Photo: Olga Yastremska

Choosing the Right Gadgets To Enhance Your Camping Trip

Before you head out again, consult this list for some ideas of the gadgets that can elevate your campsite.

If you show up at a campsite with food, water and shelter, you’ve pretty much got the minimum essentials needed to have a great time outside. But if you’re car camping, you can afford yourself a few luxuries that will take your experience to the next level. Have you ever looked over at a neighboring campsite and been filled with envy, or imagined how much fun you could be having if you brought a couple of extra items like they did? Before you head out again, consult this list for some ideas of the gadgets that can elevate your campsite. 


We all love good music around the campfire, but sometimes it’s best left to the professionals. Bring your favorite tunes along with a wireless bluetooth speaker and liven up cooking duty, morning coffee, or dinnertime. 

Star Finder App

It’s magical to look up at a dark sky full of stars. It’s even more magical to actually know what you’re looking at. Use a star finder app––like the NASA App, or Star Walk 2––that identifies constellations, from the Pleiades to Orion’s Belt.

Mountain Finder App

When you look out at the horizon of your new surroundings, you’ll want to identify that cool-looking mountain to get your bearings. Apps like Peak Finder can help. Hold it in your line of sight and the app will offer the names of the mountains you’ve targeted. 

Plant Identifier App

Identifying the plants and trees around you also adds to your appreciation of a new place outdoors—not to mention determining if what you’re looking at is poisonous or not. A ton of fun apps allow you to point your phone at a plant to find out, such as PlantSnap or PictureThis and iNaturalist. 

Portable Book Reader

Sure, it’s great to be in the middle of a good book. But what if you’re inspired elsewhere once you’re out in nature, or want options? That’s where an e-reader comes in handy. Download a handful of choices before you leave, and be prepared to crack open whatever book your mood dictates.


The most envy-inducing campsite accessory you can have are string lights. Look for waterproof solar-powered options that can be quickly deployed to illuminate a campsite or dinner table. Burn ban in effect? Cluster these up in a fire pit and you’ve got the next best thing. 

Photo: Vlarvix

Solar Panel

If you’re camping out for a few days, phones and headlamps are probably going to need a charge (especially if you’re out hiking or doing activities every day). A solar panel is an effective way to keep everyone’s gadgets charged up. 

Solar Lantern

There’s a comforting appeal to using a lantern to light up a dinner table or the inside of a tent, plus it keeps your group from constantly shining their headlamps in each other’s faces. Getting a version that recharges in the sun means there’s one less thing to think about charging. 

Power Bank

Speaking of charging, bring one of these with a full charge so you can juice all of your gadgets while you sleep at night. (Get one with the capacity to charge a smartphone a few times over). If you have a power bank and a solar panel, plug the bank into the panel and recharge it during the day. But if you don’t have a solar panel, or it’s not going to be sunny where you’re going, a power bank is invaluable.

POV Camera

No, you don’t have to strap it to your forehead to capture every waking moment, but having a rugged and minimal camera (like a GoPro) handy to help document your trip is a fun way to remember it. Plus, GoPros are tiny, super lightweight, shoot 5K video, and you can take it along for a swim.

Satellite Messenger

Get away from your inbox while you’re off the grid, but without abandoning all connection to the rest of the world. These devices are a huge benefit to have as a safety tool in case you need help, and they’re also ideal for folks who need to update or keep in touch with loved ones. 

Outdoor Shower

If you’ve ever camped for multiple days in a row without access to bodies of water to jump in, you know what it feels like for the grime to set in. These portable showers range in price and capacity, but are pretty simple to use: Collect water in the vestibule, let it warm in the sun, and then hang it up and you’re ready to go. In the moment, this will probably feel like the best shower of your life.


Finally, this should be in your kit all the time, but consider paying extra attention to its quality and usefulness. A nice sharp knife will make your cooking experience more enjoyable, and a beefy multitool with everything you could possibly need makes it easier to deal with whatever issues might come up.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.