Helpful hints and recommendations for open-air holiday equipment and gifts
Being away from home comforts shouldn’t be a reason not to go camping, or an impediment to a rewarding and enjoyable camping experience. Thanks to clever inventors and outdoor equipment companies, you can find a host of practical products online to make your camping trip comfortable and exciting. There is a virtual marketplace for the best camping gadgets you’ll ever need, whether you’re camping solo, with friends, or with the entire family. You can find camping gadgets that can be used at your campsite, as well as out in the thick of nature among the mountains, valleys and woodlands. Camping gadgets make great gifts for all the family. All sorts of indoor and outdoor gadgets exist, at different price points. Therefore, a bit of research is necessary to find the ones that are essential for your purposes, are easy to carry, and fit within your budget. This is especially true for backpackers, who have limited storage space to consider. If you’re loading the family into a campervan or hiring more spacious accommodation at a campsite and using the family vehicle to get there, your options are infinitely greater. The following is a list of some of the best gadgets you could consider investing in before embarking on your next camping trip.
Be prepared – Top camping gadgets for your camping trip in France
From air tents to pole tents, this essential piece of kit is available in a wide range of sizes, textures and features. ALPS Mountaineering makes an excellent synthetic one-person tent with breathable mesh walls, floor seams and plenty of storage space. The Marmot Limelight 2P is an ideal choice for couples or parties of two. It has front/rear zip doors, is built to withstand wind gusts, it packs really small and is great for spring, summer or fall. REI family tents offer remarkable space for parties of six (83 ft²) with features like centre dividers that create two spacious rooms and colour-coding for easy set-up and breakdown.
The distance you plan to walk with your backpack should be the major deciding factor in terms of the capacity you buy. If you’re day tripping, a 4Monster collapsible daypack is perfect for your needs but when you’re on an extended trip a bigger, more durable, pack will be necessary. The REI Flash 55 is an inexpensive, ingenious piece of kit with a unique Packmod system, which allows you to customise how you pack your gear for comfort and convenience.
When it comes to the best camping gadgets, make sure you’ve got some practical sleeping gear on your list for a comfortable rest, day or night when camping outdoors. Foam mattresses are ultra-light and easy to carry for solo backpackers and are definitely worth considering. Therm-a-Rest makes a synthetic, fold-up marvel, featuring a thermal reflective barrier that recycles your body, heat keeping you warm in cool environments. Quilted pods and synthetic sleeping bags are also lightweight outdoor gadgets for camping or glamping, with polyester lining for heat insulation. Eurohike offers some really cheap sleeping pods and bags for under £20 online.
Unless you’re using indoor accommodation or a campervan, a portable stove is absolutely essential. There are some really handy wood-burning stoves and grills out there, but the MSR WindBurner® Series is one of the best camping meal prep gadgets on the market. It is windproof, can handle a 2.5 litre pot for feeding four, and uses fuel that is environmentally safe. The BioLite Campstove Portable Grill is a fab alternative: it weighs less than 1.5kg and cooks with smokeless flames.
There are several water purification or filtration systems on the market for drinking, bathing and cooking, that are affordable and small enough to carry in a backpack. Lifestraw is a popular and dependable gadget for drinking water, but bathing and washing up require something a bit bigger. Banggood collapsible 5-gallon (2 litre) water containers are great bang for your buck, while Ivation outdoor shower systems are rechargeable and good for an hour of continuous use.
These are obvious indoor/outdoor gadgets for all campers, regardless of the camp environment. Handheld, stationary or headlamps with LED rechargeable batteries are our favourites in this category of best camping gadgets. LED 9 handheld flashlights and lanterns, like the Pro Elec LED 30, can be found online for about €10. The GearLight headlamp is good for about 45 straight hours, so it’s a great alternative. Storm-proof match kits like the UCO Titan last for 25 seconds, which is more than enough time to light a fire or stove.
An all-weather camping essential for pitching tents and digging holes and ditches! If you’re an old-fashioned camping aficionado or a newbie at your first chalet, a dependable shovel should never be far from hand. Military-grade folding or collapsible shovels are the best you can get and the Easy Camp version is light, cheap, comes with its own carry bag and extremely tough and reliable when dealing with snow, sand or dry earth.
Consider the following practical items for making outdoor camping more pleasant and enjoyable. Portable kitchen sets provide most of the items used to prepare your meals, except for cups, bowls and plates. They generally include four knives, forks and spoons, a spatula, cooking spoon, utility knife and camp towel, in one tough travelling case. Survival bracelets are clever pieces of kit containing a compass, emergency whistle, fire starter, and an emergency knife, which should rank among the best camping gadgets you’ve never thought about.
Further considerations for your outdoor gadgets list
Apart from the basic categories outlined above, you should also consider the following when compiling your list of camping gadgets.
Ready-to-eat (RTE) meals are based on a military concept, but have come a long way in recent years in terms of choice and taste! They are a practical, lightweight but nutritious food source for campers, so you should include a few that tickle your tastebuds in your food bin or backpack. Patagonia Provisions has a wide variety of good-to-go meals, which can be ready in a jiffy and are affordable.
Seasonal camping: cold weather
Winter camping in a cabin or other indoor accommodation can be great fun and you are certainly more protected from the elements than in a tent, but it can still be chilly. So, when it comes to the best camping gadgets for cold weather, fleece is the name of the game. Make sure you’ve got a fleece jacket with good storage space, fleece gloves, a fleece scarf and a fleece blanket to ward off the cold air at night. Thick socks, along with an insulated hat and boots, are also a good idea.
Seasonal camping: warm weather
Summer camping often means hot weather, especially in France, and you might need some related gadgets. Top of the list are portable fans and effective bug sprays to ward off mosquitoes, tics and other insects. Murphy’s Naturals makes some organic products which are free of DEETs, while the Thermacall electronic portable is a fab alternative to sprays and lotions. O2COOL comes highly recommended for their top-quality battery operated or rechargeable portable fans in various sizes.
Dogs can make the perfect travel companions and be the life of the camping party. Get them ready to go with some innovative Ruffwear equipment to help them cope with life in a camping environment. Collapsible food/water bowls, reflective neck lamps, portable dog beds and tethers are all included in their list of products that might complement the list of things you’ll bring from home for your dog.
Whether you’re heading out from basecamp in the middle of summer or winter, a vacuum-sealed flask or water bottle is a great way to stay hydrated in hot or cool temperatures. Stanley and Thermos are recognised brands in this product category, whose products can keep hot or cold liquid at near constant temperature for up to 24 hours.
Important FAQs – Putting it all together
There you have our list of the best outdoor gadgets and recommended manufacturers, in the most essential categories. If you’re still unsure, here are a few more ideas:
What not to bring when camping
Top of this list are perfumes/colognes/deodorants. They attract wild animals, especially bugs and insects, which can be annoying on a camping trip. Glass items or anything that can be broken should also be avoided. And leave your electronic gadgets at home: they defeat the purpose of camping.
Do I really need a pillow when camping?
If you’re glamping or camping with the family, comfy pillows would rank among the best camping gadgets in our opinion! But if you’re roughing it solo, or with friends, and are carrying your supplies on your back, any comfortable item will do as a makeshift pillow.
What are the five most important camping gadgets?
The camper’s hierarchy of gadget needs is: tent, sleeping bag/mat, portable stove, food/snacks, torch/lantern/headlight.
How to keep water outside your tent
If you don’t have a tent that is already waterproofed, there are easy ways to keep out rain or moisture, such as using waterproof sealants and sprays, pitching your tent on higher ground or installing a tarp under the tent floor.
Which is better: air tents or pole tents?
This is a matter of choice and convenience, since most air tents can be set up quickly by one person, while pole tents involve manpower and able bodies.