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photo courtesy Pixabay, 11/18/2017. Photo was taken from: https://pixabay.com/en/box-gift-present-xmas-celebrate-2953722/

Let’s face it, we all want to have the neat camping gadgets to impress our friends and other campers next year. And that’s what I want to share with you for this Christmas so that you can get one for yourself, or if you’re really nice you can get one for your camping friends. While you can spend a ton of money on gadgets, I’m keeping this list to items that are $50 or less. So here is our 2018 Top 10 Tent Camping Gadgets for Christmas. Let’s get to the list!

Portable Espresso Maker

Buy now on Amazon, click image to shop!

Now, this one seems like one of those expensive luxuries that you would see pictures of mountain climbers using while on top of a snow-covered mountain, celebrating by having a freshly brewed cup of their favorite espresso. And of course, the gadget that they use to make said espresso costs hundreds of dollars (at least). Fortunately, they aren’t that expensive, and you don’t need to climb a mountain to enjoy good espresso, just get yourself one of the affordable human-powered portable espresso makers. Several models are available, and they are compact enough to easily find a spot in your gear, yet you can still get coffeehouse-grade espresso from them. And of course, espresso is the basis for many other tasty drinks that you could make while camping. So be sure to add this tasty device to your gift list.

Pocket Blanket

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Sure, just what you need, another blanket to take up space in your vehicle going to and from the camp site. Another blanket to get dirty and possibly get holes in from hot embers from the fire. Just another thing to carry around and hamper you from a good time…

Wait, hold up! This isn’t an ordinary blanket. These pocket blankets are designed to fold up very small and to fit into – yup, you guessed it – your pocket. But they don’t have to go in your pocket. You might leave one of these in one of your tent mesh pockets just in case you need an extra little blanket or coverage. Or you can put it in your camp tote for use at the beach, and it will always be in your tote, ready to go. Maybe you want to take a hike, and instead of sitting on the ground you can take this little blanket to give you a little more cushion. Because of their compact size, it makes it an easy decision to have at least 1 of these things around for camping, and maybe several.

Thermacell Insect Repellent

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Okay, yes, there are hundreds of insect repellents on the market. But this one is really top-notch! And you may not have even heard of it, though it’s been out on the market for years now. You need to get you a Thermacell device to keep those pesky insects away next summer! The Thermacell device is portable and uses butane cartridges to heat a chemical-laden pad to release the repellent. Once it gets going, it provides hours of bug-free time at the campsite and picnic table. If you have a larger area, get 2 devices to increase the coverage. If you will be deep in the woods or out on a boat in a swampy or buggy area, consider adding a holster for your Thermacell device to keep it on your person to provide maximum protection. These things are trusted and used by the owner of The Tenting Life every summer with zero complaints.

Inflatable Solar Lantern

Buy now on Amazon, click image to shop!

Why would you ever want to have one of these flimsy inflatable solar lanterns in your camping gear? Because they are virtually maintenance-free and last for years. Not only that, but they can collapse into a small space for easy storage, and they can be on all night as a nite light without going out. Plus, they are super easy to recharge: just put them outside all day and by night time you’re set to go again all night. They now also make a version that can even be used to recharge items, such as your phone, by a USB cord. You can never have too many sources of light at night, and this one is so cheap and easy to use and store that you should almost have 2 of them.

Portable Solar Battery Charger

Buy now on Amazon, click image to shop!

Okay, while bringing several electronic gadgets might not be your ideal camping excursion, when you do bring them, they need to be recharged at some point. Enter the portable solar charger option. There are many different styles to choose from, and many of them are under $50 that will do everything that you need it to do. You could charge your phone, GPS device, a rechargable flashlight and/or battery lantern, two-way radios or any other number of things. Especially if you will be in the outdoors for an extended length of time, having one of these could be vital. Don’t suck all of the juice from your vehicle battery just to charge these devices, these solar chargers are so cheap now it just makes sense to have one in your gear.

Zippo Lighter

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You might be surprised at just how often having a lighter comes in handy. And if you’re going to have a lighter, you might as well make it a good one, right? Since 1933 Zippo lighters have all been made in the U.S.A., in the state of Pennsylvania. They are windproof and made of metal, plus they are refillable and the company will repair them as well, so they should last for your lifetime at least. Some of the things you could use your new Zippo lighter for: starting your lantern, starting your camp stove, lighting the fire, burning rope ends, as an impromptu light source, lighting candles, and of course, for just looking cool and being bad-ass.

Entrenching Tool (E-Tool)

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If you’ve ever spent time in the military, or know someone who has, or have ever been to a military surplus store, you’ve probably seen and/or used one of these short handled shovels. Dubbed “E-tool” for short, these little shovels break down for easy storage and transport, but also are a great little tool for a variety of tasks. Some of them offer serated edges on the blade that act as a crude saw, and many of them can be positioned like a shovel or have the blade folded down to make a sort of pick ax. This is one of those items that yes, you could get along just fine without it, but once you have one, you’ll be wondering what took you so long to get one. Be a boy scout and always be prepared, get yourself an e-tool.

Travel Lunch Box

Buy now on Amazon, click image to shop!

This item is a very specific item: The GreenTraveler. This item is a unique way to carry your food and drink with you, either to the office or on day hikes from your camp. It looks like a thermos, but both ends offer a place to house liquids or other small items, and the middle portion opens up to reveal 2 compartments for food. It offers loops for carabiners so you can attach the GreenTraveler to your backpack, waistpack, belt loop or anywhere else that is convenient. Pack your favorite food and drink to make your next outing that much more special.

Cooler Lights

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There’s a joke to be made about how “cool” these lights are, but I won’t go there. Instead, think about the last time you went rummaging around in your cooler at night. It probably wasn’t located where any good light could get to it, and odds are you didn’t have a flashlight and you weren’t wearing a headlamp either. Ah, but no problem, you installed some cooler lights before you left! If you got the Coghlan’s variety, they have a tilt feature that turns them on when you lift the lid of your cooler, toolchest or other item with a hinged lid on it. When you close the lid, the lights will turn off. Easy peasy! Mount a couple on the lid of each cooler and find what you are looking for faster, keeping everything in the cooler colder.

Bear Bowls

Buy now on Amazon, click image to shop!

These Bear Bowls cooking pots are collapsable and fold up for compact storing, yet offer surprisingly large volume even in the smallest version of them. They are meant to be used over a camp stove, are food safe and clean up and store easily. They also offer varieties that include paracord over the handle so that you have an emergency string for a variety of uses should you need it. Featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, this invention will take the place of your normal pots and pans in your camping gear. They also have varieties that include paracord on the handle so that you have an emergency store of this vital piece of gear.  Whatever you can image you want to cook, you can do it in a Bear Bowl!

photo courtesy Pixabay, 11/22/2017. Photo was taken from: https://pixabay.com/en/christmas-happy-woman-lights-2971961/

Wrap Up

There are tons of great and new inventions for the outdoor world, but many of them have a high price as well. These gadgets were specifically picked because they had a price of no more than $50, making them affordable as a gift idea for people you know. Not all of these are high-tech either – the e-tool, for example, is a device that has been around for decades, but that just adds to the reasons why you should have one (tried and true).

Got some feedback on this topic? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, send me an email or share it on social media! Happy Tent Camping!

Featured Image photo courtesy Element5 Digital, 11/19/2017.  Photo was taken from: https://www.pexels.com/@element5-digital-208912

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