The Best Camping Gear You Didn’t Know You Needed

Camping season is NOT over, so don’t put away that gear yet.  In fact, some of the best camping happens after the bugs are gone and the crowds have diminished.  Here’s some great products we didn’t want to miss out on telling you about, especially for camping families.  Highly recommended by us!

Note: Many of these items can be found online.  We always appreciate you clicking through our affiliate ads on the right sidebar of the blog.  It doesn’t cost you a think and helps us out just a teeny tiny bit.  The links are Amazon affiliates. Thank you!

The Best Camping Gear You Didn't Know You Needed


Eagles Nest Outfitters LaunchPad
  The ultimate in all of packable and actually usable bring-along blankets.  I have used many other blankets that pack down smaller and have been sorely disappointed each time.  There was really no padding or protection from the ground.  The LaunchPad double has toted around with us all summer and is my favorite, especially with young children.  It has a fleece top for a little warmth (but more important, comfort) and a nylon bottom to keep out moisture.  It works on the sand, on the grass and on the rocks.  Best part? It zips into itself and has a strap for easy carrying.  We also love the small mesh pocket and larger zippered pocket for valuables or must-have small items AND an interior zipped pocket.  This is the blanket you get and save for years and years.  Really, no complaints at all.  None.  Also available in a “single” form, but I would just go with the double for the extra room, kids or not.

The Best Camping Gear You Didn't Know You Needed The Best Camping Gear You Didn't Know You Needed


Grandpa’s FireGrill by Light My Fire
:  This baby is really relatively simple, but makes amazing food over the fire.  We used it to grill up some elk fajita meat on our last camping trip.  It was not only much better tasting than cooking it in a pan, but it was much easier to cook than using skewers.  It does require a sturdy stick for use, so you need to plan ahead if you are camping in a barren area.  While it’s ideal for larger pieces of meat (fish, steaks, burgers, etc.), the bars are close enough together that cooking our small pieces of meat was no issue at all.  Best to have more than one if you are cooking for a family.

The Best Camping Gear You Didn't Know You Needed


Luci Outdoor Inflatable Solar Lantern by MPOWERED
This is THE coolest lantern out there new on the market.  It’s solar powered and holds a charge for a ridiculously long time.  In fact, we have only charged ours once and have at least 50+ hours on it now (though it states it will only stay lit for 6-12 on a full charge).  It’s very light, completely waterproof, floats (think hot tubs, moonlight SUPing, etc.) and attaches easily to a pack for charging as you go.  It has two brightness settings plus a flashing mode for emergencies (or whatever you need it for.)  At the Outdoor Retailer show last month, I got to check out their newest model which, the Aura, which switches between 7 different LED colors plus white.  The Aura model JUST became available. We love the “frosty” light it has and the fact that we can switch it up depending on our mood.

The best part? They are super affordable.  The original Luci is less than $15.  They’re great for dorm rooms, cabins, traveling around the world and parties too.  We love love love this lantern!

Find them here on their website.

The Best Camping Gear You Didn't Know You Needed


Ciao! Baby Portable Travel High Chair
$67.99: (Read our full review here) 
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to find this company, but am so glad we did when L was the perfect age(s) to use it.  Weighing in at only 8 pounds with an easy no-assembly-required, this chair is a baby-staple for an active family.  We love that the chair has actual leg holes to keep Baby from sliding down, an easily wipeable “tray” and a safety waist belt.  While chairs that attach to a table are great, they don’t always work,  you don’t always HAVE a table to attach to, and they are much more difficult to clean.

While sometimes we miss the fact that the tray isn’t completely rigid, it’s a small price to pay for the fact that the whole chair is so packable.

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The Best Camping Gear You Didn't Know You Needed


Kelty Airshade
and Accessory Wall
In the summer months, having some sort of shade while camping or out on the river is welcome, especially with a baby.  However, we had no interest in dealing with flimsy umbrellas or shelters that would break after a season.  This summer we decided to give the AirShade a try.  Using Kelty’s innovating air-pressured “poles”, the shade is only 9 pounds and sets up in a matter of minutes (once you get the technology down.)

The shade it provides is great, especially with the moveable wall accessory (so you can keep the shade moving with the sun throughout the day.)  The guidelines are necessary in any type of wind to keep it in place.  Rated for 3 season, it does NOT hold up well to any sort of serious weight (like snow), but rain falls off it easily.

It can be a bit tricky to set up the first time or two, but the customer service on Kelty’s site is great. Definitely watch the video!  We love that it’s easy to throw in the camper.

The Best Camping Gear You Didn't Know You Needed

Cricket 5-Minute Fire Stater: We spoke about these earlier this summer, but they continue to be a top-pick. Perfect fire. Every time.

The Best Camping Gear You Didn't Know You Needed

Travel Chair Canyon Table
:  This table is sturdy, packs up only slightly bigger than an average camp chair and has two adjustable heights.  The short height is perfect “coffee table” height OR great for kids.  We use it often when camping and the fire ring is too far away from the camping table to use for meal prep.  It’s been a life-saver!

The Best Camping Gear You Didn't Know You Needed


These companies generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review, per our requests.  However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. A few of these  links are affiliates.  Thank you so much for clicking through them to make your purchases – it helps offset the cost of this blog in a (VERY VERY) small way! You can find my full disclosure here.

© 2014, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.


  • Anna is a proud Washingtonian living in the Cascade mountain range with her park ranger husband and their four kids 6 and under. Their family is lucky enough to live in a ranger house in a state park and have lots of access to the outdoors year-round.

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3 thoughts on “The Best Camping Gear You Didn’t Know You Needed”

  1. I really like the lamp. It would be great for my kid’s tent. I also like the table. We made a similar setup with a slab of plywood and separate fold-able legs. I love that the whole thing folds up, even the table top.


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