It’s the Summer Holidays. The kids are finishing school, the sun is out (for now) and it’s time to pack up the car and head to the coast – or further field if you feeling truly adventurous. While many people understandably love the spirit of the outdoors there are times when having a few extra creature comforts can make the experience a little more pleasurable. Here Chris Price looks at his Top 5 camping gadgets….
£135 Cotswold Outdoor
Here’s a camping gadget that drags the good old fashioned camp fire kicking and screaming into the 21st century. A truly ingenious idea, the CampStove burns twigs, bark, pine cones or any other biomass that you can muster while you’re out and about. Excess heat from the flame then generates electricity via a thermoelectric generator to power a fan that creates airflow for improved combustion, greater efficiency and less smoke. As well as running the fan, the generator produces enough spare electricity to send to a USB port that will charge your phone, MP3 player, LED lights or other electrical gadgets. Clever eh? You can boil a litre of water in under five minutes (depending on the strength of the fire, of course) and a twenty minute burn provides enough mobile phone charge for an hour’s talk time. All this in a unit that weights less than one kilo (around two pounds).
Well no surprises for guessing what this is – it’s a portable barbecue in a suitcase just as the name suggests. Designed for camping, festivals or even the back garden, it features a lightweight, stainless steel construction so it won’t be a hassle to carry around. Boasting a grill, coal tray and the quote, ‘The Adventure Begins’, printed on either side, it’s great for enjoying food on the go without all the paraphernalia usually associated with barbecues. It measure 22cm (L) x 32cm (W) x 8cm (D) so it won’t take up too much space in the car or your backpack.
Mobicool MB32 Power DC Electric Cool Bag
Want to keep your food and drink fridge temperature as you travel from one campsite to the next? Then you need a cool bag. This is one of the best we’ve seen because not only does it connect to the 12 Volt adaptor in your car to keep everything chilled, it’s also much less bulky than the plastic designs, tipping the scales at around 2Kg. Capable of holding up to 32 litres, it can also be folded down quite easily when not in use. Recommended.
Trekology Ultralight Inflating Travel/Camping Pillows
Described as the most compact ultra light inflatable pillow around, this pillow from Trekology folds to just 5inches x 2inches, making it small enough to be carried around in your backpack or pocket. Constructed from strong, durable, water-resistant, elastic TPU fabric it can be inflated by mouth to 16 x 12 x 4inches. To adjust firmness, press black button partway down and to deflate click black button to down position to open air release. Available in several different colours (including blue, pink, brown or orange), it weighs just 2.75 oz (78g).
Eletorot Portable Camping Lantern
Amazon £9.99 for three
There are times when you will need some light in your tent, such as when you are getting dressed or undressed or reading about where you are staying! Rather than relying on a torch or your smartphone, you can now get cool-looking and colourful waterproof lanterns such as these from Eletorot. Designed to be easily be hooked on the tent or on a rope, they are made with water resistant materials, so should be OK even for the typical British Summer! What’s more they offer a soft light rather than a glaring light with three modes (full brightness, half brightness and SOS). Each bulb is powered by three AAA batteries.