It’s hard to beat summertime in terms of outdoor fun and adventure.
Although spring and fall are also great times for outdoor activities, there’s no denying that summer is perhaps the best season of all for camping, hiking, backpacking, paddling, and just generally spending quality time with your family outdoors.
Our recently updated guide to the best outdoor gear for 2021 breaks down all our favorite outdoor products to help you make the most out of this summer!
The Best Camping and Outdoor Gear for 2021
If you’re looking for the latest and greatest summer outdoor gear, you’ve come to the right place. Today, I’m going to show you the absolute best camping and hiking products that you should consider adding to your gear list.
But, before, we dive into these top products, we’d like to direct you to some of our other buyer’s guides if there’s a specific piece of gear you’re looking for:
Now, here are our picks for the best summer camping gear for 2021!
1. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Portable Power Station
The Yeti 400 is one of our favorite portable power stations.
Although it’s far too heavy for backpacking, it’s ideal for car camping and glamping. It’s also a good option for boondocking at a free camping area.
Also notable is the battery storage capacity of the Yeti 400. A full charge offers around 30 full smartphone charges. The device has 4 USB outlets and 2 AC outlets. It can charge anything from smartphones to laptops to fans to mini fridges and so much more.
If the Yeti 400 isn’t the portable power station you want, our guide to the best portable power might have something else for you.
Learn more about the Goal Zero Yeti 400.
2. ENO DoubleNest Hammock
The ENO DoubleNest hammock is the two-person model of the ever-popular ENO SingleNest Hammock.
Like the single-person model, the DoubleNest is notable for its durability, lightweight design, and easy set up. The key difference is size. This two-person model is much larger, which does add weight, but results in a more comfortable lay – especially if you use it solo!
The ENO DoubleNest is compatible with most hammock suspension systems, including plain old ropes or tree straps. But, for the easiest hammock hang possible, we recommend pairing it with the ENO Atlas Hammock Straps.
Looking for a camping hammock but want something a little different than the ENO SingleNest or DoubleNest? Our guide to the best camping hammocks will help point you in the right direction.
Learn more about the ENO DoubleNest Hammock.
3. Mr. Heater Little Buddy Portable Heater
Stay warm while camping in the winter (or on a chilly summer night!) with the Mr. Heater Little Buddy, one of our favorite portable heaters.
Although all propane heater safety best practices must be followed, the Little Buddy is an excellent way to warm up your tent or RV before bed. It can also be used inside to heat spaces up to 200 square feet.
This Mr. Heater device radiates up to 3,800 BTUs per hour. A 1 lb. propane cylinder will last around five and a half hours of continuous use. For even more heating power, we recommend the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy which boasts up to 9,000 BTUs per hour.
For more information on this portable heater, check out our detailed Mr. Heater Little Buddy Review. Or, learn about other great portable heaters in our best winter tent heaters and best winter RV heaters guides.
Learn more about the Mr. Heater Little Buddy.
4. Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle
Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle
There’s no denying a high-quality water bottle is an essential piece of summer outdoor gear.
And few are anywhere near as durable, well-insulated, and convenient as those from Hydro Flask. Their double-wall vacuum-insulated wide-mouth bottles, in particular, are excellent for keeping cool beverages cold and warm beverages hot.
The popular 32-ounce version is made from BPA-free, bacteria-resistant, food-grade stainless steel. It keeps hot contents hot for up to 6 hours and cold contents cold for up to 24 hours. The handle on the lid makes it easy to carry. Hydro Flask water bottles are available in a variety of stylish colors.
Learn more about the Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle.
5. BIC Sport ACE-TEC Cross Fit Stand Up Paddleboard
BIC Sport ACE-TEC Cross Fit Stand Up Paddleboard
Take your stand up paddleboarding game to new levels with the BIC Sport ACE-TEC Cross Fit.
A beginner-friendly SUP, the ACE-TEC Cross Fit is 10 feet long. Full rail-to-rail volume promises stability and makes for smooth paddling. This SUP tracks straight and fast. It’s a great option for the entire family.
The flat deck with comfortable EVA pad is perfect for simply paddling around or doing yoga, fishing, or SUP fitness. Multiple attachment points give you plenty of options for stowing gear during your summer paddling outings.
Learn more about the BIC Sport Ace-TEC Cross Fit Stand Up Paddleboard.
6. Mock ONE Portable Folding Hammock
Mock ONE Portable Folding Hammock
The Mock ONE is one of our absolute favorite pieces of summer camping gear for 2021.
As comfortable as hammocks get, the Mock ONE is notable for its built-in hammock stand which allows you to hang it anywhere – even without trees!
The Mock One is incredibly easy to set up and take down. It folds down small for easy transportation and storage. It’s the ideal hammock for camping or backyard relaxation. A camping-specific model, the Mock ONE Adventurer, comes complete with an underquilt, top quilt, rainfly, and bug net.
Learn more about the Mock ONE Portable Folding Hammock.
7. Gerber Freescape Hatchet
The Gerber Freescape Hatchet is yet another one of my essential summer camping supplies I don’t go camping without.
The light and sturdy hatchet is perfect for chopping kindling to make a campfire. But it also doubles as a mallet for pounding in tent stakes.
The Freescape Hatchet is notable for its lightweight design. It clocks in at just 2 pounds 2.6 ounces and measures 17.3 inches long. The soft, comfortable grip makes it easy to hold.
Learn more about the Gerber Freescape Hatchet.
8. GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Pot
The GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Pot makes it easy to make camp coffee.
Just fill the device with your favorite espresso grounds and set it on your campfire or camping stove. Once the water is boiling, it will begin to drip from the spout into your eagerly waiting cup.
The Mini Espresso Pot boasts the same top-quality craftsmanship as all GSI Outdoors products. It’s durable and built to last thanks largely to its stainless steel construction.
Check out our guide to making camp coffee for more tips as well as a list of our other favorite camp coffee makers.
Learn more about the GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Pot.
9. Ruffwear Float Coat Dog PFD
The best summer outdoor gear isn’t just for humans. There’s some great gear available for dogs too!
The Ruffwear Float Coat Dog PFD is at the top of the list of dog camping gear. It’s one of the best dog life jackets on the market. Not only is it incredibly buoyant, but it’s durable and even fashionable as well.
This personal flotation device for dogs is available in a variety of sizes to fit all breeds. It’s also available in a wide selection of colors. A low-profile handle makes it easy to help your dog out of the water.
Want to know more about hiking, camping, and backpacking with dogs? Our guide to camping with your dog has expert advice as well as recommendations for the best dog camping gear available now!
Learn more about the Ruffwear Float Coat Dog PFD.
10. Jetboil MiniMo
The Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System is one of the best backpacking stoves when space is at a premium.
This excellent piece of summer camping gear is perfect for cooking up quick backpacking meals and boiling water for camp coffee. Unlike many backpacking stoves, the MiniMo has adjustable heat to simmer when needed.
The Jetboil MiniMo has a fast boil time of just 4.5 minutes. It utilizes isobutane-propane and weighs just 14 ounces total.
If this Jetboil stove isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, check out our guide to the best backpacking stoves for even more recommendations!
Learn more about the Jetboil MiniMo.
11. NEMO Bugout Shelter
NEMO Equipment Bugout Elite Shelter
One of the only bad things about summer camping is the bugs! Mosquitos and other critters can easily ruin an otherwise awesome camping trip.
That’s where the NEMO Bugout Shelter comes into the picture. This convenient camping screen room keeps annoying bugs at bay and provides shelter from the elements at the same time.
This bug net shelter comes in two different sizes: 9×9 or 12×12. It’s easy to set up and easy to take down. The interior space is sizable giving you a great place to hang out when bugs are a problem.
To learn even more about this camping screen room, check out our full NEMO Bugout Shelter Review for more info.
Learn more about the NEMO Bugout Shelter.
12. Keen Targhee 3 Hiking Boots
KEEN Men's Targhee III Mid WP Hiking Boots
In the market for a new pair of summer hiking boots? Then look no further than the Keen Targhee 3.
These top-of-the-line hiking boots, available in both men’s and women’s models, are notable for their classic design and abundance of practical features.
The boots are comfortable and flexible right out of the box. They provide plenty of support, even on rough terrain, and will keep your feet warm and dry in inclement weather. Traction is excellent, especially when camping in the rain. These Keen hiking boots are perfect for hiking, backpacking, and just chilling by the campfire.
Learn more about the Keen Targhee 3 Hiking Boots.
13. Benchmade 580S Barrage Knife
The Benchmade 580S Barrage Knife is one of the best camping knives, hands down.
Don’t forget to add this extremely high-quality Benchmade knife to your summer camping gear list. It boasts a drop-point, stainless-steel blade that’s 3.6 inches long. The resin handle provides a solid, comfortable grip for all tasks.
The 580S Barrange Knife is also notable for its spring-assist opening and locking mechanisms. It opens quick and locks strong. This camping knife is large enough for most camping tasks but small enough to easily fit in your pocket – or clip to your belt.
Learn more about the Benchmade 580S Barrage Knife.
14. REI Flexlite Air Chair
Few backpacking chairs are anywhere near as good as the REI Flexlite Air.
This top-quality camping chair clocks in at just one pound total. It’s light enough for most backpackers but still comfortable enough to use while car camping.
Add the REI Flexlite Air to your summer camping supplies checklist and you’ll reap the rewards of this durable, comfortable, and easy-to-use camp chair. Even though it only weights one pound, it supports up to 250 pounds maximum.
Our REI Flexlite Air Review breaks down this summer camping chair in more detail. Or guide to the best backpacking chairs has several other top-notch options if this one isn’t exactly what you’re looking for.
Learn more about the REI Flexlite Air Chair.
15. RinseKit Portable Shower
The RinseKit Portable Shower is one of our favorite portable camp showers ever.
What makes the RinseKit Portable Shower so special is pressurization. It’s currently the only portable camp shower on the market with pressurization that doesn’t come from hand pumping, batteries, or gravity.
The tank holds 2 gallons of water at a time. You get a pressurized spray for up to 3 minutes. In addition to showering, the device is also perfect for cleaning of dirty summer outdoor gear.
Learn more about the RinseKit Portable Shower.
16. Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel
Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel
The Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus is one of the best portable solar panels for camping and backpacking.
Although the Nomad 7 Plus certainly isn’t new to the scene for 2021, it continues to hold the top spot going into the new decade. At just 12.8 ounces, this solar panel is lightweight and incredibly portable.
It boasts 7 watts solar cell output capacity. It quickly charges most small devices, like smartphones and GPS units. You can even connect it to a portable battery pack to store a charge for future use. The rugged design ensures the Nomad 7 will hold up to all the bumps and bruises of summer camping for years to come.
Learn more about the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel.
17. REI Co-op Camp Folding Cot
Few pieces of summer outdoor gear are more valuable than a top-quality camping cot.
And, luckily, the REI Camp Folding Cot is one of the best. Use it while camping for a better night’s sleep. It features a taut sleeping surface made from 600-denier ripstop polyester fabric. It supports up to 300 pounds thanks to the heavy-duty steel frame.
This camping cot from REI is also notable for its intuitive design. It folds and unfolds easily for the best in storage and portability. Better yet, it’s affordable and doesn’t break the bank!
Learn more about the REI Co-op Camp Folding Cot.
18. Camp Chef Everest 2X High-Pressure Stove
Camp Chef Everest 2 Burner Stove
Don’t forget to add a camp stove to your summer outdoor gear checklist. Although there are a bunch of great options available, few are better than the Camp Chef Everest 2X High-Pressure Stove.
This affordable camping stove packs a whole lot of power. Each of the two burners has a heat of up to 20,000 BTUs each. Easy-to-use control knobs allow you to adjust the temperature with ease.
Every component used in the camp stove’s construction is top quality. The strong steel cooking grate, in particular, holds up to a beating.
Use our guide to the best camping stoves to learn more about this Camp Chef stove and others.
Learn more about the Camp Chef Everest 2X High-Pressure Stove.
19. Smith Lowdown ChromaPop Polarized Sunglasses
Smith Lowdown XL 2 ChromaPop Polarized Sunglasses
One of the top names in the business, Smith is world renown for creating top-of-the-line sunglasses for outdoor adventurers.
Their Lowdown ChromaPop Polarized Sunglasses are no exception. The sunglasses feature a slim, lightweight profile with Smith’s signature nose-bridge detail.
Impact-resistant polarized lenses make these sunglasses a piece of summer outdoor gear you don’t want to skip out on. They’re perfect for hiking, backpacking, and paddling or just taking a road trip with friends.
Learn more about the Smith Lowdown ChromaPop Polarized Sunglasses.
20. Black Diamond Apollo Lantern
The Black Diamond Apollo is not only incredibly bright, but durable and highly portable as well.
One of our favorite lanterns for summer camping, the Apollo lantern excels thanks to its QuadPower LED lights that produce 250 lumens of light. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery makes for an average run time of around 50 hours straight. Alternatively, can use three AA batteries to power the lantern.
A unique feature of this Black Diamond lantern is its ability to charge smartphones and other small electronic devices. It comes with a USB port that enables you to seamlessly charge devices from the lantern’s own built-in battery.
Our guide to the best camping lanterns breaks down the Black Diamond Apollo and other top lanterns in more detail.
Learn more about the Black Diamond Apollo Lantern.
21. LifeStraw Water Filter
Who knew a water filter could be so awesome?
The LifeStraw Water Filter ensures you’ll never be stuck without water while backpacking or hiking. At just 2 ounces, the filter is small, lightweight, and easy to pack. While it’s not the best water filter we’ve ever used, it is an excellent addition to your summer camping supplies, especially for emergencies.
The straw-like water filter has a hollow-fiber filter membrane inside. Basically, you sip on one end of the straw and the unfiltered water is filtered before it hits your mouth. The filter removes over 99.99% of bacteria and is effective up to 264 gallons of filtering.
Learn more about the LifeStraw Water Filter.
22. Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Kayak
Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Kayak
Get your kayak on this summer with the Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Kayak.
Created with beginners in mind, the kayak is extremely easy to use and stable in the water. It tracks great in flat conditions without sacrificing maneuverability in rough water.
The Aspire 105 Kayak boasts a high-density polyethylene hull that will stand up to years of use and abuse. Special mesh padding and contours increase your comfort in the kayak. Plenty of storage space is added to stash your gear.
Looking for more info on kayak camping? Our kayak camping 101 guide is an excellent resource on all things kayak (and canoe) camping!
Learn more about the Wilderness Systems Aspire 105 Kayak.
23. Suunto Traverse Alpha Watch
Suunto Traverse Alpha GPS/GLONASS Watch
A fantastic camping gift for the tech-savvy summer gear lover in your life, the Suunto Traverse Alpha is hands down one of the best GPS watches for 2021.
First things first, the Traverse Alpha is built from the ground up with hunting, fishing, and hiking in mind. This camping watch boasts an incredibly robust construction for the utmost in durability in all weather conditions.
Like all Suunto watches, this one is easy to use. It has a wide array of features specifically designed for hunting, fishing, and hiking. These features include accurate GPS, ability to mark POIs (points of interest), real-time breadcrumb navigation, and so much more.
To learn about this camping watch’s full capabilities, take a look at our Suunto Traverse Alpha Review.
Learn more about the Suunto Traverse Alpha Watch.
24. REI Co-op Camp Wrap
The REI Co-op Camp Wrap is one of the most comfortable camping blankets around.
Use it as an extra layer on top of your sleeping bag at night or wrap yourself up in it around the campfire. The wearable hood, button-front design, and arm loops make it easy to wear this camp wrap around the campsite (without dragging it all over the ground!).
Polyester fiber insulation provides plenty of warmth. The ripstop nylon outer shell with DWR is both durable and water resistant.
Learn more about the REI Co-op Camp Wrap.
25. Yeti Tundra 45 Cooler
We don’t need to tell you that a great cooler is an essential piece of summer camping gear!
Although there are a lot of great coolers out there, the Yeti Tundra 45 is one of the absolute best. It’s extremely rugged and will stand up to all the abuse you can throw at it.
Of course, the Tundra 45 also keeps your food cold. At 32.9 liters inside, it’s capable of packing in at least 28 12oz cans. 3 inches of rotomolded pressure injected insulation provide days of cooling power. This Yeti cooler is certified bear resistant (by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee) and comes with built-in tie-down slots. The only real downside to this behemoth of a cooler is its weight. It weighs a whopping 23 pounds empty.
Not set on the Yeti? Take a peak at our best camping coolers guide for reviews of other top coolers (of all price ranges).
Learn more about the Yeti Tundra 45.
What were your favorite summer camping supplies in 2020?
What camping and hiking gear are you most excited to try out in 2021?
Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to ask if you have any questions!
- About the Author
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Since 2015, Jake has been the technical heart behind our in-depth content. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, he’s the one you’ll find crafting extensive gear reviews and detailed camping guides. With a decade of outdoor writing under his belt, Jake brings the beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains and his beloved Cascade and Olympic ranges right to your screen.