There’s nothing like throwing your climbing equipment in a vehicle and heading out with some friends for a few days or weeks to an attractive climbing destination. Whether you’re camping in your van or a tent, you’ll soon notice that it takes a lot more than just hardware to make for a comfortable trip. On the road, you’ll spend as much time sleeping, cooking and resting in camp as you will climbing, and you’ll climb better if you’re well-rested, comfortable and well-fed. Here are some items we thought will help you have a trip you remember fondly not just for brilliant days of climbing, but also for the nights of hanging out and re-charging.
The Flex 4 System – $165
The Flex 4 System eliminates one of biggest problems when cooking for large groups; bringing enough of the right pots and cooking utensils. Thankfully, the Flex 4 System solves this dilemma with its all-inclusive and stackable cooking tools. Two pots with matching strainer lids, four cups and four plates all nest perfectly inside the large pot.
Platy Water Tank – $25-35
With its high volume capacity and space-saving roll-up construction the Platy Water Tank is the perfect way of keeping water around camp for cooking and drinking. The large ziplock style opening allows for easy refills and the carrying handles simplify transporting the water back to camp.
Dream Time Matress – $195-215
With 9cm of body-cushioning plushness, the Dream Time mattress provides sleeping comfort unrivalled by traditional sleeping pads. The conventional, self-inflating core is topped with a layer of Isotonic memory foam and covered in a soft microfibre sleeve. All this luxury, however, comes at a cost – the XL Dream Time weighs almost 3.5kg and rolls down to 30cm in diameter bundle. Road tripping climbers without space and weight restrictions will be impressed.
Flex Skillet – $26
With its non-stick coating and efficient heat-transferring aluminum construction, the Flex Skillet is ideal for preparing elaborate post-sending meals.
Alte BBQ – $99
The Alte BBQ allows road-tripping climbers to enjoy mouth-watering just-off-the-grill flavour without fiddling with charcoal, wood and lighter fluid. The propane-powered, stick-resistant grill is partnered with a single burner-element allowing climbers incredible cooking versatility.
1.1 qt Bottle – $45
Next to gasoline, coffee is the most important fuel for climbing road trips. Unfortunately, tracking down a cup of joe on a deserted stretch of highway is not always easy. Thankfully, Stanley’s rugged 1.1qt thermos bottle keeps the caffeine-laden go-go juice warm and ready for personal refuelling. Perfect for the car or crag.
ECO100 – $40
Unlike the many multi-tools available for maintaining and repairing gear, the Baladeo ECO100′s main purpose is helping climbers eat their meals. The knife, can opener, bottle opener and corkscrew are functional and familiar but what really sets the ECO100 apart are the spoon and fork ingeniously nesting on the side of the tool. A quick twist of the locking lever releases the utensils, enabling climbers to eat dinner without resorting to using their fingers. Ideally, the corkscrew could be a little longer which would improve its performance opening bottles from Angelo Gaja but outside of this minor criticism, this is a great tool.
Hinman Pad – $50
A good night’s sleep is critical for effective rest-day recovery during a road trip. With the Hinman Pad climbers are assured insulation from the cold ground and protection from uneven surfaces. The unique two-piece valve allows easy inflation without the dreaded air loss often encountered when trying to seal the valve.
Cabin Creek 15 – $245
Twice as wide as most conventional bags, the Cabin Creek 15 is ideal for road tripping couples. The soft synthetic insulation and no-draft center flap ensure that each climber remains warm and comfortable as the temperatures drop. Big Agnes’s innovative pad sleeves trap sleeping pads, preventing pad shift and any resulting cold spots. Built-in pillow pockets and individual side zippers provide comfort and convenience.
Titan Lantern – $80
With the Titan, climbers no longer need to reach for the headlamp as the daylight fades. Black Diamond’s powerful LED lantern transforms evening meals and the resulting BS sessions with its soft and powerful light. Completely silent, easily packable and with a dimming switch, this is a mandatory piece of road-tripping kit.
Tarmac Duffel – $80-135
Made with a rugged, waterproof and environmentally friendly EPO fabric, the Tarmac easily shrugs-off abuse that would damage more weakly made duffels. Beefy zips, reinforced stitching and removable airflow-mesh shoulder straps round out the features on this versatile and long-lasting climbing-specific luggage. One of the best duffle bags available.
Climbers that frequently fly to climbing destinations should consider using one of these rolling duffels. Not only do they simplify getting around the airport with your heavy gear, but they eliminate the hassles of travelling with flap-riddled airplane-hostile backpacks.
Stagecoach Waterproof Rolling Duffel – $295
With its boxy duffle-bag shape and waterproof welded-seam construction the Stagecoach Waterproof Rolling Duffel is a perfect choice for climbers wanting the load-carrying versatility of traditional duffel bags and the easy-hauling of conventional wheeled luggage. A beefy aluminum frame give the bag structure and stability when used a luggage while the independent backpack straps allow for a comfortable carry when the road is too rough for the wheels.
Space Station 100 – $295
The Space Station offers easy gear hauling thanks to its smooth rolling wheels and rigid lightweight frame. The numerous organizer pockets keep climbing gear separated from less outdoorsy clothing and the multiple compression straps stabilize less-than-massive loads. Accessing the Space Station’s contents is simplified by a semi-rigid front frame-hoop, which keeps the bag fabric from collapsing. This is a great bag for transferring gear from the airport to the rental car. -GA