Poking at coals and roasting marshmallows — requisite campfire idleness and tomfoolery — are as integral to the outdoors experience as any epic hike in the woods. Here’s a quick look at three camp items I’ve been using as of late to enhance my ‘round-the-fire-ring time:
-Crazy Creek’s LongBack Air with Microfleece is a minimalist chair that lets campers get comfortable sitting on the ground. The company (www.crazycreek.com) took its classic fold-up chair design, which incorporates a nylon seat and back held together with adjustable webbing straps, and added internal air chambers for inflatable cushiony comfort.
The $55 LongBack Air has a thin veneer of synthetic micro-fleece that lines the chair, making it soft and friendly even to bare skin. The fleece provides warmth on cold nights and serves as a non-slip surface to keep you firmly seated at all times. Crazy Creek includes a small stuff sack for packing the chair away during storage or travel.
-The Sojoe Fire Ring may deserve the title of the classiest firepit on earth. The steel vessel allows you to light a roaring campfire just about anywhere, including on sand and vegetated land or on a brick patio. It stands 17 inches high on three stout legs and is 32 inches wide. It weighs 65 pounds and has a sturdy 360-degree handle that doubles as a foot rest.
In addition to the solid construction, Sojoe (www.sojoe.com) offers four artsy designs with cut-out patterns on the side of the case. The designs include Star & Moon, Wildlife, Willow Crane and Kokopelli themes. The cut-outs are functional as well, enhancing ventilation, minimizing smoke and improving airflow to the fire.
The company ships a stainless steel spark screen, a steel grill and a steel poker stick with each Fire Ring. A vinyl weather cover is available for an extra $55. The Sojoe Fire Ring is not cheap, starting at $299, but these gorgeous, sturdy fire pits are made to last for years and thousands of campfires.
-Byer of Maine’s Banana Hammock is a big, comfy hanging bed perfect for setting up in camp between two trees and near a nice roaring fire. The company uses a polyester fabric that feels like a mid-weight canvas. It is resistant to ultra-violet rays and mildew.
The 122-inch-long hammock is designed to be used in what the company (www.byerofmaine.com) calls the “Brazilian way,” which means lying sideways or diagonally across the hammock in a flat, stabilized position. Used this way, Byer of Maine says, the hammock provides a sleeping area of 55 × 80 inches, and it has a 330-pound weight capacity.
The Banana Hammock comes with a yellow, banana-shape case for transport. It costs $50.