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Southern Comfort

Blue Ridge Outdoors: Southern Comfort

The Reactor Thermolite Mummy Liner from Sea to Summit adds 15 degrees of warmth to your bag and is a hell of a lot more comfy next to skin than the interior of your bag. Bonus: Sleeping bag liners will protect your bag from your grime, adding life to one of the most expensive pieces of gear in your quiver.

The Camelbak Pillow

The camp pillow is typically the first item to be cut from the bag to save weight, as it should be. Here’s a handy alternative: Fill any hydration bladder with water, ditch the detachable tube, and you’ve got a comfy pillow that doesn’t add weight to your pack when you’re not sleeping.  Drop it into an oversized stuff sack for extra comfort.

Radiant Heat

Savvy backpackers have been using hot rocks to keep them toasty on cold nights for decades, probably longer. Most heat a head-sized rock next to a fire until it’s warm (not red hot), then wrap the rock in a towel and stuff it in the foot of their sleeping bag. It’s toasty, but can be dangerous as many rocks have melted holes in synthetic bags. Try burying several heated rocks instead. Place the heated rocks in a shallow trench (about six inches deep). Cover with dirt, then set your tent over the hot trench.  The heat won’t be as direct, but it will limit the possibility of melting your bag.  Tip: Warm the rocks next to your fire, not in the fire, which will transfer too much heat

The Ultimate Luxury Item: A Chair

We take chairs for granted in our everyday life, but deep in the woods, a chair can make you feel like a king on his throne. Two options for sitting in style: the Therm-a-Rest Compack Chair is a 6-ounce sleeve that fits over your sleep pad, turning it into a chair. And the Crazy Creek HexaLite is a stand-alone piece that rolls up tight and only weighs 21 ounces.

Bedroom Slippers

There’s nothing more civilized than slipping on a pair of comfy shoes after a long day of hiking. Some backpackers carry Crocs into the backcountry, but more companies are making lightweight kicks that are easy to stow. Check out Teva’s new Mush Frio—ridiculously comfortable and only 5.4 ounces. 

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