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Camping with the familyCamping with the family

When more is lessWhen more is less

Pilots are mission-minded, and they are also mindful of weight and balance. Through trial and error, they'll assemble and make room in the confines of a cockpit for the equipment that will work best. Check out what you need for a camping trip with the family.

For fly-in camping trips with my family, I tend to follow the motto, “More is less.” When the airplane is already loaded down with people, camping equipment, and all of the food needed for several days, it helps to have equipment that can do more than one job. When traveling with little ones, it's also important that all my equipment is durable enough to withstand some abuse.

That's one of the reasons I love the Zagg Rugged Book Case for my iPad Pro. It comes with a laptop-style keyboard that turns my iPad into a computer. It also has an easy magnetic system for detaching the iPad from the rest of the keyboard so it can be used in flight as a tablet only. Because I use my iPad as the platform for giving checkrides, writing, and for running ForeFlight when I fly, I feel like my entire work life exists on the iPad.

A good-quality, hard-sided cooler can be heavy, which is not a desirable trait when trying to take off in an airplane loaded down with family members and camping equipment. The Yeti Hopper Soft Cooler weighs only 5 pounds but performs as well as any hard cooler I've ever used. It also has a wide shoulder strap, making the cooler easy to carry. After a hectic day of flying and setting up camp on a hot summer day, I really appreciate an ice-cold beer from a cooler I can count on.

Check out more in the 2018 AOPA Gear Guide.

Gear for Camping with the Family

  • Gear for Camping with the Family
    Drinks to go: Camping without coffee? We don't think so. Keep drinks warm for eight hours (or cool for 24) with the stainless-steel Valhalla tumbler. $25/
  • Gear for Camping with the Family
    Little ears: The smallest travelers need ear protection too. Sigtronics S20-Y child's headset. $163/,
  • Gear for Camping with the Family
    Everything and the portable stove: Etekcity Ultralight portable outdoor stove is collapsible and has an adjustable control valve. $19.99, shown with Stanley camp cookset ($14.97) and Jetboil Jetpower fuel tank. ($18.40),
  • Gear for Camping with the Family
    Crank for light: Out of batteries? No problem. The PrimalCamp rechargeable LED flashlight gives you an hour of light in return for six minutes of winding or cranking; or just put it in the sun to recharge. $9.99/
  • Gear for Camping with the Family
    Go anywhere: No need to overpack with clothes that do double duty. Lululemon Ladies' City Trek Trousers are tough enough for camping yet stylish enough for dinner in a restaurant, if you get tired of hot dogs. $128/

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