While the rewards of time spent in the wilderness are nearly priceless, not everyone possesses the desire or the means to truly rough it in for an extended period of time. And while Emerson, Thoreau, and Kerouac may have differed in opinion, we believe holding on to some semblance of our tech-driven lives helps us maintain some sanity and safety in the great outdoors; no one wants to quit cold turkey.
Now, we’re not suggesting a direct transference of your home entertainment system to the nearest campsite, but we do want to shed light on some perks that even the most adventurous outdoorsmen may receive from a little tech assistance. Items like a portable stove or a beacon signal can spell the difference between an expedition and rescue mission. It’s also nice to carry some tunes along for the ride as well, which is where that Bluetooth speaker may come in handy. And while tech may seem to run our day-to-day lives, a great camping gadget serves a supplementary purpose, facilitating in a more enjoyable experience for all parties.
And that’s the goal here: to not remove the stars from your vision but to make them more visible, to not prevent you from enjoying time alone with nature but provide you with a hot meal when the day is done, to light up the night without worry, and maybe even document a few moments as well. Emerson once suggested that “in the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through a man,” and for what it’s worth, we certainly agree, that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best camping gadgets to facilitate that wild delight, while peppering in a bit of comfort to boot.
Soto Pocket Torch
Don’t let a little wind get you down. This powerful wind-resistant burner reaches temperatures up to 2300 degrees F and features an electron ignition. Functioning as a lighter attachment, the pocket torch works with just about any lighter on the market today. Light your camp stove, melt snow, even solder metal if you feel up to the task. The piece’s durable and wind-resistant design ensures that even when the weather won’t cooperate, your lighter won’t let you down.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
“Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink” will no longer be an unfortunate reality for you while out on the trail with an empty water bottle. The award-winning LifeStraw, which removes 99.9999 percent of waterborne bacteria, has been used by over 5 million people across the globe since 2005. It surpasses EPA standards for water filters and can filter up to 1000 liters of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine or other chemicals.
Invisaband Mosquito Repellant Bracelet
Time to rid the camping trip of mosquito bites without smelling like a citronella candle. Each Invisaband is 100 percent guaranteed to stop mosquitos from invading your personal space thanks to their unique porous microfiber design that slowly releases the active natural ingredient, geraniol, over the course of its 120-hour lifespan. And since each pack comes with five bands, you and your friends will be set for a pest-free trip.
Exotac nanoStriker Fire Starter
The only thing worse than spending hours on end chopping wood for a campfire is struggling to light the thing. Luckily, the Exotac fire starter provides an ultra-portable and collapsible self-contained option that’s proven to provide users with up to 3000 fire-starting strikes per piece. It’s machined from 6061 aluminum right here in the USA and the hosts a replaceable 1/4” Ferrocerium rod that will get the job done even if it’s a little wet.
Adventure Medial Kits SOL Origin Survival Tool
It’s not camping without the right survival tool. We know this, and figured you should as well. The Origin Survival Tool comes equipped with a sewing needle, lifesaving tips, and techniques, 3 square feet of aluminum foil, a combination knife, LED light, a whistle, and a compass button. There’s also a wide variety of additional tools and features embedded in this modular design that’ll ensure when a problem arises, it doesn’t escalate.
Black Diamond Equipment Apollo Lantern
A campsite without a lantern is a dark and depressing place at night. So perk things up and spread the light with this double power LED lantern with 80 lumens enclosed within its frosted globe that properly diffuses that power into softer, ambient light. It’s collapsible, features a double-hook hand loop and three fold down legs making it adaptable to any light-starved environment.
Anker USB Solar Charger
When the sun is shining it would be a shame not to take full advantage of its awesome power. The Anker solar charger hosts PowerIQ charging technology delivering up to 2.1 amps under direct sunlight and is quite durable thanks to industrial-strength PET polymer-faced solar panels sewn into the charger’s polyester canvas.The result is a weather-resistant piece that’s suited to stand up to consistent outdoor abuse.
Mr. Heater Portable Radiant Heater
For when the warmth of the fire just isn’t warm enough, there’s Mr. Heater. Each heater provides heat up to 200 square feet fo space, sure to heat things up quite nicely. Safety features include auto shut-off if low oxygen is detected, the pilot light goes out, or if it’s tipped over. And since it’s approved for both indoor and outdoor use, Mr. Heater can spread the warmth back at the homestead as well.
Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp
Light up the night with this headlamp that hosts one triple power LED, two single power white LEDs and two single power red LEDs that emit up to 110 lumens. It comes with several optional settings depending on the desired utility. These include full strength, dimming, strobe, red night vision and lockout. They are also available in different colors as well if all black isn’t your forte.
Nemo Helio Pressure Shower
It’s tough to spend significant time outdoors without having access to potable water, especially when all you want to do is clean off some of the dirt and grime that comes with the territory. The Nemo Helio Pressure Shower is unlike ordinary gravity-fed camp showers in that it’s pressurized to deliver enough psi to wash hair, clean the dishes, or rinse off your gear. The system includes an 11-liter tank and 7-foot neoprene hose.
Goal Zero Venture 30 Recharger
Keep your tech alive during your time away from the land of the outlets with this recharger. Each Venture 30 contains a built-in Micro USB tip and a solar-ready charging tip to charge two devices at once or share with a lucky someone. It’s waterproof and hosts a 7,800mAh Power Pack that’ll charge phones up to three times and tablets once.
BioLite Wood Burning Campstove
In a perfect marriage of old school and new, the BioLite Campstove is a true testament of harnessed energy. It’s the camp stove that uses its own created energy from the fire to charge just about any USB-chargeable device, including smartphones. In this case, about 20 min of charging with the fire gives users about 1 hours of talk time. It can boil 1 liter of water in 4 1/2 minutes and altogether, the stove weighs in at about 2 pounds.
Handpresso Wild Hybrid Espresso Machine
Oh coffee. You are too often abused under-appreciated on camping trips due to faulty equipment. Well, not anymore. The Hanpresso delivers the caffeine-infused goods to the campsite in a sleek manner. It includes an E.S.E adapter, made from aluminum, and the brews with 16 bar pressure. The machine’s small stature also makes it highly packable so the Handpresso fits perfectly into any camping or hiking backpack.
Heading off the grid can have its rewards as well as its pitfalls. The goTenna offers the best of both worlds in this instance in turning your smartphone into an off-the-grid communications tool that lets you text and share GPS locations on offline maps with at least one friend. They’re sold in pairs of two and are lightweight, weatherproof and simple to use. With the goTenna the only people you’ll be in contact with are those out there as well.
GoPro HERO4 Session
Every camping trip should feature a little action camera documentation. Be it on a hike, while mountain biking, fishing or kayaking, capturing the adventure is sometimes half the fun. The HERO4 Session is the smallest and lightest camera yet that’s durable and waterproof so no additional housing is required. It shoots 1440p30, 1080p60 and 720p100 video with 12fps photo burst capability as well.
UE Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker
Designed to come in handy when the silence of the wilderness becomes too much to handle, the UE Megaboom offers 360-degree sound coupled with deep bass in a tiny package that will fit in any backpack and get the party started the right way. It hosts up to 100 feet of Bluetooth connectivity range, a 20-hour rechargeable battery and improves over time with wireless updates for user convenience.
DeLorme inReach SE
If things head south while you’re out and about the DeLorme will keep you alive. Acting as a satellite messenger, the inReach software triggers an SOS on command allowing you to interact with their 24/7 search and rescue center. Users can also send and receive 160 character texts to and from anyone in the world thanks to the Iridium satellite network as well. It’s the ultimate safety net in tech for even the most extreme adventurers.
Big Agnes Copper Spur Tent
We’re huge fans of Big Agnes’ tents and when we heard this particular find won the 2015 Backpacker magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award we had to include it in the list. Known for its built-in LED lighting, you’ll never be without a bit of light once the sun disappears below the horizon. It fits up to two people and can function in three seasons without issue. The Spur Tent also hosts two doors, and two vestibules with storm flaps on the vestibule zippers.
Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage Watch
What’s a gadget-fueled camping trip without the proper adventure watch? The Suunto Traverse Alpha hosts both durable quality and a full set of useful outdoor features including GPS navigation, hunting and fishing options, moon phases, sunrise alerts, weather trends and a red backlight to use on those dark nights. Keep current on the time and the surrounding conditions; Suunto can help in a stylish manner.
Sony DEV50 Digital Binoculars
The only thing that’s better and a great set of binoculars is the ability to record what you find. How else are you going to prove to your buddies that Sasquatch exists? Each pair of these Sonys features Twin G Lenses with 12x optical zoom, an optical SteadyShot Active Mode, and a splash-proof and dust-proof design. And once you gather the footage you can relive the trip in the wild in Full HD or 3D on your home entertainment system.