The Outdoorsman

Cool gadgets for your next camping road trip


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While most people gladly welcome any excuse to get out of town and hit the road, travel can present its own problems, as the distance enhances the disconnect between technological convenience and the unencumbered serenity of nature. Thankfully, some innovative folks dedicate their time to creating gadgets that help bridge the gap between complete immersion and total isolation. Here are some of our favorite gadgets to make your next camping road trip easier.

Bluetooth Rear View Mirror

Going hands-free greatly removes the potential for disaster while driving and allows travelers to enjoy the tranquility of the open road. A Bluetooth rear view mirror attaches to your current mirror and wirelessly connects with your phone. Equipped with microphone and speakers, you'll never have to take your eyes off the road to see who's calling, as the mirror displays incoming calls.

Vision Tech VTB88 goes for $105 and has additional features.

A rear view mirror with Bluetooth capability in front of a white background
The Vision Tech VTB88 Bluetooth CallerID Earpiece Rear View Mirror

Cell Phone Charger

At one time, having a cell phone would have been seen as outrageous. Nowadays, a portable charger for your cell phone seems to be a necessity. If you truly want to remove yourself from technology for your travels, you would be best advised to leave the phone at home (or at least turn it off.) Most people, however, can't afford to be completely detached from society, and it's safer to have a cell phone handy in case of emergency.

Ambient Weather WR-088 is a solar hand-crank that goes for just under $20.

A blue device with a flashlight, radio, antenna, knobs, and black outlet cables sits in front of a white background
The Ambient Weather WR-088 Emergency Flashlight

Waterproof Cell Phone / PDA Case

It'd be a shame to spend all that time charging your cell phone or PDA only to have the inclement weather cut you off from civilization. A waterproof case will not only keep you in contact with the outside world during your trip, but it also saves you from the hassle of having to buy a replacement phone.

4" x 6" Dry Pak Cell Phone Case sells for $12 and comes with an adjustable neck lanyard and anodized aluminum spring hook to allow for ease in carrying.

A blue cell phone case with a yellow top has an attached lanyard and separate clip and contains a cell phone
The 4" x 6" Dry Pak Cell Phone Case

Sandwich Maker

As you travel, you will get hungry. Why not use a portable sandwich maker that plugs into your car's accessory outlet (that is, the cigarette lighter socket) to liven up your road trip? Having a hot meal on the road can be a welcome refuge during longer road trips. We cannot, however, recommend that you use this while driving. That's just a bad idea.

RoadPro's RPDF-168 sells for under $25, but these portable sandwich makers can be as bare bones or extravagant as you want.

A portable 12V sandwich maker with its power cord attached sits in front of a white background
The RoadPro RPDF-168 12V Sandwich Maker

Butane Stove

While a portable sandwich maker expands your potential menu, it can't do everything. Luckily, you don't have to wait till you get to the campsite to enjoy a meal cooked over an open flame. A butane stove will offer all the creature comfort of a campfire flame without the stress of procuring wood and cleaning up afterward.

Jaccard's Home N' Away Portable Stove retails for just under $25, is safe and reliable, and has a flame that can last well over two hours.

A box containing the portable, butane stove is set against a white background
The Jaccard Home N'away Portable Stove

Chimney Starter

Charcoal Buddy is an environmentally friendly way to start your campfire, grill or fire pit, without using accelerants of any kind. The canister, made from recycled materials, is designed to use untreated charcoal or hardwoods. It spreads heat evenly, slowly burning away leaving you with hot charcoals or a fire ready to grill.

The Charcoal Buddy™ is a self-consumable chimney starter that retails for $5.00 and will reduce the mess and stress. Prices at locations may vary.

A self-consuming charcoal chimney is loaded with charcoal and sits upon a black surface.
The Charcoal Buddy

Water Purifier

While the widespread availability of bottled water makes the days of boiling water for fifteen minutes before drinking seem archaic, bottled water isn't free and taking enough to an entire weekend can be pricy and space-consuming. A handheld water purified allows you the security of knowing your water is safe without the burden of having to bring your water with you.

SteriPEN's Adventurer Handheld Water Purifier cost just under $85 and can purify 32 ounces of water in 90 seconds.

The black and yellow SteriPEN is opened, with the cap laying adjacent to the product
The SteriPEN Adventurer Handheld Water Purifier

Copyright ©2011 Camping Road Trip, LLC

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Charcoal Buddy self consuming charcoal chimney
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