Well, it's camping season and while we might not be doing any festival camping this year, we are going to be heading into the great outdoors as much as humanly possible. On this trip we headed out to our secret paradise and testing ground called "Project Basscamp" in the Wet Mountains of Colorado, just outside the perfectly strange little town of Westcliffe - where you will find a great burger joint, some random Amish, some off the beaten path tourists, and well, us. All adjacent to stunning forests, wildlife and the stellar backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. 

For this weekend adventure our group of Winter Music Conference veterans and some other friends set up our tents, cracked some beers, and hit the trails for a three-day howl at the moon camping trip.

Below are anecdotes, beer suggestions, and some of the gear we used on our trip, from scopes to tents to socks to blankets - we ran the gear through the paces and if it didn't cut it, we didn't cover it. 

This was a picture from another trip back in April, but we still took this fantastic little scope with us to spot deer, elk, Hot Sauce Andy, and peep other cool cabins in the area. 

This was a picture from another trip back in April, but we still took this fantastic little scope with us to spot deer, elk, Hot Sauce Andy, and peep other cool cabins in the area. 

Zoom Tube 8x32 Monocular Telescope

This little compact optical tool is perfect for any trip where you might want to get an eye on some things - nature, animals, a performer, etc. The new Zoom Tube from NOCS is the follow-up to their classic binoculars (which we also have and love). The fully multi-coated optics and wide field of view bring nature closer, and the high-quality, water-resistant build means they are tough enough to withstand a little knocking around. 

Features: Water-Resistant (IPX4) + Fogproof (Nitrogen sealed O-rings), Wide Field of View (384ft @ 1000yds), Fully Multi-Coated Lens + BaK4 Roof Prism, Rugged Impact Absorbing Housing + Scratch-Resistant Lenses, Twist-Up Eyecup, compatible with glasses

Built from the ground up as a monocular ready for anything. Designed to pack easily, and be held effortlessly, the Zoom Tube is the monocular you wished you had all along. Top shelf optics in a compact go-anywhere package. 


Hot Sauce Andy suspended above the ground in the FLITE tent from Tenstile

Hot Sauce Andy suspended above the ground in the FLITE tent from Tenstile

Tenstile FLITE Tent - 2 Person / 4 Season Tent 

Tenstile specializes in tents that hang from trees, much in the same way as a hammock does but with three connection points instead of two. The nice thing about the FLITE tent is that it keeps you off the cold hard ground and away from any critters that might want to get into your temporary dwelling. The tent itself packs down to about the size of a shoebox, so if you are just doing a short hike to your destination - it's easy enough to carry with you and has everything you need in the bag - including a rain fly. 

Setting it up takes a little practice and the right tree configuration, just remember to keep it level or things will get tilted while you sleep.

Setting it up takes a little practice and the right tree configuration, just remember to keep it level or things will get tilted while you sleep.

The most important thing you need to know about this tent is that you need three sturdy trees spaced out in a triangular cluster - otherwise, you are not setting it up, at least not above the ground. It's also important to do a dry run-through, watch a youtube video, and get grip on how to set this tent up prior to heading out into the wild. We did not do this, and as dusk started setting in and the craft beer started to work their magic, things became a little harder than it should have been. 

A key to your success will be to find trees that allow you to create an even and level setup, as our first couple tries ended up with a slightly slanted approach. The trees and the land beneath them will be critical to the setup, so try to find flat ground if you can, it will make things a lot easier.

The tent itself ended up being very comfortable for one person, and unless you are very intimate with the second person joining you - most might find this tent a tad too snug for two. Two people would be a tight squeeze, but it's doable if you have to. 

The second night we got slammed with rain, and the included rainfly did a great job of keeping things dry and comfortable. Another plus is simply being off the wet ground during a hard rain, so this is another reason the Tenstile approach to camping has a significant advantage. 

All in all, this tent and the Tenstile line are great for those looking to approach camping a little differently. They are easy to set up once you get the hang of it, they keep you dry and comfortable and most importantly keep you away from unwanted guests. 

The only thing you might want to consider is sizing up to a three-person version if you really want to have someone else in there with you, the more space the better in this situation. Since you are essentially suspended in the air like a hammock, moving around is quite a bit more difficult than a standard tent.

More info here: Tenstile Website

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Key features of the Flite 2-Person Hammock Tent:

  • The lightweight, 70D nylon-polyester, double layer floor is reinforced with webbing which not only adds strength to the tent, but creates a separate sleeping bay for each person and prevents you both from rolling to the middle of the tent; a must-have feature for camping with 2 people. The two layers allow an air mattress to be slips in between to stay warm.
  • Our 3-point anchor system creates a tensioned fabric base to sleep on with the perfect amount of "give" to cushion and cradle your body giving you the most comfortable night's sleep you've ever had in a tent or hammock.
  • Designed for 2 adults (and all their gear), the Flite will hold up to 220kg / 485lbs and the base of the tent is rated for 1,500 hours of UV exposure.
  • The Flite is made with a built-in no-see-um insect mesh to protect you from insects and other creepy crawlies, but the two large doors can be rolled back to give an almost fully open hammock experience.
  • The 70D PU-coated 5000HH rainfly can be fully removed for fantastic views and summer breezes but when attached, completely encloses the tent and keeps you and everything else inside dry. The rainfly extends outwards from the tent giving you a large, dry area underneath the tent to store gear or act as covered living space.
  • The tent comes with 3 internal storage nets, perfect for holding small personal items and a 2 larger underfloor storage nets ideal for your rucksack or backpack.

Josh W. - Camping Beer Advisor and fire starter

Josh W. - Camping Beer Advisor and fire starter

Beer Tips:

Outer Range - In The Steep Hazy IPA 

WeldWerks - Juicy Bits Hazy IPA

Station 26 - Juicy Banger IPA

WeldWerks - Breakfast In Bead Sour Fruited Berliner Weisse

Chappy's in Westcliffe

Chappy's in Westcliffe

Come for the burgers! They are done on a charcoal grill for that proper char flavor, and they have no shortage of delicious options. This is a must if you are in the hood.


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Nathan - QuickStart Plus 6L - MSRP $85 (Ultralight Hydration Pack)

Festival Camping Essential: As we see festivals coming back into action and more festival fans become outdoor enthusiasts, we have tried to find even more essential gear to better your experience. The Nathan QuickStart Plus 6L hydration pack is just such an item and something you probably never thought about even using at a festival or even on a hike with your pals. Staying hydrated is that classic cliche we all yell at one another but rarely take seriously? Weird because staying hydrated is essential for keeping up your energy levels, avoiding heat stroke, and just feeling better all around. 

When you move from stage to stage at a Coachella or Burning Man festival, you are sweating a lot. Chances are you are not keeping up with the water intake to balance that all out, then drinking beers and cocktails on top of it? Strap on this hydration pack, and keep yourself topped off at all times. With room for your phone, keys, and other essentials like sunscreen, you can now move hands-free and with ease. Yes, you might look like a marathoner, but pair it with some other whacky festival garb, and you'll blend right in. If you are at Burning Man, you could roll with this, your bike, and a speedo/bikini if you are so inclined. So grab this, stay hydrated (for real), and you will feel a whole hell of a lot better.


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Swiftwick Aspire Socks

Yes, socks. If you are putting on the miles at the festival, the trail, or on the bike - great socks are essential for comfort and stamina. The Swiftwick line of socks offers up many different styles for different pursuits; we tested out two from the Aspire series and were quite pleased with both. The Zero is a low-profile sock that is great for sneakers and pairs with running, walking, hiking, and festival roaming - just the right amount of compression and cushion to get in 20k steps or so. The Fours are great for mountain biking, cycling and pair well with hiking boots - but they also could be paired with sneakers if you are going for a look. The Four is a little more robust and provides more compression and less cushion.

Both socks wick away sweat to keep your tootsies comfortable and dry all day/night long.

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Aspire Four

The ASPIRE™ Four comes in a bit longer and is engineered with firm compression and a thin profile. The strong compression supports your foot and prevents fatigue during long hauls - like all-day festivals, hikes, bike rides, etc. The Four's double-cuff construction provides extra support for cycling and trail running.

  • Thin profile is designed to fit into any technical shoe with a barely-there feel.
  • Firmly hugs the contours of your feet to support the arch and help reduce fatigue.
  • Built to provide maximum breathability with signature fibers that wick moisture, keeping your feet cool, dry, and blister-free.

67% Nylon / 28% Olefin / 5% Spandex

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Aspire Zero

A hiking, running, and a no-show cycling sock. The ASPIRE™ features firm compression and a slim profile. The firm compression supports the foot's contour to help reduce fatigue when you are out in the wild.

  • Thin profile is designed to fit into any technical shoe with a barely-there feeling.
  • Firmly hugs the contours of your feet to support the arch and help reduce fatigue.
  • Built to provide maximum breathability with signature fibers that wick moisture, keeping your feet cool, dry, and blister-free.

55% Nylon / 40% Olefin / 5% Spandex


Image Courtesy of Walter Sky Website

Image Courtesy of Walter Sky Website

The Walter Sky MT01 Tee - $75.00 MSRP

Nuyarn is one of our favorite new fabrics for hitting the outdoors, stepping in where classic Merino left off with a blend by Nuyarn consisting of 70% Merino and 30% Nylon for more resilience. This tee by Walter Sky fits like a hipster tee, with a comfy neckline and rounded out bottom that is just a bit longer. So whether you are in Berlin listening to techno or just taking a trip to the mountains for the weekend, this tee will look, feel and smell great for multiple wears. The buttery soft fabric is about as comfortable as you can get, and the Merino keeps you at the perfect temp and can withstand multiple wears without washing - making it an essential staple for DJs and frequent travelers trying to go light. So while the price is a bit higher than your average tee, this tee's benefits, comfort, and resilience make it worth every penny.

• Fabric by Nuyarn

• 70% Merino Wool / 30% Nylon

• 17.5 Micron (super soft)

• 105gsm

NuYarn® is stronger, stretchier, quicker drying, warmer, and loftier than traditional ring-spun Merino.

• Bluesign® system partners to ensure sustainable and resource-efficient practices are taken in every step of our material supply chain. This includes resource productivity, consumer safety, water emission, air emission, and occupational health and safety.


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Sleep Number True Temp Series (Blanket, Pillow, Sheets)

For the more casual and festival campers, having a comfy place to sleep is often the key to happiness. The True Temp series from Sleep Number is perfect for taking on the road with you to car camp or glamp out and even better for snuggling up with if you are still doing the virtual festival circuit.

The fabric used in the blanket, pillow, and sheets attracts and removes moisture to reduce overheating and excess humidity. This tech helps you keep a consistent temperature that is just right and will help with a great night's sleep wherever you are. We took the True Temp blanket on this trip, and it worked great in the various conditions we encountered, from cold and rainy to hot and dry; we were always comfortable in our dome tent where things can get a bit humid with limited ventilation.

We also tried the pillow and sheet set at home, which was a perfect combination and worked effectively during the hot summer nights we'd been having. The Pillow and Sheet Set could also be used while glamping if you were willing to go the extra mile, but really are designed for home use. We also alternated pillows with the True Temp and one from Pillow Cube, and there was a noticeable difference with heat retention; the True Temp remained cool, and the Cube retained heat.

True Temp Pillow - Here / True Temp Sheets Here

More On Ture Temp Blanket.

Filled blanket with 37.5® technology continuously adapts to help keep your temperature just right throughout the night. Perfect for all seasons.

Active-particle technology attracts and removes moisture to resist heat and humidity buildup. It lasts the life of the product—it won't wash out or wear out.


Shampoo Bar

Shampoo Bar

Life Elements - (Shampoo Bar, Outdoor Spray, CBD Skin Products)

The team at Life Elements sent us a Summer Survival Kit with a collection of their products to try out, so we went for it. The kit consisted of an Outdoor Spray, Shampoo Bar (Rosemary & Sage), a Skin Repair Lotion Bar with 25mg CBD, Ache+Pain Relief Bar with 250mg CBD, and Lip Goo with 7.8mg CBD.

Let's face it, a bunch of dudes drinking beers, sweating, making fires, and moving around a lot could do with some self-care and stink prevention.

Life Elements is a family-owned, California-based brand, and you can tell there is a lot of love put into the products and sourcing. Kind of like one of those outfits you see at the farmer's markets; you just have to like them.

Skin Hydration, Bug Repellent (naturally) and Deodorant - all in one spray, all natural. 

Skin Hydration, Bug Repellent (naturally) and Deodorant - all in one spray, all natural. 

The product that we loved the most in the kit was the Outdoor Spray, which worked for skin hydration, deodorant, and a natural bug repellent, clutch. This spray was perfect across the board and kept the bugs, stink, and dry skin at bay.

The Shampoo Bar was also great, as we are lucky enough to have a solar shower powered by propane at Project Basscamp. The idea is simple; shampoo doesn't have to come in a plastic container! The bar lathers nicely work for body and hair and fits well back into its little recyclable bag for storage. Hopefully, the world as a whole starts to realize that we don't need all the plastic packaging crap for things like this.

The CBD lotion bars were also excellent refreshers in the dry, hot climate, and the aches + pain bar was beneficial for stiff knees, necks, and shoulders. CBD has a different effect on everyone, and we are not quite sure why it's in the lip balm or skin lotion bar, but they both helped out when things got extra desert-like with temps hitting in the high 80s some days.

This company offers all kinds of solutions for skincare and pain relief if you buy into the CBD regimen. So it's worth checking out their entire offering, which is quite extensive.

So there you have it, a lot of testing, beer-guzzling, meat-eating, BBQing, and hiking to test out gear for your next camping, festival, or outdoor adventure. Hopefully, you found this guide helpful and have the chance to get out there this summer/fall as things slowly get back to some kind of normal.

We are signing off from Project Basscamp - our next gear guide will be coming soon with Solar Cooking solutions, insane flip flops, and more gear to ease into the dog days of summer and finish up strong into October before the weather turns. 

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