Whether you are gearing up for your end of summer hurrah or pairing down for your move back to school, check out the backcountry and cabin games from Outside Inside.
The Outside Inside Story
Outside Inside was born on backcountry family camping trips. Once the site was picked, the tent was up and the fire was stoked, we would inevitably find ourselves searching for fun activities that allowed our family to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding us. We started reimagining how classic “inside” games could be played outside on the campsite, and began making our own versions that were lighter, more compact, durable, and easy to set up.
Decades later, we’ve helped people of all ages and abilities celebrate the outdoors with games and gifts that inspire connection: with one another, with nature and with the spirit of adventure.
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that far-flung family vacations and adult summer camps are wonderful luxuries, but sometimes the best memories are made right at home in your own backyard. Whether splashing around in an inflatable pool and kicking back with a stack of beach reads or hosting a cookout complete with an array of lawn games, there’s a lot of joy to be had when you’re hanging out in your own space with friends and family.
If the latter is on your radar this season, make sure you’re prepared with the ultimate setup. There are options abound for party guests of all ages, from toddlers and kids to adults. You’re sure to keep everyone happy with classics like cornhole, horseshoe, or Jenga. But why not up the ante with something new to everyone? Like Molkky, a throwing game borrowed from the Finnish, or PutterBall, a hybrid of mini golf and beer pong.
Of course, there are even some options suitable for a special event, like an outdoor wedding. Think a giant four-foot tall personalized game of Connect 4 or a DIY cornhole board painted with your monogram.
No matter which route you go, one thing’s for sure: These outdoor games—suitable for the yard, beach, or even the camp ground—are sure to inspire some healthy competition!
Outside Inside – Freestyle Croquet
This colorful, easy-paced lawn game only requires a little bit of set up with the hoops and goal posts—and instructions are included along with two mallets, four balls, and a convenient carry bag.
The Gourmet 3-pc wood-handled knife set includes a compact bamboo cutting board with a juice gutter, a recycled microfiber towel, a soap bottle and a set of three masterfully crafted stainless steel knives with waterproof wood laminate handles. Designed to last for generations. The Chef knife has a Santoku blade with Granton scallops for gracefully thin slicing. The serrated bread knife will tackle the hardest baguette crusts with laser precision, and the paring knife will deftly maneuver through crisp fruit cores. The set is contained in a convenient recycled PET cloth case with an integrated knife sheath to protect and safely manage the blades.
Twice a year, gear makers from all over the world gather in the Denver, Colorado Convention Center to share their newest designs, innovations, and inventions with outdoor stores, journalists, and their peers. This year, the biggest focus was on how to keep people kitted out in rain jackets, hiking boots, and travel bags, without trashing the beautiful places we thrill to experience.
Besides eco-benign waterproofing and repurposed content, gear keeps getting lighter but also more durable, using less material and lasting longer. Here are a few of our favorite new products, most of which will be available spring of 2020.
GSI Pinnacle Pro Stove
Base campers rejoice. Packed in your car or camper, GSI’s sleek and modern 1.5-inch thick Pinnacle Pro Stove takes up half the space of a standard two burner stove. GSI engineers redesigned the twin 11,000 BTU high-efficiency ring style burners to draw and mix oxygen and fuel on a horizontal, not vertical plane, reducing burner depth.
Retracting legs that expand automatically when you open the stove further contribute to the space savings. The stove lights instantly with a dual piezo ignition system. And the non-stick coated boil-over tray makes cleanup fast and easy.
Freestyle Chicken Disk Battle – Packed and ready to go
Freestyle Chicken Disk Battle – What’s in the bag
Backpack Shut the Box – In action
Backpack Shut the Box – Packed and ready for the road
We love being outside as a family and exploring. But sometimes building a sandcastle for the millionth time just doesn’t keep anyone’s attention. Outside Inside from GSI Outdoors is always coming with us. On our latest trip, we took along the small and simple Backpack Shut The Box and the Freestyle Chicken Disk Battle.
Backpack Shut the Box
Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, the Backpack Shut the Box is a simple and fun game that everyone can get in on. The Outside Inside game is packaged in a rip stop and black netting carry pouch. The BackPack Shut the Box contains two dice, the paddles and instructions.
The game board and paddles are made from wood. The paddles flip up and are attached so you cannot lose them. Which we would, given the chance. The dice are plastic and are small enough for everyone to handle. The carry bag has a loop from the purse string closure that can easily be used as an attachment point for your backpack.
The Shut the Box game is easy to play so it is great for the whole family to enjoy. We did change a couple rules for our 5-year-old to make it a little easier for him. Each game takes about 5-15 minutes to play, depending on the players and their dice rolling ability.
I love this game for the fact that it is incredibly light weight, easy to clean with a simple wipe down and is great for hiking, camping, swim meets, airplanes and even to play in a restaurant while we are waiting for our food.
There is so much fun to be had with the Freestyle Chicken Disk Battle game! Included in the bag are 2 telescopic poles, 2 squeaky chickens, 1 disc, carry bag.
The set-up is quick and easy. It took maybe a total of 2 minutes and that was with help from the kids. The disc is substantial enough that everyone could throw it. We played this game from lunch through dinner one night.
At one point, the kids decided that every hit of the opponent’s chicken meant their stand had to be moved back a space. This made for some hilarious attempts when the chickens were about 20 feet from each other.
Our dog was also obsessed with this game because it involved a flying disc and squeaking toys. At one point, he intercepted the disc and took off with it. Thankfully, he didn’t put any teeth marks in it. You have been warned about the K9 attractiveness of the Freestyle Chicken Disk Battle.
The whole Freestyle Chicken Disk Battle game in its carry bag weighs in at about 2 pounds and is large enough that you should use it for car camping, park and backyard play. It would be awesome to take to a festival and make new friends through a friendly competition.
Freestyle Chicken Disk Battle retails for $52.95.
Check out our past reviews of Outside Inside gifts for the family HERE!
Boasting ultralight construction, ergonomic design, and up to eight-hour performance, this may be the best on-the-go beverage container we’ve tested.
We never leave the house without a beverage. Whether we’re on the trail, at the gym, or simply heading to the office, a cold drink or the morning’s “wake up” juice is always at-hand. As such, we’ve gone through numerous styles of bottles and beverage containers over the years. Some we’ve liked, many disappointed, and more than a few were quickly handed to the next unsuspecting victim. As a result, we approach each latest and greatest activity bottle with a “prove it to me” mindset.
That was exactly our position when we picked up the new Glacier Stainless Microlite 500 bottle from GSI Outdoors.
GSI Outdoors has a solid reputation in the camping and outdoor recreation marketplace for producing quality and innovative solutions for campers, outdoor enthusiasts, and backcountry adventurers. Their ultralight backpacking cooking sets, in particular, are among our must-haves for multi-day wilderness trips. Naturally, when the company recently introduced the Microlite 500, we had to give it a try.
First, a bit on the Microlite 500’s construction.
Right away, you realize the name is no misnomer. For a stainless steel vacuum bottle, this unit is seriously light, weighing a scant 7.9 ounces. As the company points out, this bottle is a third lighter than traditional stainless steel vacuum insulated bottles in its class. Credit that with the thin, 2mm wall thickness.
That is not to say the bottle is a lightweight when it comes to strength. On the contrary, a special forming process is used to stretch the 18/8 stainless steel to its remarkably thin proportions while ensuring a structural integrity that meets the needs of active consumer lifestyles. We didn’t test it by jumping up and down on it or running it over with a pickup, but we did let it bounce around on the floor of our Jeep and we’ve been carrying it in our fanny pack for several months along with other heavy items—all without incident. We even tested it on a two-week wilderness hunt in the southern Colorado Rockies. In sum, the Microlite 500 has accepted everything we’ve thrown at it and asked for more.
If “eco-friendliness” is high on your list of product requirements, the Microlite 500 won’t disappoint. Less construction material, courtesy of the light-wall engineering, means not only fewer resources consumed in the manufacturing process, but also reduced shipping weight that lowers the environmental cost of transportation. Those are two check marks on the green side of the ledger.
As mentioned, this is a stainless steel vacuum bottle, with the inherent insulating properties that go with that design. GSI Outdoors claims 8-hour insulating performance for hot or cold liquids. We did not test this with the scientific method, but can attest to the bottle keeping our water cold from early morning until late afternoon. We can also swear by its ability to keep hot beverages hot. Too hot, perhaps. One of our testers burned his mouth when he took a gulp of coffee not long after filling his Microlite 500 with the dark nectar. He figured some extra-hot coffee would stay warmer longer. Lesson learned: not necessary!
Another design feature we like is the Microlite 500’s removable, two-piece flip-top. The lid has a sliding lock to keep it from accidentally opening, and a push button that allows it to flip open when you’re ready to drink. A ventilated hole in the lid channels the liquid to a semi spout, which prevents spills and drips. Very convenient and ergonomic. A silicone stopper integrated into the lid covers the hole when the lid is closed. Unlike many screw-type bottle lids, this one will not leak.
Finally, the Microlite 500 is dimensionally slim, measuring 2.9 inches in diameter and 9.2 inches tall. It’s sleek enough to fit just about anywhere, such as a daypack pocket, fanny pack, your vehicle’s cup holder, or even a large purse. That’s one of the reasons why this bottle is ideal for taking wherever your activities lead you, even if it’s just to work or to the gym. Volume is a healthy 17 fluid ounces.
We’ve learned through years of testing bottles and beverage containers designed for outdoor recreation that not all are created equal (and some should never have been created at all). For general day use, workout sessions, the morning commute, camping, or a hike in the woods, if you want to keep your beverage hot or cold and don’t want the hassle of a heavy, conventional vacuum bottle, the Glacier Stainless Microlite 500 may be the bottle you’ve been waiting for.
With its sleek design and clean construction, this high-spec, durable Glacier Stainless Vacuum Bottle will keep your beverages hot or cold for hours and hours. Perfect for commuting, picnic, sporting events and base camping.
Anyone else feeling seasonally confused lately? There’s still fresh snow in the mountains, but the hint of springtime in the air has us itching for upcoming warm-weather camping escapades.
The slightly warmer weather and resurgence of your hay fever sneezing means it’s time to play storage closet Jenga and haul out your camping gear. But it can be easy to forget essential items when packing for your first car camping trip of the season. Season after season you end up having to get creative after somehow forgetting can openers, wine keys, or even forks. The solution: a camp cooking “go bag.”
WHAT IS A CAMP COOKING “GO BAG?”
Also known as a “bug out bag,” “chuck box,” etc., it’s a container of your choice put together at the beginning of the season to make sure that you never forget essential camping items again. Keep it on hand in your gear collection, ready for anything from spontaneous weekend escapes to full-fledged bucket-list missions you’ve been planning out since you scored those permits back in January. A “go bag” means you can grab it and go, which makes your life much easier when it comes time to make like a tire and hit the road.
You want to pack your go bag with the items you usually forget but always need, like a lighter, wine opener, or GSI Kung Foon. The key to a go bag is to wash any camp gear when you get home from a trip (in a real sink–so luxurious!) and and put it straight back into your go bag once clean and dry – no one likes a go bag full of mold.
Note that this list is focused on camp cooking only–refer to our more comprehensive packing list here. It’s also based on the essentials, so think about any personal preferences you have and remember to add them to the list!
HOW DO I GO ABOUT PREPARING ONE?
1. Obtain a “bag”, or a box, or bucket. We recommend a storage container that’s doesn’t dominate the car or make your dog feel cramped, but big enough to hold all your essential camp gear. (Unfortunately “storage container” isn’t as catchy as “go bag,” but you get the idea.)
2. Round up your current camp cooking gear and check it against the list below. Sometimes it’s extra satisfying to lay everything out on a table (or the floor if you have a massive gear closet) and gaze out at your hoard.
3. This is also a great time to take stock of any new gear you’ll need to purchase, or repairs to current gear that need to be made. Get these done, add them to your go bag, and you’ll be all set.
THE GO BAG CHECKLIST
Meet your new favorite stove! The GSI Glacier Camp Stove,with its downright sexy canister mount and powerful 11,000 BTU/h burner, you’ll be able to boil water with speed and style. You’ll also need:
IsoButane. Double check that it works with your stove, and determine if you’ll need to buy more.
Matches or a lighter. Pack waterproof matches to be extra prepared for any type of weather!
There are a plethora of cookware options available depending on what kind of camper you are. Read our “GSI Cookware 101” post here, and learn about how to find your cookset soulmate here to choose what’s best for you.
If you’re looking for a cookset to do it all, the GSI Glacier Stainless Camper gets it done. Plus, its rugged stuff sack holds the set and doubles as sink/wash basin for easy clean up. It includes a complete set of cookware and tableware for 4:
Lucky for you, all your silverware and kitchen needs come in one convenient kit: the GSI Destination Kitchen Set 24. It’s compact, organized, lightweight, and has cutlery and utensils for 4, including:
Mini Cheese Grater
12 pc. Cutlery Set
2 Condiment Containers
Ballistic Nylon Case
Wine key/bottle opener
Tablecloth and clips
Collapsible, reusable water container (GSI 20L Water Cube)
GSI has a more fun side in it’s Outside Inside lines. You can find anything from ornaments to present decoration and (our favorite) outdoor games. Outside Inside provided us with three great items for the any camping trip:
Backpack Mancala Game
Freestyle Lawn Darts
Freestlye Dome Ladder Ball/Cornhole
Backpack Mancala Game
This incredibly lightweight Backpack Mancala Game game is so much fun to play. Even the littlest kids can play alone or alongside.
Folded, the Backpack Mancala from Outside Inside is just under 7 inches long and weighs in at just 5 oz.
GSI Outdoors – Backpack Mancala
Two Player Game.
Includes: 48 Bead Marbles, Instructions And Travel Bag.
Dimensions Folded: 6.75″ x 4″ x 1.25″.
Dimensions Open: 14″ x 4″ x 1.25″.
Unfolded, the games exposes 12 small bowls and 2 large bowls on the end. Included are the tiny Mancala seeds traditionally used in Africa. The Outside Inside version has plastic seeds that are a brilliant orange.
Truthfully, we started with 48 beads from the set and within the first game we lost 5 of them.
They’re quite small and hard to handle. Nonetheless, small pebbles from the mountain filled in the missing pieces and we continued to play all weekend.
This set now has a place in my car at all times. It is light enough to travel with, or, if you have little ones like we do, it makes for the perfect restaurant game.
It cleans up easily and the travel bag makes it a cinch to keep together. We have used in on the sand, mountains, picnic tables, etc and it still looks new.
At about $20 the price point is perfect for the avid hiking family or couple. Makes for a great gift anytime of year.
Freestyle Lawn Darts
Now here is a game everyone in the family can participate in! A great gift for the College kid, active family our outdoor enthusiast.
We have played the Freestyle Lawn Darts out in the grass, on a mountain, sand, snow and indoors on the carpet when the weather is poor.
It takes just one minute to set up the game and the fun can begin.
Outside Inside has made well constructed rope rings and plastic tipped darts allow for easy play without damage to your surroundings.
Weighing in at about 7 ounces, Freestyle Lawn Darts can easily be strapped to your backpack and used at the summit for some R&R.
There are a couple ways to play but in our house, we like to set up the rings touching side by side and each time the dart makes it into the ring you must take one step back. Those little darts are pretty dang accurate from a distance.
Clean up in a snap and the purse-string, non-tear bag makes for easy transportation. Sitting at about $20, this game will last with you for a long time.
Freestyle Dome Ladder Ball/Cornhole
Definitely the largest and most versatile of the games we have from Outside Inside. Easy to setup (just two small tent poles), portable and freestanding.
Two games can be played at the same time, Ladderball and Cornhole. Or! Most noteworthy, it also works as a makeshift fort especially while the tents are being raised and broken down.
Outside Inside Backpack Dome Ladderball/Cornhole
Shock Corded Fiberglass Poles.
6 Bolos For Ladder Ball And Cornhole.
Game Dimensions: 39″ x 39″ x 39″.
Packaged Dimensions: 22″ x 6″ x 4″.
Still lightweight, the Freestyle Dome Ladderball/ Cornhole can easily be added to your backpack or car camping equipment and taken back country.
This would also be a perfect addition to any family reunion or wedding where you need to entertain the children.
We should also mention how child proof this is! Our two boys put the Freestyle Dome to the test with their rough play. Boys will be boys, right?
Outside Inside is a company we are always looking forward to working with. Their products are well made, and ensures your family will enjoy getting outside, or inside, no matter your destination.
Outside Inside can be found at your local GSI Outdoors dealer.
THE 2017 ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FAMILY OUTDOOR & CAMPING GIFTS
This article contains affiliate links. Some products mentioned below have been provided for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
One of the greatest things we can bestow upon our children is a love of nature. Getting outdoors together as a family is quality family time and the memories you make are priceless. This year, we have put together the ultimate guide for family outdoor and camping gifts. This guide features products that may make getting outdoors easier, more enjoyable, or more fun. There is something for everyone on this list, especially the person who is hard to buy for.
Fairshare Mug from GSI Outdoors
This 32oz cup is a great addition to the family camping box. Impact resistant plastic with a screw on lid, insulated sleeve, and carabiner make it perfect for families to carry every where. Use it for mixing or eating and drinking out of. The measurement marking make it super helpful when cooking and eliminate the need for guesstimation which doesn’t always work.
Description fromGSI Outdoors:
A strange phenomenon was first discovered at University of British Columbia ski club touring camps in the 1960s. While students carrying bowls or more standard eating vessels received regular potions, those clever few who were using a simple 2 cup measuring cup typically received much larger portions from the servers in the communal meal line. Soon, a few daring students were experimenting with 4 cup measuring cups and found the results to be the same: larger portions. Thus, the original fairshare cup was born.Now nearly 50 years and several innovations later, GSI Outdoors has developed the FairShare Mug II, with insulating sleeve, compacting handle and a new lid that allows mugs to stack when stored, assuring that a whole new generation would receive their fair share too.
Features & Specs
Secure, screw-on lid insulates and prevents spills.
Carabiner clip-in points for attaching to packs.
Large, 33.8 fl. oz. (1 L) capacity.
High-visibility measurement markings.
32 fl. oz.
Weight: 6.8 oz
5.5″ x 5″ x 5.4″
Outside Inside Gifts: Freestyle Lawn Darts from
Family Game Night goes outdoors with this compact game that provides hours of family fun. Game includes 4 rope rings and 4 weighted lawn darts. Set up game play any way you like and challenge each other to see who gets the closest! Game is stored in a 18.25” x 2.5” bag that is super compact. Perfect game for camping, road trips, or at home.
Description from Outside Inside:
A great compact game of target shooting to enjoy with your family and friends. Place rings at different distances or inside each other for a more challenging game. Toss the dart and see who gets closest! Everything you need for the ultimate game to play at the campground or your backyard.
4 Lawn darts (in 2 colors)
2 x 16″ diameter rings
2 x 30″ diameter rings
Dimensions: 18.25″ x 2.5″
Outside Inside Gifts: Backpack CornHole
Now you can take this family favorite game anywhere; tailgating, backpacking trips, car camping, or to the park. This wooden backpack version is compact and measures 12” x 6” x 1.25”. So it’s perfect for any adventure.
Description from Outside Inside:
Take this mini Cornhole game anywhere and challenge your friends. Perfect for any outdoor space, this set conveniently packs down to a small, lightweight pack-sleeve making it a great option for backcountry trips as well.
Compact and portable
Legs fold away
Can be played on the ground or on tabletop
Made of solid wood
Made in China
Includes 2 game boards, 8 bean bags, instructions and carry bag