While all of us recognize the importance of items like a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and backpack, there’s an awesome array of other unique camping gear that can drastically improve our day-to-day experience.
From multi-tools to Bluetooth speakers, these cool gadgets offer an added degree of creature comfort and convenience in the great outdoors. In this article, we explore the 10 best camping gadgets and discuss why you need them on your next camping trip.
Camping Gadgets for Comfort
Going into the woods is all about leaving your comfort zone. But there’s a fine line between “roughing it” and just plain suffering. Getting the balance right means choosing the items to keep you comfortable enough on your next trip.
Hammocks are a popular camping trip accessory and for good reason. They offer a relaxing place to rest, and they're easy to set up and take down.
Hammocks are particularly useful in hot weather, since they allow for improved airflow around your body.
Plus, many hammocks can comfortably accommodate two people, making them an intimate way for couples to unwind and enjoy a sunset.
A hammock is a welcome luxury item, especially for those who prioritise camping over hiking.
Even if you prefer to sleep in a tent at night, a hammock is a great option for a breezy siesta—all without worrying about creepy-crawlies.
- Comfortable and relaxing place to rest
- Lightweight and portable
- Keep pesky insects away
- Provide better airflow in hot weather
- Easy set-up and take-down
- Not ideal in bad weather
- Useless in non-forested areas
Few things are as important as a good night’s sleep on the trail. It’s the best way to repair sore muscles and rejuvenate your mind. And few camping accessories are as effective as a camping pillow when it comes to optimising sleep.
Camping pillows are lightweight, compact, and affordable—making them a no-brainer piece of kit, year-round. They're built with unique fabrics designed for the great outdoors, like moisture-wicking materials that keep you dry on damp nights.
They boast an ergonomic design that supports both the neck and head. This alleviates pain and stiffness—a welcome feature for those who suffer from chronic pain or are prone to snoring.
A camping pillow is hands-down the cheapest and most effective way to improve sleep quality under the stars.
Whether you’re in a tent or at a hostel, it's a worthwhile investment.
- Comes in a light and compact package
- Ergonomic design
- Good for snorers or folks with chronic pain
- Violates the ultralight hiking credo
Camping chairs and tables
Camping chairs and tables provide a comfortable place to chill after a long day of fishing, hiking, or climbing. Because, if we’re being honest, who wants to sit on jagged rocks and wet logs?
Camping chairs and tables create a communal place for gatherings, whether that’s sharing a home-cooked meal, playing board games, or whispering ghost stories.
Additionally, an elevated surface will reduce the odds of food contamination by dirt and bugs—all while providing a firm surface on which to prepare food.
Plus, today’s camping chairs and tables are exceptionally light and cleverly packable. This means they’re easy to stow in the trunk, and just as easy to schlep to your campsite.
Camping chairs and tables are an excellent choice to boost your wilderness experience—but only if you’re staying put.
Hikers and globe-trotters, y’all can skip this one.
- Easy to stow + lightweight enough to transport to your campsite by foot
- Creates a space to play games and prepare/share meals
- Keeps dirt and bugs at bay
- Cumbersome for hikers and travellers
Face it—once you’ve experienced a Bluetooth speaker in the woods, no camping trip is the same without one. Short of carrying an actual guitar, Bluetooth speakers offer an unmatched sound quality-to-price ratio.
Outdoor speakers are built especially rugged. They offer additional durability, weather-proofing, and minimal weight compared to standard models.
Many of them even include a nifty little carabiner, allowing you to clip it to your backpack while you’re on the go.
Best of all, you never have to fuss with cables. To keep it dry, consider storing it in a dry bag when not in use.
These fun camping accessories are well-suited to every use-case—from a weekend of frontcountry camping to a NOBO thru-hike of the AT.
A Bluetooth speaker is versatile, entertaining, portable, and totally hands-free.
- Wireless connectivity means no tangle-prone wires
- Enjoy your favourite music, podcasts, and audiobooks
- Highly durable, lightweight, and waterproof
- In an emergency, can be used to blast out a message
- May need to carry additional items, like a portable charger
Camping Gadgets for Cooking
Nothing beats a good ol’ open fire you’ve kindled with your own two hands. But that ain’t always an option.
You could be camping in an area that doesn’t allow campfires. Or maybe the weather isn’t on your side. Hell, you might just be too damn tired—we’ve all been there after a long day of hiking.
Luckily, even in the absence of a campfire, there are a few cool camping gadgets that can enhance your outdoor cooking experience, from compact grills to collapsible cookware.
Portable camping stove or grill
It’s impossible to overstate how revolutionary portable stoves have been for campers. These appliances have radically transformed backcountry cooking, allowing you to prepare hot food without hassle.
Unlike campfires, portable camp stoves and grills are designed to be safe, efficient, easy-to-use, and portable.
Choose between a big, stainless steel grill, or a titanium camping stove that fits in your pocket. There are many fuel types, too, ranging from gas canisters and alcohol, to solid fuel tabs.
The question isn’t whether you should pack a portable stove, but rather which one should you pack.
Car campers can opt for a heavy-duty grill, while thru-hikers will naturally prefer an ultralight option.
- Makes wilderness cooking a cinch
- Portable, lightweight, safe, and dependable
- Can be used to boil dubious water sources
- Generates life-saving heat in wet or cold climates
- Don’t forget to bring fuel!
Cookware and utensils
Now that you’ve got a camp stove or grill to cook with, all you need are some plates and cutlery to eat with. We’re not talking about your grandma’s antique silverware here.
Today’s camping cookware and utensils are a game-changer. They incorporate lightweight, durable, BPA-free materials and clever constructions.
Collapsible bowls and plates can easily slide in and out of your pack, while stainless steel or titanium cutlery can be folded and stored inside your cook pot.
Camping cookware and utensils are a no-brainer for campers and hikers alike.
There are plenty of options on the market, making it easy to find something that suits your needs.
- No logistic headaches when it comes to eating
- Lightweight materials and packable design
- Keeps your fingers clean and reduces the chance of embarrassing stains
- May be too flimsy for frontcountry BBQs
Camping Gadgets for Safety
Not all cool camping gear is about eating good food and having more fun. In this section, we discuss some innovative and practical gadgets that will help you stay safe on the trail.
From handy multi-tools to personal locating devices (PLDs), these gadgets are designed to help you navigate the unexpected.
Solar-powered chargers and lights
When you're out in the woods, access to electricity is, well, nonexistent. That’s where solar panel chargers and lights come in. These gadgets use solar panels to convert photons into electricity.
One of the major advantages of a solar charger over a traditional power bank is its reliance on renewable energy. Solar panels mean you never have to fret about low battery or finding a power source.
When choosing a solar-powered charger or light, consider the device's charging capacity and battery life, as well as its weight and size.
Some solar panel chargers are built for small electronics like phones, while others are powerful enough to revive laptops from the dead.
Solar-powered chargers and lights should be a standard item on any camping gear list.
One keeps your electronics alive, while the other offers a welcome light source on dark nights or in your tent.
- Compact size, lightweight, and illuminating
- Spend more free time in the woods without needing a power source
- Helpful in emergencies
- Eco-friendly alternative to batteries
- Not ideal in overcast areas
Multi-tools and camping knives
In the wilderness, having the right tools makes all the difference. Multi-tools and camping knives are two classic camping accessories that enable you to tackle a range of tasks.
Whether it’s building a small fire, preparing a meal, repairing gear, or whittling a pocket totem, these versatile tools are indispensable.
Multi-tools boast an array of features beyond just a sharp edge. Most include things like pliers, screwdriver, saw, bottle opener, can opener, nail file, etc.
Camping knives are specialised blades designed for outdoor use. Compared to everyday knives, they’re foldable, more durable, and fully waterproof.
For so little weight, these versatile gadgets are exceptionally handy.
Campers, hikers, and backpackers alike will find a million little uses for their carbon or stainless steel multi-tools.
- Built for rugged environments
- Can last a lifetime and beyond
- Useful for a variety of camping trip tasks
- Be extra careful around kids
Water filters and purifiers
A water filter or water purifier is always worth packing. It’s a simple concept: They ensure continual access to safe and clean drinking water by removing impurities and contaminants from natural sources.
Before buying a particular filter, however, it’s important to verify which contaminants are killed, as some are more effective than others at eliminating viruses, bacteria, and so on.
There are many types of filters and purifiers to choose from, including pump filters, gravity filters, chemical filters, and squeeze filters.
Pump and chemical filters are ideal for small groups or solo hikers, while gravity filters are great for large groups, basecamps, and car camping.
Squeeze filters have a compact size, making them perfect for short backpacking trips or emergencies.
Water filters and purifiers are ideal anytime you find yourself in an area without access to potable water.
They’re also great for hiking over long distances, where carrying enough water just isn’t practical. And, in an emergency, these devices are quite literally a lifesaver.
- Easy-to-use, reliable, and minimal maintenance
- Cost-effective and eco-friendly water treatment
- Can save your life
- If you opt for chemical filtration, check the expiration date
Personal locating device (PLD) or satellite messenger
Even if you retreat into the woods to escape technology, there is one item you may not want to leave home without: A personal locating device (PLD) or satellite messenger.
These camping gadgets allow you to stay safe and connected while exploring the great outdoors.
PLDs and satellite messengers use satellite technology to transmit and receive messages and location data.
Some models offer two-way communication; others offer one-way comms, acting as an emergency beacon that sends a distress signal to rescue services.
PLDs and satellite messengers offer peace of mind to campers and hikers in remote regions.
They let you communicate with friends and family back home and share your location with others. This makes them one of the best, cool camping gadgets around.
- Tracks location, and sends/receives messages
- Dependable means of communication in an emergency
- Offers peace of mind in remote areas
- Steep initial cost
- May need a subscription for ongoing use
- Coverage may be spotty, depending on the device and satellite network
When it comes to boosting your enjoyment on the trail or at a campsite, the devil is in the details. In this article, we discussed the 10 best camping gadgets you need on your next camping trip. But there are so many more gadgets we didn’t discuss, including:
So when planning a trip, take the time to consider the little things that will help you stay safe, comfortable, and smiling. Looking to upgrade the other parts of your kit? Check out our comprehensive buying guides. And, as always—happy trails!