Gimmicks and Gadgets - Our Camping Top Ten
Sure, we all love camping. The stocking up the caravan, the glamping, the cooking breakfast over the campfire…But, if we’re really honest, we have to admit that one of the very best things about camping is all the cool camping equpiment, gimmicks and gadgets you can bring along. And of course they’re justified in the camping budget – just look how useful (and so very cool) they are:
Come On Baby Light My Fire: What could be better than a good camping knife or a nifty way to make fire? Something that does both in one, of course. The Swedish FireKnife is a high quality knife that’ll do all you want when camping, from gutting fish to sawing off the seal on your chardonnay. But there’s also a firestarter in the handle which goes up to 2980°C and which works when wet. Bonus points for singing Prodigy songs while you do it.
Picnic Pants: Here, ‘pants’ is clearly American for ‘trousers’, so this camping product doesn’t refer to eating in your underwear, which we never ever do. Oh no. These nifty trews have a cloth panel in the front, which, when you’re sitting down, becomes a handy table on which to put your ginger beer and hard boiled eggs. And it gets better – the jeans also have pockets to hold drinks. The picnic pants are ‘dorky as all hell’ according to one review, which is precisely why we like them.
Portable Campfire: It’s a fire! And you can move it around! That in itself is good enough for inclusion into a cool camping gadgets list, but the Portable Fire Pit from Oxbox goes a bit further than that. It’s made of stainless steel, collapsible, assembles in less than a minute and holds a proper log fire. Toasty, safe, contained so no embers fall out, and protects the grass underneath it. Win.
Fire in a Bowl: Similar to the Portable Fire Pit, but even dinkier, is the Grilliput (geddit?) FireBowl which weighs a miniscule ten ounces. Stick a portable grill or bbq over it, toast marshmallows, store wood in it when travelling, or strap it to the back of your bike – it’s all good.
Hee-yah Umbrella: It’s officially called a samurai umbrella, but hee-yah is obviously the noise you’ll make when you take it out of its cover. Every time. We always give bonus points to cool camping kit that you can bring to the office, and this will get you looks if nothing else. Looks of sheer unadulterated envy, of course. There’s also a lightsabre umbrella by the same folks, but make sure you don’t video yourself doing all the moves.
Notebook BBQ Grill: Possibly the coolest firestarter gadget ever, the Notebook BBQ looks like a laptop, is as slim as a laptop – and you can set fire to it. This is a portable grill the size of a notebook computer, that opens out with racks to give you a 45 x 30 cm cooking area. It weighs less than four kilos, is stainless steel and durable, and is easy to work even for the most bbq challenged – just chuck in some charcoal, light and add the sausages.
Squirty Sauce Condiment Gun: Once the sausages are done, don’t be faffing around with ketchup bottles or trying to scrape the right amount of mustard from your plastic knife, which then gets stuck in the jar while you have your paper plate full of sausages in your other hand. Oh no. Just squirt your condiment instead with these nifty guns, which hold about 100 ml of sauce each and take about twenty trigger squeezes to empty. Less, of course, if you start a ketchup gunfight.
Zippo Hand Warmer: Whether you’re camping, smoking outside the pub or just have lizard-like circulation, this is what you need. This handheld chunk of warmth is built for winter warriors, explains Zippo, which sounds a bit better than ‘for wimps who can’t handle the cold’ like us. The burner uses lighter fuel to produce a good strong heat for your unmittened hands, comes with a two year guarantee and can be engraved with a name if you want to give it as a gift. Or deter thieves.
Instant Power! Anywhere!: This fuel cell charger means that you have ‘instant power anywhere anytime’ say makers Powertrekk, who knows just how us twenty-first century kids roll. And it’s water-based – er, what? The nifty Swedes who’ve made this have used the concept of hydrogen creating electricity, which then charges your BlackBerry. Fill the charger up with about a spoonful of water, attach your gadget to it using the USB-A connector, and voila. Full battery power in the middle of nowhere.
Ploo Pack: It’s a loo in a box. And it comes to us courtesy of the Brown Corporation. This little piece of kit is a lightweight portable cardboard toilet, which the folks at Brown helpfully tell us is ‘designed for outdoor use’. And there’s also a lid, which means it doubles as a stool – ‘ha ha’, they add. We like the folks at the Brown Corporation. There are also mini boxes available for kids, starting at just a fiver.
There you go, ten nifty bits of camping kit that are all absolutely essential to buy right now. Santa...?