One of the many things you’ve learned as a parent: gear matters. That’s why we’ve rounded up 10 camp-tastic accessories to help you make the most of your family’s summer adventures, whether you’re bivouacking on a mountainside, setting up a seaside beach encampment, or pitching your trusty tent in a nearby forest. Prepare to get your camping geek on!
1. Clean Up with Ease
Let’s be honest, camping is a dirty business. Between the campfire, wooded trails and your kiddo’s seemingly innate ability to find dirt anywhere, it’s hard to avoid the mess. That’s why we’re crushing on this easily packable microfiber towel you can throw in your pocket, clip to your daypack or keep tucked in your tent. Dirty faces and hands—be gone… for the moment anyway!
Available at matadorup.com, $19.99.
2. Stay Connected
Spotty cell service in the wilderness is almost as predictable as your kid asking to use the bathroom right before you pull out of the driveway. It’s gonna happen. But goTenna tech helps families stay connected when they’re hiking, camping or just out of service range. It turns your iPhone or Android into a high-tech walkie-talkie (but way better) using radio waves to send messages, offline maps, and even GPS coordinates. So you can let your little hikers know when it’s time to head back to the campsite for s’mores any time.
Available at goTenna.com, $149 (for two).
3. Luxe Quarters
Family camping scenario #182. You’ve finally gotten your happy campers to sleep and are looking forward to a few stolen moments around the campfire’s dying light with your better half. But waking your wee ones as you climb over them and unzip the tent… it’s too much of a gamble. Solve this dilemma with Mountain Equipment Co-op’s splurge-worthy lodge tent. A vestibule hallway separates the tent’s two rooms, so parents and kids each have their own quarters. Bring on the night!
Available at mec.ca, $719.
4. Light the Way
Ditch that uncomfortable headlamp for a pair of shoe lights, and let your feet lead the way on a family night hike or moonlit beach walk. We love the way this little gadget frees hikers up to enjoy their surroundings, without missing a step. And their stealthy spy quality adds total kid appeal. Walk on!
Available at fatbraintoys.com, $8.45.
5. Beat Back Bugs
Wrangling your mini-me to cover him in bug spray? Forgetaboutit. Handing him a cool wristband he can use like his favorite superhero? That’s a win. We love the simplicity of this game-changing product. Slip it on, and keep the mosquitos at bay. Now if only getting him to eat his veggies was this easy.
Available at amazon.com, $13.99.
6. Mystical Fire
Move over Unicorn Frappuccino, there’s Mystical Fire coming through. Imagine how psyched your sidekick will be when you tell him tonight’s plan is to roast s’mores over a rainbow fire. If he didn’t think you were magical before, he will now!
Available at amazon.com, $9.60.
7. Bring the Baby
Bring the comforts of home into the forest for your wiggle worm with KidCo’s GoPod. It’s as easy to set up as it is to fold and pack. Plus, the attached floor pad will keep your wee one’s feet away from pesky rocks and twigs that could seriously harm your campsite buzz. It’s our favorite way to get babies in on the camping action.
Available at amazon.com, $49.95.
8. Smart Supplies
Your kiddos will have a blast collapsing and expanding the HYDAWAY over and over again. But, don’t let its functionally fun exterior fool you. The HYDAWAY stores water like a boss and the BPA-free, food grade silicone is dishwasher safe and collapses into itself when it’s empty so you can slip it into your backpack or pocket while you’re on the go!
Available at hydawaybottle.com, $15-$20.
9. Solar Power
Let’s be honest, no matter how off grid you get, you’ve gotta have your gadgets. And since trees don’t come equipped with chargers, you’ve gotta pack your own. Harness the power of the sun with this lightweight portable charger (which can charge two devices at once), and head out for the day’s adventures. Return to juiced-up devices ready to play podcasts, music or more, all night long!
Available at amazon.com, $49.99.
10. The One That Does Everything
This new startup gets as close as possible to actually putting up the tent for you. Instead, they gather, pack, and ship campsite basics (think: tent, sleeping bag, stove, water filter and backpack) directly to you at your home or destination so you can focus on the important things. Like, where your mini-me’s missing teddy is this time. If you’ve never camped before, or are heading out on your first backpacking adventure with your kidlet, Camp Crate can help you do it like a pro.
Book a crate at campcrate.net, $68/day.
Which one of these gadgets do you want for your next trip? Tell us in a Comment below.
— Allison Sutcliffe
All photos courtesy of featured companies, unless otherwise noted