First Look: 7 New Products for Luxe Car Camping

We went in search of the best new gear for car campers at last month’s Outdoor Retailer show. From portable smokers to plush sleep systems, these noteworthy products will be sure to up your camping game.

With  more innovative gear hitting the market every year, car camping hardly means roughing it anymore—and we mean that in a good way. We got a first look at the newest camping gear at Denver’s Outdoor Retailer trade show last month and the future is bright: These products bring more comfort, creativity and versatility to the campground.

Big Agnes Bunk House

Big Agnes Bunk House

Heaven sent: Get an eyeful from the front vestibule of the Bunk House. (Photo Credit: Stasia Stockwell)

If you wanted to host a family reunion in the new Big Agnes Bunk House tent, you probably could. A better bet: camping trips with the kids when space is at a premium. The standing-height tent boasts massive floor space—83 square feet for the 6-person version—and a huge, 37-square-foot vestibule to boot (it has a smaller rear vestibule, too). If the weather is nice, convert the fly into a front porch with an awning. Rain rolling in? The Bunk House has you covered there, too, with a waterproof floor and fly (thanks to a PU coating that also increases durability), plus taped seams. Score the Bunk House on in January 2020. ($480 for the 4-person; $550 for the 6-person)


EXPED MegaMat Max 15

EXPED MegaMat Max

Bring the comfort of home to the campground with the MegaMat Max. (Photo Credit: Stasia Stockwell)

Bring the comfort of home to your campsite with the EXPED MegaMat Max. Two inches thicker than EXPED’s original MegaMat, this plush, 6-inch-thick pad does a good impression of a regular mattress. The self-inflating pad, available in a single and a double, is lined with foam for insulation and stability, then topped with a supple tricot fabric that’s soft next to bare skin (and unlike with crinkly nylon, your sleeping bag won’t slide on it). On the bottom is a 75-denier, TPU-laminated polyester, which should hold up to dirt, rocks and truck beds. The MegaMat Max also comes with a grapefruit-size mini pump, so you can fine-tune firmness. It’s not going to pack down super small (close to the size of your packed tent), but that’s not the point. Pick up the MegaMat Max in select REI stores or online beginning in January 2020. ($299 for the single; $429 for the double)


Big Agnes Torchlight 20

Big Agnes Torchlight

Expand the Torchlight with its innovative side panels. (Photo Courtesy: Big Agnes)

With the Torchlight 20, Big Agnes brings sleeping bag versatility to a new level. This 600-fill-power down convertible bag sports expandable panels on each side; zip them shut to seal it into a mummy on cold nights or unzip them to open it up into a semi-rectangular bag if the weather is mild. Added bonus: The panels’ zippers run lengthwise down the sides of the bag, giving an extra 10 inches of wiggle room around your shoulders and midsection when both are unzipped, which we think fidgety sleepers will like. The down itself is treated with a hydrophobic coating that keeps the feathers from sopping up moisture, and a water-resistant nylon outer lining sheds condensation while maintaining sub-3-pound weight—relatively low for a car-camping bag. (Backpackers should consider upgrading to the ultralight Torchlight UL for $629.) Find the Torchlight (men’s and women’s versions) in all REI stores and online in January 2020. ($469)


GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Pro Stove

GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Pro Stove

“We are not worthy.” -Camp chefs, regarding the Pinnacle Pro, probably. (Photo Credit: Stasia Stockwell)

GSI Outdoors trimmed down its previous camp stoves and came up with the sleek-yet-powerful Pinnacle Pro. When packed, the laptop-style stove is a mere 1.4 inches thick (not a typo)—but set it up and you have two full-size, high-powered burners (each one cranks out 11,000 BTUs). The igniters are routed to the burners, so all you have to do is push a button and, boom, fire (light not needed). The Pinnacle Pro’s skinny secret: Hinged burner grates fold flat when closed, and the circular burners have been engineered to boast a lower profile without sacrificing function. Whether you max the heat or let it simmer, GSI Outdoors says it’ll cook food evenly—impressive for such a low-bulk stove. Find the Pinnacle Pro in select REI stores or online in spring 2020. ($170)


Dometic CFX 40W Powered Cooler

Dometic Electric Cooler

Keep your food cold and power up your gadgets with Dometic electric coolers. (Photo Credit: Stasia Stockwell)

Designed for long-haul off-roading, also known as overlanding, the Dometic CFX 40W can be plugged in like a refrigerator so you can keep food colder longer and not have to stop for ice. The top-loading hard cooler is also a great option for those looking to bring the comforts of home to their campsite: At a 38-liter capacity, it can hold up to 60 cans. The CFX 40W has a thermoplastic exterior with a foam-insulated layer and a metal evaporator. You can also switch between fridge and freezer modes (it’ll hold temps as low as -7°F). The cooler operates off of DC, AC, solar power or batteries so you have options for plugging in at home or on the road. Just out now, Dometic offers a portable lithium battery upgrade ($850) that keeps the CFX running longer (up to 40 hours). Pick up the Dometic CFX 40W, plus the new battery at select REI stores or online now. ($930)


Snow Peak Smokemeister

Snow Peak Smokemeister

Smoke meats and veggies at camp with the Smokemeister. (Photo Credit: Stasia Stockwell)

If smoked meats and veggies at camp sound like an improvement on your usual fare, take a flyer on the Snow Peak Smokemeister. This compact, stainless-steel smoker is super simple to use—and only the size of a packed-up, 4-person tent. Toss wood chips of your choice in the bottom saucer, then load up the five trays with your favorite food for smoking and place the whole thing in the cylinder. Use wood chips alone for cold smoking, or set the smoker over a bed of coals to cook and smoke simultaneously. The dual stainless steel walls of the cylinder help maintain consistent temperatures and allow smoke to circulate while a thermometer nests in the lid to monitor cooking temps. Get the Smokemeister on in spring 2020. ($245)


Stanley Go Tumbler with Ceramivac

Stanley Go Tumbler with Ceramavic

Upgrade your camp vessel with the new Go Tumbler with Ceramavic. (Photo Courtesy: Stanley)

Coffee snobs among us are excited for Stanley’s ceramic, 16-ounce tumbler. The Go Tumbler with Ceramivac does away with stainless steel in favor of ceramic, which won’t impart any flavor in your joe. It’s still double-wall insulated, and Stanley says  the cup will keep bevvies hot for four hours or cold for seven (30 if on ice). Other than that, it’s all about the details: dishwasher-safe, car cup-compatible and BPA-free. Buy the Go Tumbler with Ceramivac in select REI stores or online now. ($30)

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