One of the best reasons to go camping is to get out in nature and disconnect. To sleep under the stars, cook over wood fires and leave computers and smart phones behind.
But what if you are a location independent worker who wants to turn the outdoors into your office, or perhaps you are taking a 6-month trip across the country? In that case you might need to stay connected. And you might want to have some fancy toys to play with on your adventures.
Here are some cool new gadgets and gear that can help you do just that.
10 Tech Gadgets for Cool Connected Camping
The BioLite stoves quickly burn little pieces of wood to heat your meal in minutes. At the same time, the fire also powers a battery that can charge gadgets via a USB plug on the side. The trick to the hot blaze is a small fan that supplies oxygen to the fire. The company supplies larger stoves to places that still cook over open house fires, reducing smoke inhalation, carbon emissions and the need for large amounts of fuel.
Got sun but no wood? GoSun’s portable solar stove is designed for car camping or emergency off-grid use. Reflectors surround a glass cooking tube, which can cook meat in minutes. Check it out!
2. GoalZero Gear
GoalZero has lots of products to keep you powered up while on the road. Some of their most popular products are the Yeti batteries which can be charged using a solar panel or plugged into the wall at home. Take them on the go and use them to power laptops, cell phones, and run systems like lights or signal boosters.
3. Wind Turbine
Solar power is great but what about those cold and windy spots? Perhaps a personal wind turbine is just the thing!
Boaters have been using wind generators for a long time to get power onboard. Some of these, like the Windmill, can be used on a boat or RV.
The prototype Micro Wind Turbine is the size of an umbrella when folded up and weighs only two pounds. The turbine can generate five watts, and can store that energy for later or power your devices as it runs.
4. Water Filters
Filter your water with the sun. Just fill these collapsable water bags with water from a stream or lake, leave in a sunny spot and let the UV rays kill the microbes. Some examples include the Tortoise Solar Water Bags and CamelBak All Clear UV Microbiological Water Purifier.
Electric bicycles are not new and they won’t help you go online. But they can be great tools for the long term camper. Maybe you want to go into town from your campsite but the trip is just too far for a walk or a little too strenuous for a bike ride? Bring an ebike along and head into town for supplies with no problem. It also makes exploring more fun!
To get inspired to bring an ebike on your next camping trip watch this video by Kristen from Bearfoot Theory who travels in her Sprinter Van.
6. Off Grid Communication
Have you visited your favorite hiking spot or a National Park lately and found that you have no cell phone connection? This can be nice when trying to unplug, after all, we don’t need to be posting to our Instagram Stories when we are relaxing in nature. But what if you get lost, or have an emergency?
GoTenna Mesh is a new product that allows you to be in touch via text message and get GPS even if you have no service. The gadgets act as antennae, and communicate with each other across a network when paired with your smartphone via bluetooth.
Another product that helps you to stay in touch in the event of an emergency is the Spot GPS. These devices use satellite signals to send messages to police or rescue services or text messages to friends and family. Garmin InReach is similar and communicates over satellites to send and receive text messages and emergency alerts even if you are off-grid.
7. Solar Lanterns
It’s a great idea. Use the light during the day to store energy for use at night. There are many options available but the Mpowerd Luci inflatable solar light is one of the most popular for camping. It also comes in many versions including color-changing ones and others that softly glow like a candle.
Check out this review by Laura Hughes on She Explores.
8. Portable Solar Panels
The Yolk Solar Paper is an interesting portable panel that is about the size of an iPhone and can charge one in a few hours. Another small option is the rollable panel from Bushnell. If you simply want to charge up your phone you can even get a heavy-duty smartphone case with built in solar panels.
For more energy needs than just charging a phone, check out larger panels like those from BioLite and GoalZero. Foldable briefcase versions and flexible ones can be best as they are more easily transportable. But you could also install large permanent ones on the roof racks of your automobile.
9. Signal Boosters
If you are traveling in a campervan or RV you might want to get a WiFi booster to help you connect to WiFi signals at campgrounds and even outside of stores, hotels and restaurants that have free WiFi. However if there is no WiFi where you are headed you might look into a signal booster for your cell phone.
These signal boosters work with an antenna that must be plugged in to power, so you have to be somewhere with access to electricity such as a cabin, RV, automobile, electric tent site or the like. The antenna finds the weak cell signal and amplifies it so that you can use your cell phone. WeBoost’s Drive 4gx is a good example of this type of gadget.
If like me you are a digital nomad or location independent worker who likes to explore outside the cities, this can be a valuable item to have in your kit.
10. Heated Clothing and Bedding
Are you one of those people who is always cold? Perhaps you might be interested in a jacket with battery operated warming panels. Ravean is a start up company making heated jackets, vests and hoodies – powered with battery packs. And now you can also get the hipster Rumpl blanket in a battery heated form as well via their crowdfunding page. Check out the video below.
Before using an electric blanket or pad for sleeping while camping be sure to read these safety tips. I have had an electric blanket catch fire before while we were sitting in bed!