bivy stick emergency locator

Camping Packing List: The Pack Hacker’s Guide to Actually Useful Tech

Autumn is here so grab your camping gear! What, you don’t have the travel necessities to go exploring? Here is a camping packing list with the actually useful tech that really saves time (and headaches!).

Camping for beginners? If you’re someone who loves hotels and is intimidated by anything more wild than say glamping, then this list of camping essentials has the gadgets to make your first tent-stay super comfortable.

Solar-powered phone charger with string lights

solar charger with string lights

Our favorite camping gadgets are multifunctional ones because, after your first trip, you really learn that you should pack less.

Still, who says camping can’t be glam?

We love this solar-powered charger! It doubles as a string light installation that creates a romantic atmosphere (and helps those afraid of the dark).

This charger can give you some atmosphere lighting all night and has a generous 18 feet cord.

You can find it here.

USB lighter: Take Your Zippo to the next level

Also, did you know that even a Zippo can be USB-charged nowadays? Amaze even your old-school friends with this awesome twist on the classic which lets you use it in windy weather.

This Zippo lighter insert starts more than fires. Thanks to its cool double plasma arc beam, we found it starts plenty of conversations as well. 

While it doesn’t last as long as the traditional one, one full battery charge does give you up to 300 uses and honestly, let’s hope you get better weather than that!

Check it out here.

Emergency Beacon Personal locator

This next item is pricey but well worth it even if you don’t go very far from camp. The Bivy Stick emergency beacon personal locator gives you and your loved ones peace of mind

This next item is pricy but well worth it in case you want to adventure far. The Bivy Stick emergency beacon personal locator gives you and your loved ones peace of mind since it includes tri-network coverage on cell, satellite or WiFi.

You can send and receive messages via satellite, get offline maps, share your GPS location with loved ones or authorities. The best part? It has an actual check-in button, so you can let friends and family know you’re safe.

The Bivy Stick is also compatible with all GoPro mounts, so you can have it close wherever you go.

Check it out here.

Adventure Flask Kit with Flashlight

The best camping gadgets are those that are multi-functional, because no one likes lugging around their entire house just to be comfortable under the moonlight.

One of the must-haves in this camping packing list is the Adventure Flask kit.

This flask includes two stainless steel collapsible shot glasses and a bottle opener for some fun times, plus a LED flashlight and a compass to find your way back to the camp. 

It’s a bit pricey but it’s a sturdy camping gadget, an investment piece like a Leatherman knife.

Buy it here.

BioLite USB-charging Camping Stove

Oh yeah, and speaking of “I can’t believe this has USB”, there is such a thing as a camp stove with USB.

Meet the BioLite wood burning stove that literally turns fire into electricity.

The BioLite (we talk about it more here) has a 3,200 mAh battery that charges as you burn wood to cook, which means you can power an essential device like your phone while also making dinner.

The BioLite CampStove 2+ is quite an impressive feat of engineering, coming with a portable grill, a light and even a kettle that boils 1 liter of water in under 5 minutes. 

All in all, the BioLite can cut your camping packing list in half, especially if you travel solo.

You can buy it here.

Rechargeable camp shower

Shower pressure just like in a hotel, even though you’re camping? It’s doable, really. Just grab a big bucket and put in this rechargeable camp shower and you’ll enjoy the biggest comfort of modern living, anywhere in the wilderness. It even has three spray functions, so it’s perfect for those with longer hair.

This rechargeable camp shower has a 5000 mAh battery you could connect to a solar-powered charger, for example. The pump goes in a bucket and the handle even has an accessory to attach it to your RV or car, for example, if overhead showers are what you’re dreaming about when camping.

Find it here.

A Huge Power Bank

For the true geek going out and about, a huge power bank is the essential camping tech.

From everything we’ve seen, this is one of the biggest powerbanks available for purchase, offering 36,000  mAh and even fast charging and wireless charging.

Usually when you go for a large powerbank, you sacrifice speed for capacity but this one can charge a phone in an hour and a half. If you’re in no rush, you can also connect up to six devices to charge.

By cable, this huge powerbank charges in about 8 hours but don’t forget to keep it in the sun when you’re camping, since the solar panel will help a lot as well.

See it here.


Since you should always avoid warm, stagnant water (Legionnaires disease is no joke!), most portable filters are capable of handling the usual type of water you’ll encounter on a regular camping trip.

We have the LifeStraw Personal, which is a great addition to any backpacking trip or bug out bag, but it’s somewhat difficult to use for the elderly or children, since you really have to suck on it hard to get it to work.

 If we were to buy a LifeStraw again, we’d definitely go for the super versatile LifeStraw Flex. Since it works with most water bottles and filters up to 2000 liters of water, it would be useful in day to day life as well, not just when packing for camping.

This purchase also doubles as a good deed, since for any LifeStraw you buy, the company helps secure access to clean water for a school child in need.

You can buy it here.

Portable suitcase grill

The best pack hacker tip? While tech is always there to streamline things, you should always have a backup in case electricity or sunshine to generate it aren’t a given.

We actually use a similar portable suitcase grill as our main camping grill on most trips since it’s not just super useful but a real conversation starter with anyone. 

You’d think this is just a quirky camping gadget but it’s not just a gimmick. This little suitcase does the job and quickly became one of our camping essentials because you can also use it as storage for other camping tools like eating utensils, tinder and small gadgets, turning it into a full campfire cooking kit.

suitcase grill
We managed to feed 4 not-so-hungy people with this suitcase grill

Best of all, it leaves no trace of your activities. After all, there’s no point in finding the perfect wild camping spot and leaving behind charcoal or trash to ruin it for future adventurers!

The only downside is that the fire is small so it will go out fast, so you should only light it once you’re ready to cook (no ambiance campfire here!). 

You can find it here.

Camping mess kit

As for actually sitting down to enjoy a meal, the best camping cookware is the one that’s lightest, has the most functions and, of course, is the easiest to clean. While there’s a lot of plastic camping mess kits out there and they do look sturdy enough, we find plastic gets easily messed up by things like tomato sauces. 

Our choice is always stainless steel because it is lightweight, sturdy and fire resistant. Unlike aluminum mess kits, it doesn’t stain as easily and corrosion isn’t something that will affect it. Surprisingly enough, even though we love new and shiny camping gadgets, we don’t believe in innovation for the sake of innovation. 

That’s why, in terms of cooking we’re kicking it old school with a design from WW2.

This military mess kit works as a pan, a plate and, if you have leftovers, are a sturdy little bento box. It’s made of food grade 304 stainless steel, has a foldable wood handle and comes with a decently sized spork that can work as a spatula.

Find it here.

Yeti Tundra Cooler

Cold beer for the whole weekend, without electricity? It’s not only possible but very doable with a Yeti Tundra Cooler.

At this point, Yet is a cult brand when it comes to camping coolers and it’s easy to see why. Thanks to around three inches of insulation and a seriously rugged construction with military-grade handles, it’s a leak-proof, virtually indestructible cooler that can handle intense heat. Just add a bag of ice and it will hold for at least three days, no matter the outside temperature.

Find it here.

That’s our list for now but we’ll probably update it after each trip, since camping gadgets are the number one thing we’re always on the hunt for. What about you, what is your number 1 item in your camping packing list?

Share your tips below!

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