“Roughing it” doesn’t have to mean surviving like an ascetic monk on herbal tea and wild, tasteless berries. A bevy of slick new gear now allows modern outdoorsmen to revel in nature while taking the essential trappings of home (namely: good food and beer) into the wild. Elevate your car camping game this year with these four simple, high-tech camping gadgets.
Pelican Elite Cooler
Your Pops may have used a thin, plastic Coleman cooler but ice chest technology has evolved much in the last 20 years. Pelican’s line of Elite Coolers features ultra-thick insulation, bear-resistant latches, and a rigid, lockable shell that’s designed to take a serious beating. The result is a cooler with up to 10 days of ice retention that no one’s getting into unless you invite them. Bonus features include an integrated bottle opener and durable wheels on the larger models.
Pop Up Grill
Most “portable” grills aren’t all that portable. The new Pop Up Grill weighs just 3.3 pounds and fits in a carry sack that’s smaller than a traditional messenger bag. It’s the ideal solution for car camping or even backcountry overnights where another dehydrated Backpacker’s Pantry meal just won’t do. The versatile design accommodates coal-fired grilling via a collapsible charcoal basket. Or, simply remove the basket, and use the remaining metal assembly to support your pots and pans over an open flame.
Goal Zero Lighthouse MINI Lantern
Goal Zero is synonymous with killer, ultra-portable, solar-powered gear. Their new Lighthouse Mini Lantern is the company’s most portable lantern, weighing a scant eight ounces. While it produces a max 210 lumens, the lantern will run on its lowest setting for up to 500 hours on a single charge. An integrated 1A USB port can charge your smartphone via a 3,000mAh backup battery. It also features fold-down legs, plus well-placed hooks and magnets so you can mount it pretty much anywhere.
Traditional fluid-fueled lighters have been a mainstay around campfires and charcoal grills for decades. They’re simple, reliable, and just plain work. They can also make your food taste disgusting. The Bison Airlighter reinvents the lighter game with patented, air-driven technology. The 4-inch flame ignites wood or charcoal in less than 10 seconds, then uses blasts of air to “fan” the flames into a roaring fire. The same air technology also keeps the barrel cool so you never need to worry about scorching your fingers.