for the following five days. It's got the shock-resistant exterior you expect from Outdoor Tech, a slim size that fits a pocket and powerful audio that holds its own on a busy highway. What I love best about it is the clip and the handlebar strap. I can literally carry this speaker anywhere. And I plan to.

Jonathon Reed says: I basically lived with a constantly cracked phone screen until I started using LifeProof. They've got great product design and their customer service backs them up. If you're spending any time near water this summer, take a look at the FRĒ.

Emily Hlaváč Green says: The 12oz Hydroflask Food Flask is great for left overs or berries and yoghurt for brekkie. I even tested the Food Flask by filling it with a few ice cubes and they didn't melt for two days!

Emily Hlaváč Green says: The Hydroflask Wine Tumblers double for both wine AND coffee (not to-go, obviously).

Jess Fischer says: This cooler is incredibly easy to throw over your shoulder and take with you anywhere; no bulky heavy plastic, yet it's still durable and can be taken on any adventure. It'll keep your beers and food cold for up to three days and also comes with a beer opener attached to the cooler! Additionally we were able to fit our mess gear in the extra pockets. When we got home we removed the inside of the cooler and easily cleaned it out. This is the ultimate cooler to take anywhere!

Jess Fischer says: This water bottle is great for backpacking, camping and traveling in places where you may not have access to clean, safe water. I love that the straw filters 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli and it removes 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as Giardia and cryptosporidium. Also the activated charcoal in the filter reduces heavy metals, iron, sulfur, negative taste and any discoloration from your water.This water bottle can be filled up anywhere and you just pop the top back on and you're good to go. Oh and it's BPA free.

Ryan McKinney says: This is the perfect cook set for two people. One pot with strainer lid, two bowls, two cups, two sporks, and the bag also functions as a sink. It's fairly light and packs down small.

Ryan McKinney says: This is by far the most comfortable hammock I have ever slept in. It comes with a bug net that stakes out so it does not hit your face (also removable). There is a shelf when the bug net is attached. There is a foot box which allows you to lay flat and not like a banana.

Ryan McKinney says: Very comfortable even when it's loaded down. Fits a ton of gear.

Rachel Bertsch says: Two of us slept in this thing for 3 weeks and never woke up with a sore back. So comfy and always kept us dry

Rachel Bertsch says: Throw it in the trunk, on the bike, and go paddle anywhere

Madison Sankovitz says: This pack stays light and dry without compromising weight or function.

Adrien Patané says: The Atmos is the most comfortable heavy backpack I ever owned.

John Sunich says: It keeps things dry even in the toughest conditions with the DryZip enclosure. Great for rafting, kayaking, and general boating/fishing.

Nick Tortajada says: Keeps my camera gear safe, with plenty of space for my hammock!

Ryan McKinney says: I'm 6'4" and have plenty of room in this tent because it has vertical walls plus two doors so you don't have to climb over your partner. I've been through some crazy storms in Colorado and have never had an issue.

Ryan McKinney says: This is an absolutely amazing sleeping pad. I was hesitant at first because of the cost, but am very happy I splurged. Pros: the best night sleep you will ever have. Cons: You will not want to get out of bed to pee in the morning because you are so comfortable.

Kevin Kaminski says: It's super lightweight and the perfect size for a 2-3 day summer backpack trip. I also have the Gregory Baltoro 75 but that's more for colder backpacking trips

Kevin Kaminski says: It's the perfect cooler to throw in the van/car for summer car camping, and most importantly it keeps my beer cold for those warm summer campfire nights.

Christina Warburg says: Specifically designed for women, these poles actually fit my small hands! They are small, lightweight and compact. And as a bonus, the cork handles absorb your sweat instead of losing your grip and having your hands constantly slide around like other handles I have used. Love them!

Nick Garcia says: We’ve had two other carrying packs for our daughter and this one by far is the best. It comes with loads of storage space and a hydration pack.

Mike Gabbert says: My go-to camping chair. Light and amazingly portable. Perfect for everything from milky way gazing to sitting and rocking next to a summer campfire.

Mike Gabbert says: A great alternative to a sleeping bag in the hot summer nights. It doubles as a great campfire blanket as well. Affordable and hella comfortable.

Kaila Walton says: Comfortable, reasonably priced and their polarizer sunglasses are amazing.

Mitch Pittman says: It's small, it filters water quickly, and most importantly it's versatile and adaptable. Whether you put it on a water bottle, hook it up to a gravity system, or just sip on it through a straw, it's a complete solution for hydration - at only $25.

Michael Wigle says: I'm 6'4" which means most tents leave either my feet wet, my head wet, or both when it rains. The Limelite gives me an entire extra foot of space. I stay dry which means I stay happy.

Katie Yarborough says: Perfect for those daily hiking trips or couple of overnighters. I don't need all that room for summer gear as I do winter gear. Putting away the 65L from the winter, I always use the 40L for my summer trips

Katie Yarborough says: Don't get overheated in the summer with an insulated pad. Can't sleep without it!

Kevin Abernethy says: It's durable and I can use it for just about everything; day to day running around or a daypack on hikes or backpacking trips. The 3 zipper function makes it easy to find what I am looking for rather than digging around

Michael Graw says: This backpack can handle basically anything. The main compartment is massive and expandable for shoving extra layers in the top when it starts to warm up into late morning, and there's plenty of storage in the top and outside pocket compartments for snacks and water bottles. While it's tight for overnight backpacking, it's great for long days carrying a bunch of camera gear in addition to hiking gear. The J-zipper allows me to put all of my camera gear in it's own protective storage bag at the bottom of the backpack and access it easily (similar to an F-stop bag, but more functional for actual outdoor use and at a fraction of the cost).

Michael Graw says: I got this as a watch for triathlon training, but it's become an everyday fixture on my wrist and an essential navigation tool for off-trail backcountry trips. The barometer and compass are extremely helpful (and accurate) for quickly figuring out my position on a topo map, and the waypoints features let me use it similar to a full-blown GPS without actually having to carry something more substantial. The battery lasts forever if you're not actively tracking your route, so I'm not worried about taking it on longer trips.

Josh Currie says: Jetboil's provide the easiest and fastest way to boil water for cooking or coffee while camping, hiking, or even road trips.

Karissa Frye says: What's better than relaxing at camp while hanging from a tree?

Karissa Frye says: This griddle is easy to pack and takes your camping meals to the next level.

Sonja Saxe says: This tent has been my little home countless nights in the backcountry. It has withstood torrential downpour in Alaska, gale force winds in Glacier National Park, and it's still good as new!

Sonja Saxe says: Keeping all of your gear dry is of utmost importance on a kayaking trip since wet gear can be an inconvenience at best and life-threatening at worst. We ensured that all our gear stayed nice and dry by using SealLine dry bags. I recommend buying multiple sizes so you can strategically pack the smaller bags deep into the bow and stern of your boat.

Crystal Brindle says: I recently purchased this running vest and love its purpose-designed pockets, fit, and super easy-to-use bite valve with magnetic connection. This is the best thing for carrying a little or a lot of gear on a long trail run or race!

Joshua Contois says: The ultimate daypack. It has room for everything you need.

Liam McNally says: This is one tough bag. I drive a truck with no cover on the bed so having a large, waterproof bag is awesome for long summer road trips where thunderstorms can come out of nowhere. The roll-top system also makes it easy to adjust depending on how full you want it. It also functions surprisingly well as a backpack, making it perfect for hauling all my surf gear down to the beach for the day.

Liam McNally says: I love these little guys! I keep one in my car for impromptu lake/river/ocean dips and they pack down so small, making them perfect for backpacking trips or throwing in your surf bag.

Liam McNally says: This pack immediately became my go-to day pack. It's simple, tough, and comfortable. I thought the double zipper might be an annoying feature, but I was 100% wrong - it makes for really easy access.

Liam McNally says: I don't have a ton of photography gear so an entire backpack dedicated to photography doesn't really make sense for me. This is the perfect size to fit my small camera body, two lenses, and extra batteries/charger. It's great for quick photo missions and can easily slide inside my day pack.

Liam McNally says: There have been multiple times in my life where I wished my water bottle had a little pocket to stash my keys, cash, or whatever else I don't want to put in my pockets. Bindle to the rescue!

Christin Healey says: Weighs just about a pound and is so simple to set up. Also pretty bomber against weather conditions!

Edward Day says: Holds all of my camera gear while allowing me to access it quickly. It also is weather resistant which is a big plus.

Edward Day says: Super easy to set up and it's made out of quality material

Allison Herreid says: This is the piece of gear that I receive the most comments on and for good reason! The camera clip allows you to avoid carrying your camera around your neck on a long hike, or alternatively, leaving it in your bag where it won't get used. Having it right on the backpack strap makes it quick and convenient to use but keeps it out of the way when hiking. Love love love it!

Shawn Grenninger says: It's both a recreational boat and can be packed for multi-day camp trips. Summer wouldn't be complete without kayak adventures.

Tylyn Cullison says: Great outdoor camera bag that fits all my camera gear with room to spare for water and snacks. It's very durable and handles any weather

James Hueser says: Has become my go-to belay device for all outdoor climbing since I prefer to use an auto-camming/assisted lock off belay device when I'm climbing outdoors. The Smart Alpine is also perfect for mutlipitches as well since you can belay from from the top with it, and use it as a rappel device in a pinch.

James Hueser says: Trust every tiny foothold you can find and send your project.

Kenton Steryous says: Perfect for the one or two night backpacking trips with enough room for the scaled down/light version of summer backpacking. And the suspension provides awesome ventilation needed for summer.

Addison Klinke says: It's tough as nails but still lightweight, carries lots of food in comfort for long trips, waterproof, and the roll top design is genius for varying pack capacity.

Addison Klinke says: Enormous living space and vestibule storage area, excellent ventilation with fly doors rolled back, pitches with trekking poles to save weight, good wind/storm resistance for camping above tree-line