10 Camping Gadgets Worth Packing

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer, and with that the beginning of camping season. When we were growing up we used to go camping as Luddites, but these days you can tech out your excursion to make spending the night in the great outdoors even more fun. Here are 10 gadgets we found that we'd like to take on our next trek to one of our great national parks.

  • Solar Powered Water Bottle Cap, $20: Turn your water bottle into a night light. This LED cap fits on any 2-inch wide mouth like those found on popular Nalgene, Camelbak, and GSI bottle, and powers itself through the day while your hiking out in the sun.
  • SteriPEN, $70: Uses UV-C light rays to zap 99.99% of protozoa (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium), bacteria and even viruses found in creek water.
  • Snow Peak Hozuki LED Flameless-Candle Lantern, $90: Find your underwear with a little more ease by hooking this guy from the ceiling of your tent like a pendant lamp. The candle mode responds to wind by flickering the LED like a flame. A silicone shade diffuses light so you aren't blinded while preparing dinner. Four AA batteries provide up to 40 hrs. of operation on low, 10 hrs. on medium and 4 hrs. on high.
  • Jetboil Flash Cooker, $100: You can either wait an hour for your water to boil on the campfire, or you can have a hot cup of Joe ASAP. This carafe boils 0.5 liter of water within 2 minutes and 42 seconds using a Butane/propane canister built into the design. The neoprene cozy has a thermochromic temperature indicator that tells you via color indicators how hot your H2O is. A translucent lid also lets you check on bubbles without disturbing the cooker.
  • Freeplay Indigo Lantern, $42: Skip the throw-away batteries and see the light by cranking this lamp by hand. The cluster of seven LEDs can be dimmed, while a single, side-mounted LED gives you directional lighting like a flashlight. Sixty seconds of winding juices up the LEDs for up to two hours.
  • OverBoard Waterproof Gadget Cases, $25-40: Even if you leave the cell phone at home, you know you're bringing the digital camera to capture all the fun. Keep it safe when you're wading through rivers or kayaking through the bay with these 100% waterproof and floating gadget baggies.
  • Windmill Classic Stormproof Lighter, $45: Catalyzer coil creates a powerful flame that can withstand 70 to 80 mph winds.
  • UV Monkey, $8: Sometimes it can be difficult to gauge whether there's enough sun to charge your gadgets. This little gizmo lets you know where the strongest UVs are so you can set your rechargeables there, plus it lets you know when to up the SPF despite the clouds.
  • Video Swim Mask, $100: Whether you're a fan of marine life or catching glimpses of summer bikinis underwater, this swim mask will let you snap shots of take video of below sea level adventures. The built-in 16 MB of memory holds up to 27 high res still or 52 seconds of video. There's a microSD slot for expanding memory up to 2 gigs.
  • Eton Solarlink FR360 Radio, $50: Emergency radio, flashlight, solar charger (with USB port to juice up gizmos), and digital alarm clock. All can be powered via sun or hand crank.

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