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Backpacking Gadgets: Stay Accessorized While Outdoors

Image of Eton FRX3 Smartphone Charger and Radio, a Flashlight and a Knife on a backpack

Most people who camp and hike are not only lovers of the outdoors, but they are people who like to connect with nature and see the beauty that the world has to offer.

Camping, hiking, mountaineering and other activities do not necessarily require any gadgets to do so, but having some backpacking gadgets will definitely enhance your outdoor excursions. Using one or more gadgets will help you in various ways while you are enjoying the great outdoors.

There is a gadget for basically everything that relates to camping and outdoor activities. Deciding what items are best for you can be difficult because there are so many gadgets available.

Think of some of the most important things to you that you would like to have to enhance your next camping trip. Do you need more power? Light? Weather information? There is a gadget for that and more!

Image of a sport watch on a man's hand

If you are planning on an outdoor adventure, some of these items may be of use for you! There are definitely many features to consider, as each camper is different and has different needs.

In the next section, we will discuss some of the features of these gadgets and then give you reviews of the best products on the market regarding backpacking gadgets. Hopefully, some of these items will catch your eye and be used on your next backpacking trip!

Product NameGadget TypeDimensionsSpecial FeaturesPrice
Steamfast SF 717Steam iron5.2 x 3 x 3.1 inSmall and fits inside of your backpack, removes wrinkles and creases easily, lightweight and contains a 1.4 ounce water capacity, heats up in 15 seconds and includes 3 different temperature settings, includes dual voltage and comes with a handy travel bagCheck price on Amazon
ThermaCell THS01 S-PHeated insoles 8 x 5 x 2 inAbility to control the temperature by remote control, no wires and no external batteries, battery life of 2,500 hoursCheck price on Amazon
SPOT Gen 3GPS messenger2 x 5.5 x 7.5 inAbility to stay in contact anywhere, provides emergency assistance if needed, works in any weather, durableCheck price on Amazon
NiteCore TM11Flashlight8 x 4 x 5 inLED bulb with aluminum material for durability, small but powerful, coated mineral, scratch resistant glassCheck price on Amazon
Anker Astro AK-79AN7902-W2AExternal battery power bank3.7 x 1.8 x 1 inComes in many colors, can charge more than one item at a timeCheck price on Amazon
LuminAID LUM-LL01Inflatable solar light source0.2 x 12.2 x 8.5 inSolar powered and can use batteries, LED bulb, small and provides up to 16 hours of lightCheck price on Amazon
AYL Portable EL-274194Portable sound system3.5 x 2.25 x 6 inBuilt in amp, light in weight and can fit in your pocket, compatible with iPhone and Android, includes bass resonatorCheck price on Amazon
Eton American FRX3Radio5.8 x 6.9 x 2.6 inPlays AM/FM radio and can get weather alerts from NOAA and other stations, alert functions, a flashlight and a flashing beaconCheck price on Amazon
Suunto Core SS014279010ABC watch1.93 x 0.57 x 1.93 inAltimeter, barometer and compass, weather alerts and terrain data on terrainCheck price on Amazon
BioLite Wood BL-CSAWood burning – electrical power generating stove8.27 x 5 x 5 inFast charging USB smartphone plug, boils water in under 5 minutesCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider

If you are not exactly into roughing it old school when camping, you may find that you need one or more gadgets to enhance your backpacking and camping experience. Here, we will discuss various types of gadgets, how they can work for you, and other considerations that may entice you.

Types of Gadgets

Various types of gadgets exist for various functions in the outdoors. These gadgets can range from extra lighting, weather information, terrain information, to insoles and watches. You will need to think about what your needs are when it comes to having a new gadget, and then select the one that fits your specifications.

Flashlights: Obviously a flashlight will give you extra light when you are in the dark. When you are outdoors, backpacking, you will want something small but powerful.

Using a lithium ion battery allows it to be recharged on a charger while you are not using it. For outdoor use, flashlights should have simple buttons, be scratch resistant, and made from tough materials. It should also shine bright enough so that you can see far away.

A man holding a flashlight gadget

Camp stoves: If you want to use a camp stove while you are backpacking, it must be light in weight and easy to use. Gone are the old heavy camp stoves.

Now, they do so much more than boil your water or cook your food. They even come with USB ports to charge your smart phone and other electronics. They also have internal batteries that will start the fire for you!

Watches: Watches for outdoor use like hiking and mountaineering can be very helpful when determining not just the time and date, but the altitude, types of terrain you are in, location, and burning calories by exercising. Watches for hiking and backpacking should be made from tough material and be able to last without getting scratched.

They should also be waterproof and be able to work in cold temperatures. For some, having a watch that they can use while enjoying the outdoors is a must as they are extremely helpful and can provide records of your exercises through the computer for tracking later on.

Anker smar phone charger on the floor

Smart phone chargers: These chargers can keep your phone charged so you can still check social media and post photos of our journey. You can also use your phone to call for help if you are lost or stuck. Chargers can also give longer battery life to your tablet and other items.

Speaker Systems: A speaker system can provide a lot of entertainment while you are backpacking. You can listen to music or the news while you make your journey, and everyone around you can hear it, too.

GPS messengers: GPS messengers allow you to stay in contact with your friends and family while you are far away.

They work in any weather, and should be waterproof and resistant to damage if dropped, by being made with strong materials like aluminum. Some of these have emergency buttons that allow you to contact emergency authorities if you are lost or injured.

Image of Cameron_Martindell-SPOT

Heated insoles: Heated insoles work by keeping your feet warm, either by rechargeable battery or one that lasts thousands of hours.

They fit inside of your shoe and are to be used in extreme weather where you experience cold feet and toes, and to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. Heated insoles can go well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and will keep you warm for a long time.

Steam irons: Steams irons can be helpful for those who want to keep their clothes pressed and wrinkle free. Steam irons for camping and backpacking should be small, heat up quickly, and give you a few setting options for heat.

Weight

When backpacking and camping, you will definitely want to think about the weight of your gear. If you are backpacking and sleeping in a new area each night, your gear must be loaded with light weight items that will not wear you down over your travel time.

Portable system speakers on a blanket outside

That is why many backpacking gadgets are small, do not weigh a lot, and come with much functionality. If you are camping in one area and staying there for your trip’s duration, then your gear weight will not really affect you much.

Other features

Other features you should take into consideration are if the gadgets you purchase are waterproof, and if it can withstand harsh terrain. Often, if something is not made of a strong material like aluminum, it can break if dropped. Having durability and being resistant to water and water proof will help you while you are on an adventure.

Check out the top product reviews below and see what catches your eye! You might find yourself having a more relaxed camping trip or backpacking excursion with some of these backpacking gadgets!

Top Product Reviews

Below, you will find a list of products that are the some of the best models in their respective fields. Each item can help you in a different way, so take a look and see if anything catches your eye. Who knows, maybe you will find yourself with a steam iron or a new flashlight on your next trip!

Steamfast SF 717 Mini Steam Iron
Steamfast SF 717

Price: Approx. $22

Weight: 1 lb

Dimensions: 5.2 x 3 x 3.1 in

Specific features: Small and fits inside of your backpack, removes wrinkles and creases easily, lightweight and contains a 1.4 ounce water capacity, heats up in 15 seconds and includes 3 different temperature settings, includes dual voltage and comes with a handy travel bag.

Best use: For outdoor camping, hiking, backpacking and mountaineering. It can be used indoors as well.

Description: If you need a steam iron while you are camping, then the Steamfast SF 717 Mini Steam Iron is the one for you! This iron contains 3 temperature settings, a 15 second heat up time and is still light in weight and convenient to travel with.

It has a 1.4 ounce water capacity and includes a dual voltage for traveling outside of the country. With a non-stick sole plate and 420 watts, you are sure to have wrinkle free clothing.

This steam iron is just over $20 and includes a travel bag, and a little cup so you can add water to the iron. Don’t be afraid to iron nearly any fabric with this! This cute little iron is a nice addition to any type of travel or vacation purpose.

Users like this steam iron because it is small and can be taken anywhere, even out of the country! Plus, it is affordable and you can set it in various temperature settings.

PROS:

  • Easy to pack, great for travel
  • Affordable, with 1 year limited warranty
  • Heats up quickly

CONS:

  • Has “drag”, making it hard to move
  • Gets very hot
  • Can leak water

Related: It might be hard to find something to iron on, so you do not get your clothing dirty. The Innovative Home Creations 5000 Ironing Mat is a mat that is made of cotton, and is large enough for shirts. It has extra insulation and has a spot to set the iron as well!

Check the price on Amazon

ThermaCell THS01 Original Heated Insoles
ThermaCell THS01 S-p

Price: Approx. $80

Weight: 0.28 lb

Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 2 in

Specific features: Ability to control the temperature by remote control, no wires and no external batteries, battery life of 2,500 hours.

Best use: In extreme cold and snowy weather conditions, or in any weather where you find yourself with cold feet.

Description: If you are looking for heated insoles, then ThermaCell THS01 Original Heated Insoles will work well for you! There are no external batteries, so you do not have to worry about charging.

Instead, they feature a shelf life of 2,500 hours, which works great when you are out in the wilderness without the ability to charge batteries. With the ability to operate them with a remote control and no wires, you are sure to have an easy time using these insoles!

You can find these in sizes from Small to XX Large, and you have the ability to use the remote control and select what type of heat you want.

This ranges from No Heat to Medium to High. The highest setting is 111 degrees F. Users like these heated insoles because they keep your feet warm, are easy to put in and take out for another shoe, and they can be trimmed down to size.

PROS:

  • Long battery life
  • Keeps in heat
  • Various sizes to choose from

CONS:

  • Switch in the insole can stop operating
  • May not last long if you plan to use them a lot
  • Pricey

Related: If you are going to be in a really cold area, consider adding the Heat Holders JVCDS Winter Thermal Socks as you wear your insoles! These come in a variety of colors to choose from and hold in heat well because they are made with Acrylic and Nylon fabrics for the most part. They are also moisture wicking!

Check the price on Amazon

SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger SPOT Gen 3

Price: Approx. $150

Weight: 0.7 lb

Dimensions: 2 x 5.5 x 7.5 in

Specific features: Ability to stay in contact anywhere, provides emergency assistance if needed, works in any weather, durable.

Best use: Camping and outdoor use, or when staying in contact is needed, but cell phone coverage is not available.

Description: The SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger works great in bad weather, without issue. You can use the SOS button in case you need emergency assistance. The messenger is durable and can survive rugged terrain and a few bumps along the way.

You can stay in contact with your friends or family quickly and easily when you are far away without issue. Also, do not worry about it getting wet as it is water proof.

Users state that this does send messages quickly, especially if you are moving and in an open area. The GPS coordinates are super accurate and it absolutely works if you find yourself in an emergency. It even works in areas where cell phones do not!

Users also state that setting it up is very simple, and it gives them peace of mind knowing that they can call for help when it is truly needed, wherever they may be.

PROS:

  • Includes SOS feature for help
  • Does not use a lot of battery
  • Messages are sent quickly

CONS:

  • May not always send messages
  • Need subscription for some of the features
  • Not very user friendly, expensive

Related: If you would rather go hands free, you can use the RAM Mounts SPO4U EZ Roll’R Cradle as it will hold your Spot Gen3 easily. At about $11, this cradle can revolve around and is non-slip, and can absorb shock well!

Check the price on Amazon

Nitecore TM11 Lumen Flashlight
Nitecore TM11

Price: Approx. $285

Weight: 1.4 lb

Dimensions: 8 x 4 x 5 in

Specific features: LED bulb with aluminum material for durability, small but powerful, coated mineral, scratch resistant glass.

Best use: Hiking, mountaineering, camping and backpacking.

Description: You will not be disappointed in the Nitecore TM11 Lumen Flashlight. It is the world’s smallest flashlight that is also 2000 Lumens and made from aluminum and scratch resistant glass. This flashlight has one button that can turn it off and on and has 2 stages of light.

Waterproof, this flashlight is built to last and is easy to operate. It is not too heavy, and it is nicely designed. While it is pricier than others, those who have purchased it say that it works flawlessly and is worth the price.

Users like this flashlight because of the ease of use, the small size and the high amount of Lumens, which can help them find their way in pitch black darkness while camping.

Users agree that it functions well and they would consider it a dependable flashlight. Overall, it has a wide beam, can shine about a block away, and its small enough to carry anywhere!

PROS:

  • 2 stages of light
  • Scratch resistant, made of aluminum
  • World’s smallest flashlight, super bright

CONS:

  • Incredibly expensive
  • Batteries will jiggle around inside
  • Gets hot fast

Related: Since this flashlight requires batteries, you may want to look into the NiteCore D4 Battery Bundle with Display which is made by the same company and will charge various batteries, even in the car! Under $40, it includes an LCD panel display to see how charged your batteries are!

Check the price on Amazon

Anker Astro Portable Charger
Anker Astro AK-79AN7902-W2A

Price: Approx. $45

Weight: 0.3 lb

Dimensions: 3.7 x 1.8 x 1 in

Specific features: Comes in many colors, can charge more than one item at a time

Best use: While out in the wilderness, or anywhere.

Description: This charger works wonders for those who love to hike and backpack, but know their electronics will not withstand the duration. The Anker Astro Portable Charger has a charging speed of 2 amps, and can charge multiple items. It comes in black, white, blue and green.

You will see that the charger will charge your device at the quickest speed that it can and it is high capacity. It is safe and durable to use, and take about 4 hours to charge itself from a dead battery. While there is no amp adapter included, you do get a micro USB cable with the charger, as well as an 18 month warranty.

Users state that this battery charger doesn’t heat up too warm, and it works better than others because of the circuitry inside. The interesting part of it is that when you need to know the charge status of the battery, you shake the battery charger for the LED lights to start up and it will tell you how charged it is.

PROS:

  • Easy to grip
  • Lightweight, easy to carry
  • Battery is energy efficient
  • Made with Advanced Circuitry

CONS:

  • May lose charge faster over time
  • Parts can come loose inside
  • May only charge half way, if defective

Related: If you want a more reliable case for your charger, the Hermitshell EL-17930 Hard Case is made with a shell for protection and costs about $10. It is made to fit the case we reviewed and it comes in a black color.

Check the price on Amazon

LuminAID LUM-LL01 Solar Inflatable Light
LuminAID LUM-LL01

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 0.18 lb

Dimensions: 0.2 x 12.2 x 8.5 in

Specific features: Solar powered and can use batteries, LED bulb, small and provides up to 16 hours of light.

Best use: Camping and backpacking.

Description: The LuminAID LUM-LL01 Solar Inflatable Light is a great inflatable light source that gives you 16 hours of light and takes 7 hours of sun to charge by solar power. It’s small and easy to use, plus it inflates and can be deflated easily to be packed away.

The flashlight includes a push button for turning it on and off, as well as for the low and high settings. You can use this for about 14 to 16 hours on low and up to 10 hours on high. Included are also solar panels that are built right in that will recharge the battery in 7 hours of sunlight.

Waterproof up to 1 meter, this flashlight will inflate easily and folds up to be stored for use later. You can even keep it secured with the snap. Users like this flashlight because of its versatility, price, and the ease of use, plus it takes up almost no space!

PROS:

  • Built in solar panel
  • Folds up easily
  • Waterproof up to 1 meter
  • Works up to 16 hours on low

CONS:

  • Valve is hard to get air into, released
  • Needs more holes or loops to hang the light
  • Not super bright, more like a night light

Related: If you plan to use the LuminAID Solar outdoors, you can hang it inside of a tent like the Sundome 27924 2 Person Tent.  At about $50, you can stay cozy in this 2 person tent made of polyester that is simple to set up!

Check the price on Amazon

AYL Portable Mini Capsule Speaker AYL Portable EL-274194 

Price: Approx. $15

Weight: 0.25 lb

Dimensions: 3.5 x 2.25 x 6 in

Specific features: Built in amp, light in weight and can fit in your pocket, compatible with iPhone and Android, includes bass resonator.

Best use: For playing music while outdoors.

Description: The AYL Portable Mini Capsule Speaker is pocket sized, allows outdoor listening, includes a bass resonator, and can connect to most all media devices. It includes a 3 year warranty and has a nice, crisp sound without sounding fuzzy.

This mini speaker uses Plug and Play to work, and is made to have a lot of clarity for a nice sound. It includes an amplifier that is built in and can get actually get pretty loud if you need it to. You will see that it is compatible with basically all audio players and other electronics like laptops.

You can charge it via the USB cable it comes with, and it has a rechargeable lithium battery built inside of it that has a 10 hour life.  Users like this speaker because of the long battery life, the clear sounds, and the low price! Plus, the high volume level ensures you hear every song!

PROS:

  • Plug and Play, easy to use
  • Compatible with all players, electronics
  • 3 year warranty
  • Affordable

CONS:

  • The Aux cord is short
  • Can stop working on its own
  • Wiring can have issues

Related: If you have this speaker and need something to play music from, the RHDTShop 11LF7B4 Economical MP3 /MP4 Player can hold up to 16 GB using a memory card of songs, which means you can have tons of music to play for whatever mood you’re in!

Check the price on Amazon

Eton American FRX3 Radio Charger
Eton American FRX3

Price: Approx. $60

Weight: 1.33 lb

Dimensions: 5.8 x 6.9 x 2.6 in

Specific features: Plays AM/FM radio and can get weather alerts from NOAA and other stations, alert functions, a flashlight and a flashing beacon.

Best use: Camping, hiking, and fishing.

Description: The Eton American FRX3 Radio Charger gives you weather alerts and has AM/FM radio to enjoy music. You have several power options and can use solar power as well. It also can use AAA batteries and it does include a flashlight with an emergency beacon.

With this radio, you will see there are many functions, including an alarm clock, bright LED light that is easy to spot, and more. You can even make an emergency 30 second phone call from this device if you are in true danger. Finding this radio at night, is simple with the glow in the dark rim around the panel.

Users like this radio because it mostly gives them a sense of safety because it allows them to prepare for inclement weather. They state the reception is great and they can “dump charge” their phone from it. Overall, this radio has many functions that make it worth the price, and peace of mind.

PROS:

  • Can charge your phone
  • Has an emergency beacon
  • Many power options

CONS:

  • Delicate, can turn on easily if brushed against something, will drain battery
  • Have to crank it a while to get power
  • Must use “alert” setting to get alerts

Related: If you find yourself in an emergency situation, it is great to not only have the above radio, but to have the Survival Spark Magnesium Survival Fire Starter.  Under $10, you can always start a fire, and signal for help with the loud whistle. The item is not only weather resistant, but also windproof, and it has a compass.

Check the price on Amazon

Suunto Core SS014279010 Sports Watch Suunto Core SS014279010

Price: Approx. $170

Weight: 0.3 lb

Dimensions: 1.93 x 0.57 x 1.93 in

Specific features: Altimeter, barometer and compass, weather alerts and terrain data on terrain.

Best use: Outdoor use.

Description: The Suunto Core SS014279010 Sports Watch has many features like alerts and weather indicators, as well as storm tracking and sunrise/set times. It includes many designs and can tell your elevation, and give records on your treks.

Not only are you going to find an altimeter and barometer, but a compass and Storm Alarm, too. You can also see your elevation and it will track your ascension and descent as well. The watch senses drops in the air pressure, which show you if bad weather is coming.

You can find this in many colors, and it can give you water depth readings down to 30 feet under. You can use it in a few different languages too, and it comes with a 1 year warranty. Other functions of this watch include stop watch, logbook, calendar, low battery warning, backlight, and weather memory.

Users like this watch because of the many functions as well as the durability and the range in altitude. They can use it up to 30,000 with no problem, and it has a rotating bezel.

PROS:

  • Tons of functions, designs, colors
  • Water resistant to 100 feet
  • Keeps records for a week

CONS:

  • Not super durable
  • Buttons can stick
  • Strap can fall apart

Related: Eventually, you will need batteries for this watch. The Energizer ECR2032 Replacement Batteries fit this watch perfectly and you can get a 5 pack for under $4! These batteries are 3 volts, made to drain slowly and are lighter than alkaline batteries.

Check the price on Amazon

BioLite Wood BL-CSA Wood Burning
BioLite Wood BL-CSA

Price: Approx. $110

Weight: 2.07 lb

Dimensions: 8.27 x 5 x 5 in

Specific features: Fast charging USB smartphone plug, boils water in under 5 minutes.

Best use: Camping and backpacking.

Description: The BioLite Wood BL-CSA Wood Burning can charge your phone and boil water at one time! You can cook your food fast and charge the stove quickly too. It can boil water in 4.5 minutes and is light in weight so you will want to take it with you! It has an internal battery to start the fire with.

The stove weighs about 2 lbs and appears in the shape of a water bottle. It does include a starter battery inside that will get the fire going so the stove can get power. Smokeless, it will boil water quickly and gives a hot flame so you can make food.

Users like the design and while it may seem heavy to some, at 2 lbs, it is not super heavy. If you decide to charge your phone via USB for 20 minutes, you should get an hour or so of talk time, or less if you use the internet.

PROS:

  • Lightweight, easy to use
  • Can charge your phone
  • Boils 1 liter of water in 4.5 minutes

CONS:

  • USB charger doesn’t charge quickly
  • Small fire box
  • Fan indicator light can turn on and off

Related: The BioLite 4018 Grill Attachment is a great attachment that will fit the above stove! It works by putting the grilling portion over the flame and it has legs that will balance it on the ground. It is easy to clean and has space for 4 hamburgers or 6 hot dogs.

Check the price on Amazon

Concluding Thoughts

That fulfills our list! It just shows the diversity out there when it comes to gadgets to use when backpacking and enjoying the outdoors. These items can be used while camping, hiking, mountaineering, and doing other activities outdoors.

A person pouring coffe from the MiniPresso-GR-Espresso-Maker

Now that you know what to pay attention to and which gadgets are the best on the market, making the right choice will come easy. Hopefully the product reviews gave you insight on how you can make your next trip outdoors more fun and safe.

Now that you have seen what types of gadgets there are, what is your next purchase going to be? Leave us a comment and let us know what is on your mind!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca J. Crawford

Rebecca J. Crawford

Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favourite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another passion of Rebecca is ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy.