If you’re a camper, chances are you fall into one of two categories: you either love to find the newest camping gadget on the market, or you love to stick with the basics—no battery-operated marshmallow sticks for you! No matter which camp you fall into, we’re sure you’ll find at least one invention listed below that you won’t be able to live without on your next outdoors trip, whether it’s to keep your dog safe at night or to make cooking easier.
1. Goal Zero Yeti 400
This portable power source allows you to still be connected even if you’re miles away from the nearest person. A full charge on the Yeti will get you 30+ recharges on your iPhone, 5 recharges on your laptop, 20+ charges on a digital camera, and 100+ hours of a 12V light. Charge it on any of the company’s solar panels, plug it into a regular wall outlet for 5 hours, or charge it for 13 hours via a standard 12v car adapter. The only downside seems to be the purchase price at $459.99. But if you love the great outdoors and your technology, it can be a true asset. For sale at sylvansport.com.
2. Inflatable Back Seat Car Bed
When it comes to sleeping while camping, there are usually several options. Tents are the most common, as are sleeping in the open air. If you’ve ever forgone the idea of a tent in favor of sleeping in your car while camping, you know how uncomfortable it can get. In the middle of the night, that back seat isn’t as wide as you think it is. But an inflatable mattress that takes up both the seat and the room in front of it makes the best of a tight situation. It contours to the shape of the car’s interior to make the most of the space. Buy it on Amazon for $55.99 with an air pump and repair pad.
3. Collapsible Cooking Pots
If there’s one thing that takes up lots of space when packing your outdoor kitchen, it’s the pots and pans. But you don’t have to revamp your camping menu to avoid using cumbersome cookware. Leave the bulky metal set at home with Sea to Summit X-Pots, space-saving silicone cookware that collapse when not in use. An anodized aluminum base makes them work like a standard pot, allowing for equal heat distribution. The silicone sides mean they can pack up easily after making that pot of spaghetti. Available in different sizes and styles, these pots can be purchased individually or in sets on Amazon starting at around $45.
4. Lighthound Illuminated Dog Vest
If you love to take your pups on camping trips, you’ve probably struggled with the idea of letting them loose in the campsite at night, simply because you can’t keep an eye on them as well as you can in the daylight. In a strange location, dogs can quickly get into trouble or wander off while you’re busy setting up camp. This glow-in-the-dark vest by Noxgear means your dogs don’t have to be crated or tied up while everyone else gets to enjoy the campfire. The vest’s USB charge lasts 12 hours and it’s easy to adjust to size and use at the push of a button. $60 at petagadget.com