I like pampering myself as much as the next guy, but I find the creature comforts of home taste so much sweeter after an extended foray into the wild. Not so with the latest gen of car campers: Gear manufacturers are hard at work bringing modern conveniences into every aspect of camping. Gear Junkie (and former Primal Quest teammate to BACKPACKER editor-in-chief Jon Dorn) Steven Regenold profiles some of the latest in car camping luxury goods in his latest column.
Eureka!'s 1310 N!ergy tent has outlets — yes, outlets — connected to a rechargeable battery pack. Campers can then connect iPods, lights, blenders, or whatever they like, creating a 13x10-foot living room exactly like they'd enjoy at home. Remember: There's no better way to truly enjoy the outdoors than by hearing your neighbor plug in his/her hairdryer before you've had your cowboy coffee in the morning. Just take solace in the fact that they're unlikely to catch up to you on the trail — the N!ergy tent weighs a not-so-ultralight 34 lbs, 5 ounces.
Find yourself missing hot water on the trail? Coleman's tank-like Hot Water On Demand gadget promises steaming H2O within five seconds of pressing a button. I think that goes a little bit above and beyond the call, though; it takes longer for me to get hot water in my apartment. Again, ultralight is not a priority — someone is going to draw the short stick and have a horrible day lugging this thing up a ridge.
For my money, though, the Pack Flamingos — inflatable lawn ornaments on top of aluminum tent pegs — can't be beat. They're light, cheap, ultra-visible, and sure to remind me of sunnier days in Florida the next time I'm waiting out a blizzard. Besides, my grandma will love them.
— Ted Alvarez