Lots of dads believe there's something about heading out into nature that brings a family closer together. Between marshmallows on the fire, swimming in the lake, and trying not to touch anything in the campground bathroom, camping trips help form memories that will stick with the kids for life.
Still, camping can be really hard — but it doesn't have to be. For Father's Day this year, give dad one of these seven gadgets to help make the great outdoors even better.
Mpowerd Luci Outdoor 2.0 ($18)
It's a well-known fact that dads are often masters at packing, and with space-saving gear like the Luci Outdoor 2.0 light, they're only going to get better.
A solar-powered lantern, this bright idea collapses down to around an inch tall, making it easy to stuff in a backpack for a haul-in, haul-out adventure. With four lighting modes ranging from low to superlight (with an emergency strobe for good measure), the Luci will last up to 18 hours, if you don't flip it over and let the sun recharge it first.
Buy now: Luci Outdoor 2.0, $18, Amazon
Stanley Vacuum Mug ($18)
It's a scientific fact that no coffee on earth tastes better than camp coffee. Alas, no coffee on earth cools faster, too.
This 16-ounce stainless steel mug doesn’t just keep dad's well-earned cup piping hot for a mind-blowing 12 hours, it also uses special TempCore technology to cool overly-hot drinks 20 times faster than normal. So, not too hot, not too cold, and comfy for hours on end — the Stanley Vacuum Mug is the goldilocks of coffee cups.
Buy now: Stanley Vacuum Mug, $18, Amazon
GRAYL Water Purifier Bottle ($60)
Hauling water around is so unnecessary these days, and besides, doesn't dad have enough on his shoulders already?
This handy water bottle doesn't just make for great sipping, it can also purify and filter water, so pops can drink right out of a stream. When pushing down the filter like a French press, the GRAYL removes baddies like E.coli, Giardia, and Hepatitis A. Meanwhile, the filter can block sediment, chlorine, lead and even arsenic. If only Donovan had the GRAYL to select from in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, things might not have ended so badly for him.
Seattle Sports Survivolts ($30)
Waterproof matches are great for starting a fire, but they can't charge your phone, too. A modern day campfire must for dad, the Survivolts combines a 5,000mAh USB power bank with an electronic plasma fire starter, flashlight, strobe, lantern and laser pointer. Organized in a handy carrying case, this electronic survival kit is a multi-tool for the tech-savvy camper.
BioLite CampStove Set ($200)
The Swiss Army knife of camp stoves, BioLite's CampStove doesn't just make warmth, it can also charge USB-powered batteries and can help cook a meal.
Converting excess heat into electrical energy, the aluminum, portable camp stove can burn kindling and other bits of wood to a nice little campfire, suitable for boiling water or grilling and more. And when you plug your gadgets into the BioLite's USB port, it will also charge both the device's battery as well as an onboard 2600mAh cell for topping up your gear later.
Buy now: BioLite CampStove set, $200, BioLite
GoPro Hero5 Session ($300)
It's a fact of life: As long as there are cameras, there will be dads recording everything. So instead of being embarrassed by your father recording your outdoor adventures with an iPad (a total dad move) get the guy something more subtle, fast.
A tiny, handheld action cam packed with all the bells and whistles, the GoPro Hero5 Session can shoot 4K video and 10 megapixel photos, with image stabilization and voice control to boot. Built to collect memories wherever they happen, the Hero5 Session is waterproof up to 33 feet, and can be mounted on everything from helmets and bikes to dog harnesses, turning man's best friend into man's best cameraman.
Buy now: GoPro Hero5 Session, $300, Amazon
TomTom Adventurer ($350)
Whatever trails your father blazes — hiking, biking, skiing, or running — he's going to want to take them with the kind of confidence that only a dad can muster. And with an onboard GPS, compass, and barometric tracking capabilities to take your outings to the next level (literally — the watch calculates elevation, too) the TomTom Adventurer can let dad lead the pack.
Pairing all those smarts with a heart rate sensor, the waterproof watch can crunch numbers ranging from pace and calories burned to maximum speed and run distance. And when overlaid onto a map in the gorgeous TomTom Sports App, all this data can make for a nice digital keepsake of your trip.
Buy now: TomTom Adventurer, $350, Amazon