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By Rachel Walker
Ahhhh, car camping—the traveler's embodiment of the "think global, act local" mantra. Unlike journeying to exotic destinations, which tend to require significant expense and loads of greenhouse gases, car camping is simple. Whether you're traveling five or 500 miles, all you need to do is throw your gear in the car, pick a destination on the map, and go.
Further sweeten your summer explorations by streamlining your gear system. Since weight doesn't really matter (this isn't a backpacking trip), car camping practically begs you to bust out the extra-thick camp pad, the cozy bag, and even the cast-iron skillet. While car camping's most luxurious perks are bound to be found in star-studded skies, al fresco dining, and sunsets, the below creature comforts will make your trip downright deluxe.
Coolers have come a long way from the days of the $5 Styrofoam box. Otter Box's Trooper LT 20 Soft Cooler ($250) keeps ice cold for days and doesn't leak. It's big enough to store several days' worth of provisions, yet small enough to fit on even the most jam-packed ride. Thanks to the cooler's wide-opening hinge top, loading it—and reaching in to retrieve deliciousness—is a piece of cake.
The best thing about the Big Agnes Big House 6 Deluxe ($400) is its ease of setup. As in a five- and seven-year-old recently erected one in their (OK, my) living room with minimal supervision. Once assembled, this tent is a spacious, shack-size shelter with room for up to six. Inside there's plenty of ventilation, a star-viewing mesh top (and a rain fly for stormy nights), and ample built-in organizers. With so many mesh pockets and shelves, your contact lens case will never again get lost among the kids' coloring books.
Sweet dreams are made of sleeping pads that do the dual duty of insulating campers from the cold, hard ground and eliminating lumps. The Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D ($180 to $210) does all this and more. But what sets this plush pad apart from the competition is how easy it is to inflate. Blow into the nozzle (versus engaging in the full-body workout required by the usual floor pump or pillow pump), and just a short time later, you're sawing logs.
The Homestead Twin sleeping bag ($119) from The North Face is a roomy, rectangular sack that comes in two temperature ratings: 20 degrees and 40 degrees. A modern twist on the classic sleeping bag, the Homestead has plenty of room for extra blankets, stuffed animals, family members, and even the dog. In other words, it's the opposite of restrictive.
One glorious aspect of car camping is tuning in to the day's natural rhythms. But sometimes, you still need artificial light. Whether you're pitching a tent in the dark, heading out on a nocturnal adventure, or cooking, reading, or playing Scrabble long after the sun's gone down, the indestructible Black Diamond Icon headlamp ($100) lights the way. It's water- and dustproof and comes with three different night-vision modes (red, green, and blue). It also has a removable battery pack to help preserve battery light and "brightness memory," which means you can customize its power.
It might be tempting to throw your kitchen cutting board and knife into the car, but don't. This compact combo from Snow Peak ($56) safely holds the knife in place when not in use and folds up for easy storage. Post chopping, cook dinner in the company's featherweight Titanium Mini Solo Cook set ($76).
Go gourmet with Camp Chef's Summit two-burner stove ($132) and cast iron skillet ($23). The powerful stove comes with two high-pressure, 20,000 BTU burners (boiling water has never been quicker), matchless ignition, and a locking lid and handle. It's strong enough to hold all sorts of cookware, including the company's durable, classic skillets, which come in a variety of sizes.
Keeping your car camping gear organized is a fine art. Luckily, the innovative, tough bags from Mystery Ranch Mission Duffel do wonders to sort and protect everything. Use the Mission Duffel 90 ($195) for tent and bedding, the 55 ($165) for cookware, and the 40 ($130) for clothes. These expandable workhorses convert into surprisingly comfortable backpacks, making for easy schlepping from truck to tent.
Naturally, car camping doesn't mean that you never leave the site. You're bound to hike and explore, and the Osprey's Skimmer 30 ($120) hydration pack is big enough to store multiple layers and food. Thanks to its ergonomic design, this pack can be worn all day, up and down mountains (or wherever you go) without complaint. Parents will love its myriad pockets and compartments for toting kids' various sundries; non-parents will appreciate this pack's versatility.
Hang the BioLite Powerlight Mini ($45) in the tent for evening illumination, or prop it on the picnic table if you need an outside light. This solar-powered lantern can also be charged via USB. Once fully charged, it runs for five hours on high or 52 hours on low. It's convenient, compactible and reliable.
Reposted with permission from our media associate SIERRA Magazine.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.