Cool Camping Gadgets For Any Outdoor Adventure 2022
Whether you’re into backcountry camping or comfy glamping, there are certain camping tools and gadgets that can make your time in the great outdoors better. Apart from the obvious items that can make your trip safer and more comfortable, like a weatherproof tent, quality sleeping bags, long-lasting LED lighting, etc., we’ve found a few other miscellaneous gadgets that you may not have even known existed.
As someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, I’ve had the pleasure of trying various cool camping gadgets over the years, including most of the products reviewed below. Some of these tools and gear I use in my own campervan, others I stumbled upon by happenstance, and some were excellent ideas from van lifer friends and camper blogs.
Without further ado, let’s dive into this guide featuring unique camping gear you’re going to want on your next camping trip. While these products are numbered, keep in mind that there is no top pick here. All these products can add some comfort to your camping adventure, and it’s up to you to determine what makes the most sense for you.
- Best Camp Knife: Benchmade Bugout 535 Pocket Knife
- Best Emergency Radio: Kaito KA5000 Emergency Radio
- Best Camp Mug: Klean Kanteen Camp Mug
- Best Coffee Gadget: VSSL Java
- Best Camp Table: GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station
- Best Wash Basin: SOL Flat Pack Sink 16L
- Best Camp Shower: Extremus Rainbow Falls Camping Shower
- Best Camp Utensils: UCO Camping Utensils Set
- Light up the Night: NiteIze ShineLine
- Best Log Carrier: White Duck Tuff Firewood Log Carrier
- Best Bug Repellent: Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller
- Best Backpack Cooler: ICEMULE Jaunt 15L
- Best Lighter: SOL Fire Lite Fuel Free Lighter
- Best Power Bank: Jackery Explorer 240
- Best Water Filter: The LifeStraw
- Just in Case: VSSL Camp Supplies
- Best Slim Multitool: SE MT908 11-Way Multi Tool
- Best Portable Fire Ring: BioLite Wood Burning & USB Charging Camp Stove
- Best Camp Stove: Coleman Perfect Flow Grill Stove
- When Nature Calls: Reliance Portable Loo
Coolest Camping Gadgets
The Benchmade Bugout is my go-to EDC knife and it’s a welcome companion when camping too. The stainless steel blade has yet to dull after nearly three years in my possession. I keep this knife handy at all times. While this knife ends up cutting boxes more than anything, it has come in exceptionally handy when I’m out camping. Whether I need to cut cord, prep food, or do any other camp task, this utility knife is always at the ready.
I love the blue grivory handle, it’s never slipped out of my hands and with a closed length of 4.22 inches, it fits well in my pocket and never feels too bulky. Read the in-depth review here.
CPM-S30V stainless-steel blade
Closed length of 4.22 inches
Straight edge stainless steel blade
- Weight1.8 Ounces
While emergency radios are a great emergency preparedness tool, they can also make an excellent piece of camping equipment. If you must have tunes or simply need an easy-to-power flashlight, the Kaito KA5000 Emergency Radio is a great option. Wind-up emergency radios get their power with a crank, meaning you don’t have to rely on the sun on, or electricity to get it going, making them perfect for camping.
This emergency radio features AM/FM radio channels, NOAA weather channels, a phone charger, a reading light, a flashlight and more. This radio is also impact-resistant and features a build of water-resistant ABS materials so it is durable enough for nearly any adventure. Read the in-depth review here.
Powered via crank, power cord or solar panel
Crafted out of ABS water-resistant materials
NOAA channels can alert you to changing weather conditions
Reading light and flashlight
Acts as a power bank if needed
- Weight1.48 Pounds
A camp mug is perfect for sitting around the fire pit and sipping on cocoa, enjoying your morning coffee by the river, or an afternoon cup of tea. A cup that isn’t heat resistant or insulated will either be too hot to hold or lose heat and leave you with a cold drink. Single-use items are terrible for the environment, so it’s time to make the switch to reusable options like the Klean Kanteen Camp Mug. This camp mug features vacuum insulation and 90% post-consumer recycled stainless steel, ensuring the durability of this product and keeping your drinks warm or hot. I usually use this mug for my morning tea or evening hot cocoa, it’s also been an excellent foraging container in a pinch since there is an included lid!
I’ve never found this mug too hot to hold, and on chilly nights in the great outdoors, my cocoa has never gotten cold. A quality camp mug is easily overlooked but it should certainly be on your camping gear list!
90% recycled 18/8 stainless steel
Climate Lock vacuum insulation
Plenty of fun colors and designs
- BrandKlean Kanteen
- Weight9.2 Ounces
Just because you’re in the great outdoors doesn’t mean you need to skip out on freshly ground coffee. Morning rituals are good, and many love their morning cup of joe and rely on it to get the day going. The VSSL Java is a manual coffee grinder with more than 50 grind settings so that you can enjoy a truly fresh cup of coffee no matter where your outdoor adventures take you.
While I am not a coffee drinker, my partner is and he was really tired of instant coffee. But now he can take coffee beans and make a wonderful cup of morning coffee with ease so this has become a must-have item for any overnights in the van. He loves the heft in hand and intuitive coarseness indicators on the bottom. He has yet to find the burr getting caught. Lastly, without fail, every single time he uses this coffee grinder, he finds the operation so smooth that he thinks he’s done but really is nowhere near finished when he opens the hopper.
Stainless steel burr
50 adjustable grind settings
Comes with a cleaning brush
Flip and clip carabiner
Crafted with aircraft-grade aluminum
- Weight12 Ounces
While I have two small fold-down tables on my van doors, I knew that I’d want a better space for cooking and preparing food, especially for larger groups, but I needed an option that packed slim enough to slide under my bed in my van. After some searching, I found the GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station. I’ve found this cook station easy to clean, easy to fold and unfold and it comes with a handful of handy features for stability. I’ve popped this camping table open to cook on snowy mornings before skiing, it’s been stationary for a week outdoors at camp while on a climbing trip, it’s been used on beaches, near rivers, and more.
My favorite feature is a tie between the garbage bag holders and the center lower rack which I have used to hold drinks, let dishes drain, and hold extra propane canisters. I find the center area is perfect for a camp stove while the upper fold-out surfaces are perfect for food prep. The lower side tables are great for storage, especially when using this table as a more stationary object for a week or two. When I’m done using this table, I wipe it down, fold all the pieces down and then slide it underneath my bed. It stacks perfectly with my camp chairs and cook stove.
Powder-coated steel frame
Four fold-out side tables & lower rack
Supports up to 300 pounds
Heat-resistant aluminum countertop
Folding design with carry handle
- BrandGCI Outdoor
- Weight18.9 Pounds
A wash basin is an excellent way to save water or to carry dirty dishes to the wash station or well. Pop-out wash stations can also double as catch-alls for any number of items. I also love using them when low on water or when I just need to save it. For these and more reasons, the SOL Flat Pack Sink 16L is an excellent addition to anyone’s camping gear.
When camping with large groups, dishes really start to pile up. The designated dish washers for the night can either stack everything and juggle it to the station, or load all the dishes into a wash basin and call it a day. The SOL Flat Pack Sink is really easy to use. To get going, pop it up, add your dishes, water and soap and it’s time to wash. I also found this sink handy when collecting fire kindling and as a foraging container when mushroom hunting.
16 liters capacity
Packs down flat
Weighs 27.2 ounces
- Weight27.2 Oz
One of my best friends insists on showering every day of a camping trip and would usually heat up water and take a sponge bath if a proper shower was unavailable. So naturally, I started my hunt for the best camping shower as a Christmas gift. While I was researching, I decided that I wanted a camp shower to add to my camping gear too. In the end, I ended up purchasing the Extremus Rainbow Falls Camping Shower for both me and my friend. I’ve found this cool camping gadget to be the perfect companion on longer trips and for adding quite a bit of camping comfort. This model is also great for cleaning dirty gear, or humans.
The water reservoir holds six gallons of water and is easy to hang in a tree. If you want hot water, the built-in solar panel helps heat the water, offering you a nice, hot shower. The exterior also holds the tubing when not in use and prevents water waste. Overall, this is a compact, easy-to-use and affordable piece of cool camping gear that I can highly recommend to campers, backpackers, and all outdoors lovers.
Durable PVC bag
Easy to hang
Straps to hold nozzles
Folds up into a compact package
- Weight0.63 Kilograms
The UCO Camping Utensils Set is a cool piece of camping gear that shines for its packability and ease of use. Instead of paper and plastic or hauling dishes from home, it’s much easier to have a set of camp utensils handy. There are tons of camping utensils available and you can mix and match your way through your trip, or opt for an all-in-one set that packs down small.
In the UCO Set, there is a mug, fork, knife, spoon, plate and bowl all in one. A silicone gear tie holds the whole package together but I’ve found that it stays put pretty easily even without. Rubberized grips help the plate and bowl stay put on slippery surfaces and my favorite is probably the fold-out mug. Many camp mugs are small and I need a big cup of tea in the morning.
Rubberized grips on bottom of plate and bowl
Lare pop-out mug
Silverware slides together
Included gear tie
- Weight272 Grams
Forget the string lights and that really small solar lantern with short battery life; one of the newest cool camping items is the NiteIze ShineLine. With it, you can create the right mood and ambiance without the bugs and without the bright lights. The NiteIze Shineline is a rechargeable LED light source that provides a soft light at camp, in your van, while car camping and anywhere you so choose to put it. While cheap, the Shineline is one of the best camping accessories out there and is sure to wow your friends and fellow campers.
The ShineLine weighs a mere 4.2 ounces and can be attached to trees, camping equipment, tents, your vehicle or whatever your creative mind can come up with at your campsite. I like to add this to trees and my van with the included reusable gear ties. If you lose light while out camping, you can use a portable power bank like a Jackery for a recharge and the pass-through power will keep your light functioning while charging.
Fiber optic and LED lights
Comes with reusable gear ties
Recharge via USB
Ten feet long
Weighs 4.2 ounces
- BrandNite Ize
- Weight4.2 Ounces
Hauling firewood back to camp to add to your fire starter can prove to be quite the task, and there’s almost always a risk of splinters or a bug that’s been hiding in the wood to pop out. I loved having this log carrier handy so that I didn’t have to come back to the fire between every single log. It works great when you need to send the kids off to gather wood or kindling. These fold flat so they don’t take up much space and come in several colors and shapes. Aside from being cool camping gear, if you have a wood-burning stove, the White Duck Outdoors Log Carrier can be an incredibly helpful tool for hauling in firewood from outside and means fewer trips into the cold, and if you live in the PNW, the wet.
These carriers are crafted of a durable 21-ounce heavy-duty canvas, a significantly heavier duty product than what I use for painting. The cross-stitch web handle that connects via velcro makes carrying wood over your shoulder or at your side a piece of cake, or as easy as it can be – it’s still hauling wood at the end of the day. Additionally, this tool can also be great for hauling other camping gear quickly, small items, and cleaning up around the house. When you’re all done, dust it off and fold it down for easy storage.
21-ounce heavy-duty canvas
Cross-stitch web handles
Folds flat for easy storage
Four color and four shape options
- BrandWhite Duck Outdoors, Inc.
- Weight1.52 Pounds
We’re not going to list the statistics of mosquito bites and illnesses, because it sucks. Instead, we’ll just tell you that you really, really want to keep them off of you, and that this is the best way we’ve found so far. With a Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller, you get a fifteen-foot range of protection from those little pests and an included refill.
No odors, vapors, or smoke – just turn it on, and mosquitos immediately begin to disappear. Thermacell guarantees their repeller to work or your money back. We used this on a weekend camping trip with friends to Quartzville Creek in Oregon and no one went home with any mosquito bites! Thermacell Mosquito Repeller is also ultra-compact and fits into an EDC kit (which could be an awesome addition for the daily) and protects you from the harmful bites of the world’s least-favorite insect. A must-have if you want to enjoy a good night’s sleep under the stars.
5-foot zone of protection against mosquitoes
12 hours of mosquito protection
Easy to change refills
- Weight0.4 Pounds
The ICEMULE Jaunt 15L Cooler quickly earned a spot in my heart and my van. I originally tried out this model while looking for the best soft coolers and this model won me over with its ice retention, fun colors and excellent features. With 24-hour ice retention, this model beats out a lot of its competition. I love this option for car camping and found it to keep things cool for more than a day if you’re in colder weather. I also love the padded straps for easy carrying, dry bag-style rolltop closure, and waterproof exterior for paddleboarding and lake days.
Another stand out of this model is the accessories if you want to take a single bag, the pro pack and dry bag offer options to protect valuable or dry goods without weighing you down with extra luggage. There’s also a nearly hidden front pocket for small valuables. All in all, this is a rad piece of camping gear worthy of adding to your collection.
24-hour ice retention
15 L of space
Padded straps and sternum straps
Hidden front pockets
Two sizes and six colorways
A more recent addition to my collection of cool camping gear is the SOL Fire Lite Fuel Free Lighter. I love how easy this is to use, and the lack of flame gives me peace of mind in the summer months here in the PNW when the wind loves to take advantage of any amount of flame.
This lighter is really easy to use: a quick charge via the included USB charging cable gets you ready to rumble. All you have to do is simply open the lighter and press the power button and dual arcs will ignite anything they touch. Given that I spend a lot of time at altitude, it helps that this device is wind and waterproof while remaining functional at any altitude. I also appreciate the fact that it comes with a LED light and three different light settings (low, high, and strobe).
Dual arcs ignite anything upon touch
Rechargeable via USB cable
Built-in LED light with 3 settings
Water and wind-resistant
- Weight2 Oz.
When working remotely, having a Jackery Exploreer 240 on hand means you can work from anywhere. Given that I can work entirely remotely, I love extending my weekend trips into the work week and giving myself more time to play outside. The variety of plug options makes it easy to charge a camera, phones, laptops and more. I can even recharge other camp gadgets like my plasma lighter, mosquito repeller and ShineLine, or other camping lanterns. To recharge my Jackery, I can charge it on a drive or at home before heading out. My partner and I usually split drives so one of us can work on the way there and another on the way back from our camping trip or outdoor adventures and our laptops are always plugged into the Jackery while we work.
Whether you’re a remote worker who wants more time outside or has a teen who just can’t part from their phone, the Jackery Explorer 240 is one of the best camping gadgets out there and a game-changer for many. There are other Jackery models with more power and you can pair this model or any other model with a solar panel and charge it using solar power too. All in all, this gadget has enough power to recharge your phone 24 times, a camera ten times, a tablet five times, or a laptop twice.
240Wh lithium-ion battery pack
Can be charged via solar panel, car or wall outlet
Great for recharging phones or other small devices
Easy carry handle
Perfect for remote workers
Weighs 6.6 pounds
- Weight3.1 Kilograms
Nobody can argue with the need for clear, clean drinking water. If you’ve run out of your spring water supply in a “roughing it” scenario, and you’re in need of some clean, fresh water, the LifeStraw is a lifesaver. This compact water filter is an essential tool for hikers and campers who want to keep themselves safe and well-hydrated out on their adventure. Just bear in mind that while the LifeStraw is great for filtering water quickly, it isn’t a substitute for a backpacking water pump or filtering system.
You can filter up to 1,000 gallons of liquid before this microbiological filter would need to be thrown out – basically, it’s good for life, even if you’re weekend camping every chance you get. The filter comes in a sealed bag for preservation, so you’ll be able to pop one right in your bug-out bag without worry. This product surpasses the EPA filter standards, making it excellent for traveling when you don’t trust the water of the country you’re headed to. Alternatively, want to drink out of that mountain stream? This will let you do that with no fear.
Removes 99.99% of bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms
Provides 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters) of clean and safe drinking water
No electricity or battery power required
Comes in a sealed bag
Lightweight at .1lbs
- Weight0.05 Kilograms
I’m an over-packer and generally always prepared for anything, which is one of the reasons I love the VSSL Camp Supplies. This awesome kit packs almost anything you might need when you venture off the beaten path into one small handy tube. I was mostly worried about not being able to pack everything back into its respective container well but it proved to be a non-issue. Additionally, every container is labeled, making it easy to find what you need, even in an emergency.
Included in this kit are a compass and flashlight on the ends of the tube, a first aid kit, a candle, cord, bamboo cloths, a water bag, a variety of tools, fishing items and a saw, all wrapped up in a durable, waterproof military-grade aluminum canister. My only wish is that you could order refill supplies more individually. If you want to be ready for anything, this is one of the best camping accessories out there and is a must-have for your next camping trip.
Over 70 pieces of gear
Compass and flashlight on outer tube
Military-grade aluminum exterior
Multifunctional and compact
- Weight1.32 Lbs
Inexpensive survival tools are hard to come by – SE MT908 11-Way Multi-tool is something you can add to your normal EDC, but you especially need one while you’re out on the hiking trail or at the campsite. Crafted completely of stainless steel and boasting the miniature size of a credit card, this multifunctional tool will allow you to pack light while giving you the following uses: a four-direction wrench, knife-edge, ruler, keychain hole, bottle opener, butterfly screw wrench, saw blade, screwdriver, and more.
If you’re hitting the trail with friends, you can upgrade to a 3-pack or 5-pack. These are great tools for EDC, bug-out bags, your workbench in the garage, and the emergency kit in the car.
Stamped stainless steel
Fits in your wallet
Credit card sized
- BrandSona Enterprises
- Weight0.32 Ounces
Yes, you can now cook on BioLite Wood Burning & USB Charging Camp stove while charging your cell phone. Get your cookware set and pop it up over the fire. Electricity is generated from the heat, and a convenient LED dashboard shows fire strength, power output and fan speed settings. Plugin your GPS system, cell phone, laptop, or anything else you can imagine that can be powered via a USB port.
An internal fire starter makes ignition a breeze. Four fan speeds allow you to control the combustion, and stove heating speed (for cooking and boiling water), while the LED dashboard gives you information regarding the fire’s power. The whole thing is portable and made for travel – lightweight aluminum legs fold up easily for storage. Perfect for tossing in the trunk, or in your camping/survival backpack.
Camp stove with fan speeds
Doubles as a power bank
Smart LED dashboard
Folding lightweight aluminum legs
Contained fire is safer for fire prone areas
- Weight1.36 Kilograms
Coleman has been the king of the outdoors for ages, and for good reason. We can’t seem to make a single trip without a Coleman product of some sort sneaking in. My personal camp stove is a Coleman that was my mother’s and is now mine. My stove is as old as I am and still working great, a testament to the longevity of Coleman products. This particular grill stove is the perfect alternative for those who don’t want multiple pots and pans to clean up and stow away. Two-in-one design function allows you to grill and use the stove feature at the same time.
You get 130 square inches of grilling space, and 20,000 BTUs of cooking power for quick sears on meats and rapid water boiling in a pinch. The largest pan you should fit on Coleman Perfect Flow Grill Stove is 10-inches in diameter. Reap the rewards of three trademarked Coleman features, including wind protection, and cook without boundaries while you’re on the campsite.
2-in-1 grill and stove
Up to 20,000 total BTUs
Two adjustable burners
Lid also blocks wind
Uses regular propane canisters
- Weight7.5 Pounds
When you have some business to attend to, mum’s the word. Reliance Portable Loo gets straight to the point, weighing three pounds and sporting a five-gallon capacity, making it optimal for multiple campers if need be. There are no gimmicks or specialties to this – it’s a must-have item for fishing trips, hunting trips, extended weekends (you know, the ones where you don’t want to come back to the nine-to-five,) and a fantastic addition to your disaster or fallout items/bug out bags.
Simple snap-on lid, and that’s all there is to it. You will want to add wag bags for each user and be sure to dispose of all of your waste appropriately. While this portable camping toilet makes your camping adventure more comfortable, it does not relieve you of your duty to abide by leave no trace principles.
Compatible with most toilet waste bags
Durable carry handle
Snap on and off lid
Lid minimizes odors
Weighs 3 pounds
- Weight3.06 Pounds
Why Trust Us
When it comes to gear, we're hungry for it. Our team is a crew of outdoor enthusiasts who know gear and are all about finding the best outdoor gadgets. This guide is mostly a collection of my favorite must-have camping accessories, tools and electronic gadgets that make life more comfortable when you're outside. Most of these items live full-time in my camper van and have seen lots of use all over Oregon, Washington and California.
Who This Is For
This guide is for the campers who are interested in introducing some cool camping gear to the mix and making life outside a little easier. You CAN rough it, but that doesn't mean you have to. Many of the camping accessories listed here will make camping easier and often take the place of single-use products, meaning they are better for the earth too and help preserve the great outdoors.
How We Picked
When building out my camper van, I put in a lot of research into what I wanted to have in it and what would make long road trips comfortable. I don't live in the van full time, but often spend a weekend, a week or even a month at a time traveling and these are the products that get the most love from me and the most oohs and ahhs from my friends and fellow van owners. Now, I'm passing these gems on to you and hoping you find your next favorite camping accessories in this guide.
How We Tested
From the slopes of Mt Hood, the tributaries of the Columbia River and all over the Columbia River Gorge, the high desert of central Oregon, the views of the north and central cascades all the way to the eastern sierra, these latest camping gadgets have been everywhere. Camping trips, climbing trips, ski trips, paddle trips and more. All this cool camping gear was put through the wringer in a huge variety of terrain, and anything that isn't durable or hasn't stood up to the use and abuse that comes with the great outdoors didn't make the cut. Each tested piece of gear on this list has gone through anywhere from weeks to years of testing all over the country and has been on trips with all kinds of purposes.