The 9 Best Eco-friendly Camping Gadgets of 2021

Embrace nature with these eco-friendly camping essentials.

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A camping trip is a wonderful way to really connect with nature. Studies have shown that a walk in nature can improve our mental state, reduce stress and revive us, so a little trip outside — or a full blown digital detox in the great outdoors — is guaranteed to do you good. 

Getting outside and disconnecting can feel both liberating and worry-inducing. However, staying safe, regardless of how far away you get from civilization, is easier than you might think with the camping gadgets that are available today. 

From solar chargers to keep batteries full, to water filters that’ll protect you from even the nastiest waterborne pathogens, and portable radios that’ll alert you to oncoming storms, these gadgets are sure to keep you enjoying the great outdoors, safe in the knowledge that you’ve got everything you need at your fingertips.

Here, you'll find the best eco-friendly camping gadgets.

The Rundown
Best Solar Device Charger:
BigBlue 28W Solar Charger at Amazon
Keep all your devices fully charged with this affordable and fast solar charger from BigBlue.
Multifunctional and packing down to no bigger than a 32oz water bottle, this campstove is a staple.
For top-end functionality, at a surprisingly low price, you can’t go wrong with this handy GPS.
Keep the lights on, even when there’s no electricity nearby, with this solar panel-powered flashlight.
Have safe-to-drink water in just eight seconds with this easy-to-use water filter.
Light up your camp with this fun and eco-friendly solar camp light.
Keep an eye on the weather, plus get solar charging and a powerful ambient light with this radio.
Watch the world go by from a comfortable spot slung between the trees and do your bit to save the planet with this hammock.
Forget matches and light a fire even in wet and windy conditions with this Swedish-designed fire starter.

Best Solar Device Charger: BigBlue 28W Solar Charger with 3 USB Ports

BigBlue 28W Solar Charger

Having enough battery to power your phone and other electronics is a sensible choice when you’re out in the backcountry, and a solar power bank is an eco-friendly means of keeping everything on full charge. 

Affordable and reliable aren’t always the words associated with portable solar chargers, but this one from BigBlue certainly bucks the trend. It’s extremely fast-charging thanks to its four 28-watt PET Polymer panels and, with an auto-restart feature that stops charging from being interrupted when the sun disappears behind a cloud, it’s the perfect choice for any climate. Three USB ports also mean you can theoretically charge multiple devices at once, although we recommend using just one at a time for the fastest and most efficient charging. 

At 1.4 pounds, there are lighter portable solar chargers on the market. But, it’ll mean your devices are ready to connect — if and when you feel like reconnecting with civilization!

Best Campstove: BioLite CampStove 2+

BioLite CampStove 2+

A campfire is a traditional part of a camping adventure, but there’s nothing less traditional than this innovative camp stove from BioLite. Ditch the fuel canister and instead fire it up with twigs, pine cones, or any other biomass you find on the trail. It has a built-in fan to increase the efficiency of the combustion, making it a lighter way to cook on your camping trip without fossil fuels. It includes an LED light for easy cooking even when the sun’s gone down. 

A liter of water boils in 4.5 minutes — not the fastest, but certainly not the slowest boiling speed on the market — and, the most impressive part is the fact that the waste heat generated during cooking is then converted into electricity that is stored in an on-board 3,200 mAh battery and can be used for charging your gadgets or lights. Multifunctional and packing down to no bigger than a 32-ounce water bottle, this is an handy camping gadget for when building a big fire isn't feasible.

Best GPS: Garmin inReach Explorer +

Garmin inReach Explorer +

If you're going off-trail, the Garmin GPS is packed full of cutting-edge technology that can help keep you safe even when there’s no cell reception. It also doubles up as a navigational tool, with the ability to save routes and download topographical maps prior to leaving for your trip. 

What we love most about the inReach Explorer+ is the fact that, even if your ultimate ambition is to unplug, this GPS can put you back in contact if an emergency arises. A two-way satellite communicator allows you to send text messages, share your location, and call for help with the handy SOS button — all of which works even in the most remote backcountry because it connects directly to satellites passing overhead. For top-end functionality, you can’t go wrong with this handy GPS.

Best Flashlight: Renogy E.Lumen 500 Multi-Functional Flashlight

Renogy flashlight

Keep the lights on, even when there’s no electricity nearby with this rechargeable, solar panel-powered flashlight. Offering 500 lumens at its brightest setting, the reliable E.Lumen flashlight can light up to 200 meters away, with lights along the hard-wearing aluminum barrel to provide a wider expanse of illumination when you need it. 

It does take a long time to charge using just the solar panels (up to 30 hours), so a speedier option is to power up using a USB (which can be linked up to a faster-charging portable solar panel), but if you’re on a relaxing camping trip with nowhere to go, then this shouldn’t be an issue. 

For those who like multi-purpose gadgets, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the additional tools in-built into this flashlight. An integrated seat belt cutter and glass shattering hammer make this flashlight the ideal gadget for an emergency, while a magnetic attachment allows it to be attached easily to the inside of your car or hung from your tent pole.

Best Water Filter: GRAYL Geopress Water Purifier

GRAYL Geopress Water Purifier

Taking single-use plastic water bottles out into the great outdoors is an expensive and truly un-environmentally-friendly approach to camping. However, finding water that’s safe to drink can be a challenge when you’re out in the backcountry and drinking directly from a seemingly pure — but not guaranteed — water source a risk. To avoid the chances of ingesting waterborne pathogens, including norovirus, giardiasis, E.coli, and salmonella, filter water directly from whatever fresh water source you want in just eight seconds with the Grayl Geopress. 

Simply fill up the bottle and press the filter down to clean 24 fluid ounces of water. The replaceable filter uses electro absorption and activated carbon, which absorbs any unpleasant flavors, pesticides, or heavy metals from the water. It meets EPA standards for microbiological water purifiers. Unlike some other water filters on the market, it’ll work with water that contains particles, meaning that even murky looking water will come out clean.

With the filter lasting 350 cycles — or around three years for average use — you can rely on this to keep providing safe drinking water again and again and again.

Best Camp Light: Solight Solar Puff™ LS Lantern

SolarPuff Solar Latern

Light up your camp with this fun and eco-friendly solar camp light. Designed in a whimsical style that’s been inspired by origami, this is extremely easy to use. The lantern pulls open (and can be easily pushed back together for compact storage) and requires around 10 hours of charging using its solar panel for up to 12 hours of light.

Not only is it environmentally sound when it comes to solar charging, it’s also made from recyclable PET sailcloth, so it can be turned it into something new when it reaches the end of its life. Waterproof and weighing in at only 2.6 ounces, it’s perfect for lightweight campers. With a dusk-to-dawn sensor mode, it’ll switch on when you need it, adding some stylish ambience to your campsites.

"I always take my Solar Puff on camping trips. The velcro handle makes it easy to hang up in your tent, and even without a full charge it can provide several hours of light." ~ Margaret Badore, Senior Treehugger Editor

Best Portable Radio: Eton Sidekick Weather Alert Radio with Bluetooth

Eton Sidekick Weather Alert Radio with Bluetooth

Keeping an eye on the weather is essential when you’re in a remote part of the country, which is why this solar-powered and hand-crank equipped AM/FM/NOAA radio and LED flashlight combo is a crucial bit of kit. S.A.M.E. technology (Specific Area Message Encoding) will ensure you never miss an alert, and you can set up 25 locations for automatic alerts for everything from hurricanes to tornadoes to severe storms. 

Just four minutes of cranking equates to up to 15 minutes of music, weather, or news. If you’re running a bit low on energy to hand-power this gadget, you can instead charge it using its solar panel, which takes 12 hours to reach full charge. You can even use it to charge up other devices using its 5-Volt output USB port and the combination of a flashlight and rear-mounted LED light  — the latter of which is powerful enough for lighting up your tent or your dining table — add to this gadget’s versatility. So, if you need to simplify and want to have a gadget on hand that takes on many tasks at once, this compact radio and LED flashlight from Etón is a great choice.

Best Hammock: SomniSmart Recycled Hammock with Suspension

SomniSmart Recycled Hammock with Suspension

Watch the world go by from a comfortable spot slung between the trees and do your bit to save the planet with this lightweight hammock made from recycled plastic bottles. Nine single-use bottles go into the fabric, which is manufactured by leading performance fiber brand Reprieve. 

At 1.75 pounds, it’s not the lightest thing in your rucksack, so it may be better suited to car camping or as a replacement for a tent if you know you'll want to sleep out under the stars. Wherever you use it, prepare to be pleasantly surprised by how easy this hammock is to hang. Its cinch buckles not only allow you to get the perfect angle, but are easy to pull down again — without a fiddly, tricky-to-untie knot in sight!

Best Firestarter: Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel BIO army 2in1

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel BIO army 2in1

Forget matches — and worrying about white pine or aspen that are harvested for the estimated 500 billion matches used in the United States each year — by instead investing in this handy fire starter that was first developed by the Swedish Department of Defense. It’s extremely easy to use: Just strike the magnesium alloy rod against the stainless steel striker and voila, you’ve got fire. You can use it for everything from lighting a camp stove to a campfire, and it’ll work even in wet and windy conditions. 

Given it lasts for 12,000 strikes, you’ll likely even save money compared with buying a traditional box of matches or a grill lighter, while the plastic used in this gadget is biobased, meaning it’s made from plant-based materials, making it good for the environment, too. Just don't plan to use it to light any candles, as the direction of the spark can be a bit hard to control.

What to Consider for When Shopping for Camping Gadgets

Weight 

If you’re planning on carrying any gear with you, be sure to check the weight before you make a purchase. It’s important to know how much weight you want to carry overall, and how much any given item will add to your pack.

Durability

All the items on our list should last for many years, on both long and short stays in the wilderness. However, not all gear on the market is designed to hold up to the wear and tear of being hauled on the trail.

Will You Use It?

If you’re going on a shorter trip along more-traveled trails, you may not need GPS or a portable radio. It’s also a good idea to test out gear for the first time at home, so you can save time to enjoy your trip rather than trying to learn new tech while out camping. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

We want to help our readers enjoy the outdoors, while doing their bit to protect it in every way they can. To do this, we researched a wealth of gadgets that we know will make a camping trip both safer and more comfortable and won’t achieve this at the expense of the environment. 

Author Steph Dyson has extensive backcountry experience in diverse environments around the globe and enjoys putting camping gadgets through their paces.