There’s regular camping gear that we take on every camping trip… tent, table, stove, sleeping gear, etc. Then there’s a whole host of extraordinarily peculiar gear that can arguably enhance your camping experience.
Some of these things are pretty nifty. Others will lure you with bizarre advertising that you’ll find hard to look away from only to leave you feeling unsettled and questioning what on earth it was you just watched!
Not surprisingly, a lot of these items are no longer available, but there are always new weird and wonderful bits of gear hitting the market all the time.
So without further ado, here are the 25 outlandish and offbeat bits of camping gear that we’ve found so far on the web.
25. The Bumper Dumper
You’d want to make sure you are on a quiet road when you stop to use the Bumper Dumper. This portable toilet seat and bucket fits into your tow hitch so you can sit down at the back of your car for a roadside dump. Maybe not as private as an old fallen log (pardon the pun) but far more comfortable.
I’m not sure where you put the bucket once you’ve filled it, the roof rack is probably the best option. Just make sure your buddy is finished before you drive away, and beware of the hot exhaust.
Image by Bumper Dumper
24. A whole host of weird sleeping bags
Kids worried about sleeping in the outdoors? Help them get to sleep in the dark by handing them a giant shark and telling them to climb right on into its mouth! Kids scared of sharks? That’s ok because there’s a grizzly bear option too!
Imagine how excited medical students would be with the anatomical sleeping bag, and nothing says “don’t worry, we’re all in this together” more than a fellow camper in a cadaver bag.
Image by World of Camping
23. Leatherman Tread Multi Tools
Can we call this a man bangle? The Leatherman Tread is more of a fashion statement than a multi-tool. It’s one of those bits of gear that you buy someone who already has everything plus it’s the only multi-tool we know of that is allowed through airport security.
That being said, you’d be best checking with your airline before an airport security officer decides your wrist bling would look better on them.
Image by Leatherman
22. Field Candy Patterned Tents
These guys are taking personalised camping to the next level. Traditional ‘A-frame’ tents that let you blend in or stand out as much as you want, some designs may even make your fellow campers feel somewhat uneasy. From sheep to an English pub, watermelons, books and even Iron Maiden, there’s a design to suit every personality.
Image by Field Candy
21. Victorinox Swiss Champ XAVT
Victorinox is really just showing off here. 82 functions in an inconveniently large 65mm wide package, this Swiss Army pocket knife is better suited to the display cabinet than your camping kit… Victorinox does mention this though.
Image by Unbox Therapy
20. Offroad Segway
If hiking isn’t your thing then why not tear up the walking tracks and mow down the wildlife with an off-road segway. These will set you back a pretty penny but at least you won’t be burning all those hard-earned calories on the way to your destination. Oh, and you’re going to need a powered site.
Image by Al Gadgets Technology
19. Super Kimbos – keep your pants on, even when you go to the toilet!
I don’t have any words for this.
18. Nite Ops Stubby Cooler… with LED light
You probably wouldn’t buy one of these for yourself, but you wouldn’t complain if this was in your Kris Kringle gift. Made with ABS plastic (think Lego) and equipped with an LED light, you’ve now got an excuse for taking your bevvie for a long post-campfire-curry-dinner long-drop sitting.
Image by Maxim
17. Inflatable Lounge Chairs
Initially, I thought these were ridiculous. Then thoughts of relaxing around the campsite on a 4 seater inflatable lounge chair entered my mind and before I knew it I was reaching for the credit card. These would look more at home in your lounge room than in the campsite, and with one, two and four-seater options you can seat the whole family and some wildlife.
Just for the record, I got over my excitement pretty quickly and didn’t actually buy one of these lounge chairs, however, an inflatable lounge could also be fun for floating down a creek in after some rainy weather, don’t you think?
Image by Archi Expo
16. ManCan Portable Beer Keg
How necessary these are for camping could be debated for a lifetime, but the one thing that any beer loving camper would agree on is that these are pretty cool. A single wall keg that you can keep in your portable car fridge ready for a cold beer on tap in the campsite. You can also get a limited edition WoManCan, which a portion of the proceeds will go to supporting women in the brewing industry.
Their claims of being lightweight are a stretch for hikers but a homebrew enthusiast on a car based camping trip would love this.
Image by InsideHook
Once again, a little heavy for hiking but…this portable beer keg is vacuum insulated and will keep your beer cold for up to 24 hours. So, theoretically, if you were to do away with 5kg of other gear in your rucksack, you could take cold beer on tap just about anywhere. You’d consider it… right?
Image by TrailKeg
14. Powdered Beer
If you really can’t justify the weight of a ManCan or TrailKeg in your trekking pack, then maybe powdered beer is more your thing. As a beer lover myself I’d rather drink muddy water filtered through my socks than a glass of powdered beer, but I’ve never tried it, so who am I to judge? The fact that it doesn’t seem to be available any more may be a good indication of flavour though.
Image by Trek’n Eat
13. The DryFlush Toilet
Are you concerned about the environmental impact of using water, chemicals and dedicated dump points for your portable toilet waste? Not to worry, now you can vacuum wrap your crap in foil and bank it all in a giant plastic bag! Then you get to pay a visit to every landfill site on your trip to get rid of it all! Seems like an environmentally friendly solution to me…not!
12. Fry an egg with the Flash Torch
Keep out of reach of children! This torch won’t just light your path to the dunny, it will also start a fire and fry an egg, all with the power of its ‘laser beam’ [insert Dr Evil voiceover]. Sounds more like a lightsabre to me and a sure fire way to burn holes in your tent, administer third-degree burns to wildlife and fry the retinas of your camping buddies. It’s 100% legally guaranteed under US law though, so it must be safe!
Image by Gizmodo
11. GSI Ultralight Table
We actually sell this one at Snowys. Our initial thoughts were that it is gimmicky and expensive and wouldn’t be overly popular… we were wrong! It seems that this 30cm long table is sought after, most likely by gourmet trail chefs. All in all, it’s a pretty cool bit of kit, just very expensive for a small amount of benchtop.
Image by GSI Outdoors
10. BBQ Fishing Rod
Snow Peak makes a whole host of gimmicky yet surprisingly functional gear for the outdoors lifestyle and the BBQ Rod is by no means an exception. Attach your marshmallows, sausages, fish or veggies to the hook and dangle them over the fire, then with a small flick of the wrist your food flips for even cooking. Pretty cool!
Image by Snow Peak
9. Titanium Straw
The Snow Peak Titanium straw is the strongest and most durable reusable straw in the world. Able to pierce coconuts with a single blow and rest stylishly in any cocktail. Doubles as a miniature blow dart pipe for lightweight hunting adventures.
This is quite a timely placement given the talk of the environmental impact disposable straws are having, unfortunately, it’s not available in Australia as yet.
Image by Snow Peak
8. Candwich – Canned Sandwiches
If I had to pull some positives from this, it would be their marketing. However, apart from fleeting glimpses of these sandwiches flying out of their respective cans and across the dance floor into the mouths of hungry disco dancers, there’s no image of the actual product. Most likely because they have the plate appeal of a budget airline meal. I’m not sure why you would take a canned sandwich to a dance club but given they stay ‘fresh’ for over a year they are probably handy for camping… I think I’ll stick to baked beans myself though.
Alternatively, there are canned cheeseburgers from the same people that brought you the powdered beer. Strangely enough, these don’t seem to be available any more.
Video by Candwich
7. GSI Collapsible Whisk
Without any context, it’s hard to work out what this peculiar little device is and a poll of random guesses to its use may return some less than desirable guesses given its whip-like appearance. But, when GSI designed it they had a portable whisk in mind.
If scrambled eggs, omelettes and pancakes are a regular on your camping menu then this may be a useful item in your kit.
Image by Snowys Outdoors
6. iGuaneye Footwear
The concept makes sense, inspired by the Amazonian Indians who dipped their feet in natural latex for protection. While the latex stuck to the Amazonians feet like glue, these shoes rely on your big toe and some rubber around the heel to keep the shoe in place.
Personally, I’ve never seen a problem with flip-flops, but these do look interesting. iGuaneye looks like a relatively new brand, not something we’ve seen on any shelves in Australia just yet.
Image by iGUANEYE
5. Hydro Hammock Bath Tub
If you’ve packed everything, including the kitchen sink, and still got a 4×2 foot void in your boot, you can take the bathtub too thanks to the Hydro Hammock. This battery powered gas heated insulated hammock is designed to be filled with water to create a remote hydro spa. Simply hang it between two rock solid and level anchor points, or dig an enormous hole to lay it in. Then add about 180 litres of water and make sure you’ve got a flood management plan in place when you empty it.
The Hydro Hammock can be used in the wilderness, the beach or wherever you can feasibly carry a 30 kg case and 180 kg of water. The images even suggest you use it as an outdoor bath on your suburban balcony!
Image by Daily Mail Australia
4. Campfire Defender Blanket
I’m not sure I could sleep at night knowing my campfire is smouldering away under a massive blanket not too far from my tent. There are a small number of online reviews supporting my concerns, inversely then there’s a lot of positive feedback.
The idea is that instead of extinguishing your fire when you hit the hay, just peg this woven glass fire blanket over your fire. This allows the fire to keep burning whilst containing embers which means you’ll have hot coals in the morning.
Personally, I feel like it takes the responsibility out of making sure your fire is adequately extinguished. It also seems like it would be a dirty smoky item to be hauling around in your vehicle.
Video by Campfire Defender
3. Glow in the Dark Toilet Paper
Other than being able to locate the toilet paper in bush dunny completely void of light, or maybe so you can see the roll that you just dropped in the long drop, I’m pretty confident in saying that the Glow In The Dark Toilet Paper doesn’t offer anything functional to your camping trip. I can’t imagine it emits enough light to help you find your way to the loo, and I can’t think of any need to light up the areas in question as you put the paper to use.
I guess you could use it Hansel & Gretel style and leave a trail of glowing paper so you can find your way back to camp at night, just make sure you pick it all up afterwards… I’m not sure how biodegradable glowing toilet paper is.
Image by ThisIsWhyImBroke
2. GSI Vortex Blender
This blender does not require electricity, so you don’t have to go without your protein shake, daiquiris and margaritas at the campsite. What you will need though, is a strong arm, a camp table strong enough to clamp the blender onto, and a couple of camping buddies to hold everything steady as you thrash away at the crank handle in an effort to turn the contents of the blender into a liquid.
The best thing is that you get an upper body workout while you produce the vitamin enriched shake you’ll need for muscle recovery afterwards.
Image by GSI Outdoors
1. Squat Strap
There’s a lot that is not right here. Firstly, it looks to be a terribly uncomfortable & over engineered strap that supposedly makes bush toileting easy… provided you have quads of steel. Secondly, the marketing is akin to a B-Grade comedic horror movie.
In summary, a short-tempered man in a white suit (Tuxman) steps out from behind a tree wearing a monkey mask and stares creepily at an unsuspecting camper preparing for a #2 in the woods. Following a sales pitch on the Squat Strap and its numerous other uses, Tuxman pulls out a graphic illustration of a naked man strapped to a tree with bricks falling from his, err… rear-end!
Assumingly once the bricks have passed, the unsuspecting camper is converted to Tuxman’s bush monkey ways and dons the white suit before honing in on another culprit who appears to be converted as he’s come prepared with a Squat Strap of his own. They then all join hands (Tuxman now in a robe!) in a show of united appreciation for the Squat Strap!
These don’t look to be available any more, maybe the budget for the commercial could have been spent better on other areas of marketing?
Video by Squat Monkey
Got any strange camping products that we should add to our list? Post us some details below and we’ll include it!
About the writer...
Trekker, surfer, climber, mountain biker, runner, camper. Participator in most things… master of none.