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.
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. Popular places available on Amazon include the Lake District and Snowdonia. Also bespoke maps for a present or event at SplashMaps.
Jenny and Jonathan Davies have come up with a rucksack that unfolds to reveal a snap-together camp-bed/recliner. We like the idea and are looking forward to testing it out for practicality and how the weight feels (6.5kg for the standard and 5.9kg for the small). Meanwhile, they're looking for backing on Kickstarter. Beds will sell next year at around £250.
Forget nasty clingfilm. Carly and Fran make their beeswax wraps in the Cotswolds, using 100% cotton (in funky patterns), pine resin, jojoba oil and beeswax from a beekeeper about 10 minutes away.
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.
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! Better coffee than most coffeeshops, 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.
Double shot and pod accessories available too. From around £50. 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.
Firemizer is a unique fuel-saving device that you can use on firepits, coal barbecues and chimeneas. It spreads heat evenly to extend the burn time. It should reduce emissions and will typically last up to 500 burning hours. On the barbecue, it can get coals to temperature faster. Around £18. Choice of sizes.
Sister product Firebuilder is a firelighter and kindling in one – made from recycled cardboard. Pack of five for around £6.50.
Strong and dependable pegs for your tent, awning or tarpaulin. So strong, in fact, you’ll need a special peg pulling tool to get them out again.
Nylon composite (around £10 for four) or stainless steel (£60 for four!!) version. If your local camping shop or Amazon don’t have them, try Delta direct.
Here we are testing them with our favourite bivvy tent/hammock. You can find out more about that in our article on bivvy camping.
Inflatable solar lights used in emergency situations around the world but also great for camping. From around £20. We liked the Max 2-in-1 phone charger option (more expensive at £40), but very versatile.
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.
Around 50 hours of light on Low mode when the battery is fully charged (solar or USB), and five brightness settings depending on the hours of light and brightness needed.
The picture shows a lot of Cinch tents joined together. Even at its one-tent basic, though, the Cinch is extraordinary. Pops up and down in seconds and comes with solar power, climate control, LED lights controlled from your phone...and it hails from Morecambe. Don't get too excited as it's only at prototype stage now, but we'll be testing one soon and will report back.
This invention from New Zealand has got us a bit excited. It's not available yet, though, so we’ll report back when it’s here, tested and approved.
Morphcooker is an electric camp stove that's a grill, hotplate, pot and frying pan all in one. The heating element is in the base and the silicone sides can be raised or collapsed as needed. It's charged by solar or mains.
The big questions will be whether you get enough charge to make a whole meal and how long it takes to get to full charge. Have a look at our article on electric camp cooking, by the way.
A simple idea, but with lots of uses. The first picture shows the Heroclip or Qliplet. It’s a super-strong carabiner and hook combination for hanging a backpack, a lantern, even a boke (holds up to 22kg) Lots of sizes and colours. Around £20.
The second picture is the Dink – a new idea from a couple of mates in Oldham. Again, it’s for keeping your stuff close at hand for security and off the ground. Holds up to 5kg. Still at development stage, but expected to cost around £10.
And the not-so-clever ideas...