camping,  Outdoor recreation

8 Smart Gadgets for Your Next Camping Trip – MUO – MakeUseOf

In the 21st century, smart gadgets are everywhere. Technology is in our homes, offices, cars, and even on our wrists—but it hasn’t made its way properly into the great outdoors just yet.

Many outdoor enthusiasts might think that you need to do without modern amenities like GPS devices or portable cameras while out in the wild. And while you could certainly do without them, why would you want to?

There are reliable ways of bringing some tech along with you on your next camping trip without detracting from the old-fashioned glory of sleeping under the stars and cooking over a campfire.

1. Solar-Powered Tent

Camping without a tent is so last year. Just because you’re roughing it in the wild doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. And while nothing beats a classic canvas cabin tent, it isn’t exactly ideal in terms of portability and ease of setup.

Solar-powered tents, on the other hand, offer all the protection and durability of traditional camping gear without requiring you to search for an outlet every time you want to flip on a light at night.

Solar tents are equipped with panels that allow them to harness enough energy from the sun during the day to power their lighting systems at night. The best part? Many models can be set up in under two minutes, which is great for those who like to go camping spontaneously or are prone to last-minute gear preparation.

If you’re really looking to go off-grid, you can also use a solar generator to power your gadgets while you’re out in the wild.

Related: The Best Solar Generators for Sustainable Living

2. Smart Water Bottle

You might not think you need a smart water bottle, but once you have one, it’ll be hard to do without.

Smart water bottles are made from BPA-free plastic and connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. They work with an app that tracks the amount of liquid you drink each day, reminds you how much more you should be drinking if you haven’t been getting enough, and sets goals for yourself.

Some models even have a power bank, so you can charge your phone while outdoors.

Related: How to Log Water Intake on Your iPhone

3. Wireless Panic Button

One of the biggest safety concerns for campers is feeling like they’re too far away from civilization to be able to seek help if an emergency arises. Wireless panic buttons connect you to the local authorities via GPS, so even if you’re in the middle of nowhere, help can find its way to your tent.

These gadgets are small enough that they can easily be stored in a backpack or purse when not being used. Just one press of a button is all it takes for peace of mind while you’re sleeping or cooking in the great outdoors.

4. Portable Espresso Maker

Camping without a cup of Joe is the worst. Now, if only you could make some on your camp stove.

A portable espresso maker might be just what you need to solve this common problem. These tiny coffee makers work like traditional home models, with a few differences.

They’re designed for outdoor use and can stand up to the elements (and even campfires) without breaking. They come equipped with battery-powered heating systems that activate once you add water.

Coincidentally, they also make awesome emergency heaters in freezing weather conditions if your campsite lacks an adequate source of warmth. You’ll get a quick and convenient caffeine fix while staying within reach of Mother Nature’s unlimited supply of fresh mountain spring water.

5. Portable Wood Burning Camp Stove

Cooking over a campfire is the quintessential way of doing things outdoors, but if you’re going to be cooking with fire, why not go all out and bring a portable wood-burning stove along with you on your next camping trip?

This type of stove is self-contained, so it can easily be brought from one site to another without taking up too much space in your backpack. It works with an external fuel source, so you don’t have to pack as many supplies as you would for a classic campfire, plus it’s more efficient at heating food and water.

Some camp stoves can convert fire to energy in a battery pack that can charge USB devices like a smartphone.

6. Smart Cooler

If you’re the kind of person who spends all day at the beach or can easily get lost for hours in a forest, you’re going to need to stay hydrated.

Smart coolers help keep your water supply plentiful and cold no matter how far into nature you roam. Many models come equipped with built-in USB chargers, so you can use them as power banks when stranded without electricity. Some even have Bluetooth speakers, which is great if you don’t want to carry around extra gear any more than necessary.

7. Smart Lantern

The sunsets and you’re still out there exploring. It’s time to bring some light into your life and enjoy nature’s beauty from a fully illuminated perspective.

A smart lantern is the perfect piece of tech for your camping gear arsenal. They’re compact enough to fit in your backpack and produce several hours of light on one charge.

Some models even have dimming capabilities, USB charging outlets, multiple light settings, and are water-resistant and connect to your phone via Bluetooth, so you can control them without touching the lantern itself.

Related: The 7 Best Affordable Solar Power Banks

8. Smart Outdoor Watch

If you’re going to spend a significant amount of time outdoors, it’s a good idea to have a smartwatch that can keep up with your adventures.

These devices monitor everything from outdoor distances traveled and steps taken to atmospheric conditions and even your heart rate while running or biking. They sync with GPS, so you don’t get lost if you forget the map, and use Wi-Fi to connect with your phone when in range.

They’re durable enough to deal with the elements and contain a ton of tech that you might need when in a bind. The Garmin smartwatches have a variety of features for hikers and campers, including an altimeter to monitor elevation changes, sunrise/sunset times, so you don’t get stuck out there after nightfall, and activity trackers to keep you informed of your daily progress.

Related: The 7 Best Garmin Smartwatches

Camping in Style With Great Smart Gadgets

Camping is an amazing way to connect with nature, spend time with friends and family, and disconnect from the everyday.

Even though Mother Nature makes everything so much more difficult, it’s up to us humans to find ways of improving our experience in the great outdoors.

From smart coolers that carry enough water for a full day hike without needing any ice to portable espresso makers that will save you from drinking subpar coffee at campgrounds, there are countless gadgets out there made for this purpose.

So whether you’re an avid camper or just looking for ways to improve your quality of life, these gadgets are must-haves for nature-lovers.

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