Camping Trips: Five Must-Have Camping Gadgets

Ah, the great outdoors! There's nothing like fresh air and a campfire to invigorate the soul. And while the genus Homo has been living outdoors for millions of years, the tools we have available to us now are significantly different. Today's camping trips are increasingly accompanied by new technology in the form of a surprising number of camping gadgets and gizmos.

Lightweight and unbreakable camp axes and ultra-efficient cook stoves are examples of new tech slowly replacing older, more inefficient tools. But what other cool camping gear are people taking on their camping trips? AOL Travel takes a look at five must-have camping gadgets for your next camping trip and beyond.

1. SteriPEN Sidewinder: Weighing in at just over a pound, this handy water purification device uses ultraviolet light to kill all the nasty little beasties in up to one liter of non-purified water. The system requires no batteries - simply crank the handle for about 90 seconds. The end result is perfectly drinkable water. It also comes with a pre-filter if the source water contains debris. Great for not only camping trips but also for emergencies at home. Retails at around $100 U.S.

2. Solio Classic Hybrid Solar Battery Charger: The newest iteration of the Solio Classic is able to charge more devices than ever thanks to updates to the technology and its adapters. Charge the device from the sun or USB input in approximately nine hours (almost five hours on a normal power outlet) and then plug in your device for many hours of power. It's great for making sure your mobile phone or camera stays charged during camping trips or at home. Currently retails at Amazon for $83 U.S. with free shipping.

3. Etón FR160B Microlink: Emergency may strike at any time, requiring you to be on the ready at all times. Etón lends a hand with the Microlink, a self-powered AM/FM/NOAA weather radio with a built-in flashlight, solar panel, and a USB cell phone charger. If the clouds are gathering on your camping trip, give this radio a few turns of the crank and check for NOAA weather updates for your region. The three bright LEDs of the flashlight mechanism help you do it at night. Note: this model doesn't charge iPads and iPhone 3GS or 4G. Retails at Amazon for $30 U.S. with free shipping.

4. JOBY GorillaTorch: More than just camping gear, the GorillaTorch is an adjustable intensity LED light with serious grip. The highly flexible legs have magnetic feet, allowing the user to place the light in nearly any environment. Wrap it around a tree limb while you set up your tent or attach it to the side of your car while you change a tire. Runs on three AA batteries which last anywhere between 20 and 80 hours depending on which brightness level you use. REI has it for $30 U.S.

5. Tool Logic SL3: Nothing is more useful on a camping trip than a quality pocket knife. Well, how about one that also helps you start fires? Say hello to your new friend, the Tool Logic SL3. This knife features a three-inch half-serrated blade with a liner lock. On the back of the handle is a removable magnesium alloy fire starter which is easily used in conjunction with a notch at the base of the blade to quickly start a campfire. It also features a built-in emergency whistle at the base of the handle. Retails at Amazon for an affordable $22 U.S.

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