You’ve already got the bivvy bag, now it’s time to look at gadgets and gizmos, of which there is an endless list to pick from to enhance your camping experience, from cooking systems and electronics chargers, to emergency survival gear, campers really are spoilt for choice.
To get you through the minefield of gadgets out there we’ve put together a list of our favourite picks that we feel will help you to get the most out of your time outdoors.
The BioLite Wood Burning Campstove performs as well as any other wood-burning cooker, boiling a litre of water within 5-15 minutes, depending on the quality and condition of the wood being used. But unlike other wood stoves, after 15 minutes of use, a green indicator light comes on, informing you that the stove’s USB port is ready to use to charge your electronic mobile devices.
Don’t expect your electronics to charge speedily, as they won’t. To give you an example of how effective the charger is, an iPhone will go from 0% to 13% charge within 35-40 minutes of use, which although it isn’t much, it could make a significant difference if you were in an emergency situation where you urgently needed to make a call.
Before purchasing the BioLite Wood Burning Campstove you’ll need to check if your devices are compatible with it, as not all are, with iPads and a number of Android phones being found to not be compatible with the stove’s USB charging port. All-in-all, the stove works well, although it isn’t a replacement for pre-charged battery packs or spare batteries for those of who are heavy users of electronic devices whilst camping, but it could get you out of a sticky situation should your need you urgently need your phone or other device.
The SOL Origin sets out to redefine the survival kit from the bottom up, giving you a single, pocket sized collection of tools that are essential in any survival situation. To put it in other words, think of the SOL Origin Survival Kit as the ultimate all-in-one survival tool, equipped with 10 individual essentials all wrapped up in a single lightweight, east to carry and durable package.
At the heart of the Origin is a waterproof case that contains a number of tools that are key to survival, including 150lb braided nylon cord, a sewing kit, fishing kit, mil-spec stainless steel wire and Tinder-Quik™ fire starters. Integrated into it’s lid is a flip-up Rescue Flash™ signal mirror complete with a retro-reflective aiming aid. On the reverse side of the kit you’ll find a hand-operated Fire Lite™ sparker, a removable compass and a highly versatile folding lock-blade. It also comes with a survival guide from bushcraft expert Buck Tilton that contains over 60 individual survival strategies and techniques.
This essential element of any survival kit also features a 100db rescue whistle, an AUS-8 steel drop-point blade designed with precision cutting in mind and an ultra-bright LED light that’s conveniently integrated into the handle, making it a great bit of kit and great value for money.
The Fugoo speaker is a rugged, durable Bluetooth speaker designed to be used outdoor. It offers 360-degree sound, is completely waterproof and has a battery life of up to 40 hours, making it one of the best camping speakers around.
Inside it’s been equipped with six driver – two tweeters, two mid-woofers and two bass drivers, which work together to provide some of the best sound of any outdoor speaker on the market. It’s easy to use, just set it down and connect to it wirelessly with a single tap via Bluetooth, making it compatible with a range of devices including media players, smart phones and laptops.
Its rugged construction is another key selling point, with the device having been drop tested from heights of up to 6 feet. As previously stated it’s fully waterproof, and is also designed to withstand the sand and snow, making it perfect for any outdoor activity. There are also a number of additional optional attachments that can be used to mount the device on bikes, straps and other gear, making it a highly portable audio solution.
The BioLite KettleCharge generates electricity from the water you boil, allowing you to charge your USB devices whilst out camping, making it great if you’re camping for any extended period of time, as you’ll be able to keep your phone, media and other devices charged.
It has a capacity of 750ml, generates 10 watts and has a 1,250mAH battery for storing generated electricity, making it an incredible useful and efficient device, as it is capable at charging your electronics almost as quickly as they’d charge if plugged into your home wall outlet.
The amount of electricity generated depends on the strength of the heat source, however typically using the device for 15 minutes will provide around 5 hours of phone talk time, 5 hours of video and up to 20 hours of audio playback.
The Jetboil Flash is an innovative, light-weight and highly portable personal cooking system that’s designed to pack away easily in your backpack, making it a great addition to any camping, hiking or other outdoor orientate trips.
The flash has an all-in-one design that combines a cooking vessel with a burner in a single, compact unit that easily stacks and stores away inside a 1 litre cooking cup. It turns on with a simple click of a button can provide two cups of boiling water for your hot beverage, instant noodles, soups or freeze-dried meals, in just 2 minutes.
The burner is cleverly designed to secure the devices igniter, making it one of the safest personal cooking systems on the market. The cup used for cooking then clips onto the burner, limiting any accidental spills, and comes with a tripod to ensure stability of the system’s fuel canister when in use. It’s also equipped with a colour-changing heat indicator cosy that both tells you when it’s finishes boiling or cooking and warns you when it’s hot.
The IceMule classic cooler is self-proclaimed to be the world’s best soft cooler and came about as the result of a successfully funded Kickstarter project.
It’s available in a number of different sizes, ranging from 20 to 40 litres, all of which are constructed from the same 1000 denier tarpaulin fabric, seams rated to 65 pounds that prevent leakage and a padded backstrap, making it comfortable to carry. The bag is also has a double layered shell that houses an insulating foam, creating a well-insulated dry bag.
It can prevent ice from melting for up to 24 hours and can fit up to 12 cans of beer or 5 bottles of wine, enough to make it through any short camping trip, and rolls away into a compact size making it easy to store in your backpack or rucksack after use.
The Ultimate Survival Technologies 30 Day Lantern is capable of running for an impressive 30 days or more on its low setting of 29 lumens of light or, if used on high, 32 hours of light at 300 lumens.
Constructed of highly-durable rubberised components, the UST Lantern is a rugged, water resistant light source that is perfectly suited to all kinds of situation and weather condition. It also doubles up as a camp or tent light, with the cover being removed with a simple twist to turn it into a down light.
It operates on D cell batteries and has a number of power settings design to help save power consumption and to indicate if you’re in distress, which are high, medium, low and SOS strobe setting. Its compact size also makes it an ideal addition to your outdoor gear or as part of any emergency preparedness kit you have in your home.
The LifeStraw Go Water Bottle is a lightweight, durable bottle that is equipped with a 0.2 micron hollow fibre filter that allows you to collect and purify water whilst outdoors, reducing the amount of fresh water you typically have to take with you whilst out camping or hiking.
It’s incredibly easy to use, just fill it up, screw on the lid which is where the filter is housed and drink through its flip-top tube. In addition to its ease of use, it’s also one of the easiest water filters on the market when it comes to maintenance. After you’ve emptied the bottle, simply unscrew its lid and blow into its filter to back flush it.
There are a number of things that you need to be aware of when considering purchasing the LifeStraw Go, the first being that with this filter, like with many others, it doesn’t filter out heavy metals, so if you know you’re going to be in a somewhat heavily polluted area it would be better to go for a product with a carbon filter. It is also unable to filter out viruses, as these organisms are far smaller than bacteria, and won’t desalinate water.
However, it’s still a great product to take with you when you’re engaging in outdoor activities, provided you’re in an environment that is well suited to it.
The Scrubba Wash Bag is decided for anyone who have been away on a trip for an extended period of time and aren’t fans of hand washing their clothes or are unable to depending on where they are and what they’re doing.
It bills itself as the lightest, most compact washing machine in the world, and as an essential bit of kit for campers and long-term travellers alike, giving them a means of washing their clothes anywhere, whether out on the road, in the wilderness or anywhere where you’re unable to use a traditional washing machine or laundry.
What makes the Scrubba wash bag work is its ultra-flexible internal washboard, which makes hand washing clothes a breeze. Simple fill the bag with water, roll and clip, deflate, rub, rinse and finally hang your clothes up to dry. In our opinion, it’s a great bit of kit for anyone planning to go anywhere for an extended period of time and is definitely a better option than traditional hand washing or using a hotel sink to do your washing.
The UCO Grilliput Portable Camping Grill is a lightweight, compact and portable cooking grill that’s small enough to easily put into any backpack, making it perfect for any camping, hiking or other outdoor trips that you want to take it with you on.
The grill has a cooking area of 10.2 by 9.1 inches, handles lightweight loads with ease and really stands out thanks to its tube design. Once you’ve finished with the grill, all of its parts pack away easily into the larger of the two tubes, which then screws shut to make transportation of the grill as easy and secure as possible.
It also has a cleaning groove which is used to remove remaining food from cooking rods, and all of its parts are made from stainless steel, making it dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. It does take long than other grills to set up, however the couple of minutes this takes is definitely worth it considering the compact pack size, making it far more portable than other grills.