It’s very romantic to think about heading into the woods to test yourself against the elements, but call us back after you’ve worn all the skin off your palms rubbing sticks together to make fire—assuming your phone has enough charge left to call of course. Man is a tool-using species, and the great outdoors are an opportunity to take some very fun tools out for a spin. Our guide to 2018’s best camping gear and gadgets has your hook-up.
A “stove shower”?
Not every campground has a pure mountain stream to keep yourself fresh, and anyone who’s enjoyed the frigid hospitality of an unheated shower is getting goosebumps right now just thinking about it. That’s where Kariba’s gas-powered Nomad 4.1 L comes in. The Nomad stove’s burners can be used for cooking or heating water for its outdoor shower attachments. It uses a 12 V pump to draw the water in, push it through the heat exchanger and then dispense it in a warm rush through the shower head. It’s one comfort of home you don’t have to leave behind.
The only multi-tool knife you’ll ever need
RAVPower is best-known for its line of charging peripherals, but this sleek multi-tool is versatile enough to make the Swiss jealous. Available in slick, special forces-esque black, the RAVPower 5-in-1 Pocket Knife Kit contains pliers, a can opener, knife / saw blade, bottle opener and screwdriver—and that screwdriver’s no joke, thanks to an adjustable nine-piece bit set tucked in the handle. If it’s gonna be a long trip (or a long wait for rescue), this is the tool you want in your back pocket.
An armored sleeping pad
Sleeping pads are an underrated part of any serious camper’s arsenal. A good one is the difference between a restful night’s sleep and waking up feeling bruised in places you didn’t know you had. Klymit’s Armored V sleeping pad is an inflatable unit with one significant advantage over the competition: hundreds of thousands of tough scales on its underside that prevent even the most determined sticks and stones from penetrating its seal. Protect your sleep judiciously!
A power bank that can take nature’s best punches
No best camping gear list would be complete without an emergency power bank rated to survive in the wilderness. (Our recent post on Off-grid Charging digs into why that’s the case.) We recommend the rugged RAVPower 10050mAh 3-Proof Power Bank. Barely larger than a credit card, the bank is shockproof, waterproof and dustproof, with a huge capacity and smart tech to optimize charging.
If you’re planning on taking your drone along on your trip, consider one of our specialized models like this gargantuan 27000mAh unit. And while you’re at it, check out our guide to keeping drones charged through power banks.
In tandem with the next product on our best camping gear rundown, a good bank means you’ll be fixed up right for your power needs.
The sun is your electrical outlet
While the world has been slow to recognize the potential of solar power on a mass scale, individual campers are well-ahead of the curve. These wearable 16W solar panels are waterproof, foldable and capable of charging any device with a USB connection with pure sunlight. Hang it on your bike, hook it on your backpack or your tent and you’ll have a steady source of juice anywhere the light touches.
Kickstart your car’s heart
As fun as your trip might be, eventually you’ll be ready to go home. Make sure your car feels the same way by keeping a good jump starter kit handy. If we may modestly suggest our own product, you’ll feel more secure with a compact, affordable battery booster that’s compatible with all standard 12V gas and diesel engines. You can quick charge the jumper through a standard wall outlet or even another power bank, and a simple LED display will let you know when it’s ready.