3 Top Camping Gadgets from 2015

Energizer HeadlampHello and welcome to the blog.  Today I wanted to mention three favorite items used for camping this year and how they’ve made the time more enjoyable.  Just a note… These are my opinions and I am not compensated for endorsing any products.  (But please keep clicking on the links because I do get paid for that!)

The first favorite gadget is the Energizer headlight.  I sell a variety of these at work and my choice for price and performance is the Energizer 200 lumens model.  When customers ask how bright they need, I usually tell them the brighter the better – at least 150 to 200 lumens.  This head lamp is dimmable but should you need a LOT of brightness, bigger is better.

Once you have used one of these around the house or camper, you’ll wonder how you got by without one.  I’ve cleaned fish safely while it was pitch black outside.  Sunday evening the light was used to inspect gutters in a rainstorm.  I’ve even strapped it on to hunt for kitty Jesse when he got out at night.  The headlamp is invaluable when you are setting up a campsite after dark.  When folks come up to me at work and ask what a sportsman would like for Christmas, these are an easy sell.  I keep one in the house and one in van.  It’s the best $20 you’ll ever spend.  (But the 200 lumen model is a friggin’ steal for $10.97 at Lowe’s right now!)


Fold and Go

The Coleman Fold-and-Go Grill has made cooking a sheer delight this camping year.  It is quick to set up, cleans easily, does not take up a lot of space, and does a nice job cooking a variety of meals.

There is an optional griddle surface available (which I intend to add very soon) for cooking eggs, bacon, and such.

These little propane grills are not exactly cheap but they are very convenient.  When you factor in the cost of firewood (if you can even find any in Iowa due to a ban on importing firewood), the Coleman grill seems attractive for the price.  When buying one, look for the model with a built-in ignitor.  (Mine doesn’t have it but I always keep lighters in the van)  Expect to pay about $60 or so.





Nutri Ninja Pro

This last device will probably never go with me in the van… but has been used to prepare for the last few outings.  The Nutri Ninja Pro has proven itself to be very handy.

The powerful blender came with two generous sized cups.  I use it to make smoothies and keep them in the ice chest for camping.  You simply add your ingredients (I use frozen berries, a small can of pineapple with juice, 1/2 banana, and 2% milk).  Screw on the blender lid (with blade).  After blending, you take off the blade and thread on a drinking lid.  I like to make two smoothies and keep them cold for something refreshing after a hike or a few hours of fishing.  It’s a lot healthier than overdosing on Diet Coke.

While whiz-bang, fancier models exist, this Nutri Ninja one was purchased for $59.  It’s already paid for itself by not buying expensive smoothies at the Golden Arches.   The next project might be to briefly blend together eggs, milk, and a few veggies to take along an “omelet in a bag”.




These modern conveniences make camping even more fun!  It’s very likely on the next camping trip all three will be used in some fashion.  I’m planning to go out on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day.  It should be an enjoyable time.  There might even be a kitty along for the ride.  In the meantime, there aren’t too many days left until Christmas!  If you need a last minute item – you can’t go wrong with a headlamp (or some batteries, too!)

Take care and thanks for visiting!

Brad, Jesse, and Kitty Jennifer
Jones County, Iowa

Here’s the “angel” for the Christmas Tree

Jennifer Present



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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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