5 Useless Camping Products from Outside Magazine

I subscribe to Outside Magazine and I look forward to reading it every month, but an article in the June issue purporting to offer the “coolest summer swag” left me wondering if somebody had slipped me a GQ, by mistake. Granted, the Outside editors include some unquestionable hits, Like the BOB® Revolution stroller and the awesome Powers Vertical™ pants, from Columbia Sportswear®, but the rest of the stuff is mostly overpriced elitist junk that you’re just as likely to find in a men’s fashion magazine. Here are five of my favorite “essentials” from the article:


Quick Silver Two Bits Hat

My grandfather sometimes wore a fedora. That goof actor, Lucas Grabeel (High School Musical – I have 8 year-old girls, remember?) wears a fedora. For the life of me, though, I have no idea what a fedora has to do with “coolest summer swag.”

burton-lil-buddyBurton® Lil Buddy

Soft-sided coolers are always a bad idea for anything other than a Sunday picnic, and stuffing a set of cheap speakers into it doesn’t make it any better (the Lil Buddy includes amplified speakers and an aux jack for an mp3 player). Burton says the Lil Buddy is “perfect for a 12-pack,” but at 13″ x 11″ x 8″ there’s scant little room for ice. Warm beer and weak tunes – perfect!


Brunton® Profile Duo™ stove/grill combo

Brunton makes great gear and I’m sure the Profile Duo is a top-notch stove. At $137.95, though, it’s twice the price of a “regular” camp stove. I’m a firm believer that grills are for grilling and stoves are for cooking, so I’m not a big fan of the combo stoves. Brunton does not provide any dimensions on the grilling surface of the Profile Duo, but the grilling side on most of these combo stoves is about the same size as a $15 griddle or frying pan.


GSI Outdoors® 12” Dutch Oven

Like the Brunton, there’s nothing wrong with GSI’s dutch oven except it’s $110. I know aluminum is a lot lighter than cast iron, but similar Lodge Logic® dutch oven (cast iron), like the ones I gave away last month, are only $30.

SealLine® Urban Backpack

sealline-urban-backpackNothing screams, “I’ve never seen whitewater” louder than carrying around a waterproof bag in the city. For $100, it’s just a bag (single compartment) with couple of pockets on the outside. Also, it’s just coated polyurethane, so be gentle with it.

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10 thoughts on “5 Useless Camping Products from Outside Magazine

  1. You’re right, MK – I just measured ours and it’s 10″. We went for the “bean pot” over the campfire style with the flanged lid and legs, because we are either cooking on a stove or on a fire pit grate. It’s more versatile, for us.

    Heath – that’s a good bet, particularly if you would have to pay for shipping (which will ad a lot!).

  2. Actually, I don’t think that one for $35.99 has pictured is a 12 inch oven….it’s only a 5 qt. one. Usually a 12 inch oven is 7 qts.
    A dutch oven without legs and the flanged top is really for cooking on a kitchen stove. You could make it work, but it’s not going to work really well. You need to put coals on top and underneath to get even baking in a dutch oven.

    For camping, you want the one with the legs and the flanged top for camp cooking….and don’t forget to get a charcoal chimney. It’s a great help for dutch oven cookery.

    MK’s last blog post..Camper Cabin at Bruin Lake

  3. Ah, now I see. The $35.99 is the 12″ dutch without legs and the flange to hold coals on the lid. I think wallyworld is my best bet. They have the Lodge Logic campstyle oven with legs and flanged lid for $48.88. Now I just have to find an 8″ oven for desert!

  4. John – right, this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I did cut them some slack on the $500 bottle of Patron 🙂

    Heath – $35.99 now (http://tinyurl.com/krhfod), but I got them for $29.99 in March (and free shipping w/ Prime!). It cost me over $20 to ship them to the contest winners, in April 🙂

    Amy – I recognize that! Whoever came up with that “Recon” name must have been quite the savvy marketer!

    MK – I bet that’s right, since they’re lighter and thinner. I know Idaho River Journeys uses them, to save weight on the river.

    Deb – that’s some smart wedding registration strategy!

  5. We use a Coleman two-burner stove (I think it retails for about $40, but we got it in a swap for an old, crummy chest of drawers that somebody really wanted … gotta love Craigs List) and the stove works just great and has for a lot of camping trips. I personally would never spend that kind of money on a camp stove, when the less expensive ones I’ve had have been just fine.

    We have a cast iron dutch oven, too. I don’t know what that cost (we got it as a wedding gift, cuz we registered with Lehman’s … that Amish mail-order store 🙂 ), but we love it. We have a cast iron kettle (also thanks to our wedding wish list 11 years ago), and my husband made a tripod for it for campfire cookin’. Corn bread in the dutch oven and stew in the kettle. Yum.

    Deb’s last blog post..A Short Walk Turns Into A Long Night

  6. WOW! where can you buy a 12 inch Lodge cast iron dutch oven for $30????? I’ve never seen one cheaper than $70….

    That being said, I’ve cooked with aluminum dutch ovens and cast iron dutch ovens and aluminum ones burn stuff. Stick with the cast iron…if you are hiking you wouldn’t bring a dutch oven anyway, so who cares about the weight????

    MK’s last blog post..Camper Cabin at Bruin Lake

  7. Speaking of that Lodge Logic. Where would you suggest looking for the $30 12″ oven? I’m looking to buy my first one, but am on a budget and hate to overspend. Walmart currently has the pre-seasoned Lodge 12″ for $48, but I’d rather pay $30 and season it myself. I’m just not finding any for that price except the $20 harbor freight oven. The one I looked at in their store had a warped lid.