November 15, 2022 3 min read

Our mission at HEST is to bring the comfort of home to the outdoors, enabling more people to chase adventure and enjoy the great outdoors. We understand that getting outside can be intimidating… between the bugs, an overwhelming amount of gear options, and the dread of sleeping poorly. The good news is: sleeping well makes all the difference and you don’t need a luxury RV, camper or tricked out rig to make that happen. All you need is a comfortable place to lay your head. To celebrate the simplicity of getting outdoors with your family, friends or by yourself, we present “HEST Nests” a new blog category featuring unique camping set ups and tricks to creating a cozy nest in the woods from people who are out there doing it.

If you would like your camping set up featured on HEST Nests, please send us info and images to

HEST Rigs We Dig GMC Sierra Camper Buildout Back of truck Dually
Your name: Erik Radtke

Home Base: Minnesota

Set Up: Jeep Gladiator with Napier Truck Bed Tent

Favorite Camp Spot: Northwoods of Minnesota

HEST products: Sleep System

Most beautiful place you’ve ever woken up? 
Bride Canyon outside Moab, UT

 Who’s in your adventure squad? 

My wife of 18 years, son age 14, daughter age 12, and Bentley our 6 yr old Goldendoodle.

Advice for first time campers?

It is the experiences that go sideways or not as planned that make the adventures memorable. Embrace adventure with an open heart and mind.

On your average camping trip, what is the gear set up you bring with you? 

We load a tent (Wawona 6 by The North Face and/or Napier truck bed tent), sleeping pads and bags, a stove, a fridge, a canoe, and usually fishing gear. I tend to overpack...

What do you like most about your set up?

Since we camp with kids and a dog, I love being able to camp with the whole family and keep everyone warm, dry, well rested, and equipped for the day's adventures. The way we each stay warm and cozy takes some effort, but that is what I like best about it.

Any upgrades or improvements you’re planning for your set up? 

Tons. lol. I would like to add a truck bed rack and a Roof Top Tent to make set up and tear down faster. I also want to move my camp kitchen and water to the bed of my truck.

What’s the one creature comfort you can’t camp without? 

It might be silly, but I really like my thick bison wool mountaineering socks that I put on before slipping into the sleeping bag for the night. Also really like having my Thermacell Mosquito devices. For the wife, that’s easy, coffee in the French press.

What do you look for in a campsite?

Love camping by water, but a scenic vista doesn’t hurt. I also really love a good fire ring. Some of my favorite moments happen under the stars with the orange glow of a fire lighting everyone’s faces.

Best camp meal? 

 It doesn’t get much better than fresh fish tacos. Catching a walleye and setting up a build your own fish taco bar is amazing.

Worst night of sleep while camping?

In general it is usually the last night of any trip. I never want it to end. Outside of that, one time when deep in the Canadian wilderness, we unpacked at our first location only to realize that we had left our tent poles at home. We had to engineer some saplings to keep the tent up. Worked fine until we had 25 mph winds and rain one night. Didn’t sleep much.

Any special camping traditions?  

Each adventure is unique, but one constant with our trips the last few years has been the dog. He is a great camp dog. His excitement for a new trip rivals mine. He is borderline neurotic when he watches the gear going in the truck. When he gets to camp he smells out the situation and then posts up to watch the perimeter for hours. Camping with a canine can create some complexity, but he is definitely part of our camping traditions at this point. Maybe he just knows he is about to get some jerky on the car rides.

What’s your next camping adventure?

We are planning a road trip to Maine. Our family hasn’t explored the NE, and it is on our bucket list. PNW    Florida   Southern Utah   

Now we want to head east.