BY KELLY DUNNING
Outdoor gear has come a long way in the last decade or so.
And although bringing a cool camping gadget into the wilderness certainly isn’t essential, it can make your trip a lot easier and more enjoyable.
Assuming you don’t buy junk, of course. So I’ve compiled a short list of 6 of the best camping gadgets on the market to help you figure out which device is worth the price – and yes, there are affiliate links in here.
NEMO’s Helio Pressure Shower
You no longer have to smell the ripe and musty body odour that you generate after a few days in the woods – with this shower you can get yourself thoroughly clean no matter where you are.
While other camping showers dribble a pathetic few drops on your head, the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower gives you a steady five-minute stream. Just fill up the tank and let the sun heat up the black fabric for a soothing, warm wash – a great way to refresh yourself after a long hike. Your camping buddies will thank you for keeping the sweaty funk to a minimum.
The Nemo Helio Pressure Shower will run you about $99.
BioLite Wood Burning CampStove
Can you imagine actually being able to charge your iPhone with the power generated by a camp fire?
The innovative BioLite Wood Burning Campstove has a fuel chamber where you burn twigs and pine cones, which circulates the air through the chamber and creates enough heat to boil a litre of water in 4.5 minutes.
The stove also has a thermoelectric generator that transforms the heat from the fire into electricity – so that you can charge your gadgets through the USB port. Charging can be a little slow, but with 20 minutes of charging you should have around 60 minutes of talk time on the average smartphone – ideal if you need to call someone and update them on your whereabouts.
You can get the BioLite Wood Burning Campstove for around $130.
The Stingray Tree Tent from Tentsile
No more pitching your tent on the cold, hard ground – this design allows you to suspend your tent between three trees. The Stingray Tree Tent keeps you off the ground with straps and ratchets, so that you are not affected by ground conditions and you are kept away from bugs, wetness and other unpleasant factors. Plus – it looks super cool and sleeping in a tent suspended in the air is pretty fun.
Ah, but it’s not the cheapest option around. Expect to pay around $750 for the Stingray Tree Tent.
Leki Micro TourStick Vario Trekking Pole
The Leki Micro Tour Stick Vario Trekking Pole can be used for a number of activities, including skiing and hiking, and it is light enough to bring along with you almost everywhere. Each pole only weighs around 8.9 ounces and it can be broken down to only 15 inches long to fit into your backpack.
The upper shafts are made of carbon, making it strong and durable if you are trekking through tough terrain. Also, the baskets can be switched out for different activities, depending on whether you are skiing or hiking.
The Leki Micro Tour Stick Vario Trekking Pole is run you about $200.
Gerber GDC Zip Tools
The right tools are essential for camping. That’s why I’m a fan of the Gerber GDC Zip Tools. They come in four different models: the Light, the Blade, the Hex and the Driver.
They are perfect for bringing with you in your camping kit so that you will be prepared for any little task – and they are backed by Gerber’s lifetime warranty. The Light also includes a bottle opener, because the worst thing in the world is to be out in the middle of nowhere with a beer in your hand and nothing to open it with!
The cost of these gadgets range from $10-$30. You can view the entire lineup for Gerber Zip Tools here on Amazon.
The SPOT Gen3
When you are hiking through the backcountry, it is important to know that if you got lost in the forest someone would be able to track your whereabouts and rescue you.
The SPOT Gen3 is a clever device that will track where you are using GPS technology and send messages to your friends and family updating them on your progress. There is a “Help” button that you can press if you need assistance and your loved ones will be able to send rescuers to exactly where you are – no need to saw off your own arm or resort to eating squirrels.
The newest version of the SPOT has a number of upgraded features from the previous models, such as motion activated tracking, rechargeable batteries and customizable tracking frequencies.
Expect to pay about $150 for the SPOT Gen3.
These are just a few of the coolest camping gadgets that have been either released or updated in 2014. But I’ll be keeping tabs on what’s coming up next year as well.
Kelly Dunning is a Canadian freelance writer and digital nomad with a love of hiking, nature, art, culture, literature and adventure. She and her English boyfriend Lee run Global-Goose.com, a site packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel.