CAMPING & HIKING

Backpacking Gadgets: They Can Be Handy for Your Next Camp

Backpack with gadgets
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Wondering what gadgets to invest in for your backpack? If you go on regular camps or hikes or just little tours now and then, you have come to the right place. Read on about a few backpacking gadgets that you may like to own and find helpful on your travels.

Factors to consider while purchasing gadgets

Before talking about the gadgets, let us talk a little about what factors you need to take into account while purchasing gadgets for your backpack. Purchase gadgets that would provide a balance of all the following factors.

Weight

You don’t want your backpack to be unnecessarily heavy by filling it with a lot of things. Especially if you are into lightweight or ultralight backpacking, you need to consider the weight of every item you wish to add to your backpack. After all, even a little additional weight will add on to the overall weight.

Portability

Along with the weight, you also need to consider the space occupied by a new item. Ideally, gadgets suited for backpacking should have features like foldability and compressibility so that they would be easy to carry and fit in your backpack. Another great feature would be for the gadget to compress itself to conceal parts prone to damage while traveling.

two hikers on a mountain top

Usefulness/Necessity

Think about how much a gadget would be useful for you. This again depends on how frequently you backpack, how many days or nights you usually spend out, and the environmental conditions of your usual go-to places. Pick and choose your gadgets according to how much you think would use them.

Cost

Many would agree that backpacking and outdoors is an expensive hobby. So, the gadgets you would buy would depend on your budget.

Some useful gadgets to have in your backpack

The following are a few gadgets that may prove useful on your backpacking trips.

ETEKCITY PORTABLE CAMPING STOVE WITH PIEZO IGNITION

Weight: 4.8 oz. Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stoves

Dimensions: 2.3” x 1.8” x 3.5”

Specific Features: stainless steel and aluminum alloy, collapsible, adjustable control valve, 7/16 thread butane or butane-propane fuel canister compatible, conforms to ‘Leave no trace’ principles, piezo ignition system, suitable for pan up to 7” diameter, carrying case included

Best Use: For ultra-lightweight backpacking or as a backup stove

Description: The Etekcity camping stove  is made up of stainless steel as the stove base material and aluminum alloy as a support material. This combination of materials makes this stove both durable and lightweight. The stove is, thus, quite portable and well suited for backpacking. The included carrying case makes carrying it for camping even more convenient. It features a Piezo ignition system, which allows a quick ignition.

The adjustable control valve helps to regulate the flame from a simmer to high settings smoothly. The strong valve connection gives a consistent flame even when it is adjusted. The flame, however, is concentrated at the center because of the small diffuser. Its small size and design will accommodate just small pots. You can use pans and pots with a diameter of up to 7 inches on it.

This little stove comes at just under $10, and for this price, the stove is a great value. If you are lucky, the stove may last long. The inbuilt electric igniter, however, is prone to breaking within a year of use or sometimes, after just a couple of uses. So, pack a small lighter for a backup ignition option. The size and weight of this stove, combined with the price makes it the perfect little backup stove that can be shoved in your backpack.

Related: For a relatively bigger, windproof camping stove, check out the Etekcity E-gear portable camping stove.  If you are willing to spend a bit more, try the ubiquitous MSR PocketRocket.

Check the price on Amazon

SUNBEAM HOT-2-TROT 800W TRAVEL IRON GCSBTR-100-000

Weight: 1 lb. 6 oz.  Sunbeam Travel Iron

Dimensions: 3.6” x 7.9” x 4”

Specific Features: 800W, dual voltage – 240V and 120V, non-stick soleplate, indicator light, shot of steam for wrinkles, temperature knob, soft touch handle and dial

Best Use: Use this on-the-go for a wrinkle-free holiday

Description: The Sunbeam Hot-2-Trot Travel Iron is a must if you are fond of clothes that are absolutely wrinkle-free. Carry this little iron with you on your travels. Use its dual voltage system and use it on either 120V or 240V as convenient on your camps. This iron can be used at different temperature settings for different fabrics. Use it for dry ironing or steam ironing.

It has a ‘Shot of steam’ feature that can smooth out those tough wrinkles with a burst of steam. Sharp out your creases with a high steam setting or use it on moderate wrinkles. The iron features a non-stick soleplate with a pointed tip, designed to iron smoothly and in hard-to-reach areas like around buttons. This compact iron costs just around $12. But the price, it seems, comes at a compromise of quality.

No doubt the iron works great, but unfortunately, there have been many cases where the iron stopped working, the non-stick coating came off, or leaked, after short-term use. But at the price, it is definitely worth a try.

Related: For a similar top-rated travel steam iron, take a look at the Steamfast SF-717.

Check the price on Amazon

ZEBORA SOLAR CHARGER

Weight: 8.5 oz.  zebora solar charger

Dimensions: 5.9” x 3.2” x 0.7”

Specific Features: 10,000mAh capacity, monocrystalline panels, built-in smart IC chip, grade A Lithium polymer battery, lightweight, compact

Best Use: Camps, hikes, trips, and wherever you need to get your electronic devices charged

Description: The Zebora Solar Charger is a helpful gadget when you are on the go. It is lightweight and folds into a compact device. So, stick it in your pocket or backpack whenever you are on the go, and you will never have to deal with a dead mobile or laptop. The charger is made up of monocrystalline silicone solar panels, which fully charge the power bank in about 8 hours in sunlight.

Charge it under sunlight or use the provided input slot to plug it into a DC source to charge it. It has a capacity of 10,000mAh. Two 5V USB ports help you to charge two devices simultaneously, which is possible due to the built-in smart IC chip.  It uses an anti-explosive Lithium-polymer battery, which is one of the safest batteries out there.

Customers have had success with this device charging even under poor sunlight on cloudy and cold days. Unsurprisingly, it charges itself faster through wall outlet compared to sunlight. But, the ability to charge itself through solar panels is what makes this device useful on hikes with no access to electricity.

Related: Take a look at a similar product from Zebora, a solar charger with two foldable solar panels.

Check the price on Amazon

MECO HAND CRANKING SOLAR POWERED EMERGENCY LED FLASHLIGHT

Weight: 4.06 oz. MECO Hand Cranking Solar Powered Rechargeable Flashlight

Dimensions: 2.36” x 5.91” x 1.79”

Specific Features: hand crank/solar, built-in rechargeable battery, carabiner clip, about 200 lumens output

Best Use: An emergency flashlight, a must on hikes and camps, or just keep in your glove box

Description: The Meco Emergency Flashlight is one of the must have little gadgets to carry with you wherever you go, without worrying about dead batteries. Charge its built-in rechargeable battery through its solar panel for hours of use. If the battery drains itself in darkness, you need not worry. Turn the hand crank for a minute for at least 10 minutes of lighting.

Crank it for only 6 minutes to get more than an hour of light. A useful carabiner clip on this handy gadget can be used to clip it on your backpack for ease of carrying. It has an output of around 200 lumens – not very bright, but functional enough. It comes in an army green color.

Related: You may like Meco’s all-in-one device, an emergency radio, flashlight, power bank, a useful device to own for those long power outages and outdoors.

Check the price on Amazon

DIZAUL MINI USB FAN, POWERBANK, FLASHLIGHT

Weight: 5.28 oz. Portable Fan, Dizaul mini usb rechargeable fan

Dimensions: 4.33” x 3.54” x 1.38”

Specific Features: 2600mAh power bank, LED light, Samsung cell lithium battery – removable, rechargeable, micro USB cable for charging, industrial standard brushless motor fan, 3 speeds, 3 to 6 hours’ fan use when charged fully.

Best Use: Use indoors or outdoors on camps, hikes, trips, boats, or even on baby prams

Description: The Dizaul mini USB rechargeable fan comes with a power bank and an LED flashlight. The fan itself uses a brushless motor, which enables it to give high winds and makes it durable. You can set it to three speeds, 250 L/min, 500 L/min, and 900 L/min. Based on the speed setting you use, you can get about 6.5 hours of use at the lowest speed, 5.5 hours at the medium speed, and 3.7 hours at the highest speed, with a fully charged battery.

The power bank has a capacity of 2600mAh. It can charge smartphones, iPhones, tablets, iPads, digital cameras, MP4 players, and other small electronic devices. A flashlight is provided on one side. The 2600mAh battery is rechargeable and removable. It gets fully charged in about 4 hours. Use the micro USB port to connect it to a suitable charging source like a laptop, power bank, 5V DC wall charger, 5V solar panel charger, or car charger.

Press the ‘On’ button to switch on the fan and to adjust the wind. Long press the ‘On’ button to switch the flashlight on. Press the ‘Off’ button to see the remaining capacity and long press it to turn the device off.

The device is lightweight and small enough to fit in a palm. The provided carabiner lets you attach it to your backpack or at a suitable position for use. Grab one of these useful devices in a nice color – pink, green, blue, or white.

Related: Look at the OXOQO portable mini fan for a similar option.

Check the price on Amazon

SOUNDPEATS P3 PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS

Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz. soundpeats p3

Dimensions: 5.7” x 8” x 2.4”

Specific Features: 2000mAh capacity, up to 10 hours of use, Adopt IP65 rated technology – water-resistant, dustproof, 5W drive, dual speakers, built-in microphone

Best Use: Carry it to answer calls or listen to music anywhere

Description: The SoundPEATS Portable Speaker is designed to be used in any kind of environment like a pool, on a hike, or while cycling. It uses Adopt IP65 rated technology so that it is dustproof, water resistant against low-pressure water jets and splashes, and shock resistant. So, you can use it without hesitance at places like the poolside, beach, or shower.

Charge it for 3 to 4 hours to let it work for 8 to 10 hours. Powered by a 5W drive, it can give you clear and high-quality audio at a good volume, just perfect for your next picnic. The P3 has dual speakers and thus provides an output audio power of 10W. As the speaker is lightweight, you can take it with you easily on hikes, bike rides, and wherever you need it.

Mount it on your bike or another place using the provided bottom mount. Use its built-in microphone as a speakerphone for your calls. The P3 is well made with ABS, sounds great, and is durable, surprisingly, at a very reasonable price.

Related: For a smaller speaker with a single speaker and two speaker grills for a 5W audio power, see the SoundPEATS P2.

Check the price on Amazon

VICTORINOX SWISS ARMY POCKET KNIFE HUNSTSMAN II

Weight: 3.42 oz.  Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Dimensions: 3.6” x 0.8”

Specific Features: 15 functions, textured EcoLine scales, Polyamide/Nylon handle, made in Switzerland, lifetime guarantee

Best Use: A multi-tool that is helpful in almost every camp/hike.

Description: The Victorinox Huntsman II is a must have tool that can come in handy anytime you need a tool, be it to open a can or to tighten a screw. It has 15 functions: a large and a small blade, corkscrew, can opener, a small and a large screwdriver, bottle opener, wire stripper, reamer, key ring, tweezers, scissors, toothpick, multi-purpose hook, and a wood saw.

All the tools are made of a high-quality steel, so they can be used for a long time before they need to be sharpened. The scissors are large enough to be useful. The wood saw has quite a sharp edge and is suitable to cut firewood. The handle is made up of textured nylon instead of the traditional smooth Cellidor. This enables you to have a good grip of the device even when the weather is wet and unfavorable.

To clean the knife, just open and close the blades in warm water. This little gadget is of a very high quality, again, quite surprisingly for its price.

Related: For similar Swiss knives with slightly different functions, see the other styles of this knife like the Camper II, Champion Plus, and the Sportsman II. Or, check out the Fieldmaster pocket knife.

Check the price on Amazon

SUAOKI CAMPING LED LANTERN AND FLASHLIGHT

Weight: 4.2 oz. Suaoki Camping Lantern Led Light Flashlight

Dimensions: 3.35” x 3.35” x 4.72”; Compressed: 3.35” x 3.35” x 1.97”

Specific Features: 2 forms – lantern or flashlight, three AA batteries, portable, compressible for storage and packing

Best Use: Camping, hiking, bonfires, boating, power outages, etc.

Description: The Suaoki Camping Lantern and Flashlight can be used in two different forms – as a lantern when it is fully expanded, and when it is compressed to around half its height, as a flashlight. Depending on the quality of the three AA batteries used in this little gadget, it can provide 50 to 100 hours of lighting. The LED light gives a brightness of up to 65 lumens.

The lantern can be hanged using a plastic handle provided. However, the handle is not of a very good quality and may give in after a few uses. With an output of 65 lumens, it may seem to be too bright for you when used at home or just right. It is a little difficult to expand it from the compressed position until you get the hang of it after a few uses.

As it can be compressed into a compact device, you can keep it safely in your backpack while preventing any damage to the lantern or you can keep it at a corner on your desk at home, without losing much space. Overall, this is a useful and handy device to keep in a reachable place for power outages and to carry around on your camps.

Related: If you would prefer a rechargeable or solar lantern, the Suaoki LED light with Rechargeable Battery, which can be charged through USB or solar power, may be a better bet.

Check the price on Amazon

ACR RESQLINK PLUS 406 PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON

Weight: 8 oz. ACR ResQLink plus 406 Personal Locator Beacon

Dimensions: 6” x 5” x 2”

Specific Features: 406 MHz satellite signal, 121 MHz homing beacon, built-in GPS settings for the US, Built-in LED strobe

Best Use: A life-saving device for hiking/camping into the wilderness.

Description: The ACR ResQLink plus Beacon can help you feel safe when you venture out into the wilderness and hard-to-reach places like forests, oceans, and mountains. In case you are lost, you need to lift its antenna and turn the device on. This will get people like rescue forces on their way to you. This device will not only send help to you, but will also help to know your location.

Register the device with the NOAA and stick the authorization sticker you receive back on the device. It is illegal to operate this beacon in a non-emergency situation. The beacon has built-in GPS settings for the US. An authorized dealer can reprogram it for countries and regions outside the US at an additional cost. This device is designed to be used just once. After a use, send it back for a replacement. The beacon is like an insurance you carry with you on your adventure. So, embark on your next adventure with peace of mind.

Check the price on Amazon

Have you taken one or more picks from the above gadgets?

Consider your requirements and choose one or more gadgets like those discussed her. If cooking is your cup of tea, consider a stove like the Elekcity camping stove. Flashlights like the Meco and Suaoki and the Victorinox Swiss knife are little things that always come in handy, not only on your backpacking trips but also for everyday tours and in the house.

backpack contents spread out

If you usually camp at places where it is hot and humid, you may benefit from the Dizaul fan, flashlight, and charger. In this era of digital devices, a solar charger like the one discussed in this article will always help. If you are into music, portable speakers may be what you would like. If you tend to hike on adventurous or dangerous routes, invest in the ACR ResQLink Plus, so you and your family members will be a tad relaxed.

Do you like any of these lightweight gadgets that discussed above? Do you have any other favorite gadgets you like to always carry? Feel free to share in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Robert Wolfe

    This was a great write up. I tried to find more info on the Etekcity stove, but couldn’t find anything on its collapsibility. I have been using the MSR Pocket Rocket for about a year now with great satisfaction. It is around $40 at regular price, but I got mine on sale for $20. For the extra ten dollars, you save 1.8oz, get a wider diffused flame, and an incredibly well built stove. It doesn’t self ignite, but those never last anyway.

    • Dennis Owens

      Thank you Robert! The Etekcity stove, is it the mini camping stove one? The adjustable flow valve is designed to collapse. This makes it compact and lightweight. Good job on finding an MSR Pocket Rocket for $20! Wish you the best on your next adventure!

  • Deborah Withers

    My favorite gadget is my Light My Fire knife. Although this is more of a comfort item, it is very practical. I always take a knife, and when I found the Light My FIre knife with a built in striker in the handle, I had to get it. In case my lighter ever fails, I now always have a back up starter for my stove.

    • Dennis Owens

      Thanks for sharing Deborah! Light My Fire knife is indeed handy. I do agree it is quite practical since you can bring it anywhere and use it when the need arises. Great you found also with the striker, as you never know when the lighter does not work.

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