5 Gadgets That Make Camping More Fun for Parents

June 17, 2014 - 5 minutes read

Camping is the highlight of the summer for many families, but it can also be a lot of work. Rustic life is a fun and welcome break from the everyday routine, but it also means taking a break from everyday conveniences. Preparing and tidying up after three square meals each day without a kitchen can sometimes make camping feel like more work than fun (for parents, anyway).

Unless you’re a diehard rustic camper or are backpacking off the grid, chances are your tent – or camper – is pitched close to a power outlet. If not a power outlet, then at the very least, your car. With the right tools, and some very savvy cooler packing, a little electricity can go a long way towards taking the headache out of meal prep at the campsite.

Let’s start with the basics: get that power!

AC – DC car port converter

If your camp site is nowhere near an outlet, not to worry – your car has got you covered. The power port is easily converted into 110-120 volts with an AC to DC car port converter, which can power any laptop or standard household device. While you’re at it, be sure to get a converter with USB ports, for cell phone and iPad charging. Bonus points for style.

You can find a high quality, versatile converter for $20-30 online.

A good extension cord

You never know where you’re going to need a plug, so whether you’re pulling power from your car or from a campsite power outlet, you’ll need a rugged outdoor extension cord. A 25 foot extension cord is more than enough for most campsites, but if you’re camping more remotely, you might want one as long as 40 feet. Be sure to get an extension cord with more than one outlet on the end, so you don’t have to choose between coffee or breakfast. They usually run $15-20.

Weatherproof cord connector

Don’t bother unplugging your electronics and stowing the cords away each night – that’s just more hassle. A weatherproof cord connector or connection box will protect your cords and outlets from the weather, so you can walk away and not worry about them. If you’re using a multi-outlet extension cord, you’ll probably want to spring for the larger connection box, which runs $20-30 online.

Portable electric percolator

Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean your coffee has to be terrible. Farberware percolators make excellent coffee, and their linerless baskets make them easy to clean and prepare at the most rustic of campsites. Simply fill with water, coffee, and plug the cord into the carafe, and great coffee is brewed in minutes. All it needs is an outlet.

Portable, personal oven (the Hot Logic Mini, of course)

You knew we couldn’t resist! We hate to brag, but we know from personal experience that Hot Logic Mini can be a lifesaver at the campground. Make casseroles, lasagna, dips, and just about anything else in Hot Logic-sized containers, pack them in the cooler, and simply pop them in the Mini a few hours – or MANY hours – before you want to eat. There are a million ways to use the Mini to avoid meal prep – overnight oatmeal for breakfast, hot dogs or chicken wings for lunch, casserole for dinner – the possibilities are endless. 

For larger families and reunions, you may decide you need more than one Hot Logic Mini – enough to eliminate meal prep for everyone, leaving more time for sitting and relaxing.

Now that’s something all of us could use.

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