Whether adventure running or racing, starting lines frequently offer a place to camp.
Thus, the need for lightweight, durable camping gear is essential. Having rugged gear that fits in your car is always a plus, but when you’re taking along a few of your running friends or trying to fit in the whole family, having enough space can be tough. The right gear that is compact and functional can heavily influence how much you can take with you.
We had the opportunity to test a few pieces of gear in unique situations that our readers might find extremely interesting.
Hammock vs Test
Hammocks are all the rage. Whether relaxing on a lazy Sunday afternoon, post long run, or camping at the start/finish of your favorite race, a hammock offers simplicity and comfort all in one. Knowing how to use one and actually being comfortable is probably the biggest challenge, but otherwise the concept is straight forward enough.
>Peregrine Refuge – $59.95 / Hammock Strap Kit – $19.95
>TAUR Rated – 4.5
We had the pleasure of testing Peregrines most comfortable hammock, the Refuge (with associated straps). What sets this hammock apart is its durability and strength compared to the competition. When most hammocks can support approximately 360 lbs, the Refuge can hold up to 400 lbs. Made from 70d/160d nylon, the Refuge comes in quite a bit heavier than the competition, but with increased thickness in fabric also comes weather shielding and warmth.
The key to sleeping in a hammock is setting it up correctly and having a sleeping pad. Make sure not to draw the hammock too tight when setting it up. Keep it loose and you’ll have more room to sleep diagonally, providing the most room possible. Also, use a closed cell foam sleeping pad, if possible. They are super inexpensive, but add a massive heat barrier between your backside and the open air. Most people who sleep in a hammock get cold from underneath, not on top.
One thing we appreciated about the Refuge was it’s durability and comfort. The nylon fabric, with its additional thickness, was quiet in the wind and provided extra protection, something the competition lacks. The one downside was that it packs bigger and is heavier, but if you’re car camping or carrying it a short distance this won’t be an issue.
Peregrine Ramada 4 – $229.95 / Ramada Fast Flight Footprint – $17.95
TAUR Rated – 5
Tents are on thing we know something about. As a group of avid campers and backpackers we have tried most of the big names on the market. We can say with confidence that if you’re looking for a tent that is comfortable and can sleep a family of 4 right out of the car, the Peregrine Ramada 4 is the right tent. While light enough to put in a backpack (if broken out between two people), the tent is really meant as more of a car or walk-in camping option. It’s 8lbs 11oz total weight puts it right at the limit of what you’d want to carry into the back country. That being said, if that is your aim – to huff it into the back woods – simply take nothing but the Fast Flight Footprint and the Ramada rainfly and you will cut the packable weight down to approximately 3lbs 8oz.
For those of us who just want to use it at the start/finish of a race, set up the whole thing and get the full comfort of what the Ramada has to offer. It’s dual entry allows you or your crew to get out in the middle of the night to use the restroom. It also means you can climb out in the early morning without waking your family for the start of the race. A double-walled, three season tent with full coving rainfly and double vestibule, you will have complete protection from the weather and be able to keep your gear dry. Easy to set up and free-standing for those times when you can’t stake it down, we believe this tent has pretty much everything you’ll need.
Here’s the really exciting bit – it comes Peregrine’s trademarked Gear Loft Theater – a removable gear loft that can sit horizontally along the ceiling of the tent to hold a lamp or gear. Or it can be hung vertically to hold an iPad, speaker, and/or lamp. TAUR testers used this tent at the start of the Quest for King’s Marathon and just let their kids use it as a home theater. Worries gone for keeping the kids quiet before putting them to bed. It is simply a genius idea!
The question of whether you should use a hammock or a tent at that start/finish of your next race will likely come down to personal preference. Regardless of what you choose, Peregrine will have you well taken care of.
Princeton Tec Helix – $89.99
TAUR Rated – 4.5
The Princeton Tec Helix back country was a lot of fun. It folds up small. It’s easy to operate, with it’s unique control surface that is free of buttons, yet gives access to a 150 lumen white mode, dimmable to 30 lumens, as well as a dimmable red mode for low profile use. The expanding globe and folding legs help Helix Backcountry to shine over a wide area, in multiple orientations, and the removable globe also allows it to be hung as a tent dome light. It’s rechargeable battery has a burn time of 32 hours, making it perfect for a multi-day camping trip.
While we didn’t use it this way, it is small and light enough to use backpacking, and would be great to illuminate a camp kitchen or work area. For car camping, it was fun, but is probably a little small given the other options available, at the same price point, that are only slightly larger but throw much more light.
While a motel stay the night before a race is always nice, it certainly isn’t necessary. There are ways to enjoy the full experience of racing and camping without having to sacrifice. Peregrine and Princeton Tec have made it easy for you. See links below for more information.
Princeton Tec Helix – http://www.rinsekit.com/
Peregrine – http://www.peregrineequipment.com/