Bright ideas – new camping gear and outdoor gadgets

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.

 Green Decore outdoor rugs

outdoor rugWe 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.

Colapz camping shower

We’ve just tried this portable electric shower on a wild camp in the Lakes and on Mull. Great pressure and a neat kit to carry. Recharges via USB. We filled the Colapz 2-in-1 bucket from the river and topped up with a kettle of hot water.

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.

Beeswax wraps

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.

For other ways to reduce your plastic, have a look at our articles on reusable coffee cups and bamboo camping tableware.

Wacaco Nanopresso coffee makers

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.

Viviva paints

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.

Luminaid lights

Inflatable solar lights used in emergency situations around the world but also great for camping. 

There’s a light-only Luminaid for around £20, and a 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.

Clever carabiners

A simple idea, but with lots of uses. This is the Heroclip or Qliplet. It’s a super-strong carabiner and hook combination for hanging a backpack, a lantern, even a bike (holds up to 22kg) Lots of sizes and colours. Around £20.


And the not-so-clever ideas...

Can you guess what this is for?

Camping gear must-haves – our 60 best finds

When we find a new piece of camping or outdoor equipment that we love and that really works, it’s here. Everything you see – from barbecues to mosquito repellent – has been tried and tested by a member of the Campfire team and is now one of their actual camping essentials …
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  1. OK for a second guess (as it was so close) it protects the hand from smudges for a left handed writer/artist? ED: And the prize goes to Gary!! Well done.

  2. ? For people writing left handed so not smudging the paper
    (It’s on the left so it’s my best guess 😉ED: So very. very close!!

  3. angus davidson

    using a stylus/pen on a tablet screen, so your wrist does not ‘activate’ the screen! ED: So, so close. Think about which hand the glove is on!!!

  4. Irene Addison

    Is it to prevent smudging on artwork ??

  5. lynda J. turk

    She wee cover?

  6. Paul Hegarty

    For folks who like a smear free tablet screen?
    Ed: Clever! And strangely/tangentially on the right lines!!

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