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Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012: Camping comforts

Nature gets a bit more hotel-like with cushy pads and satellite TV. Check out the top camping comfort products and trends for 2013 that we encountered at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 2-5. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

This SNEWS Outdoor Retailer Summer Market recap is brought to you by Cordura:

In the past, we camped out of necessity, to get to remote regions where few if any hotels existed. Today, however, it’s all about camping for camping’s sake, meaning campers want more creature comforts than ever before. They want to make a home away from home. Cots, tables, air mattresses and chairs are getting plusher.

“They want it all — lightweight, packable, durable and comfortable,” said Eureka’s Mark Hrubant. “They want those nice features to enhance their outdoor experience.” And that experience isn’t necessarily hiking, mountain biking, mountaineering or climbing. It’s just as often camping. So it’s okay if gear weighs a little more and costs a little more.

“Our customers are willing to spend if it means they’re getting more,” said Greg Henry from Crazy Creek. “Customers want versatile features that add value. And they want gear that lasts.” The Crazy Creek AirChair (MSRP $125), for example, is a ground chair that’s also a self-inflating, full-length air mattress.

Crazy Creek AirChair

Elsewhere in sleeping pads, manufactures continue to pump up comfort with air/foam combinations. The Eureka Dualis ST (MSRP $89-119) is a patented air mattress that combines a self-inflating pad and an air-tube mattress. The pad provides the warmth and cush, while the air tubes offer the conformability. Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir Dream (MSRP $199-219) has a contour-hugging, open-cell foam topper covered with machine-washable microfleece atop a custom air mattress, which some say is cozier than a hotel bed.

Eureka’s Catskill table folds flat and comes with netting on the sides and underneath for extra storage. Kelty/Wenzel has folding chairs with built-in plates, so your potato salad doesn’t wind up in your lap.

Add in Dish Network’s new Tailgater portable HDTV satellite system (MSRP $500), and you may never want go home.

— Jill Adler