Gear Review -- Luxury Camping Equipment, part II

Gear Review — Luxury Camping Equipment, part II

Filed under: Camping 

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Note: This is the second in a two-part series of columns on luxury-oriented camping gear. Click here for column No. 1.

The Gear Junkie: Luxury Camping Equipment, part II

It could be the families heading to camp for the first time. Or maybe it’s experienced outdoors types tired of the rock-hard ground. But adding comfort to the car camping experience via “luxury” outdoors items is a trend noted by retailers like REI and

Gear manufacturers have hopped on the luxury wagon as well, including Kelty and other traditional family-camping companies on up to high-end outfits like Mountain Hardwear and The North Face, which have released large family tents, some with two rooms and gear “garages” built in.

The Outdoorsman stove from Camp Chef.

At the absurd end of the trend there are products like the Burton Lil’ Buddy cooler, an icebox with stereo speakers, or the deep-fry-capable Outdoorsman stove from Camp Chef, which jets out at 60,000 BTUs. Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s InsulMat Hot! is an electronic sleeping pad that radiates heat.

Here are five additional gadgets and luxury camp products to better pamper your time “roughing it” this summer in the great outdoors.

1. Power Pack
When it comes out next month, the Voltaic Generator pack will be capable of grabbing enough solar energy to recharge a laptop computer. Unzip the pack, plug your computer in, and lay the bag out in the sun to soak in up to 17 watts of clean solar energy. $599,

2. Java Maker
Grind your beans via hand-crank power with GSI’s JavaGrind, a polycarbonate contraption that crushes coffee via a twirling ceramic burr. It has an aluminum handle and a cover that locks on to keep your beans fresh and in their place until you’re ready to brew. $20,

3. The Dog Treatment
With a drop-down food tray, a collapsible water bowl, a removable food container, and a pocket on top for plastic baggies, the K9 Cube is a luxury pack for Fido. A back panel pocket fits an included Frisbee, and two side mesh pockets are made for tennis balls. Available in July for $50,

4. Fish Watch
Touted as a watch that tells “when the fish will be biting from anywhere in the world,” the Ultimate Fishing Rubber Strap Watch calculates sunrise, sunset, moon phase and tidal information to spit out an ideal fishing time for your precise location on the globe. Enter in your latitude and longitude, set your alarm, and wait for the watch to tell you when the fish will start biting. $56,

5. Ice Crusher
Motorized margaritas, anyone? The BlenderBlaster weighs 20 pounds and is 20 inches tall. It runs on a Honda 4-cycle gas engine. It has motorcycle twist handle grips and revs to ice-crushing action. ‘Nuf said. $499,

Note: This is the second in a two-part series of columns on luxury-oriented camping gear. Click here for column No. 1.

Stephen Regenold
Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.