Gear and Gadgets to Take Your Camping Experience to the Next Level!
Whenever we think about (solo) camping gear, we focus on the big and obvious pieces: a tent, sleeping bag or sleeping mat. But beyond those, there are some nice items that can make even the most basic camping trip almost a glamping adventure.
I’ve collected a few “must-haves” camping gear items that should not be overlooked when thinking about the big stuff. Then, I added five luxury items – they might not be necessary but elevate your camping adventure from mere survival to sweet dreamy pleasure.
I know that it is important to lighten our loads up - but I am of the middle way philosophy - I prefer to carry a few seemingly unnecessary items for the added comfort and pleasure.
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Must-have camping gadgets for a (solo) camper
Unless you are heading off to Iceland in summer, a headlamp is a must. It’s so much easier to use than a regular flashlight when you look around your tent or read a book (or a Kindle). And don’t even think about going to relieve yourself in the night with a flashlight in your hand. So much more bothersome! Grab a nice, light headlight with a few options of light strength. It is also a good idea to have one with a red light option – it helps when there are other people around.
And don’t even let me start about the pure awesomeness of early morning coffee! The moment you get out of your tent and grab a mug of hot coffee, all is good in the world. You feel at peace with your life and can’t imagine a more perfect moment.
Fine, I’m not sure about the angels but grab a stove with you (and a few appropriate cooking dishes). There are a lot of options out there and you can go with the small and light stoves like the MSR rocket pocket or the combos making boiling water a breeze, like the Jetboil Minimo. I own both of those stoves and can highly recommend them.
I’m sure you have noticed I don’t mention cooking over open fire. I am against making fires while backpacking for many reasons - it’s really bad for the environment and our own health. That’s why I advocate for switching completely to only use small gas or alcohol stoves. There is a lot to choose from, matching every need and budget - just take a look below:
Take a look below at what your stove options are:
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Get a few different kinds and sizes to fit all your needs. Soft things like sleeping bag or clothes can benefit from compression sacks.
Small electronics feel at home in a tiny, 1L bag. All the different colors can also help with finding what you are looking for in a breeze. Make sure you always have a dry set of clothes for the night.
Even if the day was a miserable wet and cold hike through pouring rain, the moment you change into your dry thermal base layer and get into the sleeping bag, all is good again.
If you want, you can also get a big bag liner - to protect all your things inside. It is definitely something to rely on when heavy rains are in your hiking future.
Buff /Neck gaiter (or two)
I am sure this one is not an obvious one! But I find it a must. I always have two of them with me.
Neck gaiters are obviously heaven-sent during hikes - not just for the night. They protect your neck or head, can serve as face mask or quick sweat drying headband. And they come in awesome designs!
No matter what the manufacturers say, most tents have condensation issues. They also can get wet from rain or dew. Sitting and waiting for them to dry could take you well beyond noon so you need some help with dealing with the unwanted moisture.
I’ve heard people use smaller quick drying towels but I found something much better for the task. I always take a square sponge cloth from my kitchen cabinet. They are the kind that is hard when dry but soak up a great amount of moisture and gets soft then. I use it to collect as much water as I can from inside or outside and then the tent dries in no time.
Luxury camping gadgets for a (solo) camper
Now, what makes a good and memorable (in a positive way) camping trip? A pleasant evening and a good night sleep. I found that a few pieces of gear make me enjoy the solo evening in a tent so much more when I have them with me. I also make sure that I sleep warm and comfortable; otherwise, the next day hiking is going to be miserable.
My favorite thing when I’m camping is the moment I’m all changed, cleaned and fed and I can grab my kindle and just read until I’m ready to turn the lights off. Second place takes the breakfast - oatmeal, coffee and a kindle. Hiking and camping trips are the time I read the most – during regular work-filled days I just don’t have the time or peace of mind to read.
But camping? That’s the perfect moment. I use kindle not just for holding my books. I also copy into it documents like my insurance info, guidebooks, useful information I collected online and compiled into a document (and then turned into a pdf), bus timetables, booking confirmation and so on. You could hold them also on your phone but I find reading on a phone a bit tiring, I prefer the bigger screen of my e-reader.
Stainless-steel vacuum flask
Tea in a mug just gets cold too fast so an insulated flask wins. This one is a new item for me – I took it for the first time for my solo hiking trip to Crete and really loved it. I was also making some for the hiking day if it was to be cold. I got the 0,5L Esbit you can see on the right and it's just the perfect size for me.
It takes no place in your bag and is light like a feather but the quality of sleep it brings is worth the price tag.
The ultra-light pillow is a new acquisition for me – I took it for the first time to Crete, but I am not going anywhere without it from now on! I also use it on planes or ferries – it’s just amazing. You can read my review of it right here.
Each evening when I hike, I take notes on it. Memory is not a perfect thing so I prefer to write my thoughts and emotions while they are still fresh. I generally take just a simple school notebook and a pen but I never use it outside of my tent.
If you think you might want to have it ready no matter what the outside conditions are like – grab a weatherproof notebook, so you can write your thoughts, poems, and navigation points whenever the inspiration strikes.
Small, packable backpack
It's probably useless for a one-night camping trip but pretty useful for longer ones. Some can serve as a dry bag or can get stuffed into their own pockets to take very little room in your bag.
Why I take one with me? First of all - it's perfect for traveling toward the hiking destination. I take it with me to the plane or a bus with a few useful items, while the big backpack in the luggage compartment. I also use it when staying on a campsite and taking a few things to take a shower, go to a pub or wash my clothes. A few times I had a chance to stay two nights at a campsite and take just this small backpack for a day hike.
You can find the above (or very similar) gear and gadgets also at these retailers:
>>> MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove | Backcountry
>>> Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System | REI Co-op
>>> Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack | Backcountry
>>> Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack | Moosejaw
>>> Buff Polar Reversible MFL Headwear | Moosejaw
>>> UV Buff - Solid | Backcountry
>>> GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Vacuum Bottle | Moosejaw
>>> Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Pillow | Backcountry
>>> Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal - Large | REI Co-op
>>> Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack | Moosejaw
What is the gear that you would recommend others?
Do you agree with my list?