Camping gadgets and gear you need to check out

Make camping more comfortable, more convenient - or just cooler.

pzimowsky@idahostatesman.com, rphillips@idahostatesman.comMay 16, 2013 

There's a little bit of gear freak lurking in all campers. Here are some items we've run across recently that might be cool additions to your camp kit.

1. CAMP APARTMENT

Cabela's Bunkhouse tent sleeps nine people. That's plenty big for the grandkids and everyone.

It's 84 inches high and 10 by 16 feet.

Cost: $349.99; check out Cabela's online or at its Boise Franklin Road store.

2. TRASH-EASE

Trash-Ease is a conveniently portable trash-bag holder that attaches to picnic tables or any similar flat surface, allowing users to have a stable, large trash receptacle in camp.

Attach it to a surface, then attach any standard trash bag.

Each Trash-Ease comes packaged with two standard drawstring garbage bags in the same size as the model of Trash-Ease (comes in 13-gallon and 33-gallon versions), so there's no need to purchase special trash bags.

Cost: $14.95 (13 gallon); $17.95 (33 gallon), see it at trash-ease.com.

3. TOUGH COOLER

Pelican boxes have protected our cameras, binoculars and electronics on the river for decades.

Now the folks who build the tough plastic boxes are offering coolers.

Pelican Elite Marine coolers feature:

Æ A freezer-grade gasket.

Æ 2-inch polyurethane insulation.

Æ Molded-in and hinged handles.

Æ Wide press and pull latches.

Æ Molded-in tie downs.

Æ Nonskid and non-marking raised feet.

Æ Molded-in lock hasp.

Æ Sloped drain and tethered-threaded plug.

Cost: $259, 35 quart; $299.95, 45 quart; and $359.95, 65 quart. Seen at Cascade Outfitters in Garden City.

4. INSECT-REPELLING BLANKET

Insect Shield Repellent Technology, known for its innovative insect-repellent apparel, now offers an outdoor blanket.

The new Insect Shield outdoor blanket offers built-in, odorless and effective protection. The blanket can be used by the entire family with no restrictions for use. It is machine-washable and no special care is required.

The dimensions are a generous 56 by 74 inches, and it weighs 18 ounces.

Cost: $29.95, see it at insectshield.com.

5. EASY S'MORES

If you've ever had to make a bunch of s'mores at the same time for a bunch of grandkids, you know things could get pretty sloppy.

The S'mores Grilling Set in Camping World's catalog looks like it can mass produce s'mores.

It can be used on a gas or charcoal grill.

The kit includes a stainless-steel warming rack and four marshmallow skewers. It's dishwasher safe. The kit also includes recipes.

Cost: $17.99. Google Camping World and search for the s'mores grill.

6. BACKPACK STOVE

The BioLite Wood Burning CampStove combines the benefits of a backpacking stove and an off-grid power charger so you can cook a meal while charging your gadgets at a backcountry campsite.

Here's a backpacking stove that heats with twigs. It uses some kind of thermoelectric technology to convert heat to electricity that charges an internal battery and powers a fan to increase the efficiency of the fire.

Extra electricity from the stove can be used to charge small electronics like cellphones, headlamps and rechargeable batteries. It weighs about 2 pounds but you don't have to carry fuel canisters.

Cost: $130; seen at REI.

7. BUNK COT

When it comes to stacking the kids in the tent when you don't have that much room, try a bunk-bed cot.

The Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Cot makes an instant bunk bed and holds up to 400 pounds.

Cost: $239.95; seen at Cabela's.

8. GRIDDLE STOVE

When your menu in camp calls for grilled steak, hot cakes or just plain boiling water, the Camp Chef combo camp stove does it all.

It combines a stove, grill and griddle for all-purpose cooking.

It has matchless ignition and a windscreen.

Cost: $132; seen at Cabela's.

9. DON'T USE A ROCK

When it comes to pounding tent stakes, no one rock seems to fit the bill.

You'll be glad you got a Coghlan Tent Peg Mallet to do the job.

You'll wonder why you didn't get a mallet sooner.

Cost: $4.99; seen at several outdoors outlets.

10. ULTRALIGHT CHAIR

OK, maybe you're not in the market for a $100 camp chair, but if space and weight are a concern, this is worth checking out.

The Alite Mayfly chair is for relaxing around the campfire, or a lightweight option to carry to an outdoor concert.

The Mayfly has a detachable front leg for multiple seating options.

It weighs 1.4 pounds and supports up to 250 pounds.

At that weight, you could strap it to the outside of your backpack and be the envy of the crowd around the campfire.

Cost: $100, see it at alitedesigns.com.

Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors

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