Now you don't have to keep your car running to ensure these important items stay charged. Outdoors gear companies are creating products that are functional—a stove, outdoor speaker or cooking pot—and can charge electronic devices. Here are the top picks to keep you and your gear energized when outside.
BioLite CampStove$130 for the CampStove; $225 for the CampStove, KettlePot, and Portable Grill; $300 for the BaseCamp 1 of 8
Functional Use:You never have to worry about running out of fuel or slogging along extra fuel tanks when you use the BioLite CampStove. This compact stove, about the size of a Nalgene bottle when packed, uses renewable biomass instead of fuel canisters, which means you can start a fire with twigs, tinder, even pinecones.
Charging Power: This product uses a thermoelectric generator to capture heat from the fire and turn it into electricity. This powers a fan to keep the fire going. Because the fuel is essentially unlimited, so is the energy produced. The built-in USB port allows you to charge your devices from that energy. Twenty minutes of charging provides about one hour of talk time for an iPhone.
Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 Lantern$80 2 of 8
Functional Use: The lightweight Goal Zero Lighthouse Lantern is a functional lantern and charger, providing 250 lumens of LED light that you can customize to your liking—low, high or turbo and dimmable. You can use the full, two-sided light or just one side. Charge the lantern from the built-in USB cord, a hand crank or a solar panel that's not included, but can be purchased as an accessory. Hook it to your pack or your tent or stand up the legs to extend the light. Bonus: a battery level indicator is right on the front so you'll always know if it needs a charge.
Charging Power: Power your phone from the USB port.
Black Diamond Ember Power Light3 of 8
Functional Use: A flashlight can come in handy when camping, especially a rechargeable one. The Ember Power Light (available late fall) provides 150 lumens of light and is small enough to fit in your pocket. The Ember is rechargeable and has a lock mode so you don't accidentally waste battery. There's also a power meter to let you know how much juice you have left, as well as a carabiner loop to hook it to your pack.
Charging Power: With full power, you can charge your iPhone to a full battery 1.5 times via the USB port.
FlameStower$90 4 of 8
Functional Use: This rugged gadget is small and compact; it folds flat when not in use and serves only to charge your items. Simply unfold the legs, fill the reservoir with water, and stick the blade in the fire where the heat gets turned into electricity. The FlameStower gets energy from any fire source including a camp fire, a camp stove or a grill. You don't need a battery and can charge electronics while you cook.
Charging Power: To get 100 percent power on your iPhone, you need to run a fire for about three hours.
Eton Rugged Rukus$100 5 of 8
Function Use: The Eton Rugged Rukus is a multi-purpose, made-for-the-outdoors speaker about the size of a book. Power the Rugged Rukus by plugging it in at home or let it sit in the sun for a solar power charge. A full charge provides eight hours of music.
Charging Power: The Rukus pumps out your tunes via a Bluetooth connection and can charge your phone at the same time. Take it to the pool or the lake (it's water resistant), or use it at the campsite. It's durable and has carabiner loops to hook to your pack so you can take it on the trail too.
Joos Orange$149 6 of 8
Functional Use: The Joos Orange serves only as a power source—it doesn't double as a flashlight or stove—and can charge your phone, iPad, camera, GPS system, Kindle—anything that charges by USB. The portable solar charger, which is waterproof and durable, can be used in low light, the shade and light rain. It can charge your items immediately or store the energy for later. Charge the Joos from your computer or any other USB power source before heading outside.
Charging Power: The Joos Orange charges devices three and a half times faster than similar devices on the market—one hour of sun provides 120 minutes of talking on an iPhone, according to SolarJoos.
The PowerPot V$149 7 of 8
Functional Use: Similar to the BioLite, the PowerPot V turns your cooking time into charging time, eliminating the need for excess gear. The 1-quart pot charges your electronics after it heats up. While boiling water provides the best charge, you can cook noodles or broth-based soup in the pot while generating power as well. Use with wood, butane, propane, or any other type of heat source.
Charging Power: It only takes 10 to 30 seconds of heating time for the pot to become a charging source. About 10 minutes of charge equals 60 minutes of talk time, and it comes with a lifetime-limited warranty.