With the exception of glamping, which is not really camping at all, a large part of the appeal of camping is minimalism. Yet, adding one or two small modern comforts into your hiking pack can enhance your hiking or camping experience, rather than taint it.
Some of our recommendations like the Survivor Filter Pro or the what3words app are, in our minds, pretty essential. They offer high functionality that cannot be missed and simplicity of execution that makes them an absolute pleasure to use.
On the other hand, we have also included what you would definitely consider luxuries, such as the Wacaco Nanopresso coffee machine and BioLite CampStove 2+. They are not required items by any stretch of the imagination, but they always succeed in making us smile at the end of a long day.
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The best camping gadgets in detail:
Survivor Filter Pro
Best way to clean water
Camping is a doddle, so long as you've got the essentials nailed down. One of these essentials is a biggie u2013 water. Whether you're hiking, trekking, backpacking, or wild camping, the Survival Filter Pro is a water filtration system that'll give you unlimited access to clean drinking water. The device's filters are proven to remove 99.9 per cent of bacteria and viruses, and reduce the presence of heavy metals, like mercury.
Its small size means that it's easy to pack and transport, too. It'll filter 500ml of water every minute, and the hose allows for filtration straight from a wild water source. It's a simple, quick to use, and a trusted friend for our expeditions.
Sea To Summit Clothesline
Best way to dry clothes
Draping wet clothes or travel towels over your tent isn't an effective means of drying garments but when off on treks, it's all one can do. Or hang things over a branch. This problem is addressed with this micro-sized clothesline.
It really is micro. it weighs 25 grams and is the size of a small tape measure, so even if you're packing light there will be room for it. The cord is 3.5 metres long, which is more than enough, and is reflective so you don't strangle yourself when it's dark. There are also beads on the cord so you can secure things from blowing away.
what3words - Free App
Best location app
What3words is one of the most powerful safety tools you can access, and it's free. The app has broken down the entire world into 3 x 3-meter squares, each tagged with a unique three-word combination.
In the case of an accident, these words can be passed onto emergency services, allowing your location to be told with extreme accuracy. This allows you to avoid having to repeat complex coordinates in high-stress situations. For example, the peak of Ben Nevis becomes "marble.messaging.hacksaw", rather than 56.7969° N, 5.0036° W. Do note that your smartphone will require activated GPS/Location to work with this app.
Goal Zero Nomad 10 Solar Panel
Best solar panel for hiking
Goal Zero is a very cool company that delivers not only brilliant power solutions but is itself powered by a great ethos. The Nomad 10 provides 10 Watts of power but weighs a mere 0.51kg. It is foldable and you can easily attach it to your pack so it charges devices as you hike.
When it comes to making camp, the Nomad 10 also has a kickstand to use if you need it. It's no fragile thing either - the Nomad 10 is durable as designed specifically to cope with hiking conditions. Go off-grid without losing the convenience of smartphones and GPS navigators.
Gerber Folding Shovel
Best lightweight shovel
The Gerber Folding Shovel is a great tool to have on hand at camp, allowing you to stoke fires, clear debris, and dig latrines (aka. toilet holes) in more rural locations. Camping is all about being economical, so anything that has more than one function is a winner.
This shovel's steel head and nylon handle (with rubberised grip) make it robust enough for years of use. Fold the head back and there is a small hammer head for dealing to tent pegs. Plus, it comes with a stow bag. It weighs 794g and folded away, it measures 23.4cm.
Goal Zero Flip 24
Best compact power bank
You might like disconnecting when off on a hike and that's fair enough. But equally, you might like to keep your phone charged. The best way to do that is with this small packet of power.
The Flip 24 is only a little larger than a cigarette lighter and carries a 6700mAh battery, which is enough to charge a phone a couple of times. It, along with any compatible device, can be recharged by the Nomad 10 above.
SOTO Windmaster Portable Stove
Best lightweight camping stove
The Windmaster currently stands as our champion camping stove. It's a reliable, affordable canister-top stove with good stability and excellent wind protection, with the beneficial bonus of a fast boil time (4 minutes for one litre).
The Windmaster weighs in at just under 100g. There are lighter ones around but in return for the minute extra heft with the Windmaster you get four support arms, rather than the usual three, and a wider 4.5cm burner. This ensures better stability when cooking and a broader heat base for easier cooking. The burner head is also concave to help with wind protection and works wonders.
Sea To Summit Pocket Shower
Best portable shower
Some solar showers are alright, but this is better and even less complicated. It's essentially a 10-litre dry bag with a small shower head at one end and an opening at the other.
Sling it overhead and enjoy about seven minutes of showering. You can use hot or cold water and even adjust the flow by turning the shower head. When not in use, it's a durable dry bag made from 70D fabric.
Biolite CampStove 2+
Best camping gadget idea
The Biolite CampStove 2+ is a seriously smart piece of campsite technology, with every feature linking and aiding another. Fuelled by sticks and twigs, the stove provides the ideal stove for cooking up a fireside feast. Excess heat is reclaimed by the attached heat probe and converted into electricity, which can be used to power or charge (maximum 4-watts) a USB device.
Unused power charges an internal 3200mAh battery pack for later use. Some of the power is diverted to internal fans, which stoke the flames and ensure optimum fuel efficiency, and reduces smoke output by 95 per cent. On the side, three LED gauges feedback to the user on fire, fan, and power performance. The whole thing weighs 935g and measures 12.7 x 21cm.
Matador Pocket Blanket 2.0
Best lightweight blanket
The ground is a damp and chilly place to sit without protection but carrying a big old picnic blanket is a waste of space. Thankfully, the Matador Pocket Blanket is here, offering a pocket-friendly, lightweight, and waterproof nylon blanket for any situation. When it's unfolded, it'll comfortably seat two people. Four corner pockets allow for the use of natural anchors like sand or pebbles, and there are also some small tethering pegs included.
Best portable coffee maker
Arguably the only problem with the great outdoors is the absence of coffee. This problem is solved with the Nanopresso, as it allows delicious espresso coffee to tasted at base camp with ease.
It uses ground coffee, hot water, and a hand-operated piston to build pressure and force out a fresh espresso. It's small too, measuring 15.6cm in length and weighing 336g. It'll fit into a backpack's bottle pocket.
Helinox Chair Zero
Best lightweight chair
The task of a chair is normally relegated to a log or patch of dry grass when hiking. Chairs themselves are just too bulky to carry around. Except this one.
The Helinox Chair Zero incorporates light but very strong aluminium allow tubes to build the frame of the chair. The seat itself sits very close to the ground, which also helps to reduce the amount of material needed in the construction. The result is an item that folds down to a small, hike-friendly package (10 x 35cm) and weighs only 510g yet can hold up to 120kg. It's one of the best camping chairs available and comes with a five-year warranty.
Thermacell MR300 Mosquito & Midge Protector
Best campsite insect repellent
With no flame and no harmful chemicals, the MR300 will successfully repel flying insects like mosquitos, gnats, and midges, preventing them from becoming a blight to your camp. The gadget uses a small butane cartridge to heat a pad dowsed in an odourless natural insect repellent, found in chrysanthemums. The area that's affected is around 4.5m by 4.5m. It'll run for 12 hours, and can be connected to a pack if required.
Petzl Noctilight Headlamp Case
Best Petzl accessory
A headtorch, headband and all, fits inside to become a lantern with a diffused light. The soft-touch case allows the torch to be fully operated, and the elasticated hook and fabric loop allow for various tent or backpack attachment possibilities. This is a simple and highly versatile purchase.
PacSafe Travelsafe 5L GII
Best portable safe
This travel safe and bag hybrid provides peace of mind when camping. The material is reinforced with steel mesh, and the stainless steel cable both fastens and anchors the bag, with the help of a three-digits combo lock.
Use it for all sorts, including watches, cash, Kindles, smartphones, and tablets. The Pacsafe Travelsafe isn't just useful for campsites, but any public place where your attention isn't 100 per cent dedicated to your valuables – beaches, parks, airports, and hotels. The only drawback is that because it's so secure, it's relatively heavy (410g).