We’re all spending more time outside these days, and whether you’re a new or veteran camper, it’s time to consider a couple upgrades that can spice up your campsite. Here are five suggestions:
Start Playing Around With a Solar Oven
Looking for a way to mix up your camp cook routine? Check out what you can do with a solar oven.
The GoSun Portable Solar Oven ($139) is small and light (2 lbs), works in cloudy weather, and is a must-have toy for any and all enthusiastic camp chefs. Reflective panels focus the sun’s light with impressive power, capable of boiling water even on a cloudy day. The long interior cooking tube can hold meat, potatoes, and veggies – typically enough for two people, although a wide range of sizes and setups exist. Its easy to load, and is safe for kids (exterior of oven does not get hot). The setup makes it practical; the fact that you get to cook using only solar energy makes it magical.
Get a Portable Coffee Press
If your idea of making coffee outside involves using your mustache to strain coffee grounds out of your mug, it’s time to upgrade your setup. There are many options on the market, from the standard, dependable GSI Backcountry French Press ($37) to the more stylish, single-serve Pipamoka Press ($47). The key component is ensuring you have an insulated cup (which both these models offer). Without one, your coffee will lose its luster in a matter of moments in the cool, morning mountain air.
Put a Saw in Your Pocket
If your fire plan calls for the gathering of dead wood around camp, you’ll need some type of ax or saw to cut it up. When car camping, you can get away with bringing a legit ax, but the weight of it makes it impractical over the long haul; when backpacking, carrying an ax or hatchet can be a burden.
The Bahco Laplander folding saw is the perfect compromise. Sporting a 7.5-inch blade, it has legitimate cutting power, folds up into a friendly size, and is easy to bring along at only 7.1 ounces. At that size and weight, it can easily be placed in your pack and forgotten about – until it’s time to make a fire.
Create a New Outdoor Space
In theory, we’d all have an RV or camper van setup to help us make the most of our outdoor adventures. However, given the cost and upkeep, many of us are left to create our own “camper van,” perhaps by throwing a mattress in the back of a pickup truck or SUV.
There’s absolutely no shame in that, and there are even products out there to help legitimize your setup. The Moonshade, for example, is made to lean up against a vehicle and extend your outdoor space, providing a shady spot to set up camp, even if there are no trees nearby. It’s expensive for what amounts to an awning ($350), but its unique suction-cup and magnet design allows it to secure directly to your vehicle and hold up in high winds. If you often find yourself short on shade, it might be a good addition to your “camper van” setup.
Stay Connected With Two-Way Radios
Everyone is connected upon arriving at the campsite, but sometimes this requires driving through areas where cell service is not available. Want to keep in touch while in the car? Midland Radios are affordable ($50), work well up to 30 miles (depending on the terrain), and help you stay connected with others in a second car. Great for kids, the radios can also be used in the forest or around lakes, whether it be for games or as a way to stay in touch.