Cool camping kit
Award winning tech and lifestyle journalist Caramel Quin picks the products you need to upgrade from camping to glamping
When you're sleeping under the stars – whether in a bivvy bag or a yurt – it's all about getting the right kit. In fact, upgrade your camping kit and you can transform basic camping into luxe glamping.
Life doesn't get much better than a waking to great cup of coffee in the great outdoors with pains au chocolate warmed over a stove that doubles as a battery charger.
BioLite BaseCamp £360
BioLite makes fab little stoves that use heat to generate electricity. It's used for two things: to operate a fan that draws air into the fire and also to charge your USB-powered gadgets. I'd love to try this new, larger model that's big enough to cook a meal on and has a built-in battery, so you can generate electricity as you cook then use it to recharge your gizmos later.
SoulPad Bell Tents from £230
Beautiful bell tents don't have to cost a fortune. Smaller SoulPads start at £230 while the largest will set you back £750, still a bargain compared with the cost of renting one at a glamp-site.
They don't have to be big and heavy either. The smallest model sleeps two comfortably and is small and light enough, in polycotton, to carry on a bike. At the top end of the range, add a wood-burning stove for year-round luxury camping.
Skeeter Beeter Pro Hammock £80
Sleep wild safely and nibble-free anywhere – well, anywhere that has two trees – with this mosquito-proof hammock. It's made of strong parachute nylon with ultra-fine mesh to keep the insects off. Bungee suspension cords keep the netting off your face and ensure the hammock isn't too claustrophobic. And big zips make getting in and out a breeze.
This speaker works with all Bluetooth phones and tablets. It's elegant in gold or pearl finish. It's powerful, with built-in stereo speakers and a passive radiator for bass. And miraculously it's IPX5 certified water-resistant… so it's rain-proof, beer-proof and life-proof. A play time of more than 12 hours seals the deal, making this a superb camping accessory. Or sacrifice a bit of battery life and you can charge your phone from it.
Turn camping into glamping with the simple addition of a kick-ass cup of morning coffee. I never camp without this syringe-style gadget. You simply add a small circle of filter paper, some ground coffee and hot water. As you push the plunger it pressurises the air, forcing the water through the coffee beautifully to make you a strong double espresso in no time.
Alpkit Bob £18
A camping essential: this simple camping lantern is weatherproof. In fact, it's submersible up to 1m. And it can float. It has four modes: high, medium, low and SOS. Four AAA batteries keep Bob going for 120 hours on low power mode. And a built-in carabiner lets you hang it in your tent or from a tree.
Exped DownMat £70
Upgrade your sleep with this luxe mat that's compact when rolled up, super comfy when inflated. I swear by mine. It looks like a simple air bed but in fact it's filled with goose down, which adds lots of thermal insulation from the ground. It also has a fab, gadgety built-in pump: just pump the side of the mat repeatedly with your palms for a minute or two and you're in business.
Off on a camping trip but don't want to run out of phone battery? This handy, Swedish-designed 8000mAH power pack will recharge your smartphone three times over. Then plug it in to charge in the campsite café and it's ready to go again. It comes with a storage pouch and folding micro USB cable. It even has two USB sockets, so add another cable and you can charge two devices at once.
Caramel Quin writes about gadgets and technology for various newspapers, magazines and online. She was on the team that launched gadget bible Stuff Magazine in the UK and also in the US. Satisfied clients include the Evening Standard, Sunday Times, Ideal Home and TrustedReviews. She sometimes pops up on the telly as a gadget expert too.