Whether you prefer spending time in a motorhome with hookups or roughing it in a tent beside your favorite lake, there are all kinds of goodies out there that'll make your next camping, dirt biking, fishing, or hunting trip even better. The Leatherman line offers everything from knives to screwdrivers to rulers, all in one portable multi-tool. The Leatherman Super Tool 300, with 19 tools, is one of the company's heaviest-duty multi-tools. The Surge (21 tools) is one of the largest multi-tools, with Leatherman's largest pliers, longest multi-tool blades, and a blade exchanger. The Crunch has tools including foldaway vise grip pliers that can clamp up to a 1-inch-diameter pipe, and has a hex-bit adapter and more. Then there are the Crater knives: four tools in one, including built-in screwdrivers and a sharp blade. The newest tool in the Leatherman line is the MUT, the first multi-tool designed for military, law enforcement, or civilian shooters. Areas on the tool are threaded for cleaning rods and brushes, and all screwdriver bits are sized for standard military and civilian sighting adjustment. Prices for Leatherman tools start at $35. (All pricing is accurate as of press time, but is subject to change.)
Leatherman Tool Group, Inc.
Coleman Instant Tent 8
For those intimidated by the time it takes and potential confusion of setting up a tent, Coleman offers the Instant Tent 8. This eight-person shelter is up and ready in less than 1 minute. Remove the tent from the bag, unfold it, and extend and lock the poles into place. The tent can hold four queen-size mattresses and has a center height of 6.5 feet. $200.
Jeep Trail Edition Campers
If you need a camper trailer you can take off-road, check out Mopar's Trail Edition models. Each one comes complete with a queen-size bed, sofa with stowable table, built-in aluminum cabinet, 110-volt power supply, and a canvas enclosure. Additionally, a 360-degree axis pintle hitch is available. The models wear 32- or 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires, and the Extreme Trail Edition has a heavier frame, 15 inches of ground clearance, and a full under-body skidplate. Prices start at $10,000.
Kwik Check Standard Gauge
Whether you have to fill an air mattress, an inflatable boat, or the tires on your vehicle, there is a recommended psi for each. You'll need an accurate gauge to know when you reach optimal air pressure. K-Pump's gauges work on Summit, Leafield, and Halkey-Roberts valves, as well as most knock-off-type valves. $38.
Spot Connect works with a smartphone to make it a satellite communicator, even if you don't have cell service. When you're exploring the backcountry, you can let friends and family know where you are by texting a GPS position and message, which Spot Connect relays via communications satellites, to keep you in touch-even withFacebook and Twitter. If a problem arises, your location is sent to an international rescue coordination center. Prices start at $170.
Victorinox Slim Duo
You never know when you're going to need computer files or other data on a camping trip. Victorinox (the Swiss Army knife people) makes the Slim and Slim Duo, which combine a portable USB device (up to 128GB) with items found in a traditional pocket knife, such as blades, scissors, and nail files. There's even a flight-friendly version. All are waterproof and shock resistant. The 4GB Slim Duo starts at about $49.
contact your local Victorinox retailer.
Energizer Solar Lantern
Most of us bring a trusty lantern along when camping. The Solar Lantern is a new take on the old classic. Eight LEDs provide up to 66 lumens of light, plus it has a silicon panel that uses solar power to charge the lantern, even in overcast weather and late in the day. It can also be powered by D cell batteries. A full charge takes 5 hours, for 21/2 hours of runtime, or you'll get up to 165 hours of runtime with batteries. $30-$35.
Most phone cases don't keep out the elements. OtterBox's Defender Series cases do offer protection against drops, bumps, dust, and dirt. Their three levels of protection include a screen protector that doesn't affect the screen's functionality, an impact-resistant polycarbonate shell, and shock-absorbing silicone. Otter cases are available for most popular smartphones and the iPad. $22-$65 for phones, about $85 for iPad.
The Pathfinder PAW5000 from Casio includes lots of cool features that are great for those who love the outdoors. There are sensors that gauge direction, altitude, barometric pressure, and temperature. The second hand of the analog watch indicates one of these features at a time, and there's a digital readout as well. It also uses a solar rechargeable battery. $450.
The top model in Magellan's eXplorist line of handheld GPS receivers, the 710, can be used on- and off-road. It comes with built-in City Series road map, as well as Magellan's Summit Series detailed topographic maps. The City Series offers turn-by-turn navigation. The eXplorist line is waterproof and rugged, can store hundreds of waypoints, and includes basic models such as the lighter-weight 310, for geocaching and backpacking. Starting at $550.
DeLorme Earthmate PN-60W
Want to combine the help-you-go-anywhere advantages of a handheld GPS with the help-you-get-home comfort of satellite tracking? DeLorme's Earthmate PN-60W does just that. Use this GPS device to text friends, and the Spot satellite communicator can get emergency help to you when needed, even when cell service isn't available. It comes with downloadable topographical maps, has data on U.S. trails and BLM lands, and can layer multiple map and imagery types. $410-$550.
ARB Rooftop Tent
Great for go-anywhere camping, the rooftop tent means you have waterproof shelter even where there isn't enough groundroom for a vehicle and a tent space. It stores on top of your vehicle, opening up space in the cargo area. The tent uses breathable, mold-resistant fabric, comes with a 2.5-inch high-density foam mattress, a lightweight aluminum frame, and a retractable ladder. Prices start at $267.
Grabber Outdoors Space Blankets
You never know when an emergency is going to happen while in the woods. These Space Brand blankets from Grabber retain more than 80 percent of your radiated body heat. When stored, each 3-ounce blanket is about the size of a deck of cards, then unfolds into a 56-by-84-inch blanket. The waterproof and windproof blanket comes in silver on silver or more visible silver on orange. $13.99 for a set of two.
Rio Adventure Cookhouse
Looking to cook a gourmet meal on your next trip? The Cookhouse from Rio Adventure provides a 32-inch-high gray melamine counter, an aluminum frame (the whole thing weighs 17 pounds), steel grate and bottom storage racks, side stove table, and hooks for hanging utensils. It's heat resistant up to 425 degrees and folds flat when not in use. $100.
GCI Luxury Camp Bed
This is not your ordinary camp cot. It comes with such cushy features as a tufted mattress, a five-position reclining backrest, and caddy storage pockets. The feet are designed not to sink into loose dirt. The cot is made from powdercoated steel and rip-stop polyester, weighs 20 pounds, and can support up to 330 pounds. $99.
Zodi Hot Tap On-Demand Hot Shower
One of the things that keeps some would-be campers from exploring the great outdoors is the lack of a hot shower. Zodi's solution is a portable, self-contained hot shower. It has a stainless-steel propane burner, strong battery-powered water pump (four D-cells), can heat more than 60 gallons of water up to 100 degrees (you can adjust the temperature), and its 4-gallon storage case holds enough water for a 10-minute shower. $99-$149. Zodi
This camper is an all-in-one folding tent trailer that weighs 450 pounds and is big enough to carry camping and hunting gear. It contains a bed that's 7 feet long and nearly 5 feet wide, with enough room for three to four people. Inside, there is a C-channel track to make it easier to manage cargo, and both endgates are removable. The LittleGiant takes 20 minutes to set up, and has a $2995 MSRP.
Let's Go Aero
Kershaw Camp Tool Trader
The Camp Tool Trader has a cook's blade, fish fillet blade, saw blade, spatula, spoon, fork, and a cutting board, all in one container. It has two handles and the Quik-Lock mechanism. Blades are stainless steel and 6 inches long. $72-$85.
Whether you're on a backpacking adventure or don't want to carry a bunch of loose stuff with you on the boat, the SPIbelt is a small, lightweight way to store small items. Some units are designed to wrap around your arm, while others wrap around your waist. These carriers hold phones, keys, IDs, and more, and have a second inner pocket for extra storage. A waterproof SPIbelt is also available. $12-$30.
Brunton Atmospheric Data Center
Brunton's ADC Pro is a waterproof, lightweight (2.4-ounce), compact handheld weather station. With it, you'll know weather trends up to 12 hours in advance. It gauges current temperature, wind speed, wind chill, barometric pressure, humidity, altitude, and time of day. Its waterproof body also means the wind speed feature can also be used to measure water speed. MSRP is $204.
Sheffield Angler 17-in-1 Multi-Tool
Designed with fishermen in mind, Sheffield's Angler 17-in-1 multi-tool features fish-specific tools such as a hook sharpener, fish scaler, three line splicers, and a fillet blade, plus needlenose pliers, slotted screwdrivers, Phillips screwdriver, scissors, and wire cutters. It has stainless-steel locking attachments and weighs 9 ounces. $20 to $29.
Outcast Hurricane Pump
The 12-volt Hurricane raft inflator is a lightweight way to inflate a boat. Instead of using the elbow grease method with a set of bellows, or inflating it by blowing into the valve, this pump produces a consistent flow of air that can inflate a boat to 2 psi. Valve adapters are included. $88.
Engel offers multiple solutions for keeping things cold, including its fridge/freezers. They come in 14- to 84-quart sizes, and are handy for camping, boating, off-road, or in an RV. The motor is spring mounted in a fully sealed chamber to isolate it from vibration. The fridge/freezer automatically switches from 12/24V DC to 110V AC. Prices start at about $420.
Silva Lensatic Compass
There are plenty of high-tech gadgets for those who like the modern take on camping gear. But for those who prefer an old-school compass, there is the Lensatic 360 from Silva. A classic design, traditionally used in the military, the Lensatic 360 is a liquid-filled compass with 2-degree increments, a top cover with sighting slit, and a magnifying lens in the sighting arm. $18.
Blue Ridge Camping Hammock
Hammocks are generally considered a luxury, not an essential camping item. But this hammock from Lawson is a waterproof one-person shelter. It hangs on two ropes with an arch pole and spreader bar system; if you can't put it up off the ground, it can be used as a traditional tent. The hammock weighs 4.25 pounds. $140.
Captain Steve's Beer Can Chicken Roaster
This product allows for a less-messy roasted chicken, cooked over a fire. Simply put a half-open can of beer or cola plus seasonings and BBQ sauce in the wire rack, place the rack in the drip pan, cram the rack into a prepared whole chicken, and put it on the campfire grate. The website even includes recipe ideas. It's $10 for the roaster, $13 for the drip pan, or $20 for both.
Captain Steve's Beer Can Chicken Roaster
Going to the bathroom can be extra challenging when you're outdoors. Cleanwaste's GO anywhere system combines trail conservation with privacy. The full system stores in a backpack and comes with a portable toilet, privacy tent, and 15 disposable, biodegradable waste bags. The entire system costs $324, and each item is available for sale separately.
Compact Collapsible Tent Cot
The CCTC allows you to sleep above rocky or bumpy ground. It can be set up quickly and collapses to a compact size. There are two separate, standard items, and the upper tent top is completely detachable from the cot base. $160.
Sea-to-Summit Sleeping Bags
Sea-to-Summit's new line of sleeping bags includes this Trek bag, which is the warmest of the group. The fill is 650 Loft 85/15 premium duck down, and the sleeping bag weighs just under 3 pounds. It comes with a large internal zip pocket and has an anti-snag zipper. Prices start at about $220.
Sea to Summit
Wash 'n Go Sink
It isn't always easy to find a good place to wash up or to brush your teeth. Reliance's Wash 'n Go is a rugged polyethylene sink that can hold up to 3 gallons of water. It comes with four toothbrush holders, two shaver holders, a mirror, travel toothpaste holder, and a cupholder, and includes an integrated soap bar tray. $44.
Tech4o Traileader Pro Watch
Whether you're an athlete or an enthusiastic outdoorsman, the Traileader Pro is a good way to track your health on the trail. The watch monitors heart rate and measures speed and distance-handy for cross-country skiing and running. It also has a compass, accelerometer, barometer, altimeter, and offers a weather forecast. About $200.
AT THE DEALERSHIP
We scoured Motor Trend's archives and contacted automakers, and found some interesting OE camping products, including a few that we never knew existed.
1. Chevrolet Avalanche
One of the few on the list that's still available, there's a tent offering for all model years of the Avalanche, sold through GM dealerships.
2. Pontiac Aztek
The often insulted, never respected Aztek prioritized function over form. Its tent package, sold through Pontiac dealers, made the Aztek the best vehicle it could possibly be-and also made it better looking.
3. VW Van Westfalia
From the 1950s until the early 2000s, Volkswagen vans had a strong cult following. One segment of that group swore by the Westfalia camper conversions.
4. Ford Expo '74 SuperCab
This Ford SuperCab pickup truck, shown at Expo '74 in Spokane, Washington, had a custom-built tent camper.
5. Ford Camper Special
Much more popular was the Camping Special. This special edition, from the 1960s and 1970s (1965 F-250 seen here), was designed to accommodate camper shells.
6. Jeep CJ-5
Yes, there was even a CJ-based camper available. This is a photo of the 1970 Jeep CJ-5 camper. It slept four, and included a kitchen, toilet, and high center of gravity.
7. Jeep Gladiator
The Gladiator was also prepped for camper shells for a few years, with the prep package starting at just $148.
8. Chevrolet Camper Special
This is an example of Chevrolet's Camper Special, also a popular option. This truck was built to carry the added payload of a camper shell.