With the summer turned out to be something of a scorcher, the need to jet off to those traditional holiday destinations abroad can, for once, potentially give way to a vacation in dear old Blighty. And as the weather is so good, you may as well consider enjoying the great outdoors.
But gone are the days when it takes four hours to erect a tent and just as long to boil a mug of water. Today’s camping equipment is innovative, ingenious and, in some cases, inflatable. Here we’ve chosen a selection of the best kit on the market right now that should serve the seasoned camper just as well as the novice.
Roof-top tent: GT Roof
Roof-top tents are generally found atop the most rugged of Land Rovers, but the world’s first inflatable roof tent can be fitted to virtually any car with standard roof bars to give a generous two-man sleeping pod with 130cm interior height. Admittedly the chance of a bear attack is slim in the UK, but given it packs to just W1m x D1m x H15cm, is 2/3rds lighter than a typical roof tent, weighs just 25kg and can be used as a raft in still water, WIRED is happy for the extra space in the boot.
Price: €2,190 from gentletent.com
Pole-free tent: Heimplanet Cave
Last seen pitched on an alien planet in Netflix’s Lost in Space, Heimplanet’s Cave looks every bit the tent of choice for the pangalactic adventurer. As to whether the gorgeous inflatable design will keep anyone safe from extra-terrestrials is open to debate, but back on planet earth, the 4.8kg, pole-free geodesic design means it’ll survive gusts of wind – rated to cope with 112mph – while being idiot-proof to pitch and completely impervious to unwanted late-night festival stumblings.
Price: £565 | Check price on Amazon.co.uk
Camping mat/mattress: Exped Megamat Duo 10M
Given that it’s 10cm thick and combines packable foam insulation and self-inflating air chambers, this exceptional design is more of a mattress than a traditional camping mat. Measuring 104 x 183cm it’s designed for two, or luxurious for one, and offers supreme comfort – a world away from any blow-up mattress you’ll ever lie on – and packs down to 55x30cm. Supplied with a simple, but effective hand pop for topping up, it also has a one-way deflation valve so packing it away couldn’t be easier.
Price: £260 | Check price on Amazon.co.uk
Lamp: Barebones Forest Lantern
Add a little frontiersman chic to your camp with this retro-look metal petrol style lamp that hides a thoroughly modern fully dimmable LED that will last three hours on full beam, and up to 80 when used as a glowing night light, or you can put the Li-Ion battery to good use and top up your smartphone.
Price: £50 | Check price on Amazon.co.uk
Sleeping bag: Rab Neutrino Endurance 600
Arguably the most technically advanced three-season sleeping bag on the planet, the Neutrino Endurance 600 features 600g of high-quality, hand-filled, ethically sourced Nikwax hydrophobic down that boasts all the insulating properties of down, but doesn’t shrivel if it gets wet, plus an ultra-light Pertex Quantum inner liner that’s treated with Polygiene Stay Fresh odour control treatment that helps reduce whiff-causing bacteria by more than 99 per cent, meaning you don’t have to wash it anywhere near as often as you’d expect.
Price: £430 | Check price on Amazon.co.uk
Firepit: BioLite FirePit
Enjoy the warmth and crackle of an open fire without the eye-stinging smoke thanks to BioLite’s latest innovation that combines a firepit with powerful 10,400 mAh Li-Ion powered fan (which can also boost your smartphone battery) that keeps the embers glowing for up to 24hrs (assuming you keep adding logs). And just because they can, you’re also able to control the size of your flames via the Bluetooth app. Available in August.
Price:£TBC from bioliteenergy.com
Water filter: LifeStraw Universal
Thanks to Lifestraw’s exceptional two-stage water filtration system, WIRED has drunk from more muddy puddles than one would ever deem sensible, but with 99.999999 per cent of bacteria, 99.999 of parasites and microplastics instantly removed, it’s a safe and lifesaving invention. And with the launch of Universal you can now add their water filtration system to your existing water bottle with an adapter kit that’ll fit Hydro Flask (see below), Klean Kanteen, Camelbak and Nalgene, and for every product sold the brand provides a year’s worth of safe drinking water to a child in a community in need of clean H2O.
Price: £40 | Check price on Amazon.co.uk
GPS unit: Garmin inReach Mini
Weighing just 100g, this pocket-sized life-saver combines a guaranteed 100 per cent global Iridium GPS signal – subscription required – and two-way satellite communication, so no matter where you end up you can stay in contact via SMS or send SOS alerts any time to the GEOS international emergency response centre. Admittedly, the 23mm screen does limit the GPS functionality, but it will provide a pinpoint location, compass and way-points and can be linked to the Garmin Earthmate app for a full suite of colour maps and features.
Price: £299 | Check price on Amazon.co.uk
Gas stove: Snow Peak Gigapower LI Stove GS-1000
Made in Japan using stainless steel, aluminium and brass components, this 37cm beast of a burner stands proud on four folding legs. It has been designed to make catering for the masses quick and efficient with flip-out pan supports that create a secure base for the biggest of pans and nifty inverted gas canister holder. The prodigious heat output of 34,000 BTUs and can boil a litre of water in 2.5min but packs down small and weighs just 1.8kg.
Price: £560 | Check price on Amazon.
Generator: Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Solar Generator
Not one for the go-light camper, this 7.7kg lithium battery pack has a max power output of 300W, a capacity of 428Wh (10.8V, 39.6 Ah) and a plethora of ports including 3x USB, 120W DC and 220Volt AC Inverter for off-grid energy. In practice, that means you’ll be able to juice your laptop seven times, watch TV for four hours (if you take your telly camping) or keep virtually every smartphone on the campsite well above the red zone. Charged via mains or hook up to solar panels.
Price: £850 | Check price on Amazon.co.uk
Water bottle/flask: Hydro Flask bottles
Using its TempShield vacuum insulation trickery, these modern thermos bottles made form stainless steel keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for hours at a time (beer stays icy up to 24 hours, while your tea should keep steaming for up to six hours). Both the Standard Mouth and Wide Mouth versions will accommodate ice cubes, and both have an insulated Flex Cap. Perhaps most important, the 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel protects against flavour transfer, so Saturday’s IPA won’t taste like Friday night’s gin and tonic.
Price: £27 | Check price on Amazon.co.uk