Are you going on an outdoor adventure this summer? You’re in good company — more than 40 million Americans went camping in 2013, for a total of 597.7 million days, according to the 2014 American Camper Report. And as with just about every other area of American life, advances in technology are influencing the way we go camping.
If you dream of setting up camp in the great outdoors and roasting s’mores under a starlit sky, we’ll show you the top tools and gadgets to maximize your experience.
Light up the night
Leave that old-fashioned flashlight at home — the BioLite NanoGrid will illuminate your campsite in spectacular ways. This gadget is both a lighting system and a charging station that fits in the palm of your hand. The BioLite NanoGrid creates the ideal ambiance for ghost stories by the campfire while you charge your GoPro camera, smartphone or other devices for up to 72 hours.
Keep your cool
Plan on barbecuing and enjoying a few cold ones? The typical cooler won’t suffice for a multi-day camping trip, especially if you need to keep steak, burgers, veggies and refreshments cold. Although you can find many high-tech coolers to buy, the YETI Hopper 30 is one of the better choices. This leak-proof tote bag cooler uses the same material as HazMat suits and will keep 26 pounds of ice frozen for days — plus, it’s backed by a three-year warranty.
Caffeine addicts will survive
When a regular cup of coffee just won’t do, there is a way to pull a rich, aromatic shot of espresso even when camping (which will pair perfectly with your s’mores). The Handpresso machine is simple to use and works anywhere — no battery or electricity necessary. You generate pressure with the hand pump, add hot water and espresso, and voilà: a tasty espresso.
Let it burn
Whether you’re in a national or state park, a private campground or even on a public beach, often the previous campers did not bother to scrape the grill clean before you arrived. Consider bringing a portable freestanding fireplace, such as the Heininger GarageMate Portable Fire Pit. This lightweight, all-weather propane pit is easy to carry into your campsite, and it comes with a 10-foot hose for the tank. The best part? No more hauling firewood around.
Eat in style
Around the campfire is the only place where using a spork will make you the envy of your friends. This Eat’N Tool is no joke — it’s a spoon, a fork and a bottle opener (you will need this for all that beer you stuffed into the YETI Hopper 30 cooler). But wait, there’s more: The right side of the handle is ground down and can be used as a screwdriver blade or to pry open canisters, and there are three metric wrench reliefs for emergency repairs.
These five campfire gadgets cover most of the bases to enjoy the ideal campfire. Cold drinks, warm espresso, ideal lighting, quirky utensils and a fire pit are just a handful of gadgets you should consider for your next campfire this summer.