February 19, 2024

Mid Designer

Breakaway from the pack

15 Best Camping Gadgets for 2023

Becoming one with the outdoors used to mean unplugging from devices that would prevent you from doing so. And while that’s still largely true, there’s plenty of value in gearing up with some high-tech — and even low-tech. Whether it’s a water filtration system that helps you with survival, a satellite communication device to make sure you’re never truly out of reach when an emergency strikes, or a cooking tool to help elevate your culinary skills, the following gadgets are available to make life around the campsite easier and all the more enjoyable. Here are the best camping gadgets we found.

How We Chose Our Gadgets

There are a lot of camping gadgets available out there, and great ones too. However, we used our years of experience with this space to select what we think are the finest tools for enhancing the camping experience.

Function: Obviously, when facing the great outdoors, you want something that will be helpful to you in some way, whether you knew you needed it or not. When simplifying and “unplugging,” so to speak, we’re going to want devices that can also become unique to the camping experience rather than reminiscent of what we would have gotten had we stayed home.

Form: Just because a gadget is useful doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to use. Quite the opposite, actually. Most, if not all, of the tools that we’ve selected would be an enjoyable addition to your camping gear go-bag.

LifeStraw Peak Series Water Filter Straw

Why It Made the Cut
  • This lightweight straw turns any stream or lake into potable water by just sipping through it.

Best for Backpacking: LifeStraw recently updated its flagship filtration straw, which enables you to head out on any adventure without worrying about running out of clean, potable water. Without worrying about clogs from sand or silt, you can sip from streams and lakes with the new Peak Series straw, which eliminates 99.999999% of all bacteria and 99.999% of parasites and microplastics. Stretching just 10.43” and weighing 2.3oz, the LifeStraw is super easy to travel with and the filter will last you through 1,000 gallons of water.

Weight: 2.3oz
Total cycle: 1,000 gallons

Thermacell E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller

Why It Made the Cut
  • Evade mosquitos without any spray with this rechargeable unit that creates a 20-foot dome of protection

Best Mosquito Repellant: Create a 20-foot dome of protection against nature’s peskiest insects with Thermacell’s E55 Mosquito Repeller. With the push of a button, the heat activates the 4.5-inch tall unit with no scent or spray. The citronella- and DEET-free protection offers 12 hours of use off a single charge but works when plugged in as well. For longer outings off the grid, there’s a 40-hour refill option available as well. 

Weight: 12.8oz
Battery Life: 12 hours or AC

Palmpress Portable Coffee Maker

Why It Made the Cut
  • A French press-style coffee maker that packs down to 2″ and takes just 3 minutes to brew.

Best Coffee Maker: If we’re being honest, our daily coffee fix is one of the last things we’re willing to do without on our camping trip. However, unless you have the right gadget, your caffeine withdrawal won’t be the only headache you’ll have to endure. Brewing coffee has never been more straightforward than with the Palmpress Portable Coffee Maker. Standing just over 2” high when compacted, this all-in-one unit acts like a French press, boiling an 8oz cup of joe in just 3 minutes. You simply let the mixture steep, turn it over, and press it into your cup.

Weight: 9oz
Type: French press
Brew Time: 3 minutes

BioLite HeadLamp 800 Pro

Why It Made the Cut
  • An incredibly-capable, hands-free light source that’s water-resistant and lasts up to 150 hours.

Best Light Source: BioLite has plenty of fantastic gadgets for the outdoors. Among its impressive lighting range is the 800-lumen HeadLamp 800 Pro, its newest and most powerful yet. Throwing its 800 lumens up to 135m (~443ft), the rechargeable device has three brightness settings and can last for 7 hours on the highest one. Likewise, there are eight different lighting modes, including red flood, burst, strobe, and several rear visibility options. With an IPX4 water-resistance rating, you can rummage through your trunk and campsite even when the weather gets wet.

Weight: 5.3oz
Battery Life: 7 to 150 hours
Max Lumens: 800
Max Distance: 443ft

Nitecore Summit 10000

Nitecore Summit 10000
Why It Made the Cut
  • This insanely powerful portable charger can survive in extreme temperatures and weighs just 6oz.

Best Power Source: If a giant portable power station isn’t in your budget and you want to travel light, then get yourself one of the best, most durable portable chargers available. Weighing a ridiculous 6oz, Nitecore’s new Summit 10000 utilizes a 10,000mAh lithium-ion battery encased in a unibody carbon fiber shell with an IPX5 impact resistance rating. For outdoorsmen who enjoy heading out in colder climates, this bank can still operate at 70% performance at temperatures as low as -4°F, with functioning output as low as -40°F.

Weight: 6oz
Battery Capacity: 10,000mAh
Impact Resistance: 1.5m
IP Rating: IPX5

Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool

Leatherman Signal
Why It Made the Cut
  • At just 4.5″ and 7.5oz, this amazing multi-tool sports a whopping 19 useful tools for any outdoor situation.

Best Multi-Tool: Tailor-made for your weekend camping trips, Leatherman’s Signal Multi-Tool is a favorite for a reason. Boasting 19 handy tools and structured in a way so that most of them are accessible when the device is closed, the Signal features multitool standards such as pliers, wire cutters, and 420HC steel blade, but also some camping-specific tools such as a ferro rod for starting fires, an emergency whistle, a can opener, and a carabiner. To sweeten the deal, Leatherman also offers the Signal in several attractive color options.

Weight: 7.5oz
Closed Length: 4.5″
# of Tools: 19

BioLite CampStove 2+

Why It Made the Cut
  • This lightweight fire pit from BioLite uses twigs for fire and converts fire to electricity so you can charge your phone.

Best Fire Pit: Fusing the worlds of technology and old-school tradition, BioLite’s super innovative CampStove 2+ is a portable fire pit, camping stove, and power bank all in one. Updating its power source to a 3,200mAh battery, this wood-burning unit uses twigs and leaves to make fire, after which it converts the fire to electricity so you can charge your phone while you toast marshmallows. The pit also benefits from the brand’s patented smokeless technology so the byproduct of your flames isn’t pervading the campsite.

Type: Wood
Weight: 2lbs
Smokeless: Yes

VSSL Insulated Flask with Bluetooth Speaker

Why It Made the Cut
  • You can transport your favorite libation inside this durable flask while playing music from its built-in Bluetooth speaker.

Most Frivolous: Known for its compact, on-the-go cylindrical canisters that are perfect for anything from fishing to first aid, VSSL recently came out with a device that’s refreshingly superfluous. Pop the top on the Insulated Flask for an effortless fill, but then pour from your 8oz canister with more control from the screw-on spout. Built from double-wall insulated 18/8 stainless steel, the flask also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker (because, why not?), which is placed at the other end. Additionally, the cap doubles as a carabiner for you to hang it on your tent or foldable chair.

Weight: 12.1oz
Capacity: 8oz
Primary Construction: 18/8 stainless steel
Cold Retention: 10 hours

Nemo Helio LX Portable Shower

Why It Made the Cut
  • The sun heats up the water in this travel shower, which is activated via foot pump.

Best Shower: If you don’t want to sacrifice warm showers during your camping getaway, opt for Nemo’s Helio LX Portable Shower, a solar-heated option that can handle 22L of water and give you a fully-pressurized rinse for up to 10 minutes at a time. The sun warms up the water and the 7-foot integrated hose gives you enough slack to shower overhead without the need for any external attachments. For easy travel, it can pack down to a 2-pound sack and fit in your trunk.

Flow: Pump
Heating: Solar
Capacity: 22L

Pentax 4X20 3-in-1 Binocular

Why It Made the Cut
  • These quality binoculars can come apart for sharing or be combined to become a telescope.

Best Binoculars: In the world of binoculars, there isn’t much wiggle room for versatility outside of the lenses themselves. However, these 3-in-1 specs from Pentax are the exception to the rule. Featuring a 4×20 rating (meaning 4x magnification with a 20mm front lens diameter), you can use the device as-is or split the two sides apart so you and a friend can each have a single monocular when checking out nearby mountain ranges or wildlife. After sunset, you can also combine both tubes for stargazing with 16x magnification (multiplying both 4x lenses).

Weight: 12.16oz
Field of View: 10 degrees
Prism Type: Roof

Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Smart Heated Gloves

Why It Made the Cut
  • You can control the desired temperature inside these waterproof gloves from your smartphone app.

Best for Cold Weather: Always on the cutting edge of sartorial innovation, Eddie Bauer recently tapped clim8’s AI-powered self-heating technology for its waterproof Guide Pro Smart Heated Gloves for the outdoors. Insulated with Primaloft Gold, the gloves adapt to your hand’s temperature based on your desired settings, which are programmed via the smartphone app. With a range between 68 and 95ºF, the devices are able to keep your digits warm for up to 4.5 hours and boast WeatherEdge Plus waterproofing. There’s even a cloth at the back of the thumb for wiping your nose.

Material: 90% nylon, 10% spandex
Insulation: 100% polyester
Battery Life: 4.5 hours

Garmin inReach Messenger

Why It Made the Cut
  • With this device, you can sent satellite alerts and messaes to people even when you don’t have cell service.

Best for Remote Camping: Losing cell service when venturing off the grid is no longer an issue with Garmin’s inReach Messenger, a new addition to the smartwatch brand’s inReach range. The subscription-based device utilizes the global Iridium satellite network so you can share coordinates and send messages, including quick SOS pings, two-way messaging, and group messaging. Garmin has long been among the best names in outdoor smartwatches, and this handy gadget furthers its commitment to outdoor security as well.

Weight: 4oz
Dimensions: 3.1″ x 2.5″ x 0.9″
Waterproof Rating: IPX7

DemerBox DB2 Indestructible Bluetooth Speaker

DemerBox DB2 Indestructible Bluetooth Speaker
Why It Made the Cut
  • This virtually indestructible and waterproof gear box doubles as both a Bluetooth speaker and charging bank.

Best Speaker: Never worry about damaging your speaker ever again. Built from a tough-as-nails Pelican case, this waterproof DB2 Indestructible Bluetooth Speaker from DemerBox will keep your gear safe and dry on any outing while also providing high-quality audio from the speakers themselves. Use the handle to carry around the 5.44-pound EDC case on your hike or pair up to six of them back at the campfire for over 40 hours of tunes off a single charge. What’s more, the DB2 doubles as a USB power bank for charging your smart devices.

Weight: 5.44lbs
Dimensions: 10.62″ x 9.68″ x 6.87″
Battery Life: 40 hours

Suunto Vertical Adventure Watch

Suunto Vertical Adventure Watch
Why It Made the Cut
  • Suunto’s newest top-shelf rugged adventure watch has 95 sports apps, a bigger screen, and longer battery life.

Best Hiking Watch: Suunto recently added a new top-shelf multisport adventure watch to its already-impressive smartwatch range. The perfect smart device for life off the grid, the Vertical Adventure Watch series improves upon its Peak Pro watch while adding a few new features in the process. Not only does it bump the screen to a wider 1.4″ with 280×280 resolution but it now offers over 95 sports modes, shaded topographical maps available offline, downloadable regional maps, on-device weather pages, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and over 50 3rd-party app choices like Strava Live Segments. Tested according to the most stringent military standards, the niche tool-focused wearable comes in either stainless steel or grade 5 titanium cases at 49mm. Improving upon its top-tier battery life, Suunto increased its battery life to 60 hours and 85 hours with the solar-charging titanium option. Not to mention, there’s a screen-based flashlight for emergencies.

Case Material: Stainless steel or grade 5 titanium
Screen Width: 1.4″
Battery Life: 60 hours (85 hours with solar)

Zero Breeze Mark 2 Air Conditioner

Why It Made the Cut
  • Stay cool wherever you roam with this lightweight air-conditioning unit that’s water-resistant and has four wind speed levels.

Best Air Conditioner: Nothing says glamping like a portable cooling system. While there are plenty of extra layers to keep you warm in the winter cold, there are only so many layers you can remove when the hot summer weather starts to scorch. Weighing just 16.5lbs, Zero Breeze’s updated portable Air Conditioner unit is the way to go if you don’t mind shelling out the money. With 2,300BTU cooling power and an IPX4 water-resistance rating, this system can get you 3 to 5 hours of usage off a single charge and operates at four wind speed levels.

Weight: 16.5lbs
Cooling Power: 2,300BTU
Battery Life: 3 to 5 hours

The Best Headlamps for the Outdoors

Best Headlamps 0 Hero
Photo: Ledlenser MH11

While the BioLite Headlamp is the best for all-around camping, there are plenty of fantastic outdoor headlamps out there. Find them all in our guide to the best headlamps.