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Originally published August 9, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 9, 2007 at 2:43 AM


Getting in Gear

Car camping for us non-Rolls folks

Everyone, it seems, loves car camping these days. There is even a new trend among obscenely rich fashionistas known as "glamping," short...

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Everyone, it seems, loves car camping these days. There is even a new trend among obscenely rich fashionistas known as "glamping," short for "glamorous camping." You'll see supermodels and celeb-bratties setting up silk tents and portable espresso machines (or rather, see their hired help setting up those luxuries) in the "wilds" outside Milan, London or New York. Fortunately, you're not likely to run into Britney, Paris or Lindsay in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

A tent for the rest of us

Glampers have nothing on campers when it comes to comfort in the real world. Forget the Tommy Hilfiger silk tent. If you want to stay warm and dry, the better option is REI's Hobitat 6. This modified dome tent easily sleeps six adults on its vast 80-square-feet of floor space, while all but the tallest hikers can easily stand upright under its 6-foot, 4-inch ceiling. The Hobitat features two entrances for conflict-free access (no worries about having to crawl over five bodies to get out). The partial fly provides good basic weather protection — it easily sheds moderate rain while also offering outstanding breathability and venting — but since it extends only a third of the way down the tent wall, driving rain can and will get under the fly and soak the tent walls.

Setup is a breeze since the four aluminum poles are equal length and slip easily through the pole sleeves. It would be nice to have the option of a full-coverage fly for those truly wet weekends in camp, but unless the rain is falling horizontally, the Hobitat proves a solid shelter from the weather. It sells for $339. See

A portable kitchen

With your camp home established, you'll want a place to cook. Thanks to Kelty's Binto Bar camp organizer, you can tote along all your kitchen essentials without clutter or confusion. The Binto Bar boasts three free-standing, zippered cubes that fit within the lower portion of a large block. The top of the Binto Bar zips open and folds up to create a rigid work surface with wind screens and cutting board. The front of the Bar drops down to reveal the separate "binto" cubes and a hanging accessory pocket. In essence, the Binto Bar is a soft-sided storage container that doubles as a cutting block, kitchen counter and cupboard. It's a great way to store and transport all your camp cooking utensils and ingredients as well as providing a clean, organized minikitchen once you get to camp. The only downside: The bintos, or storage cubes, are available in just one size — it would be nice to have some half-sized bintos available to increase the organizational capabilities. The Binto Bar, complete with three binto cubes, sells for $120. See

High-octane stove

To complete the outdoor kitchen, add Brunton's Gannett Two Burner Stove. This stainless-steel camp stove puts out 12,000 BTUs per burner, and will sustain that high-intensity flame for more than 90 minutes on a single propane canister. The controls allow precise flame adjustment from barely-there-simmering flame to that roaring 12,000 BTU furnace.

The Gannett Stove is a slim 3.75 inches thick by 12 inches wide and 21 inches long. The stove proved to be versatile, handling light sautéing as well as rapid boiling. It is a bit heavy at 10 pounds. The heavy stainless steel that accounts for much of that weight, though, also makes this stove tough and durable. It sells for $75. See

— Dan A. Nelson,

special to The Seattle Times

Freelancer Dan A. Nelson, of Puyallup, is a regular contributor to Backpacker magazine, and an author of outdoor guides with The Mountaineers Books. For the purpose of review, gear manufacturers loan products, which are returned after a typical use of four to six weeks. There is no payment from manufacturers, and they have no control over the content of reviews. Contact Nelson with gear-related questions at

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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