Are you going car-camping for Labour Day Long Weekend?
Here are six essentials—starting with a new vehicle ideal for outdoor adventure:
(from $21,695; gm.ca)
Looking for a pickup truck without the full-size bulk? The new Chevrolet Colorado is a sporty-driving, easy-parking utility vehicle that boasts 305 horsepower (V6) and serious off-road chops. Among many other items, a rear-vision camera, 13 tie-down locations and an eight-inch colour touch-screen in the dash are all standard. We loved the optional 4G LTE Wi-Fi—as well as the optional GearOn cargo racks (pictured) that made loading SUPs and bikes a breeze. During our two-day test period with the aggressively-styled V6-powered Z71, we noted a fuel efficiency average of about 13 L/100 km—if you’re looking for better, try the four-cylinder (still 200 horses) or a diesel version due out soon. With the crew-cab and short-box, our tester seated five passengers, carried a weekend worth of gear and toys and transported us comfortably through the urban landscape and into the wild. Essentially, it’s a truck tailor-made for the car-camping crowd. —David Webb
Alite Meadow Mat
Ah, that beautiful strip of sand. It looks so inviting, until you sit down and get a butt soaker. This waterproof blanket will save you from looking like you wet your pants and, with peg-loops at all corners, can be pinned when the wind whips off the Atlantic. Lightweight and packable, it rolls up and buckles tight for easy carry.
Mountain Hardwear Optic 6
If the Optic 6 were a house, its MLS listing would read something like this: “The perfect home for a large family or a large mansion for a couple. Overheight, domed ceilings, sprawling open concept, built-in storage both indoors and out. All that capped with a one-of-a-kind 180-degree view.” The unique design pairs the two entrances on the same corner. Crack them both and the whole campsite opens up. With room for six, this is a monster tent. But with only three aluminum poles, it’s easy to set up and weathered a 50 km/h windstorm without blowing away.
Exped MegaMat 10
You’ll be glad this well-named sleeping pad self-inflates. Blowing up this 10-cm thick, 75-cm wide palace of comfort with lungs alone might cause brain damage. This thing is massive and more comfortable than our Sealy. Give it to your houseguests and they won’t mind sleeping on your floor. In a tent, it feels like cheating. Even rolled tight, compact it ain’t; but this is car camping, so who cares…
Yeti Hopper 20
Yeah, it’s pricy, but the Hopper is the only soft-sided cooler worthy of the description. It kept a weekend’s worth of meals (the equivalent of 12 cans) frozen for 24 hours. Locking in the cold is 2.5 cm of insulation, with even more on the bottom, and airtight construction. Built tough—840 denier raft-like material, double stitched handles, welded seams and an abrasion-resistant base—it’s not only waterproof (no puddles!), but abuse-proof, too.
Eureka Cook Station
Never go without a table again. The Cook Station unfolds from flat into the perfect camp kitchen with enough room for prep and frying. An included fabric cube sets up beneath the table as a cupboard or pantry (or both), with a zip opening and plenty of room. Straps on the carry bag make it easy to lug the 4.5-kg setup a short distance.