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Hot Summer Camping Gear: As Seen on the Today Show

See what summer essentials Gear Editor Kristin Hostetter recently recommended on the Today Show.
kristin hostettter gear proKristin Hostetter with Mount Rainier in the background. (Hostetter)

(family tent)
REI Half Dome 4
An amazing deal at $259: a real storm-worthy tent that has enough room to feel luxurious for a family of four, but is light enough to carry backpacking. Two doors and two vestibules for easy access and storage, color coded poles make for easy setup. This is a no-compromise tent at a seriously compromised price. $259, 7 lbs. 1 oz.

(sleeping mattress)
NEMO Cosmo Air Combo ($150)
Talk about comfort: This inflatable mattress provides a whopping three inches of cushion, but weighs well under two pounds, so it’s ideal for weight-conscious backpackers who don’t want to skimp on a good night’s sleep. A built-in foot pump eliminates the huffing and lightheadedness that often ensue from blowing up big mattresses. When car camping and weight is not an issue, slip on the Cosmo Pillowtop ($70, 2 lb. 3 oz.), a one-inch-thick comfort foam cover that’s outrageously luxe. $90; 1 lb. 12 oz.; 25”x76”x3”;

Gregory Z35/Jade35
>>Read Our Complete Review
No camping trip is complete without a hike, and this is one of our favorite packs—sized right for a dayhike or even a light overnight (up to 30 pounds comfortably). It’s got a perfect pocket setup, a hydration pocket and port (I will also show it rigged up with a Camelbak Hydration system, holds 2 liters, $30), and great ventilation so you won’t get sweaty. $140; 3 lbs.

Snow Peak Hozuki Flameless Candle Lantern
The best camp lantern of the year. The secret: A silicone globe that throws a warm yellow glow throughout a whole campsite on high, or a small tent on low. Hang it from a branch or tent ceiling or flip it over and set it on a table. It has three brightness settings, plus a sound and wind sensitive flicker mode, so it acts and looks like a candle. Runs on 4 AAs. $90, 5.9 oz.

(gadget batteries—fits in the lantern)
USBCell Rechargable batteries
So many outdoor gadgets use AAs, and typical rechargers can be a pain. These plug right into any USB port and charge off your computer in about 5 hours.

(totally cool flip-flops with built-in lights!)
Teva Illum Sandals
>>Read Our Complete Review
Here’s a bright idea: Mount little LED headlights on your flip-flops, so midnight bathroom runs don’t turn into faceplants. Each foots cast a bright beam about 8 feet into the night, batteries are replaceable (little 3 volt, coins style jobs). The flips themselves are extremely comfy—cushy and contoured, made from either a quick dry synthetic material or leather and a sticky rubber outsole. $50, 12.4 oz.ūm+Leather

Guyot Designs Squishy Bowls
These super cool and colorful vessels are made with food-grade silicone so they bend and flex for easy packing, yet hold their shape for pasta, soup, or even coffee. Easy to clean (flip them inside and lick them!) $15 for a set of 2

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