Camping & Climbing

Backpacks | Tents | Sleeping Bags | Climbing Gear | Accessories

One of our favorite things about New England is the proximity that we have to some of our nation's best trail systems, mountain parks, coastal waters, and breathtaking campsites. Some of the most accessible and rewarding recreational activity happens right here in our back yard. Come in and chat with us, we'd love to share stories and maybe point you in a new direction. If you need gear, supplies, or just some pointers for your next adventure, you'll be in the right spot in our camping shop.

Top Items to Pack

04/23/2015

Some of the best memories of growing up come from summers spent under the trees, sleeping under the stars, staying up late telling stories, cheering and singing with people who become lifelong friends. Whether your child is six years old or sixteen, camp is the best part about summer. It offers kids the opportunity to try new activities, meet new people, and experience being away from home for the first time. We have put together a list of the important items that every kid needs for camp, all of which you can get right here at Outdoor Sports Center. We carry everything from bug repellent clothes to sturdy backpacks to sunscreen, and we only carry the highest quality items and employ the most knowledgeable experts. Whether your kids are going to day camp here in Fairfield County, sleepaway camp in the Berkshires, or a wilderness school across the country, Outdoor Sports Center is your one-stop-shop for all things camp! 

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  • Swim Goggles
  • Toiletry Bag and Travel Bottles
  • Water Bottle
    We love Camelbak's wide selection of water bottles, in all styles and colors.
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Towel
    The brand PackTowl makes ultra-absorbant towels in all sizes that are quick drying, making them resistant to mildew. The large and extra large sizes are big enough to use as full bath towels, and they are $19.95 and $24.95 respectively.
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Headlamp/Flashlight
    It's important to have a strong light for navigating in the dark, telling ghost stories in the cabin, and everything in between. The Black Diamond Cosmo headlamp is an excellent option for hands-free light, and the Orbit is a flashlight/lantern combo; both are $29.95
  • Backpacks
    We carry many different styles of packs from many different brands. Whether your child needs a large backpacking pack, a day hiking pack, a hydration pack or anything in between, we have got you covered, and with a variety of options!
  • Suitcase/Duffel
    Patagonia's Black Hole Duffel and The North Face's Base Camp Duffel are both super sturdy and come in a variety of sizes to hold everything you need
  • Poncho
  • Rain Coat
  • Sleeping Bag
    The Wasatch 45 from North Face is affordable and perfect for making that camp bunk more comfortable. It's made for summer so it won't be too hot on those humid nights, but it still works to keep you cozy and warm when the temperature falls.
  • Hat
  • Bandanas
  • Outer Layers
    The Mossbed Softshell Hoodie ($89.95) from The North Face is a water-resistant windbreaker with a light fleece liner, making it a perfect summer jacket for all conditions.
  • Pants and Shorts
  • Long and Short Sleeve Shirts
  • Swimsuit
  • Wool Socks
    We recommend wool socks for all outdoor activities, as they wick away moisture and do not attract bacteria or become smelly as quickly as other materials do. We carry socks from Smartwool and Fit that come in a wide range of thicknesses, including lightweight summer socks.
  • Bathing Suits
  • Lip Balm
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sneakers
  • Rain Boots
  • Sandals
    Kids need sandals for summer camp just as much as they need hiking boots and sneakers. It is important to get sandals that offer some stability since your kids will likely be walking over rocky paths, and we carry sandals from Chaco and Keen (and Teva and Birkenstocks for the bigger kids) that strap in the whole foot.

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If your child is attending a wilderness camp that involves backpacking and sleeping outside rather that in a cabin, here are a few additional items you would want to add to the above list:

  • Camping Bowl
  • Camping Utensils
  • Large Trekking Backpack
    Osprey Ace Series packs are made specifically for young trekkers and are excellent packs.
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Protective Insect Netting

 

Don't forget to send your kids off with some stationery so that they can write you letters, and a journal to write about all their exciting experiences!

Where Form Meets Function | Knives

11/25/2014

Whether you carry a knife everywhere you go or use them to chop vegetables for dinner, knives are an essential tool in all of our lives. Almost all of us at Outdoor Sports Center carry one all day every day. They prove themselves invaluable more often than you'd expect, from opening boxes and letters to cutting the tags off the new shirt you just bought. A good knife not only performs day after day but is made with the quality and craftsmanship to last a lifetime.

1

The Bushcrafter is a wonderful fixed blade design from Benchmade that you know is built with quality. You know you have a good knife, one you can count on. It's solid, functional, well balanced, and features premium blade steel. You get a durable G10 handle fastened with titanium tubing and a nice leather sheath with an attached fire steel. Also available in Kydex with sand G10 handles. Benchmade Bushcrafter $195

2

A Major in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division contacted Spyderco sourcing a better knife for their Jumpmasters. More than a few of their crew already carry Spydercos and were familiar with our serrations and manufacturing quality standards.  The Army's 82nd Airborne set out what they wanted in a knife and Spyderco complied by making the Spyderco Jumpmaster fixed blade with rust-proof H1 steel. Spyderco Jumpmaster $269

3

Kizer knives construction is just what you would expect from a custom knife. Kizer is committed to design and manufacture world-class knives.  The knives are constructed from high-quality materials imported from Japan and the USA, are crafted using high-quality workmanship using high-speed CNC milling machines and wire EDM cutting tools. Kizer Ti Folder $243.95

4

This high-performance S30V blade is paired with textured black G-10 scales for a secure grip and excellent mechanical strength even under the roughest conditions. The scales are flat rather than 3D machined. A locking liner secures the blade during use. The 0350 also includes ZT's Quad-mount system for complete versatility. Zero Tolerance 0350 $149.95

5

The rugged feel and performance of the DPx HEST fixed blade has been engineered into a hard use frame lock folder. The D2 Tool Steel folder comes with a Titanium alloy frame, patented RotoBlock adjustment, removable glass breaker (with replacement smooth-head screw), hex-bit driver in handle/frame, and collectible "Mr. DP" adjustment/multi tool. After a global search the firm of Lion Steel was picked to manufacture this knife based on their long heritage of quality, award winning folders. DPX HEST 2.0 Folder $299.95

6

A Sage is someone wise in judgment and experience.  The C123 Sage represents Spyderco's 30-year pledge to knife crafting and learning to make better knives at every available opportunity. This model is in recognition of knifemaker Michael Walker's contribution to the knife industry with his creation of the LinerLock® and ball bearing detent method of locking open a folding knife. Spyderco Sage 2 $299.95

 

7The 482 Megumi is the embodiment of a gentlemen's carry. No details were overlooked in the production of this elegant tool, including the Nak-Lok and beautifully contoured carbon fiber and cocobolo wood handle scales. The stainless steel backspacer utilizes cutting edge MIM technology to emulate custom hand file work and the S30V clip point blade handles utility tasks with ease. Benchmade Magumi $230

8

 The air is light as air with a featherweight glass fiber handle, titanium skeletonized internal liners and Michael Walker LinerLock. The blade is Crucible's version of tool steel called CPM-M4. It incorporates their CPM-powdered metal manufacturing process in a tool steel with a super consistent steel-grain structure, vaulting the steel's already impressive impact resistance to even greater heights. Spyderco Gayle Bradley Air $249.95

Luggage That Carries Everything but You

11/06/2014

The time for family, turkey, and football has arrived. For many of us, that means boarding a plane and flying halfway across the country. A reliable and durable suitcase goes a long way in ensuring smooth holiday travels. We all know packing is hard enough as it is, so we have selected the most versatile bags from the best brands to put your mind at ease.

 

Roller Suitcases

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Patagonia | Transport Roller - 35L $329 | 60L $379 | 90L $429

The Patagonia Transport Roller is the perfect airline travel bag, with everything you need from smooth rolling wheels to an extendable handle with varying heights. It guarantees top-notch protection with an aluminum frame that expands to protect items inside and collapses for convenient storage. It comes in three sizes: 35L, 60L & 90L, the smallest is designed to meet airline carry-on requirements. Made with 900D recycled PET twill polyester fabric, to withstand travel abuse and resist water. Each bag has side and top handles making it easy to grab from any direction and a plastic handle on the bottom for loading.

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The North Face | Rolling Thunder - 30" $289

The North Face Rolling Thunder is a duffle with the convenience of a roller. Our favorite feature is the external compartment that keeps your dirty clothes separate from the rest of the bag. This bag comes in 10 different color choices making it easy to spot at the baggage terminal. The D-shaped zipper lets the top flap open making it simple to pack and secures down with extra buckles on the outside to insure your items are safe. The heavy duty outside has a nylon coating to protect against water and material made from 1000D polyester, TPE laminate, and 1680D nylon to guarantee a lifetime of travel abuse. There are plastic bumpers on the bottom and handles to protect it from impact.

thule_crossover
Thule | Crossover - 38L $299 | 45L $399

The Thule Crossover is all business. Lightweight and rugged, the exoskeleton is solid polypropylene to absorb impacts and has aluminum hardware to remain as light as possible. The front converts into a backpack with hidden straps in the zipper pocket, and the wheels are positioned away from the body to ensure comfort on your back. Inside you will find a padded laptop case, separated compartments to keep suits fresh, and a crushproof safe-zone case for eyewear or electronics.

 

Duffles

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Mountain Hardware | Lightweight Exp Duffle - XS $65 | S $70 | M $80

The Lightweight Expedition Duffle folds into its own zippered pouch with ease for compact storage. It's the perfect piece to bring for the holidays, when you always leave with more than you brought. Made from a highly durable 210D velocity nylon fabric to protect against punctures or tears and supportive web design straps that wrap around the entire bag to distribute weight. The straps are adjustable and wide enough to not dig into your shoulders.

northface_duffle
The North Face | Base Camp Duffle - S $120 | M $135 | L $145 | XL $170

The hefty Base Camp Duffle is durable, and withstands wear and tear thanks to its 840D ballistic nylon and 1000D TPE laminate. Unzip the top to access every corner with a D-shaped zipper. Straps and handles surround the bag to transport and strap down with ease.

 

Carry-Ons

Osprey_packs
Osprey | Porter - 46L $100

The Porter is big enough for your weekend trips or the perfect carry-on for flights. It brings organization to a whole new level, by having padded pockets for everything: your laptop, tablet, notebooks and an outside vertical front pocket to carry a blanket or towel. The straps are padded and ergonomically designed for safety of your back, with a hip belt to distribute the weight. These straps are stowable to convert this backpack into a duffle, with multiple handles on top and bottom of the bag. Around the front, are straight jacket compression straps to hold everything in tightly.

Osprey | Contrail Courier - $120

We had to include the Contrail Courier because we know how hard it can be going through airport security with electronics. The contrail connects easily to any roller bag, with a magnetic top sleeve that slides over the top handle, allowing the bag to hang down on top of the suitcase. Inside there is a padded sleeve for laptops, a separate one for tablets, two zippered side pockets, and two mesh side pockets for all the organization you need. It even has a hidden zipper security pocket inside for extra safety.

Get Outfitted for Your Next Adventure

06/09/2014

The beauty of adventure lies in the unexpected; that doesn't mean you can go un-prepared. While you can't always plan for everything when you're traveling, backpacking, or camping, having the right equipment can mean the difference between the experience of a lifetime or a trip gone wrong. Don't let an uncomfortable pair of boots or an ill-fitting pack get in the way of that bucket list adventure you've been dreaming of for so long.

Whether you're going on safari to Africa, climbing Everest, or going camping with the kids, you'll need to prepare yourself accordingly. Outdoor Sports Center has experience and equipment to get you ready for a once in a lifetime experience, or just another backyard night. We have a Certified Pedorthist on staff to make sure you get a good fit in the right boots for you. Our clothing department can show you bug repellent clothing from ExOfficio, and FlashDry baselayers from The North Face. Our camping department has over twenty five years of experience custom fitting packs and outfitting people for adventures of all kinds, all over the world. High quality sleeping bags and tents, MSR portable water filtration and Adventure Medical Kits, Steiner binoculars, and Petzl headlamps, we have everything on your list. Most importantly, we have the experience to know what you'll need, and what to avoid.

Fit Tool

The Osprey Fit Tool helps us determine your torso size to make sure you have the correct sized pack for you. 

Fit Tool 2

Ed B. our camping guru, measuring the distance from the iliac crest to the C7 vertebra with the head down to get the torso measurement.

Pack

After taking all of your measurements, our staff works with you to find packs that  fit both your body and your mission.

Pack2

Once we've found the right pack we make sure you know exactly how to adjust and wear it; we'll explain each feature.

Oven

We even have options for custom fitting to make sure you have the most comfortable fit for you, ensuring you have the best experience possible on your trip.
Our travel outfitting doesn't stop there, we have adventure specific luggage, custom footbeds, and much more! Come see us today, and we'll talk about your next great adventure.

How to Choose a Sleeping Bag

06/05/2014

A great sleeping bag will reward you with a great nights sleep for the next days adventure when you are out backpacking or camping.  There are alot of sleeping bags out there to choose from, and many things to consider when choosing a sleeping bag. It's easy to get overwhelmed wondering which one is right for you. Were here to help! There is never one sleeping bag that does everything perfectly, but Outdoor Sports Center has the experience and selection to help you find a great match for your next adventure.

Three Deciding Factors

Temperature: When trying to choose a bag that is going to keep you comfortable the temperature rating is one of the biggest factors. For sleepers that run cold, a good general rule of thumb is to look for a rating at least 10-20⁰F lower than the temperatures outside. Always try to think of the temperature ratings as a general guideline given how many different things contribute to your actual warmth. You are always better using the temperature ratings as a guide, they are by no means a guarantee.

Shape: The shape of a sleeping bag can also effect your comfort at night. A sleeping bag that is too tight won't give you a good night's sleep, and a bag that is too roomy may be comfortable but won't keep you as warm as it should. Keep in mind that a good sleeping bag will see a lot of use, so finding one with a shape that fits well and keeps weight low will keep you warm and rested without being a burden to carry.

Length: Length is going to be the easiest part of figuring out which bag is for you. You're looking for a sleeping bag that has enough volume to trap your heat, without going overboard. The easiest way to choose the right size sleeping bag is to pick one that is only a small amount longer than your height.  If you choose one that is too big, your body heat will get lost in the extra space.

Temperature Ratings 

Bag Type

Temperature Rating

Summer

+35º and higher

Three-Season

+10º to +35º

Cold Weather

-10º to +10º

Winter/Expedition

-10º and lower

 

Temperature Variables

Sleeping Pad: One of the biggest ways you lose your body heat is through the ground, even more than through air. A sleeping pad will not only provide added comfort by keeping you off the ground, but it also adds a significant amount of warmth. Sleeping Pads are rated by R-Value; the higher the R-Value, the better the insulation from the cold ground.

Sleeping Bag Liner: Sleeping bag liners are a great way to provide supplemental warmth, creating up to 15ºF of extra warmth. An added benefit is the protection from the skin oils that they offer, keeping your bag cleaner. 

Metabolism: Everyone has a different rate at which the burn food for energy and release body heat. Your individual metabolic rate will directly influence how warm you are in your bag, and varies based on your nourishment. 

Food & Hydration: Making sure you have the proper nourishment will keep you metabolism up and helps you stay warm throughout the night. 

Clothing: When companies rate their sleeping bags, the standardized test used calls for long underwear and a hat. So, keep in mind that you can get a lot more range out of your sleeping bag depending on what you wear to bed.

Tent: An enclosed space that traps dead air is always going to keep you warmer. If you sleep in a tent with mesh walls or out in the open air, your sleeping bag isn't going to be as effective. The more protected you are from the elements, the more your body is going to heat up the space around you.

• Gender: Generally speaking men sleep warmer than women. Even though this is not a universal truth, most manufacturers will insulate women's specific bags more than men's.

Shapes

Mummy

Mummy Bags: Mummy bags are the shape you see most often in the outdoor industry. The mummy shape is your best choice for colder weather and backpacking. Their close-to-body fit is much more efficient at trapping body heat than a rectangular bag, keeping you warmer. Another advantage is the shape uses much less material, making a lighter and easier to carry bag.

 

Rect

Rectangular Bags: Rectangular bags will always be your best choice for the warmer weather as the shape naturally releases trapped body heat. The downside is that they are bulkier so if you intend to use them for backpacking, they are not the best choice. For general camping, they are a great choice.

 

SemiRectSemi-rectangular Bags: Semi-rectangular bags are a good fit for people with a larger body type or move around in their sleep too much for the mummy type bags, but still want the heat retaining benefits of a mummy type shape. Semi-rectangular bags offer more width in the hips and shoulders than a traditional mummy bag.

Fill Material

Down is the best natural insulator and has the highest warmth to weight ratio. It is a popular choice because it is very light, highly compressible, breathable, and lasts a long time. Down quality is determined by fill power; which rates the down by how much volume the down produces per ounce. Fill ratings range from as low as 400 fill power all the way up to 900 fill power.

Synthetics are nonallergenic and will keep you warm when wet. They are a great choice in wet climates because they can shed water and dry very quickly. The warmth to weight ratio is not as good as down, but it usually costs less than down too.

 

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