Kick off a new year of camping with the best gear 2020 had to offer, alongside the top products we can’t wait to try in 2021.
Few things ring in the New Year quite like some good ol’ fashioned self-gifting. 2021 is set to be an improvement over the past year, too, if for no other reason than “it can’t get much worse, can it?”.
If nothing else, 2020 did see a mass resurgence in outdoors lifestyle – and a ton of excellent new gear came along to accommodate. As such, we’ve gathered the best of the best 2020 had to offer in camping gear. No fluff or endless scrolling through “iffy” picks – just the absolute top picks from Outsider.com’s pro staff. We might as well reap what we can from what was, to say the least, one hell of a year, right? In addition, we’ve snagged the products we’re looking forward to most in 2021.
To clarify: our list highlights gear that you’ll be excited to discover and own, not just another sleeping bag, tent, or cooler. These are killer additions to your gear set that’ll last a lifetime.
So let’s get to it, and gear up for the best year of camping yet. After all, “A bad day camping is better than a good day working.”
Best Camping Gear Releases of 2020
- Best Deal: HV Inflatable Solar Lantern
- Best-Reviewed Item: 2020 Hydro Flask Trail Series
- Staff Choice: The Hillsound BTR Portable Stool
Hillsound BTR – Ultralight Portable Outdoors Stool
Point blank: The Hillsound BTR rules. Easily one of the most unexpected, and best, products to hit for Outsiders in 2020, this ultralight, highly portable stool is a gamechanger. If you just need a seat – and as we know, most of the time you literally just need a seat on busy adventures – this is your get.
It comes in three great color options, from the above alpenglow & glacier to classic black. Moreover, the BTR is built of super-sturdy Aluminium alloy and maxes out at 11 inches when collapsed. Whether you’re camping, hunting, hiking, or fishing, that’s a fantastic combination.
Price: $55+ (depending on model)
- EASY SETUP – Phantomlock technology locks the legs in place when spread out, no fiddling with mechanisms or clips
- ULTRALIGHT – The 14″ BTR weighs in at only 12.2oz (346g)
- PORTABLE – Lightweight materials with a telescoping and folding design make the BTR a seat you really can take anywhere
- BUILT STRONG – High quality materials like aerospace grade 7001 aluminum alloy give the BTR a 240lb (110kg) load capacity
- WARRANTY – This stool is built to last and are covered by a category leading two-year warranty
- Not a full camping chair, nor is it meant to be
- Weight limit of 240 may not be suitable for our hardiest of campers
HV Inflatable Solar Lantern
Tested, proven, and highly-rated through Amazon users, the HV Inflatable Solar Lantern is not only one of the coolest of 2020’s new camping products – it’s also one of the most ingenious. If you’re out in the open sun (even when cloudy) this great little lantern charges by solar power(regular 5V).
For those rainy or deep forest trips – even caving – the built in USB port charges from your car, smart phone, tablets and mobile devices. Moreover, it has 4 lighting modes: High, Low, SOS and Flashlight modes, and promises a minimum of 3 hours of continuous light from one charge.
Price: $16.99 via Amazon Prime
- Super affordable!
- Charged by solar power(regular 5V) or a USB plug and the charging indicator will tell you when it is fully charged
- 4 lighting modes: High, Low, SOS and Flashlight modes, which meets different lighting requirements.
- Silicone lampshade of the lantern is waterproof so the lantern can resist water
- Compact design folds down into minimalist footprint
- Built in USB port for charging your smart phone, tablets and mobile devices.
- Provides 3 hours of continuous light on one charge
Newer-brand name, but comes with 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee
Primus Firestick – Say Goodbye to Huge Camping Stoves
Firstly, this product is still so new that it hasn’t had a chance to build up Amazon reviews. As such, we recommend ignoring the single rating it has – as we can personally attest to the excellence of this little beauty.
Primus is one of the oldest names in “things that burn great” – and trustworthy brands go a long way when it comes to expert camping gear. The Primus Firestick comes in cheaper stainless steel – or full-on titanium – models with a full warranty. The best part? This thing takes up barely more room than a roll of quarters. Start you campfires in 2021 with a 3 oz beaut’ that takes up so little space – you’d forget you had it if it wasn’t so brilliant.
- Ultralight backpacking stove with a very compact design
- Supportive stays for cookware double as wind screens
- Flame profile is extremely focused to eliminate wind effect
- Piezo ignition included for added convenience
- Still too new for Amazon reviews, if that’s a quality guidepoint for you.
2020 Hydro Flask Trail Series
You’ve definitely heard of Hydro Flask by now. The reason they’re still on this list – is because we can’t recommend one enough. (This author is drinking from his now as he writes). They come in sizes and ounces to fit every need, but their 2020 Hydro Flask Trail Series model offers up their best option to add to your camping gear.
“Every open trail brings new opportunity to explore—push past the familiar and keep going,” Hydro Flask adds of their newest camping gear option. “That’s the inspiration behind our new Trail Series™. Engineered to deliver all the cold refreshment you want but without the weight, the Trail Series™ makes it easy to take your cold hydration as far as your spirit of adventure wants to take you.”
Price: $37.95+ on Amazon
- Keeps cold drinks icy cold and hot drinks piping hot for hydration any time, anywhere
- Slip-free powder coating doesn’t sweat and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and convenience
- A sustainable metal water bottle with a clean design, for a better planet
- Hydro Flask water bottles come with a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects
- Only smallest options will fit in most cup holders
- Specific lids must be purchased separately
Patagonia Macro Puff Quilt
This thing has to be seen to be believed. Finally, in 2020, top outdoors brand turned their immensely successful jacket into an outdoors quilt. It’s pricey, sure, but once you add this to your camping gear – it’ll never leave your pack.
The Patagonia Macro Puff Quilt is “incredibly warm for its weight. In addition, this brilliant, “nearly queen-sized blanket that’s Fair Trade Certified™ sewn with the same materials as our Micro Puff® Hoody. It packs down easily for travel, stays warm even when wet and is ideal for curling up after a frigid day on the skintrack.”
Snag yours in classic Patagonia colors: Balkan Blue, Feather Grey, or Fire Red.
Price: $249 at Patagonia
- Sewn with the same materials as our Micro Puff® Hoody
- Stays warm even when wet
- Fair Trade Certified™
- Nearly queen-sized blanket
- Packs down easily for travel
- Pricey $$$$
New Camping Gear to Look Forward to in 2021
Next up is a preview of the best to come in 2021, courtesy of the Outdoor Retailer Show. Keep your eyes peeled on Amazon and your favorite retailers for these products to hit this year. When applicable, we’ve included the release dates – and pre-order links, for each.
- Best Reviewed So Far: Carhartt Cargo Series Large Backpack
- Staff Choice: KLYMIT KLYMALOFT Sleeping Pad
- Most Vital: KLYMIT KLYMALOFT Sleeping Pad
Hydro Flask Insulated Food Jar
Hydro Flask is finally expanding their fantastic product into other uses. Their upcoming Hydro Flask Insulated Food Jars aren’t cheap, but they’ll be of the same quality and usefulness as their water bottles – so who are we to complain?
Each delivers “long-lasting temperature retention to keep your favorite food hot or cold for hours. Moreover, their leakproof design means what’s inside stays tightly sealed and spill-free, no matter how you pack it.”
The Food Jars will come in three sizes at MSRPs of $35 (12oz.), $40 (20oz.), and $45 (28oz.)
Carhartt Cargo Series Large Backpack and Hook-N-Haul Insulated 3-Can Cooler
These bags just hit with the new year, and they’re going to become a camper’s best friend. With ample room for your camping gear – plus the new Hook-N-Haul Insulated 3-Can Cooler, you’re set for *whatever* sort of camping you enjoy most with the Carhartt Cargo Series Large Backpack. No judgment passed.
Pros so far:
- Heavy-duty 30-liter backpack and attachable 3-can insulated cooler
- Cordura ripstop material with Rain Defender durable water repellent
- Multiple XL compartments for camping gear
- Pack is hydration bladder compatible;
- Backpack measures 12in W x 20.25in H x 9in L; cooler measures 9in W x 5.5in H x 3in L
KLYMIT KLYMALOFT Sleeping Pad: First Air + Foam design
Another product to just hit for 2021 is KLYMIT’s amazing, “revolutionary” hybrid sleeping mat. The KLYMIT KLYMALOFT Sleeping Pad is the first of its kind: combining both air inflation and foam support for their most comfortable sleeping pad yet.
This is one we absolutely cannot wait to try out, as it’s got to be the most comfortable sleeping mat made to date.
Pros so far:
- Plush foam topper conforms to support the body and eliminate pressure points
- I-beam air chambers create loft and stabilize the sleeping pad
- Air and foam combination strikes the perfect balance between comfort, pack size, and weight
- Fast and easy; faster and easier with the Klymit electric plump
- Specs: 38. 5 oz, 72 x 23 x 2. 5 inches
- Patch and stuff sack included
Yakima Vehicle-Top Solar Cargo Box
***Images Coming Soon***
This one is another game-changer. For their next-gen cargo box, Yakima is teaming up with Sunflare to deliver “the first mass-produced, premium-level cargo box with an integrated solar panel, providing 36W/5V output to help power your campsite.”
As a result, campers will have a completely green way to power their campsite, tailgate, hunt, or any adventure. How fantastic is that? Moreover, Yakima says on their website that “The CBX™ Solar rooftop cargo box blends modern aesthetics with a first-of-its-kind integrated solar panel capable of delivering a 36W/5-volt output. With 2 USB ports, it provides enough juice for a small campsite, won’t drain power from your vehicle and can charge phones, tablets, camping lanterns and action cameras.”
Price: TBA from YAKIMA
Ready for the Best Year in Camping Gear Yet?
If you’re in need of a few other campfire & camping essentials to get you started, check out our 17 Amazon Camping Supplies You Didn’t Know You Needed and get all set up for your backyard adventure.
From there, your 7 Best Camping Chairs for Your Next Socially-Distanced Backyard Get-Together has you covered for a selection of campfire chairs, as well.
And if you plan on going all-out with your campfire, as mentioned, these Must-Have Items for Your Campfire This Year will get you where you want to be!
Enjoy your backyard adventure, Outsiders!