9 Essential Gadgets For Spending Time Outside When You’re Not An Outdoors Person
Not everyone is "outdoorsy." I'll openly admit that I'd take the concrete jungle over the great outdoors any day (sorry, Mother Nature). But every so often, I do feel like I need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. During those rare occasions, I'm grateful for outdoor gear and gadgets that making living a rugged lifestyle more manageable for "indoorsy" people like myself.
These gadgets are game-changers that make spending a weekend away from modern-day conveniences like coffee machines and hot showers easier, and way more fun. You'll be excited to hit the lake for your annual family picnic when you have an easy-to-set-up portable hammock that keeps you cool as you relax. Finally, you can respectfully opt out of the family hike and opt in for the mid-afternoon nap! You'll also love the convenience of having a compact, fuel-free cooking stove that doesn't actually require you to know anything about starting a fire — but does allow you to charge your phone as it cooks. Yes, that means you can even check into your social media feeds while you're on vacation, in the mountains, with the girls.
So, get ready to embrace the art of "glamping:" These cool and convenient gadgets will turn even the biggest city girl into an outdoor enthusiast!
1. Anytime S'Mores Maker For A Bad Weather Back-Up
What's a weekend with Mother Nature, without s'mores? If you're heading to your family's new lake cabin for the weekend and there's heavy rain in the forecast, make sure to bring this handy s'mores maker for a tasty snack that won't require you to be outside. This campfire substitute includes two roasting forks, an easy recipe, and a convenient tray that can be filled with chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers, so you'll have for the perfect cabin dessert. Bonus: The top of the unit is detachable and dishwasher-safe for simple cleaning.
2. Simple Set-Up Hammock For Relaxing At Any Outdoor Event
Your relatives are hosting a lakeside picnic next weekend, and you can't wait to kick back with your new book and get a little R&R under the sun. Good news: You can bring this portable folding hammock, which features an easy-to-carry transport bag with backpack-style shoulder straps. Plus, the mesh bottom improves air circulation, so you won't wake up in a pool of sweat after you opt out of kayaking for a mid-afternoon nap.
3. A Top-Selling Waterproof Camera For Instagram-Worthy Pics
GoPro HERO, $115, Amazon
If you're being dragged onto a hiking trip with your adventure-seeking friends, you need the Instagram pictures to prove it — right? Make the trip a little more enjoyable (and memorable!) with an outdoor-ready camera that takes amazing shots in all types of conditions, and can even venture into the river with you. With HD video and high picture quality, you won't need to rely on Photoshop or filters — so you'll be able to share your pics with friends and family on Instagram as soon as you get home. Watch as the comments about how impressive your camera skills are start rolling in.
4. Portable Espresso Machine For A Caffeine Kick Anywhere
Your trip to the mountains doesn't mean you have to kick your espresso addiction for the week. I mean, can you imagine?! Luckily, this handheld aluminum espresso maker conveniently uses ground espresso (or E.S.E. pods) to keep you awake and energized during your time with nature. It's easy to clean, and it fits easily in your hiking gear, so you can share a shot of espresso with your hiking bud over breakfast.
5. Wearable Sleeping Bag For A Cozy Snooze
Sleeping bags can be awkward and uncomfortable for people that aren't used to sleeping in them, which is what makes this one so perfect. This wearable sleeping bag has a quick-release closure on the sleeves, so you can easily free your hands to cook or play a game without leaving your cozy cocoon. While you sleep, you won't need to worry about sliding around in a sleeping bag trying to keep warm — this one fits right to the shape of your body.
6. A Simple Cooking Stove Means Convenient, Worry-Free Camping
If two of your biggest stresses about spending time outdoors are, "How do you even start a fire?" and, "How am I going to charge my phone?" then this super lightweight camp stove will be your new BFF. This Nalgene water bottle-sized stove is easy to take anywhere, and will cook your meals using sticks you find around your campsite rather than expensive fuel (no Girl Scout fire-building skills necessary). Bonus: While it cooks your dinner, this portable stove charges your phone for up to 20 minutes, so you won't have to worry about losing touch with the outside world.
7. A Stainless Steel Tank For Showers — No Matter What
You volunteered to be a counselor at a summer camp with your friends, and while you're excited about the opportunity, you can't imagine surviving an entire summer without a hot shower. This stainless steel water tank comes with a stove that heats three gallons of water and has a temperature indicator that tells you when it's shower-ready. Then, a hand pump makes it easy to take a comfortable shower. Just be sure to keep it on the down low — or you'll have all the counselors begging to take a turn.
8. A Roll-Up Wool Blanket For Snuggling By The Fire
Pendleton Roll Up Blanket, $129, Amazon
Cozying up by the fire with your partner under a super warm blanket makes becoming a temporary outdoors person easy. This 100 percent pure wool blanket by Pendleton comes in a classic plaid print, and can be folded up and stashed in the trunk for impromptu star-gazing. Just carry it out to the field with its convenient handle, and enjoy your warm night under the stars. A nylon backing makes it useful even in unfortunate weather conditions. Pro Tip: Dry clean this blanket to keep it soft and cozy.
9. Handheld UV Water Purifier Keeps You Hydrated Anywhere
If you're hesitant to spend time in the great outdoors with a limited fresh water supply, you'll want to bring a handheld water purifier on your next adventure. This tool kills 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria in your water, and it can purify a liter of water in just 90 seconds. Simply place the UV lamp in your water and stir — it automatically shuts off when it's safe to drink. Bonus: There's no need to lug a bunch of heavy batteries with you; this gadget can clean up to 150 liters of water on one set of AA batteries.
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Images: Fotolia (1); Amazon (9)