Going Camping? 27 Innovations in Camp Gear
No matter if you’re a real life wilderness girl or you’re heading on your first camping expedition and plan on camping inches from your car (incase of yeti attacks), you’re going to need some gear. For everyone from the badge-covered Girl Scout to the serious glamper, we have camping essentials (and non-essentials that are just plain awesome) that will get you itching to hop in your car and go on an adventure.
1. REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent ($219): Alright, let’s start off with the basics — a highly efficient, totally spacious two person tent for a weekend getaway in the woods.
2. JakPak ($249): Short jacket? Long jacket? Sleeping bag? The JakPak knows no bounds of functionality. It might be the gear you need for camping and hiking.
3. Sexy Hotness Sleeping Bag ($170): The sexy hotness sleeping bag was designed to keep you warm every month of the year. Just kidding, it was designed for… well… how do we put this? It was designed so you and your partner could get hot and heavy underneath the stars.
4. Two-Person Sleeping Sack ($170): Or get a little romantic without the awkwardness in this two person sleeping bag.
5. PakMat Airbed ($115): Quick and easy — that’s how we like things to function when it comes to our blow-up mattresses. ‘Cause at the end of a long day of hiking, ain’t nobody got energy for huffing and puffing.
6. ENO Double Nest Hammock ($70): Relaxing weekend in the Redwoods, anyone? This travel hammock has you covered… literally. You can wrap yourself in it!
7. Flint Rucksack ($275): Rustic yet hip, this rucksack just screams wilderness chic (it’s a thing). We envision it packed with dehydrated fruit and dry shampoo.
8. Bootlegger Modular Pack System ($200): Like your bags a little more high tech? These modular (and breathable) back panels let you swap from pack to pack with ease, depending on what activity you’re tackling. Who says you can’t have a wardrobe change out in the wild?
9. Little America Backpack ($90): All right, this might be more of a fashion backpack then a functional backpack. This is for the car campers of the world. It’s time to ditch the wheelie suitcase.
10. Glamping With Mary Jane ($9): Buy this book before you go. Learn about the modern-day luxury that, according to Mary Jane, is involved in glamping. We think necessities include a large supply of red wine, wide-brimmed hats and skin-protecting tanning oil ;)
11. Glacier Stainless Nesting Wine Glass ($14): Though glamping lets you enjoy the wilderness in a less rugged way, you still wouldn’t want to bring your best crystal out with you. So snag some stainless steel glasses that will survive the campfire.
12. Govino Shatterproof Wine Glasses ($13): These stemless (PLASTIC! HUZZAH!) wine glasses are foolproof. And we’re fairly certain they’ll fit right into the cup holder of your camping chair.
13. Wine Travel Carrier and Cooler Bag ($20): But how do you get the wine there and keep it cold?! This wine travel carrier holds two bottles, comes with a bottle opener and is simple (enough) to carry.
14. BioLite CampStove System ($224): This nifty all-in-one stove lets you grill, boil, cook and charge your phone all at once. No need to leave the electronics or your beef bourguignon recipe at home.
15. Jetboil Sumo Cooking System with Bowl Set ($145): Whether you need to melt snow or simmer water for pasta, this stove does it all. And, the bowls are both measuring cups and the perfect single serving size for coffee, soup or oatmeal. Genius.
16. MSR Flex 4 System ($160): This cookware system is great when you’re entertaining all your closest friends in your campsite. It literally has everything you need in one compact place, making it perfect for conserving precious space without skimping on the quality of the meal.
17. Rome’s Square Pie Iron ($20): While not necessarily an essential, this pie iron fits right into the fire to make perfect grilled cheeses, pies or really anything you’re interested in eating hot and gooey. Yeah, okay, we changed our mind. It IS an essential.
18. Snow Peak Titanium Cafe Press ($56): You wouldn’t dream of drinking instant coffee IRL, so why would you settle when camping? You can easily make your coffee from your very own portable French press. Really, there is no reason not to have fresh, hot coffee while having an outdoor adventure.
19. Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink ($20): You need a way to wash all your nifty kitchen supplies, and this easily stored portable sink provides all your water needs.
20. Table in a Bag ($49): Just in case your campsite doesn’t have a picnic table, this roll out table is here for you.
21. Mantis Chair ($120): With this lightweight chair, you can park yourself anywhere — halfway in the water or just outside of your tent while you watch the early morning rays and enjoy a warm cup of coffee.
22. MYFC PowerTrekk ($110): You’re going to want to hear this: This device charges your phone for you… without electricity! It just uses water and a little salt. The powers of invention never cease to amaze us.
23. Petzl Tikkina Headlamp ($20): Sexy is redefined when you have this bright, bold light clamped on your head.
24. Orion Star Target ($14): Snuggle up to your honey and check out the gorgeous night sky while you star gaze and match constellations. Seriously, how often do you get away from all those city lights?
25. Hot Jugz, Portable Outdoor Shower ($50): In this case, hot jugs means a warm container of water. And when you’re salty after an ocean swim or filthy after a week of backpacking, a warm container of water has never sounded so satisfying.
26. Coleman Zephyr LED Tent Light and Fan ($22): While not the most glamorous of camping items, this light and fan is a must have for any seasoned summer camper who finds themselves in need of a light while simultaneously sweating.
27. LED Fairy Lights ($15): Class up the joint a bit with some twinkle LED lights. You’ll be the hit of the campground.
Anything we’re forgetting that has just changed your camping life? Let us know in the comments section!
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com