Bow camp can take many forms, from a ramshackle cabin deep in the big woods to a double-wide parked down by the river. For western bowhunters, however, bow camp often means a sturdy tent that’s equally at home shedding snow in the mountains on an elk hunt as it is bucking the blow on the prairie during pronghorn season. Despite these extreme elements, archery camp can still be comfortable, provided it’s outfitted with the right gear. Here are our suggestions for the 10 best gear items to make the ultimate bow camp this season.
THE WALL TENT
The yellow glow of a wall tent is a classic camp sight. Canvas is heavy, but it’s also extremely durable and, when pitched correctly, sheds any weather, from howling winds to alpine snowstorms. The Montana Blend 8×10 from tentmaker Montana Canvas features an aluminum-tubed skeleton for maximum strength in high winds, a Grade-A, 10 ounce cotton duck treated roof, and fire-retardant canvas. With four screened windows, two screened doors, and a 5-inch oval stove pipe jack in the roof, this wall tent has plenty of room for cots, woodstove, and all the gear needed for a week in the mountains. | MONTANACANVAS.COM
Forget the notion of cooking over the fire and invest in a quality camp stove, like the two-burner Camp Chef Pro 60X. The workhorse classic and customer favorite received an upgrade this year. It folds down into a tighter package thanks to a new leg design and has built-in levelers because there’s never a flat spot in the woods. Dual 30K-BTU burners provide 448 square inches of cooking space, and the stove provides consistent, controllable heat with dual adjustment knobs that dial down from a boil to a bare simmer. Matchless ignition, three-sided wind screen, and two foldable side shelves make this stove a complete package | CAMPCHEF.COM
It’s not a hunting camp until there’s a castiron skillet covered in bacon grease sitting on the stove. Lodge is one of the country’s oldest cast-iron manufacturers, and its 12-inch model comes preseasoned and ready to cook right from the foundry.
Same goes for Lodge’s camp Dutch ovens, which are also essential equipment to be used for everything from making elk chili to baking a fresh loaf of bread right there in camp. With one of each, a talented cook can feed a crew of hardworking hunters. | LODGEMFG.COM
Just like at home, everyone seems to gather around the food in hunting camp, so expect to see a crowd at the My Camp Kitchen swapping lies and correcting the cook. The craftsman-made chuck box has shelf space that fits many commercial camp stoves, as well as a coffee pot, pans, and a host of other kitchen necessities. A wood slat divides the bottom into two cubbyholes, or the slat can be removed to create one large compartment, and there are a pair of drawers that slide out easily on integral rails. The door folds down to double as a countertop; it’s plenty big enough for slicing and dicing with just enough space to set your beer. | MYCAMPKITCHEN.COM
Going to the bathroom in the woods is a whiz for a day or so, but on extended hunts with multiple campmates, someone will have to be on latrine duty. Reliance makes this easier with the Luggable Loo, a heavy-duty toilet seat that snaps right onto the top of a five-gallon bucket. The stable, steady throne can be lined with trash bags for sanitary waste removal. Just go easy on the beans at dinner if it’s your day to swap bags. | RELIANCEPRODUCTS.COM
Privacy is the one thing lacking in a tent, and when it comes to, um, personal business, consider a separate shelter. The Heliopolis is a free-standing nylon privacy room. It has an overall height of 84 inches and plenty of space inside. The hub-style exoskeleton assembles quickly and does a decent job bucking the wind. Pair it with the company’s Helio Shower, with its foot-pressurized function and seven-foot output hose, to stay clean on long trips away from civilization. | NEMOEQUIPMENT.COM
HEAT ’ER UP
While a canvas tent keeps the windier, wetter elements out, it can do only so much against the cold. For that, a good stove like the Seek Outside Titanium is a midseason requirement. Well stoked, it wastes no time warming things up under the canvas. The lightweight titanium construction conducts heat better than lesser metals, which means more efficient burns of precious dry firewood. This model is fairly lightweight and folds down flat to pack easily. It’s also great for drying wet socks, warming camp coffee, and otherwise making coldweather hunts more bearable. | SEEKOUTSIDE.COM
DINING ROOM TABLE
You can’t count on finding a flat, empty space anywhere in camp, so it pays to bring your own in the form of Alps Mountaineering Guide Table, which folds out to provide ample space for butchering game, eating dinner, and stacking chips during a heated game of Hold ’Em. It offers three adjustable height levels from 30 to 42 inches and more than 1,300 square inches of countertop covered in an easy-to-clean vinyl fabric. Best of all, it packs down into a compact 9×31-inch carry bag. | ALPSMOUNTAINEERING.COM
The second necessity inside the tent is a comfortable place to sleep. Cabela’s Outfitter XL Cot matched with a thick Cot Pad may be the best camp bed you’ll ever sleep in, thanks to a 40-inch wide nylon sling and three inches of open-cell foam. The cot sets up easily, too, without busting knuckles and pinching fingers, thanks to an ingenious lever arm that guides the support bar into position. The only thing missing is a soft down pillow from home. | CABELAS.COM
KEEP IT COOL
No camp kitchen is complete without a cooler to keep food and beverages cold and to serve as a place to protect freshly killed game. The Yeti Tundra 75 is big enough to do both—without making a midweek trip to town for more ice. The fat, roto-molded walls are stuffed full of commercial-grade polyfoam insulation that keeps the cooler’s contents colder longer. The pull-down, rubber latch design is secure, keeping out curious critters and over-zealous bears. | YETI.COM