Vasyl Nikitash is someone for whom camping and hiking is not just a sometimes activity, but a way of life they engage with as often as possible. As a reflection of their passion, Vasyl Nikitash started the website TopTravelPoint, where they list buying guides and reviews for the best camping and hiking gear, covering everything from tents to sleeping bags, as well as providing articles on essential tips.
Vasyl kindly answered a few questions about their camping experience and their website.
What’s your background experience with camping?
I fell in love with camping and hiking as a child, when I first came to the foot of the mountains. It was a short, 2-day hike on easy routes. It was then that I saw for the first time what real campsites are like, and how people live, relax, and travel there.
Since my close friends did not particularly like hiking and camping at that time, I gave up this hobby. Quite a long time passed before I got to the mountains again, and this was probably the starting point. I started buying gear and everything needed for camping and hiking to feel comfortable in different weather conditions.
For the last 5-6 years, I cannot see my life without mountains and traveling in a tent. After hiking, I made a lot of friends with whom we go to the mountains and relax in campsites. There is a special atmosphere, a way out of your comfort zone, which gives you a lot of new energy and strength.
What are your personal favorite places to camp?
It is difficult to choose the best camping site, as each place has its own atmosphere, emotions, and people.
If we take the USA in particular, then I like:
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Outside of the US, there are very good places in Europe, in the Alps, and in the Caucasus, near Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Ushba. Also, just last year, we were in the mountains of Tajikistan—this is an amazing place with a large number of lakes at an altitude of 3,000 meters. I’m sure many have not even heard of the mountains of Tajikistan, but this is an amazingly beautiful place. If you have such an opportunity, be sure to go there and take a look.
When did you know you wanted to help others find the best camping gear with TopTravelPoint?
In general, I am engaged in marketing, more specifically—a website promotion (SEO) for the Google search engine. I always have ideas for websites, but the very idea of creating my own website for people who love hiking and camping came to me about 2 years ago.
I have technical knowledge, as well as experience in this topic, so I believe that many will be interested in learning new information. In fact, we are just getting started on the website, but we have a lot of ideas that are related to commercial trips. I think in the near future, we will make our own travel agency for people who love camping and hiking, but more on that later.
What is your checklist for reviewing different camping products in your buying guides?
We do not have a checklist, as such, since each type of product is unique in its own way, and it has its own characteristics, material, and function that it performs.
We just take a certain kind of product and start analyzing and comparing them. Furthermore, we test these products for different types of influences in hiking and camping, so each article turns out to be unique in its own way.
In the future, we plan to further expand our articles, since we are also constantly learning and finding out new information from manufacturers, so we will update the content and add useful information for our visitors.
We are planning to make many more interesting checklists and infographics on equipment, food, and places of interest.
Other than the basics like a tent, what are the most essential bits of camping gear?
It all depends on the location and weather conditions. It can be said unambiguously that a good sleeping bag and a sleeping bag mat (depending on the weather) should always come first, as well as a comfortable rest. The second on my list are good footwear that does result in corns, and in which the feet do not sweat.
If it is the winter period, then it is more difficult: not only do you need a good sleeping bag and appropriate footwear, but you also need to have high-quality thermal underwear and good wind protection.
And the most necessary thing that always comes in handy is a tissue plaster for corns, it always helps me out.
In fact, if you are going on hiking or camping, then you need to check everything several times so as not to forget anything since, in nature, every item on your checklist is important.
How hard is it to prepare food while hiking or camping?
In my everyday life, I love to cook, so cooking for me is a pleasure in such conditions. Today, there are no problems with cooking, as there is a large amount of quality equipment for hiking and camping. You can cook even at an altitude of 5,000-7,000 meters without any problems.
For this, there are special torches, pots, and cookware.
Since replenishment and nourishment is an important process in these conditions, you need to be able to cook well.
What’s you #1 tip for first-time campers?
The slogan of TopTravelPoint is “Beyond your wildest dream. Empowering everyday people to get outside & live more adventurously.” Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone—this is a new experience, strength, and energy.