Camping tech: Outdoor gadget excess

Even geeks and gadget fans go outside once in a while. This innovative gear will make you the envy of other campers while you're enjoying the great outdoors.

  • GSI Vortex Crank Blender--US$90

    If you need a smoothie or margarita while camping, use people power to whip one up in the [[xref:|GSI Vortex Blender|GSI Vortex Blender]] with crank handle.

    This drink maker has a wide base and a C-clamp to secure the blender to a table for ice crushing and drink mixing. If you want to skip throwing a table into the truck, check out [[xref:|GSI's special table|GSI Vortex Trailer Hitch Table for the Vortex Blender]], which works with your vehicle's trailer hitch. Salud!
  • Eureka Nergy 1310 Electric-Powered Tent--US$370

    The Nergy 1310 is a nine-pole, rectangular dome tent that can hold up to ten people and their gear. Its crowning tech glory, however, is its 12-volt harness system, run by a [[xref:!_Power_Pak|US$75 power pack|E! Power Pak]] (not included) that lets you plug in. Now you can use a hair dryer, recharge a phone, or watch a movie on a DVD player while inside the tent. This mini mansion also has skylights, six windows, and a gear loft. The US$370 behemoth weighs 34 pounds, so don't expect to go backpacking with it.

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  • Superbright 2-in-1 Tent LED Camping Ceiling Fan--US$19

    If this thing doesn't blind you or keep your camping neighbors up late with the glow from your tent, its two-in-one functionality (light and fan) could prove useful. The [[xref:|Superbright lamp/fan|Happy Camper Deluxe Camping Combo LED Lantern and Fan]] has 18 LED bulbs that can give you up to 37 hours of light, 15 hours of fan use, and 16 hours of both from two D batteries. With its built-in hook, the gizmo can hang from the top of your tent for use as a light or a fan; it can also stand alone as a fan.
  • DirectTV Sat-Go Digital Satellite TV System--US$499

    Now that's what we're talking about. Hiking? Fishing? How about hanging out watching satellite TV on this baby from DirectTV? The [[xref:|Sat-Go|Sat-Go]] has a 17-inch LCD screen, a receiver, and an antenna, and it runs on a laptop-style battery, all contained in a moderately sized briefcase. The kit weighs 27 pounds, but the system has many of the features of regular DirectTV, including a programmable remote control, a timer to automatically tune in to a program, the ability to play video games, and interactive functions such as weather info and horoscopes.
  • Wavebox Portable Microwave Oven--US$250

    Why waste time popping popcorn on a camp stove when you could be using the [[xref:|Wavebox portable microwave|Wavebox portable microwave]]? Granted, you have to attach it to a vehicle with a power outlet or a 12-volt battery, but that's a small price to pay for such a modern convenience, right?

    The Wavebox is a self-contained suitcase with a heavy-duty handle and rubberized, no-slip legs. You also can plug it into a normal electrical outlet if you have access to one on the road.
  • Coleman Stormbeam Dynamo Deluxe Crank Lantern--US$40

    You need light out in the wilderness, and this [[xref:|Coleman lantern|Coleman lantern]] will help you get a little exercise, as well. The LED Coleman lantern is human-powered: Just 1 minute of turning the crank (which folds up under the base when you're not using it) will give you 15 minutes of light.

    But there's more--the six most common cell phone charger adapters are stored inside. The lantern also has a built-in FM radio. It won't make you breakfast, however.
  • Glastonbury Solar Concept Tent

    No one can buy it yet, but we can't wait for the ideas in this [[xref:|concept tent|Orange pitches Glastonbury Solar Concept Tent]], first discussed at the [[xref:|2009 Glastonbury Festival|2009 Glastonbury Festival]], to become reality. Working with the idea that specially coated solar threads may soon be woven into fabric, this tent would have three glide sections of that material. Campers could move the sections to follow the sun to capture solar energy.

    That energy could be employed to identify the tent using either an SMS message or RFID technology; both would trigger a distinctive glow in the tent. The designers also envision a flexible, touchscreen LCD screen in the tent, plus a wireless charging pouch for mobile phones and other devices.
  • Hozuki LED Candle Lantern--US$90

    Need a romantic atmosphere in your tent? The folks at [[xref:|ThinkGeek|ThinkGeek]] offer this charming [[xref:|LED battery-powered lantern|LED battery-powered lantern]] named after the Chinese lantern plant. This light source easily hangs from your top tent loop, or you can use it on your desk when you return.

    The romance can start when you use one of the three modes to make the little lantern flicker like a candle (which it also does when you blow on it). The rest is up to you.
  • Zodi Instant Hot Shower--US$160

    Worst thing about camping? The lack of convenient hot showers, hands down. Fix that with [[xref:|Zodi's instant hot shower|Zodi instant hot shower]] kit, which is propane heated and battery pumped (four D cells needed). It costs US$160.

    The 4-gallon tank provides enough heated water for a 10-minute shower. The next person has to fill it up again and start over. One propane tank and one set of batteries should provide 60 gallons of hot water before they need to be replaced. Ahhhhh!
  • Brunton ADC Pro Weather Instrument--US$205

    What matters more when you're on vacation than the weather forecast? Let the [[xref:|Brunton ADC Pro weather instrument|Brunton ADC Pro weather instrument]] take care of that for you.

    This waterproof gizmo measures the current temperature and wind speed, as well as the average wind speed. It also gives you a wind-chill alarm, a heat index, a current humidity check, and more. You'll never be caught flat-footed outside again.

    Want more unusual tech? Try:

    * [[xref:|Strangest Sights in Google Earth, Part II|Strangest Sights in Google Earth, Part II]]
    * [[xref:|DIY USB Typewriter|DIY USB Typewriter]]
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