Your camping gear can be smarter

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Not everyone is born for camping. I did this because of peer pressure from friends and a dog, both of whom are lovers of the outdoors. Whether you love the outdoors or just live with it, there are plenty of smart gear that can improve the experience. While using smart technology on your camping trip may feel counterintuitive, the right technology can make nature more accessible, safer, and even more comfortable.

smart tent

Even those who brave the Pacific Coast Trail take technology with them (according to the hikers I follow on TikTok, this is as close as I get). This technology requires energy, and your tent is a passive way to collect that energy. While there have been many concept products, few seem to have made it to the consumer market. Green Origin has two for sale (below) that feature flexible solar panels that attach to the tent itself. The Dragon V1 solar tent has been successfully funded on Kickstarter and is expected to ship soon. It also has a solar panel, but it’s integrated into the tent itself. In the future, even these flexible panels may become obsolete. Fabrics using energy-harvesting technology woven into the fabric itself will be used in tents and clothing .

  • Rechargeable Solar Tent for 2-3 Persons ($380.00)

  • High-quality solar tent for 5 to 6 people ($1,499.00)

smart cooler

Coolers used to be a race against time to manage refrigerated and frozen foods with ice. Many coolers now come with onboard power, which means they can maintain the cooler at temperatures that ensure safe food handling and eliminate the need for ice management. In some cases, these coolers can also act as chargers or speakers, or allow you to manage the cooler through an app. Being able to designate each section as a refrigerator or freezer means you can use the power you need and keep your food at the right temperature.

  • Anker EverFrost 50 Power Cooler ($949.00)

  • Bodega Cooler 48 Quart (45 Liter) Car Refrigerator App Control ($299.99)

  • Iceco Jp30 Portable Fridge Freezer, 30L ($399)

Iceco JP30 Portable Refrigerator

Smarter lights

When you get together with friends in the evening to cook, eat, or just relax, you may want a little light, and you have several options. There are many solar lights on the market that can be charged by simply sitting outside during the day. But to create more ambience, carry a power bank with you and string up some LED lights, as they require less energy to run than other lights.

  • Solar Camping String Lights 16.4 ft. with Music Sync ($17.49)

  • 22-foot stowable string light with APP control ($15.99)

  • Solar String Lights with Smart App Control ($26.99)

Wi-Fi on the road

Generally speaking, we now think of having Wi-Fi everywhere we go, and when Wi-Fi is unavailable, we turn to cellular signals. When you don't want to break your wireless plan, you can rely on a backup device that provides signal over the 4G network and pay as you go.

  • GlocalMe Travel Wireless Portable Wifi ($89.99)

  • Journey1 LTE Wifi Hotspot ( $159)

  • RoamWiFi 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Router ($143.99)

everything has power

Nowadays, "off grid" has really changed and there are plenty of portable power stations that allow you to charge via solar panels while you're out and about. The 1,000-watt unit is enough to power most devices you use on the go, while still being light enough to move around.

  • Jackery Solar Generator 1000 with 2 100W Solar Panels ($1,649.00)

  • Anker SOLIX C1000 Portable Power Station with 400W Solar Panel ($1,498.00)

  • Goal Zero Yeti 1000X Portable Power Station with Nomad 100 Solar Panel ($1,159.91)