Camping Gear Tech Roundup 2017

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Last year around this time, I posted a roundup of some of the high tech gear that made a real difference during two weeks of camping at Algonquin Provincial Park (in Ontario Canada). We had another two-week camping trip this year, but in a much different locale: Provincetown, Cape Cod. Although our setup with a trailer, air conditioning, and other conveniences was far from roughing it, there were still some stand out gadgets that made the trip a lot better.

Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Lantern

2017 camping gadgets
Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini magnetically attached to the trailer roof for night light duty (Photo by Brad Moon)

This one made last year’s list too, but it really has proven to be an invaluable addition to the camping kit and I keep finding new uses for it. The Lighthouse Mini folds up to a very compact form factor and attaches magnetically to any surface you can’t hang it from. Its light output can be very finely adjusted, much more so than the trailer’s built-in lights that are either on or off. We used the Lighthouse Mini as a night light for sleeping. It was turned down low and stuck securely to a metal roof beam near the door. It ran all night, every night, for 12 nights and was still showing a full charge at that point (the last time I tried counting, I got 168 hours of use on one charge).

Nomad Sport Strap for Apple Watch

2017 camping gadgets
Nomad Sport Strap is a rugged and comfortable option for Apple Watch owners (Photo by Brad Moon)

My Apple Watch is my primary fitness tracker these days, so it saw a lot of use this trip. I swapped out the leather band I usually use for Nomad’s new Sport Strap. This replacement band is made from vulcanized LSR Silicon, making it durable, antimicrobial, and hypoallergenic. That may not sound important when camping in a largely urban environment, but we walked a lot, and often in fairly tough conditions. For example, one day it was 13.5 miles in 80-degree+ weather with high humidity, much of that in knee deep water and then through sand dunes. The Nomad Sport Strap stood up to it all—the sand, the sweat, the salty sea mist—and remained comfortable to wear.

Fugoo Style S

2017 camping gear
Fugoo Style S looks good, sounds good and is IP67 waterproof (Photo by Brad Moon)

I need to have music wherever I go, and the Fugoo Style S is a great choice as a camping-friendly portable speaker. With its woven fiber jacket, it looks good—thus the “Style” part of the name—but it is also waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof. It can take sand, rain, dirt (just rinse it off), and its IP67 rating means it can survive a dunking. Although it’s compact (8.3-inches long), it also offers 15-hour battery life for extended playing and supports both Siri and Google Now voice control. All of these are great features, but they don’t mean much if a speaker doesn’t sound good, and the Fugoo Style S definitely delivers on that front, too, with four drivers and 20W of power. If you have two of these speakers, you can pair them wirelessly for stereo sound and a campsite that truly rocks…

FINsix DART Charger

2017 camping gear
DART charger in blue, surrounded by some of the chargers it replaced for this camping trip (Photo by Brad Moon)

The downside to bringing a lot of gadgets camping is the need to haul around a bunch of power adapters. Not when you have the FINsix DART charger. This 65W charger is tiny, but it charges everything from laptops to smartphones and speakers. A generous bundle of interchangeable tips is included for various laptops, and there’s a 2.1A USB charge port as well. I was able to use the DART to charge my MacBook Air, while simultaneously charging my iPhone. It also did charge duty for the speaker, iPads, Apple Watch, and other USB-powered devices. And only one charger to pack. This one is definitely making into my regular camping gear rotation.

Disclosure: Some manufacturers provided review units, but had no editorial input.

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