There are some very clever inventors out there, designing truly innovative camping equipment and outdoor gear. We’ve been keeping an eye on the crowdfunding networks like Indiegogo and Kickstarter and tracking down interesting gadgets and smart ideas. We’ll be adding to this page, so do follow us to get updates.
We loved the look of these outdoor rugs when we saw them online. Plus they looked super-practical for camping and picnics.
Dipali Gupta runs the company, which also makes outdoor cushions, recycled sari rugs and more. He wanted to find rugs that were environmentally friendly, good quality and good to look at.
We tested a 120x180cm size, which is perfect for a couple to lie on or a family to sit and picnic on.
It looked great, though felt a bit more plasticky than we’d expected. Definitely practical and it’s become one of our must-pack items. In summer, the rug is great for lying on; in winter, it’s an easy-to-rinse-down mud barrier outside the tent or campervan.
Prices are not all that cheap (from £30 upwards), but the polypropylene they’re made of is recycled means less into landfill, and that has to be worth a bit extra.
The Colapz 2-in-1 bucket is great in its own right. Use it for washing up, and it also has a tap for using with water.
The bucket is around £30 and the shower £40. Get them both together at a discount.
No more soggy and torn maps. SplashMaps are the brainchild of
UK-based engineer, David Overton. They're printed onto fabric that's durable and washable.
They're based on Ordnance Survey data and other open data sources.
From around £15 for a small area to £30. There are 120 for the UK, plus 60 for other places in the world, skiing and nautical. Also bespoke maps for a present or event at SplashMaps.
Don't forget that Ordnance Survey also offers free digital maps whenever you buy a real map. They have a great standalone app too.
Forget nasty clingfilm. Beeswax wraps can be used again and again and are made from cotton (in funky patterns) with a combination of pine resin, jojoba oil and beeswax.
A choice of sizes and designs perfect for wrapping leftovers, sandwiches or a loaf (our spotty one above is the best thing we’ve found for keeping bread fresh). Cover bowls or pans with them too. Reusable for around a year. From around £10 for a pack.
If you prefer not to use animal products (beeswax), you’ll need vegan food wraps.
Perfect espressos and Americanos at your fingertips. To be honest, we thought this was a daft and unnecessary idea. Boy, have we changed our minds! The Nanopresso gives you better coffee than most coffeeshops, is economical to use and great for camping.
Put coffee in the little basket, tamp with the tamper, fill the base with hot water and press the button a few times. Easy, neat and delicious.
The basic Nanopresso (not that there’s anything basic about it, to be honest) costs around £60. There’s a double shot ‘barista’ attachment that gives you a larger water tank and larger coffee holder, a coffee pod adaptor and some funky colours too. Look at the crema we got! And look what it did to Andrew’s moustache.
Bring out the inner-artist to your outdoor self! We love these neat, wafer-thin booklets of vibrant watercolour.
Slip the book in a pocket, take along the reservoir brush (or a brush and water) and paint away.
Sixteen vibrant dyes (equivalent to a half-pan size of traditional watercolour).
From $16 for the simple book of colour sheets to $40 for a gift set with personalised wooden flip case. Postage from $4 and with you in 10 days at most.
Inflatable solar lights used in emergency situations around the world but also great for camping.
Lightweight and portable, yet gives out more than 150 lumens of LED light on turbo mode and can recharge your smartphone or tablet with a 2.1 amp output port and built-in 2000 mAh lithium-ion battery.