Camping Gear That Lasts a Lifetime

May 7, 2024

Maybe you spend more nights outside than inside. Perhaps, you only snooze under the stars twice a year. Either way, it pays to invest in quality camping gear. Otherwise, it’s Friday night and your tent poles have already snapped, or you wake up on the hard ground at 1 a.m. Saturday morning only to learn that your new air mattress has a leak. Fortunately, there are plenty of reputable brands making best-selling products designed to last for decades. For example, Leatherman’s new ARC Multi-Tool features a game-changing corrosion-resistant MagnaCut steel blade, the most durable on the market. It’s backed by Leatherman’s 25-year limited warranty 40 years for Leatherman Insiders). Meanwhile, all High Camp flasks come with a lifetime warranty. And if you spring for Patagonia’s new Black Hole Gear Tote, you can sleep peacefully at night knowing it comes with the brand’s “Ironclad Guarantee.” So, whether you’re looking for a new thermos that can be passed down for generations or a camp chair you can return if your inner Goldilocks decides she doesn’t like it after a few uses, below are a few examples of camping gear designed to last a lifetime.

The Best Camping Gear That Lasts a Lifetime

Two green thermos containers and lunch box on a wood outdoor background.

Stanley: “Since 1913: Built for Life” 

A Stanley thermos ($45) purchased today will probably keep your great-great-granddaughter’s hot cocoa nice and toasty in the year 2130. Not only does it retain heat for 38 hours and ice for six days, but the lid is a built-in cup. Stanley has also solved all your cooking quandaries. The stainless steel Adventure Even-Heat Camp Pro Cookset ($150) has everything you need to prepare a gourmet meal in the middle of nowhere, and it’s dishwasher safe. If you prefer to cook in the comfort of your own kitchen, pre-make chili or BBQ and bring it along in the leakproof Stay Hot Camp Crock ($70), also made of BPA-free stainless steel. The contents will still be steaming when you pull off the lid 12 hours later. The best part? Stanley has a stainless steel vacuum lifetime warranty. So assuming you’re using their product as it was designed, they guarantee the thermal performance of all their stainless steel for life. In other words, your great-great-granddaughter is set for life.

Finding solitude in wilderness concept. Young woman resting in forest, sitting in camp chair and reading book

 REI: “Inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure” 

Your hot stuff is hot. Now let’s keep your cold stuff cold. The REI Co-Op Cool Haul 24 Soft Cooler ($139) is up to the challenge. With 10 lbs of ice, it will keep 24 cans of your preferred fireside beverage below 40℉ for up to 65 hours. Plus it features a built-in bottle opener. After getting a drink, kick back by the fire in the REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Boss Chair ($90). Comfortable, sturdy, and easy to set up, it folds down into its stuff sack making it easy to bring on hikes. And at night (or nap time), you won’t be counting sheep thanks to the REI Co-op Campwell Camp Pillow ($30). The pillowcase is removable, washable, and reversible. If you’re an REI Co-op member (which is a no-brainer $30 pay-once-join-for-life deal), and you don’t love what you get, you can get a refund or replacement for any of their products within a year of purchase (outdoor electronics are the exception). And if there’s a manufacturing defect, you can return it any time.

Tents in Joshua Tree National Park at Sunset.

NEMO: “Design Like You Give a Damn”

Most adventure gear ends up in a landfill at the end of its life, but NEMO’s Endless Promise line is fully recyclable, helping to preserve the planet we love to explore. And you don’t have to sacrifice comfort, quality, or a hefty chunk of your paycheck to invest in this earth-shattering (or should I say earth-saving?) technology. They redesigned their best-selling Forte sleeping bags (from $170), available in both Men’s and Women’s, with comfort, performance, and sustainability in mind. The Classic Spoon shape provides extra room at the elbows and knees (shout out to all you side sleepers). Meanwhile, NEMO’s Endless Promise 25L Technical Backpack ($180) hasn’t even been released yet, and it’s already sold out. But don’t worry, you can join the waitlist. Everything NEMO sells is backed by their lifetime warranty, and the New Hampshire-based company also offers a repair service.

Man hiking at sunset in the mountains.

Osprey: “Any Reason, Any Product, Any Era.”  

Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee ensures you’ll never get a lemon. Bag-wise, the Talon Velocity 30 ($200) is lightweight and roomy, perfect for a day hike from your campsite. With a running-vest inspired harness, it won’t slow you down, and it has easily accessible pockets on both shoulders and hips. If what you’re bringing along is more of the tiny human persuasion, the Poco LT ($240) has you, and your stowaway, covered. They’ll be comfortable and happy in their deluxe cockpit with a UPF 50 sunshade, and your back will thank you for years to come. For either pack, get a Hydraulics Reservoir ($55), which comes in all different sizes. The new design has a magnet for the hose, a thumb-operated on/off lever, and a backer plate to help prevent buckling when loading into a pack. And keep in mind, Osprey will repair any product for any reason for free “Whether it was produced in 1974 or yesterday.”  If it can’t be repaired, they’ll replace it.

Group of people sitting by a campfire.

Kelty: “Built for Play” 

Kelty has a lifetime warranty on all their tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and kid carriers, offering repairs and replacement components to give your gear a “second life.” If you need space for a bigger group, or if your smaller group likes to spread out, opt for the Rumpus 6 ($300). There’s plenty of room in the tent, plus a whole lobby right outside the zipper for bikes, dogs, coolers, etc. If you don’t need as much sleeping room, the Caboose 4 ($325) still provides a giant vestibule with an extended awning that attaches to the back of your vehicle. Both tents feature Kelty Quick-Corners for fast setup, and they come with a Shark Mouth duffel (as opposed to a stuff sack type), which makes storing and carrying your tent a breeze. Last but not least, the Cosmic Air Mummy Sleeping Pad ($55) weighs only a pound, and packs into a tiny stuff sack.


Disclaimer: All of these manufacturers assume you’re not tossing your gear from 747’s or dragging it behind your RV at 80 mph. I.e. Take care of your investments. For example, use Nikwax’s waterproofing and UV protecting products, clean your gear in between uses, and make sure to properly store everything. For example, tents are best stored loosely—outside of their stuff sacks—in a cool, dry place. 

KOA Author Katie JacksonKatie Jackson is a writer and media specialist based in Montana’s Big Sky Country. Living and working everywhere from New York to Nicaragua, Katie is no stranger to adventure. When she’s not traveling the world (or writing about it!) she’s busy chasing after a Leonberger named Zeus. Follow Katie’s travels on Instagram @katietalkstravel.


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