The days of going without showers, phone service and spending 20 minutes pitching your tent on weekend camping trips are over. Modern technology has taken some of the “roughing it” out of camping, but at the same time has made the experience more fun and efficient. Here are five items to consider before heading for the hills.
NEMO Helio Pressure Shower
Forget hanging those heavy bags of water over your head and relying on gravity to dump water on you with those so-called “camp showers.” The NEMO Helio Pressure Shower features a foot pump that allows you to determine the pressure and amount of water you use. The hand-held nozzle works and looks exactly like those that come with most kitchen sinks.
The 11 liter (2.9 gallon) tank is covered by black-welded fabric that allows the sun to heat the water inside. The Helio is also perfect for washing dishes, cleaning camping gear and even bathing the dog. They are relatively affordable too, costing only $100.
Germany-based Heimplanet has made pitching a tent as simple as pulling it out of the bag and inflating it. The Cave is a geodesic inflatable dome that is ready to use in a minute or less. There are no parts to put together and guylines are unnecessary for stability. The Cave has been tested to withstand winds of 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour.
The Cave is a bit pricey (especially since it will be shipped from overseas). But those who camp several times a year should still consider it.
Roadpost Satellite Phone
The deeper you travel into the woods, the weaker your cell phone signal will get until it disappears completely. That is not the case with satellite phone technology.
Iridium satellite phones by Roadpost can pick up a signal from virtually anywhere on the planet at anytime. Iridium technology was tested in remote areas of Northern California, and yielded a 99.2 percent connection rate and only a 1.1 percent call drop rate. Roadpost offers both daily and monthly plans for which you can rent the equipment.
Technology now enables you to cook your fresh catch and charge your cell phone all with one nifty device. The BioLite Campstove uses twigs, leaves and some electronics to produce and maintain a flame. A fan, which is powered by an internal battery, keeps the flame going for upward of 20 minutes. The battery, after an initial charge from shore power, is subsequently charged by the flame itself. All excess power accumulated in the battery can then be used to charge most USB devices.
The unit weighs only two pounds and fits right in your backpack. It costs around $120.
This handy device is an AM/FM radio, weather radio, LED flashlight and a charger for your devices all-in-one. The Scorpion not only has a solar panel to charge USB devices, but also features a hand crank to produce electricity the old-fashioned way. No batteries or external power is ever needed.
The Scorpion can be had for $50