15 Cool Camping Gadgets
What would camping be without gadgets? Stepping away from our technology-soaked daily lives, even for just a few days, has big rewards for our physical and mental health, but there are certain bits of tech that can enhance our time spent outdoors and lead to a more fulfilling experience overall. If you’re a camper, or are searching for gifts to give a camper, check out fifteen of our favorite cool camping gadgets any outdoor enthusiast would appreciate.
1. Cool Camping Gadgets: Lifestraw
Thirsty? If you’re reading this, you’re probably no more than a few steps away from a steady stream of clean, refreshing, drinkable water. But what about when you’re 10 miles deep in the backcountry? If you have a Lifestraw, getting a drink of safe, purified water in the woods is almost as convenient as walking to the sink. Find a pond, river, creek, even a puddle, slurp it up through the Lifestraw and you’re on your way.
The Lifestraw weighs only 2 ounces, making it perfect for backpackers and ultralight hikers or anyone who doesn’t want to worry about lugging along enough bottled water for a day hike. Plus, it instantly filters out 99.9999 percent of waterborne bacteria without the use of chemicals or long drawn-out pumping sessions.
There’s also a cool new steel version available:
2. Cool Camping Gadgets: Invisaband
There’s nothing worse than getting camp set up, lighting a fire, and pulling up a stump, only to be engulfed in a swarm of mosquitoes. Bug spray works, but it smells bad, gets in your mouth, your eyes, and always seems to run out at the most inconvenient times. Enter the Invisaband.
This little bracelet is made of microfiber mixed with all-natural insect repellent (no deet or toxic chemicals). Just put it on your wrist and the bugs stay away. Sold in a pack of five, each band provides 120 hours of insect protection. This might be the easiest, cleanest, and safest way to guard you and your family against airborne pestilence!
3. Cool Camping Gadgets: Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel
It’s no secret that your smartphone is coming camping with you. You might also have a digital camera, hand-held gps, or a number of other gadgets that require charging. The Goal Zero Nomad 7 is a portable solar panel designed for off-the-grid adventurers. You can hook up your phone, camera, or other electronic device directly to the panel and charge it up with the power of the sun.
Pair it with the Goal Zero Venture 30 Recharger to extend your recharging capabilities even further.
4. Cool Camping Gadgets: Biolite Wood Burning Campstove
A perfect blend of primitive and progressive, the Biolite stove uses fire to generate electricity which can charge smartphones and most devices that use a USB charger.
Unlike other camp stoves that rely on fuel or gas, the Biolite runs on wood and burns very efficiently requiring only a small bundle of twigs. Cook your meals, boil water, charge your phone — all at once.
5. Cool Camping Gadgets: CamelBak All Clear
The CamelBak All Clear looks like a normal water bottle until you examine the cap. A UV light in the cap purifies water in 60 seconds, reducing waterborne bacteria by 99.9999 percent, viruses by 99.99 percent, and protozoa by 99.9 percent.
Great for camping and backpacking, as well as anytime you need on-the-spot water purification that’s relatively hands off.
Staying dry on the trail is important to your safety and comfort. But what about those times when you come across the perfect alpine lake that’s just begging for a cannon ball? The Waves Gear Micro Towel is a lightweight, fast-drying towel that laps up moisture better than any beach towel. It’s ideal for backpacking and other situations when space is at a premium, as it’s 78 percent more compact than bath towels of the same size.
Speaking of staying dry while camping, what about staying clean? For those who don’t want to go full savage while camping, the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower is the perfect solution to keep you and your fellow campers squeaky clean.
You may have seen other camp showers that need to be hung overhead and use gravity to deliver a puny stream of water, but the Nemo Helio shower uses pressure generated from a foot pump to deliver a constant and surprisingly strong stream of water. Perfect for bathing and washing the dishes — two of the more tedious, but necessary tasks while camping.
After you’ve taken the time to fully appreciate nature’s symphony — the chirping of the birds, the babbling of the brook, the crackling of the fire — you may find yourself craving some man-made sonic relief. Strap the Rock Out 2 to your pack as you hike and let the sun charge it up. Then, as you’re setting up camp and hanging out by the fire, you can enjoy your favorite tunes with impressive sound quality given the speakers small, lightweight design. Other than the built-in solar panel, what sets the Rock Out 2 apart from other portable speakers is its weatherproof exterior that’s designed to stand up to the harsh conditions you may encounter in the wild.
This handy little gadget turns any standard disposable butane lighter into a high-powered handheld torch. If you’ve ever tried to light a fire in the wind, you know how frustrating it is to have your lighter or match constantly blow out. That’s where the Soto Pocket Torch comes to the rescue.
The torch tip blasts a focused, high-heat (up to 2,300 F) blue flame that works even in windy conditions. The torch is so hot that you can actually use it to solder small objects. There’s also an XT version that has an extendable burner head for even more versatility.
No list of camping gadgets is complete without a survival kit, and the VSSL Compact Camp Supply Kit is one of the most well-made, well-thought-out kits around. It’s a bit pricier than other survival kits available, but once you take a look at what’s included and the quality of the materials, the high price makes sense.
The entire kit is contained within a heavy-duty military-spec aluminum LED flashlight that has both static and SOS flood light options. Inside, individual canisters contain everything you might need to stay alive in the woods — fire starting supplies, first-aid kit, water purification tablets, razor blade, trail markers, fishing gear, a wire hand saw, signal mirror, rope, compass, and more. And, when you use up any of the components, replacements can be ordered from the company.
Some see coffee as a luxury while camping, but to others, coffee is an absolute necessity. Of course there are plenty of instant coffee products available that you could take with you on your next trip, but why settle? Any coffee aficionado will tell you that fresh ground coffee is far superior to pre-ground coffee, and they’ll also tell you proudly that burr grinders are far superior to blade grinders. Well, the GSI Outdoors JavaMill meets the needs of even the most sophisticated coffee drinker, with no electricity required.
Ceramic burrs powered by a hand-crank grind your coffee beans with impeccable precision. The unique design of the handle makes the grinder very compact to fit nicely in your pack. All you’ll need is some hot water and a brewer.
The GSI Outdoor Collapsible Java Drip is the perfect pour-over brewing device to pair with your GSI JavaMill. It’s made out of silicone so you won’t have to worry about breaking it, and it collapses to a thin 1-inch tall disc for easy packing. It takes a standard #4 paper coffee filter, but you could also use it with a reusable cloth filter like the Coffee Sock for less waste.
One could say that the Leatherman is the gadget of all gadgets. The Leatherman Wave Multitool is a new design from the legendary company, combining all the classic tools — pliers, a variety of blades, screw drivers, bottle opener, and many more — in an updated, more user-friendly layout.
You never know what you might encounter in the woods, or on the way to the woods for that matter, but with a Leatherman at your hip, you’ll be prepared for anything.
14. Cool Camping Gadgets: Light My Fire Swedish FireKnife
An affordable fixed blade knife and fire starter all in one. The Light My Fire FireKnife is made in Sweden and features a super sharp high-quality stainless blade. The butt end of the handle is where you’ll find the removable fire steel that’s made from magnesium alloy rated to last 3,000 strikes.
Not sure if you want to carry a fixed blade knife over a standard folding pocket knife? This article explains the many advantages of fixed blade knives over folding knives:
15. Cool Camping Gadgets: “How To Stay Alive in the Woods” by Bradford Angier
Our last camping gadget pick isn’t really a gadget, it’s a book. But, this is the book you want with you if you find yourself in a tough situation while camping.
“How To Stay Alive in the Woods” was written by wilderness survival expert, Bradford Angier, and provides readers with valuable information about, well, staying alive in the woods. Hopefully you won’t need to use the information in the book, but it’s an entertaining read nonetheless, and one that’s particularly well-suited for fireside reading.