Once upon a ’60s Glastonbury, all you required for an evening beneath the stars was a patched-up two-man and a generous supply of baked beans – a stark contrast to the must-haves of modern day field-dwelling. The iPod docking station and solar powered mobile phone charger are vitals no conscientious camper can leave home without. Gadgets run the gamut of usefulness – some completely bizarre, others a lifesaver. We’ve trawled the net to introduce 17 of the best!
Leatherman Skeletool CX
If it’s shiny, sharp and resemblant of the stalwart Swiss Army Knife, you can guarantee it’ll prove a hit among the new generation of male campers. Featuring a swivel-steel four-inch blade, two gauge screwdriver and square-nosed pliers, the Leatherman Skeletool is the niftiest piece of kit for the hunter-gatherer camper, weighing just 140 grams.
Trekmates Foldable Kitchen Sink
Never has the expression “packing everything but the kitchen sink” been so apt! The Trekmates Folding Kitchen Sink “pops up” as a result of liquid volume. Capable of holding up to ten litres, the foldable sink benefits from a coated mix material and welded seams, so you never spill a drop!
The Notebook Barbecue
Slimmer than two iPads back-to-back; the Notebook Barbecue is the eco-friendly solution to those throwaway supermarket cheapies. Similar in aesthetics to a minimalist magazine rack, the Notebook is less than 46 cm in length and folds to just 15 cm in thickness. At 3.5 kilos in weight, the fold-up outdoor grill is easily transportable, even if you plan upon hiking to your destination!
With British weather being as unpredictable as the outside favourite at Ascot, it was inevitable one company would seek to solve that age-old issue of a midnight loo dash in a freezing downpour. MusucBag is the wearable sleeping bag that guarantees to keep you dry. Available in four adult sizes and block colours from black to bright yellow, choose to be seen or remain aloof as you venture out for the nightly call of nature.
Thanko Camera Binoculars
Ever caught yourself marveling at a distant sunset and wished your mobile phone could operate beyond the 3x optical zoom? Thanko have the solution in the form of 8 megapixel camera binoculars. With capacity for up up to 16GB memory and battery-powered zoom, you need never miss out on capturing a great horizon again!
Quechua Self-Pitching Tent
Don’t know your tent peg from your A-frame? Fear not, for U.S based Quechua have devised a pop-up tent, expandable to full-size in 5 seconds flat. With the usual mod-cons such as a waterproof outer layer and sun-visor, this could be the ultimate gift for the woman in your life, or the guy who thinks DIY were an 80′s rap outfit!
Joby Gorilla Torch
When your campsite finally succumbs to darkness and the creepy silhouettes of tree branches resemble Halloween ghouls, you tend to thank your lucky stars you’ve bought a trusty hand-held for tent / site navigation. Free your up your hands with Joby’s GorillaTorch; a tripod torch with bendable legs and rubber feet, designed to grip onto any large surface – including your head! The dimmable LED can be brightened to 60 lumens and runs for up to 80 hours on three AAA batteries.
The Smooff Portable Mattress
Technically, the Smooff fulfills more of sun-lounger appeal, however is slowly gaining in popularity among festival campers. Essentially just a roll-out padded mat, the Smooff folds down to a 50 cm square bag and weighs less than 5 kg – light enough to entrust to one of the kids for the final mile.
Handpresso Wild Instant Espresso Machine
Just because you’re perched atop Mount Snowdonia, doesn’t mean you have to make do with freeze dried instant coffee. With the Handpresso Instant Espresso Machine, your cup will always be half full – providing you remember to pack the Easy Serve Espresso Pods. Handpresso operates with the simple pump-action of a lever to generate the 16-bar pressure for a perfect shot of espresso. Ultra compact at 22 x 7 cm, this is one essential that makes a morning on the mountainside just that little more luxurious.
Coleman Fold and Go Stove
Camping stoves may have been around for eons, yet none are quite as bijou as the Coleman Fold and Go. With twin 10,000 BTU burners; the trademark Intastart gas ignition system and run-time of over an hour, Fold and Go eliminates the need for matches and make-shift windshields. Around 25% smaller than the bestselling portable gas stoves, this smart foldaway hob guarantees to nestle snugly in your backpack, with ample room left over for your MP3 speakers!
Light My Fire Mini FireSteel
Ignite your inner caveman/ woman with the little stick that creates big flames. The pocket FireSteel isn’t dissimilar to the archaic kitchen ignition tool, however benefits from a unique wind-proof technology. A complex internal ignition system creates a spark at over 3,000 Celsius – in any weather conditions! Measuring just 8cm in length, the tiny key-fob gizmo is small enough to even attach to your key-ring!
i-Hat: The MP3 Headphone Hat
Winter camping is a surprisingly popular pastime in the U.K and modifications to outdoor clothing are always reaching new levels of sophistication. Aside from your mobile, your MP3 is probably second on your list of essentials to pack, but rather than endure the discomfort of wires wrapped beneath your turtle-neck fleece, why not try an i-Hat? Taking the simple concept of a beanie hat, Lazybone integrated a seam-stitched sound system, designed to hook up to your ‘Pod’ just beneath the ear. i-Hat is the perfect solution to exposing your lobes to the elements and losing your wires beneath three layers of clothing!
Mini Kin Wind Powered Charger
Harness the power of nature for a mobile phone charger that promises to deliver in even the severest of wind conditions. The Mini Kin stores power generated by the wind, within a tiny memory unit and 1500mAh rechargeable Lithium battery. Simply connect your mobile phone or MP3 on the go and the unit will convert the saved energy into a current, thus charging up your device at the same speed as a conventional plug socket.
Kelsyus Original Canopy Camping Chair
Dying to enjoy what few 30 Celsius days of sunshine we get? No longer do the fair-skinned need to hide beneath the shade of the tent canopy, for Kelsyus have released the versatile answer. The Kelsyus Original Canopy Chair is quite simply a fold-out chair featuring a sliding overhead canopy. Made from tough-coated polyester, the Kelsyus is completely waterproof and folds down to the size of a camping mat for ease of carriage.
Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS Watch
Losing your bearings ten miles from the campsite is now a thing of the past thanks to GPS. The Garmin Foretrex GPS Watch eases the pressure just that little bit more with wireless data transfer technology and superior receptive sensitivity. Harness the power of satellite technology to download accurate route / track maps direct to your watch, or tap into the memory of another using intelligent wireless capability. A barometer, electronic compass and accurate temperature gauge are just a few of the nifty extras built into the must-have piece of navigation kit.
EyeMax Wind Up Solar Powered Radio
Never miss out on the dulcet tones of Chris Moyles again, with the EyeMax Wind Up Solar Radio. Relying on power generated from the sun’s rays, a unique intelligent system conserves this energy within a memory chamber, until you power up the winding mechanism. Thirty seconds of winding delivers 30 minutes of talk / music play and you can even enjoy it at night, thanks to the in-built LED torch!
Judge Portable Induction Hob
If your fire-starter skills aren’t quite up to par, the Judge Induction Hob is a welcome addition for self-catering on the move. The electrical stove can be hooked up to a solar or portable generator and is digitally controlled via an on-board touch-pad. For enhanced safety, the Judge Hob comes into its own with an intelligent system that only heats up, once a pan has been placed on the hob. At just under 60 cm², the portable is ideal for backpackers.
Now that you have the gadgets you need to find the perfect camping spot! Check out for the latest campsite reviews and guides throughout the UK.