If sleeping in a trailer and going sans television for 48 hours is your idea of roughing it, then consider this your packing list ...
If sleeping in a trailer and going sans television for 48 hours is your idea of roughing it, then consider this your packing list for your next camping trip.
No one has to leave behind the comforts of home thanks to all of the high-tech gear and gadgets available. Even tent camping is no longer just about nature, not when you have tents wired for power.
Here are a few of our favorite camping trappings, some convenient, others truly outlandish:
Tap the sun:
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— JuiceBar Solar Charger
This compact device packs solar cells that are charged by sunlight or indoor light. It includes 12 commonly used adapters for cell phones, iPods, MP3 players and portable gaming systems. On average it provides up to 15 hours of use for an iPod and holds a full charge for up to two months. You also can quick charge it with a USB.
Available: $42.83 at www.cableorganizer.com.
— PowerMonkey-eXplorer AC/Solar Charger
If you want even more juice, try this solar cell charger. It can power an iPod for 40 hours or cell phone for 96 hours of talk time. Ten device adapter tips are included. A cell phone charges completely in just six hours of sunlight. Or charge it using one of four AC adapter tips (for use in 150 countries) or a USB adapter.
Available: $149.21 at www.cableorganizer.com.
— XPower Solar Portable PowerPack
A detachable solar panel on this light (18 pound) and quiet generator converts sunlight into about 400 watts of energy. The PowerPack from Xantrex can operate and charge a 13-inch television, laptop, DVD player, blender and more. A display allows for monitoring of the battery’s life. AC and DC chargers are included for sunless days.
Available: $148.99 at www.Amazon.com.
TV everywhere :
— DirecTV Sat Go
A better name for this would be the tote TV. A 17-inch LCD television, DirecTV receiver and antenna are packed into a 19.5-inch wide suitcase with a handle. Just pop open the case and you won’t have to miss your favorite shows. The mobile satellite TV system also has two speakers, remote control and rechargeable battery.
Available: $499 at www.directv.com.
— Carryout MP1 Manual Portable Satellite TV Antenna
If you already have your own portable television, invest in this single satellite antenna from Winegard that supports up to two receivers, which are sold separately. The antenna comes with a 25-inch coaxial cable and is enclosed in a durable case. It works with standard DirecTV and standard and high-definition Dish Network and Bell TV.
— Smart RV TV Post
Because nothing says camping quite like television around the campfire, this post mounts to the inside or outside of your recreational vehicle (mounting hardware sold separately). The post pivots and swivels so you can change the angle to keep your screen from entirely blotting out the stars.
Available: $95.99 at www.thule.com.
— Icon Rogue 2 flashlight
Billed as an almost indestructible flashlight, the Rogue 2 has an aluminum body with open grooves that provide a good grip while keeping it light weight (only 3.8 ounces). The 6.5-inch flashlight survived being tossed around in a metal toolbox and dropped into a puddle. It delivers a powerful beam of LED light, even in the lowest of two modes, and runs on two AA batteries.
Available: $43.19 at www.Amazon.com
— AeroPack cargo container
More flexible and aerodynamic than a roof box, this cargo container straps to the back of your car, truck, van or SUV so it reduces drag. Created by Saratoga-based AeroPack, it mounts onto a vehicle quickly with no racks or rails needed, is storm proof and folds up after use. The three available sizes includes one small enough to fit a Toyota Camry. Best of all, it leaves room in the trunk for your favorite tech toys.
Available: $169-$209 at www.aeropackusa.com.
— Ultra Soles
Sure, any pair of sandals will do, but I prefer these nylon mesh slippers. They are perfect for campground showers (who knows what is on the floor), wet decks and boating. They come in five sizes each for men and women.
Available: $10.85 at www.magellans.com.
For the cooks:
— Coleman Signature Series All-In-One Cooking System
Coleman is a leader in portable cooking equipment, and its newest addition tops them all. The standard stove ring can be converted to a griddle, grill or 6-quart stock pot/slow cooker. The system is powered by a 16.4-ounce disposable propane cylinder and features a push-button electronic ignition. It includes an expandable carrying case. The stock pot/slow cooker is sold separately for $59.99.
Available: $99.99 at www.cabelas.com.
— EZ Grill
The disposable grill comes with charcoal fuel and a metal stand. An included starter sheet packed with charcoal easily lights with one match. It cooks for about 90 minutes. The grills are available in two sizes: regular (four grills to a pack) or party (two to a pack).
Available: $19.99 at www.ezgrill.com.
— Coleman Rechargeable Portable Blender
You can buy a hand-crank blender, but this one is faster and easier. Powered by two 6-volt, 4.5 Ah rechargeable batteries, it makes a 48-ounce pitcher of frozen drinks in less than a minute. We used the blender 22 times before we needed to recharge the batteries. A battery level indicator is included.
Available: $49.97 at Walmart.com
Tent or house?
— Eureka N!ergy 1310 Tent
Consider this the granddaddy of all camping equipment, which is why it gets a category all to itself.
The 13-foot by 10-foot rectangular dome tent sleeps 10 with a removable divider that separates it into two rooms. The tent has six windows, six mesh roof vents, two wall vents and clear skylights.
But this in no ordinary big tent. Concealed in the walls are wires connected to four 12-volt outlets. When you plug in a charged E! Power Pack ($75), you can operate 12-volt accessories, including lights and fans, in those outlets. An on-off switch allows you to control each outlet separately.
The N!ergy tents also come in two smaller sizes.
Available: $379.90 at www.eurekatent.com.