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Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

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June 10, 2010

Gizmag takes a look at the cutting edge in camping gear

Gizmag takes a look at the cutting edge in camping gear

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As summer kicks in for our readers in the northern hemisphere, their thoughts may turn to camping. Where to go... what to do... and what gadgets to take! Well, we kinda like gadgets – and camping – so we looked back through the cream of camping kit covered recently on Gizmag and compiled a list of some of our faves. Here’s what we came up with...

Joby Gorillatorch

Stunningly-bright LED flashlights are, to put it bluntly, a dime a dozen. Even ones with bendy-legged tripods aren’t exactly a rarity. What makes the Gorillatorch special, however, is the fact that its knobby, flexible legs can grip around things like branches, tent poles, or human heads. Magnetic, rubber-coated feet add to the mounting possibilities. The dimmable lamp can be turned up to 65 lumens, and will provide 20 to 80 hours of light on three AA batteries. It’s available for US$30.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

CGear Multimat

Anyone who’s been camping even once will know what a bother pine needles and sand can be when they’re tracked into the tent. You can put a tarp on the ground, but the CGear Multimat works even better. Its dual-layer design creates a one-way-street for sand, dirt and dust, so particles fall through from above, but don't come back up through the mat. It can double as a sun shade or windbreak, and will reseal if a spark burns a hole through it. Depending on size, it costs from US$92 to $238.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

Brunton Flip-N-Drip portable coffee maker

Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to live like a caveman - you’ve gotta have your coffee. To use the Flip-N-Drip, you just boil water in the carafe, attach the BPA-free filter and mug, and flip the whole thing over. In about 10 minutes you’ll be sipping your favorite cup of joe. It can brew 16oz (0.5L), which is about two mugs. You can also use it to prepare tea, freeze-dried foods, or hot boozey drinks. Expect to pay about US$45.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

VAN BERLO TentLED

We’ve all done it - tripped over a tent’s guy lines in the dark. These clever little lights attach to those lines, to alert clutzy campers to their presence. They automatically adjust their intensity depending on the ambient outdoor light, and shut off when in storage. It’s hard to find any place online that sells TentLEDs, but you could probably rig up something similar using small, inexpensive LEDs such as MEC turtle lights.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

Eton SCORPION

What does it do? It delivers power via a solar panel, hand crank, or DC adapter; lights up the dark with an LED flashlight; digitally tunes in radio stations, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather bands... and it plays music from external players, via an audio line in. It’s also got a carabiner-style clip, so you know it’s outdoorsy. The SCORPION is only water-resistant, not waterproof, but you can’t have everything for US$50.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink

Not matter how lightly you try to pack, you need a larger-sized pot for washing the dishes - or yourself, for that matter. The Kitchen Sink is a collapsible waterproof container that can hold from 5 to 20 liters of hot, soapy water, depending on which size you get. When you’re done, it just folds up into its carry pouch. The 20-liter size goes for US$25.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

JakPak all-in-one jacket, tent and sleeping bag

You probably wouldn’t want to buy this thing instead of a traditional tent or sleeping bag, but it’s great for those long hikes or canoe trips where you never know what might happen. Made from urethane-coated ripstop nylon polyester, the JakPak starts out as a jacket with a hood and collar. Should you need it, however, it transforms into a sleeping bag, and a bugproof swag-style tent. Considering you’re essentially buying three things, US$249.99 is a pretty decent price.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

Biolite stove

OK, this one is cool. You start by feeding it with burning wood, but it takes the heat energy from that fire and converts it to electricity via a thermoelectric generator. That electricity then powers a fan which pushes oxygen into the stove, creating hotter, cleaner more efficient combustion. It uses 50% less wood than a regular wood stove, creates 95% less smoke, and virtually eliminates carbon buildup. The Biolite won’t be available until next spring, but we couldn’t not mention it.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

Victorinox Swiss Army Soldier Knife

Ahh yes, what would a gear review be without a multitool? You fancy lads can keep your Leathermans, though - this is the quintessential outdoors man's device, and has everything a real camper needs. Aaarh! While there are many models of Swiss Army knife to choose from, this particular one is the first knife Victorinox has designed specifically for Swiss soldiers since 1961. They got it first, now it’s available to us civilians. Tools include a serrated blade, Phillips screwdriver, can opener, bottle opener, wire stripper, reamer, tweezers, toothpick, wood saw, and price tag of about US$40. If nothing else, you might want the Soldier Knife as a collector’s item.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

Powdered beer

The tent is pegged, the fire ablaze, you've downed your canned cheeseburger and it's time to kick back under the stars with a (powdered) beer. Katadyn's offering is not strictly a beer (it's described as a "beer flavored beverage") and it's non-alcoholic, which means you should be refreshed and ready for the trail come sunrise. The company also produces powdered red wine.

Gizmag's top ten camping gadgets

So what have we missed? Seen any clever camping innovations lately? What indispensable gear goes with you on your adventures? Let us know in the comments section.

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About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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9 Comments

Good stuff. The thermoelectric stove reminds me of this awesome thing:

http://www.ted.com/talks/adam_grosser_and_his_sustainable_fridge.html

Those would be amazing to have camping. Heat em up and cool a cooler.

Stradric
10th June, 2010 @ 07:53 am PDT

Check out the Massive Nibble© Consumer Products entry into the NASA Create the Future design contest (http://contest.techbriefs.com/) "CoolerGrill, Hand-Cranked Grill and Ice Chest"

Direct Link: http://contest.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/251

You can use the Search function to find all the Massive Nibble© entries, which are based on their Zero Pollution Engine and Zero Pollution Heat Pump©. If you'd like to help drastically reduce demand for fossil fuels and help end concerns about global warming, register and vote for their products, especially the "Solar Powered Aircraft Engine", "Solar power generation with the Zero Pollution Engine" and "Feed the World with Solar-Powered Tractors".

Michael Howard
10th June, 2010 @ 09:18 am PDT

Sorry, but you guys totally missed it. By far the best thing to take on any camping trim would be the blonde in (or even out of) the thermoelectric boots.

PJP
11th June, 2010 @ 03:05 pm PDT

I like a titanium spork. There are great mini LED lanterns you can get. And don't forget something for the mossies!

David Mackie
25th April, 2011 @ 03:14 pm PDT

The flip n Drip coffee maker sounds cool but you can also just use a french press (which is around $4) and use bottled water. Don't forget to bring a cooler, Icemule Cooler makes a good one what is waterproof and leak proof http://www.icemulecooler.com/

Jacqueline Cao
6th September, 2011 @ 01:46 pm PDT

You forgot to add a good first aid kit

Joe Simons
24th December, 2011 @ 04:42 pm PST

as a beer enthusiast, I find the "powdered beer" to be a slap in the face!

Aaron D. Wayne
21st January, 2012 @ 09:57 am PST

I am a huge fan of an old technology - the fire piston

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_piston

Steven Stemmler
15th July, 2012 @ 01:02 am PDT

There wasn't one thing here that I would want on a camping trip. If it uses electricity, then it will fail when you need it most. I like the fire piston but make sure you have a good dry supply of tinder fungus or charred cotton. Charred cotton is one of the best tinders around. It will work for the fire piston, any source of sparks, or a magnifying glass. For a true camping experience, the more Spartan and old fashioned the better. My only exception would be a good air mattress.

Bob
15th April, 2014 @ 10:47 am PDT
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