Now that it’s finally January, that means that the 2020 camping season is just around the corner!  Warmer nights, camp fires, adventures with family and friends, etc.  That also means breaking out the gear, planning and evaluating, and figuring out where I’m going to improve this year.


With a new season and endless possibilities, I’m curious what everyone is excited about with camping this year:

  • What trips does everyone have planned? I’m going to the New River Gorge area for 5 days, and really pumped for it!
  • If you are planning to camp for the first time in 2020, what are you looking forward to? I’m taking my kids camping for the first time this year.  They are so excited to sleep outside with the animals.  (My son’s words, not mine.)
  • What one piece of gear are you interested in updating? For me, it’s a new tent!  I haven’t determined anything outside of that, but an updated tent is in order for 2020
  • What’s your favorite part of camping? I love waking up in nature and I love cooking around the fire.

Hopefully in 2020 the camping is as great as it was last year!  The Mt. Rogers High Country will be hard to beat...

mt rodgers.jpg

Happy camping in 2020 to all!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I thought it was year-round.

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You're right!  If you're properly equipped, it's always camping season!  We're just transitioning into the next 'type' of season.  I'm going to add that here in VA, it seems like RAIN has become a season.

REI Member Since 1979

You got that right @Philreedshikes !  I live in Maryland, and am watching it rain right now.  I keep seeing posts about snowshoeing, but around here I think "mudshoeing" is more descriptive of our current options.  😀

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

You are so right!  The Mt Rogers area IMO is the most beautiful backpacking area in VA!  Dolly Sods (WV) comes in second (for this area).  Looking to head out there if we ever get a dry weekend!

Why do I think MRNRA (Mt Rogers National Rec Area) is so good?  It's not in a tree tunnel, you have actual views of the blue ridge and surroundings hills.

REI Member Since 1979

Looking forward to more backpacking this year.  No particular plans as yet but probably will return to the Sierras at some point.

As to gear I have added a Soto Amicus stove (piezo igniter version) to my inventory. REI  currently sells it with effectively free pots  which are quite nice. Not sure if I'm going to use the pots backpacking yet since they are light but not the lightest and I had my eye on something else before I found that deal.

I am considered getting a quilt since my 20 degree down bag while it mostly works fine for me is quite heavy and bulky but am still on the fence about that since it is a big expense.

I got a new tent last year...Big Agnes Tiger Wall...which I enjoyed under various conditions in the not really any excuse to "upgrade" there.

My daydream is a re-start at Onion Valley, JMT north bound.  Would like to fly into Reno, with a one way ticket, take the bus to Independence, shuttle to the trailhead, and taking as much time as I can (based upon how many days I'm willing to carry, ha!), then bus back to Reno, buy a ticket and return to the Right Coast. It seems I've gotten older every year, lost a step, or two or three, and it takes me longer to acclimatize.  Don't really feel like trying again by myself, prefer conversation.  My hiking buds want to go out to Jasper NP and do the North Boundary Trail (11days), -but- pretty much a tree tunnel, maybe not as bad as the AT tunnel here in VA.  We'll see.

I switched to a 30f quilt about 4yrs ago, and a zero quilt 2 years ago, I spin like a top when I sleep and a quilt is sooooo much easier to turn in.  No more waking up to turn inside the bag trying to keep the down on top.

I took my 20f bag on the JMT 4yrs ago, and just roasted in it (around beginning of Aug), except during the colder mornings, so I switched to the 30f quilt and was very comfortable, until the mornings, when I had to put on a hat/sweater to keep from freezing.

My 3yrs old zpacks duplex is now leaking bad, hoping I fixed it with a spray silicon from Walmart, works the backyard, but I love the room and weight, and won't part with it just yet. (my review)


REI Member Since 1979

Kersage to Mammoth is a section I'm considering since I came out there last year after hiking from Horseshoe via Whitney.  But...going over Kearsarge pass with a full load on the first day is bit of the schelp.  Also that section to Mammoth is a heavy carry.  The resupplies at MTR and VVR are 7-8 days on at about 12 miles a day over several high (~12000ft) passes so you have to keep moving and it's hard work.  I think I want something a bit more relaxed.  Maybe a loop out from Mammoth or VVR or something in Yosemite, perhaps the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.  Will probably do something in Desolation Wilderness.



I was ok in a 20 degree bag in the Whitney area in July last year but it froze at night and we had 2 days of rain and some hail so was generally cooler.  Oddly I found that wearing a long wool base layer moderated the temp and I was much more comfortable than wearing just a tee and briefs.

The rest of my party continued on to Yosemite on the JMT and it was clear and much hotter.  They had Enlightened Revelation 20 custom and a Katabatic Flex 10 (15 overstuffed I think) both of which suited them for the whole trip.  We all used X-lite inflatable pads although I think they also took Z-lites for extra sleepage.  I'm considering a Feathered Friends Flicker 20.

Sorry to hear about your Duplex.  Disappointing for such an expensive piece of gear.  I guess they are optimized for 6mth long trail thru hikes which will wear any tent to a nub and not for leaving to your grand children. 

I had fairly good luck with the longevity of my now ~8 year old gen 1 BA CopperSpur UL2.  Admittedly it has only seen occasional use in that time but I have lent it out a few times.  I did notice the seam taping was starting to de-laminate in the fly when I washed it after lending it out last year but it wasn't leaking.  I patched the worst areas with silicone seam sealant.   So far I'm quite happy with the Tiger Wall UL2 that I now use although it did require some minor modification to the fixed guys.  I hope it lasts as long.