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How to Choose the Right Camping Sleep System

A basic sleep system consists of two parts: a sleep platform and a sleeping bag. The sleep platform is the outdoor version of your mattress, and it will sit between your sleeping bag and the ground to cushion your body and to insulate against the cold. Sleep platforms come in several styles: cots, air mattresses, sleeping pads, and hammocks.

Navigation 101 - Using a Compass and a Map

Today’s digital reliance on GPS navigation has all but relegated compass and map use to hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, orienteering clubs, and geography buffs. Using your cell phone’s GPS is fast and effective if you’re within cell range or you cache (download) maps for offline use. Better yet, bringing a GPS receiver that’s compatible with the Russian GLONASS system offers even faster location pinpointing and better overall accuracy, thanks to its additional 24 satellites.

That being said, both cell phones and GPS receivers rely on technology that’s subject to failure, whether you forget to charge a battery or inevitably drop your precious gadget in a river or on a rock. Knowing the basics of compass and map use not only provide backup navigation if you’re deep in the wilderness, but they also offer a fun and refreshingly simple way to navigate. Polish your map reading skills and practice the following navigational tips next time you’re hiking or orienteering through your favorite natural area.

Camp Gourmet: Dutch Oven & Stovetop Favorites

Almost anything tastes good after a long day in the mountains. Hot dogs, hobo dinners, and instant oatmeal rarely disappoint, but if you have the luxury of bringing along a camp kitchen chuck box and really want to knock the socks off your fellow campers, these Dutch Oven and stovetop recipes are sure to do the trick.

Warmth to the Wise: Temperature rating s for Sleeping Bags Decoded

Prior to the widespread adoption of the EN testing standard for sleeping bags, manufacturers assigned temperature ratings to sleeping bags based on their own testing methods and standards—which included everything from sleeping in a meat locker to real-world testing experience. Because of the variation in different brands’ testing methods, which produced ratings ranging from conservative to inflated, these in-house ratings were at best a rough guide for picking the right sleeping bag, and they made it nearly impossible to reliably compare sleeping bags across brands.

How to Choose a Backpacking Tent

From bivies to full blown four-season shelters, Jason walks you through the basics behind choosing the perfect backpacking tent. We cover the nitty gritty details of bivy sacks, shelters and tarps, ultralight backpacking tents, traditional backpacking tents, and four-season tents—if Jason doesn’t answer your questions, our Gearheads at Backcountry.com definitely can.