For your family, summertime is all about camping—pitching the tent, cooking up eats around the campfire, getting reacquainted with Mother Nature. And like all things parenting, each time you do it, you’re on the lookout for gadgets and gizmos that make it a little easier to do with kids in tow. Scroll through our cool camping gear list guaranteed to make your camp life as cush as your home life … even in the backcountry.
Solar-Powered Pop-Up Tent
We don’t want to make your pole-tent jealous, but Cinch!’s solar-powered pop-up tent is the camping hack families have been waiting for. No more laying out poles and threading them. Simply unzip the Cinch! stuff sac, pull out the tent, and with a few twists and pulls, voila! Your camping castle is ready to house the royal family. From two-person to four-person tents, with easy add-ons like solar panels and canopies, this crowd-funded project means you get to spend more time doing what you and the kids love doing in the great outdoors.
Available at cinchpopuptents.com, $299-$349.
PeaPod Travel Bed
Your big kids love snuggling in their mummy bags, but your tot needs a special spot when it comes to tent sleeping. We’re crushing hard on KidCo’s PeaPod Travel Bed, an easy pop up that functions as a tent within your tent, so your little one has his own space. It collapses flat and pops up with ease, which is entertainment in and of itself for wee ones. And if they think that’s amazing, just wait until they crawl in and curl up at the end of long day of outdoor adventuring. They’ll sleep like a cozied up log!
Available at peapod.com, $79.99.
Stinger on the Go Insect Zapper
You know what's the worst about camping? Mosquitos! Ditch the heavy-duty bug spray and set up the Stinger-on-the-Go Insect Zapper. It zaps mosquitos in a 400 sq. ft. radius, just perfect for your campsite. It uses a UV light to attract and zap 40% more bugs and it includes a USB plug as a power source as well as an electrical adapter and a battery power option.
Find it online at: stingerproducts.com, $19.99
Solar-Powered Portable Device Charger
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.
Go Tenna Walkie Talkie
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, $127 (for two).
Mpowered Luci Light
Turn your campsite into a forest fairy hangout, with Mpowered’s inflatable solar Luci lights. They’ll add a splash of fairy fantasy that your kids will love, with a side of practicality to win parents over. What starts out as a collapsed lightweight disc becomes a fully functional lantern when you charge it in the sun and then inflate it. Expect up to 12 hours of the shiny good stuff when it’s fully charged.
Available at mpowered.com, $14.95-$34.95.
Because wrangling a toddler around the campfire during mealtime isn’t on your camping to-do list, pack ciao! baby’s portable high chair with the rest of your must-take gear. Just like mom and dad’s camping chairs, this high chair easily unfolds and snaps into place—but unlike yours, it comes with a durable plastic covered tray that goes from messy to clean as a whistle with the swipe of a wet cloth. Don’t forget to add on ciao! baby’s Clip-on Umbrella to keep baby shaded while she eats.
Available online, $59.95.
Nano Dry Microfiber Towel
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!
Available at matadorup.com, $19.99.
Waterproof Baby Monitor
Whether the kids are snoozing in the tent while you and your better half cozy up by the campfire, or your sweet baby’s napping tent side while the big kids play in the woods nearby, you can keep watch over your wee one with the Totokan baby monitor. Even without WiFi, parents can stream the video feed to a free downloadable app on their phone. Consider the fact that its drop- and water-proof a bonus!
Available at totokan.com, $209.
Snow Peak Flappable Rod
Ditch the campfire roasting stick for Snow Peak’s flappable rod. Whether your wee ones are grilling up hot dogs or roasting s’mores, this fishing pole style rod makes sure everything cooks evenly. Just tug the line, lake fishing style, and it flips your food over. Then swing it into place once the roasting is done. Delish!
Available at snowpeak.com, $34.95.
When it comes to keeping campsite plates and utensils clean, the powerful spray of the Lunatec Aquabot is where it’s at. The pressurized bottle and variable trigger settings mean you can easily spray off stuck on food bits after your crew is done with their campsite dinner, or give it a twist for a cool mist spray to keep the kids happy when you're on the trail. You should see what it does with sandy or dirty feet that you don’t want traipsing through your tent!
Available at amazon.com, $30
GSI Outdoors Microlite Water Bottle
Whether your outdoor plan involves planting yourself on a sunny beach while the kids play, or taking off from your campsite for an afternoon hike, one thing you always want to have with you is a cold drink. Keep your water supply chillingly cold, even in the heat of summer with GSI Outdoors Microlite 1000 Twist water bottle. Fill it with your fav cold beverage and keep it cool for up to 32 hours. And weighing in at under a pound, this stainless steel vacuum sealed bottle won’t add much to your carry weight, which means you can schlep those precious items your kids can’t live without … even in the forest.
Available at rei.com, $34.95.
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.
All photos courtesy of featured companies, unless otherwise noted.
All prices current and time of publication.