From around age 11 to 16, I spent almost every other summer weekend camping with my family. Whether it was on the campground or hiking trails in the state park, we spent tons of time around campfires or sleeping in tents. They’re some of my favorite memories, but there are some things I would change.
For instance, I spent a lovely night shivering in a wet tent, blankets and everything damp. I bathed in some stinky, spider-filled bathrooms. Dried my hair with a hand dryer. Drank some nasty instant coffee. Lost flashlights and ran out of lantern batteries. Enjoyed a late-night hike because we got lost on an unfamiliar trail (and the wonderful stepdad refused to turn around).
Plus, we didn’t have smartphones back then, so no matter how bored you got some days, only family was there to entertain you. There was no hand-held GPS, telephone, camera, etc., all-in-one. There were paper maps, and texting was still new. People still used beepers. So if you got lost? Better hope for a crappy signal or just keep walking a trail until you pop out somewhere. When it got dark, you sat around the campfire until bedtime because there was nothing else to do, no iPads, or Kindles, or games to play on your phone.
Kids these days, man. They just don’t know the struggle.
Don’t get me wrong. Even if I could, I wouldn’t change the way we did things then. I cherish those memories and the time spent together. However, now as an adult with no kids, I will happily take advantage of the advances made since.
So in the spirit of making future camping memories a little more high-tech and pleasant, here are some gadgets I want to try on future trips. They may not fix all of the hiccups along the way, but a little tech sure can’t hurt.
5. Sunjack Camplight
Battery-powered lights were the thing back when I camped regularly, but not this type. Gone are the days of leaky D-batteries crusting up your lantern. With gadgets like the Sunjack Camplight, you can have USB-powered light at your disposal.
- Chain together 3 bulbs with their USB female ports
- 7-foot long cord with an on/off switch
- Power with any USB source
Combined with the Sunjack power bank, you can light your campsite for up to 800 hours for one LED light. Heck, grab a power bank for your cell phone while you’re at it, and you’ll never need a flashlight or lantern for camping again.
Buy it: Amazon |
4. Camping Coffee Maker
Okay, so this one isn’t so hot on the technology, but if you’re a coffee-lover like me, it might as well be. For one, drinking instant coffee just isn’t my thing. I’m also not a percolator fan, and there aren’t many rechargeable coffee makers out there. But one thing I do have is a propane-powered camp stove, which provides two good options, both from Coleman.
The cheaper option is the Coleman Camping Coffeemaker, which makes 10 cups. If you already have a propane stove to use, you can simply sit this one on the flame. Once the water starts to boil, your coffee will start a brewin’. In about 10 minutes, you’re ready to enjoy.
The next level up is the Coleman QuikPot Propane Coffeemaker. Start your morning off right with 10 cups of coffee using the coffeemaker and a propane tank. The propane hooks right to it, and with the touch of a button, you’ll have a fresh cup of morning bliss in 18 minutes.
3. iNiCE Rechargeable Pocket Hand Warmer + Charger
Not everyone enjoys camping during warmer months. For those who prefer trips during cool fall nights (like me) or even winter, this multi-tool gadget might be perfect for you. It not only works to heat your chilly fingers but also has a flashlight and serves as a power bank to charge your phone or other gadgets (maybe even your camplight!).
Buy it: Amazon
2. Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Kit
Camping or hiking into the great outdoors, beyond your typical campground? Don’t let your phone, GPS, or other battery-powered gear go dead. This solar kit can store energy and charge your devices. It’s weatherproof, light, and foldable, and you can even hang it off of your backpack to charge while you’re on the go.
Buy it: REI
1. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station
Forget carrying solar panels, grabbing a bunch or power banks, or, dare I say it, going without electronics. The only portable power station you need is right here, with USB, AC, and 12V outputs. Power up to 7 devices at a time, including phones, laptops, cameras, small appliances, and lights. It charges via AC wall outlet in only 5 hours, and you can even chain it with outer 33Ah lead-acid batteries. Plus, it can serve as backup power for outages in the home, as it’s all electric—no danger of fumes, no need for gas.