rsz_sportz_tent.jpgHave you heard of nomophobia? It’s now a widely used term for the fear of being out of range of your smartphone. The term’s an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia” made up after a study in 2010 (by the UK Post Office, of all places) that looked at the anxieties of cell phone users. The study found that nearly 53% of people surveyed were admittedly anxious when they lose their smartphones, hit a no-service area, or when the battery dies.

With that said, do you think you could go camping for the weekend and leave your tech at home? I’m told it’s rather freeing, though I have not experienced this phenomenon first hand. If you’re contemplating it, as I am, you’ll be happy to learn there are plenty of ways to have fun in the forest, the lake, or the trailer without your technology and gadgets.

First things first: a roof over your head

If you go out in the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise. That’s because there’s so many tent options out there, and tops among them is the Sportz Dome-To-Go Tent. It attaches onto the back of your SUV, hatchback or station wagon, and gives you sleeping space and gear storage. The tent is roomy, with over six feet of headroom and it’s big enough to sleep four. It’ll keep you warm, dry, and out of the wind, with nary a Nest Thermostat in sight!

Let there be light!freeplay radio light.jpg

After the tent is set up and your fire is built, it’s time to check your ema … NO! It’s time to go old school and turn on the radio! The multipurpose Freeplay Tuf Solar & Crank Multiband Rechargeable Radio with LED Light is a handy all-in-one camping buddy that lets you listen to the radio, or supply light to the campsite, without using the flashlight on your smartphone. The Freeplay Energy is perfect for going off the grid, since you don’t even need a plug to keep it going. It juices up with a hand crank, or using solar power.

If you need light on the go, a headlamp is an easy way to get what you need, hands-free. The Fenix 900 Lumens LED Headlamp has a beam that reaches over 200 metres so you can take the shortcut to the outhouse, find your way to the car in the dark, or even go nighttime exploring. This model even has a belt-mounted spare battery pack to provide extra power when you need it.

Tools of the Trade

If there’s one tool I always have to have with me at the campsite, it’s my Leatherman. This multi-tool is invaluable for cutting rope for tarps, opening bottles or cans, using pliers to pry out stubborn tent stakes, or even making small repairs. The Leatherman Charge ALX/Premium has all the tools you need, from a variety of blades and saws, to screwdrivers of varying sorts, and a whole host of other handy gadgets. This is one tool you’ll never be sorry you have with you. Be warned; you may want two. Everyone tries to steal my Leatherman and I’m constantly chasing people down to get it back!swiss army knife.jpg

The classic Swiss Army Knife is similar. Packed with a handy corkscrew, wire stripper, tweezers (for campfire first aid), plus a multipurpose hook and fishing tools, there’s a reason Swiss Army is still the name people think of when they think multipurpose tool. Kind of like how tissue is “Kleenex” or gelatin is “Jell-O.”

Banish that GPS!

Ever heard of orienteering? Orienteering is navigating with just a map and compass. It’s actually becoming a bit of a sport now, and a skill that kids are increasingly interested in learning. For that reason, orient yourself towards this Brunton TruArc 20 Mirror Compass as a way to start learning navigation without relying on satellite GPS. This compass provides an accurate reading anywhere in the world, thanks to a rare earth magnet that resists interference and won’t lose its polarity. It’s also waterproof and includes a map magnifier.

To double check if you’re in the right place, you’ll want some Nikon Aculon Binoculars in a bright, hard to misplace red. With 8x magnification and a 325 foot field of view, you’ll be able to spot landmarks with ease.

Plus, you’ll be able to trek over any terrain with confidence if you toss in some Rockwater Nordic Walking Poles. Poles give you more balance and stability when out on the trails, particularly if you’re carrying a large pack. Use them for trekking over sand, mud, rocks and more while you’re practising orienteering.

Lastly, just in case you think you’re making a big mistake by not going camping fully geared, gadgeted, and ready to reach out to the outside world in case of emergency, fear not!

Just get yourself a Stevens 58-Piece Emergency Kit for Camping. It’s stocked with emergency blankets, leather gloves, hand warmers, and a first aid kit, among many other helpful items. There’s even some matches so you can send smoke signals to call for help because your smartphone is at home!

Erin Lawrence
Editor TV and Home Theatre
Erin is a journalist, writer, and TV producer with a fascination for technology and a love of gadgets. Check out her blog


  1. Make sure you take some time to brush up on those nav skills before going out into the wilderness. Simply having a map and compass won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to use them.



  2. That’s a great blog @ErinLYYC now that the season is here and excellant points @Juice0904

    With all the trekking and hard work, I’m sure that a person would eventually find a need, for sustaining themselves with warm food and even some heat. The propane cylinder and BBQ didn’t fit in the smart car, so we have to get primitive and build a fire. Lots of material out there, but can’t just spark it all up to roast a marshmellow.

    This is where priorities such as a Camp axe will have to come in handy, to make kindling and firewood.  So gather some stones, to build a base for the fire.

    Neeless to say that some food will look good on top of that fire, so why not get some? hmm..,  while pondering, have a seat, take yer shoes off, sit a spell, on this camping chair .Use a fishing rod to catch dinner while having a beer from the beer cooler .

    Tsk, but what of the kids?  They can watch movies when bored to tears, from the wifi hot spot  created with your portable 1TB hard drive from Seagate on their laptop or tablet.., your phone 😉

    Once a person has inflicted cruel and inhuman punishment to their stomach with dinner, they might need to loosen that Survival belt they have on and enjoy the rest of a hard day’s work..


  3. Movies, while camping? Sacrilege! 


    Whatever happened to exploring the wilderness during the day and staring up at the stars and roasting marshmallows and hot dogs at night? 


    You really had me until you suggested movies.



  4. *sigh* What can I say @Juice0904 , I got carried away shopping on-line *lol*

    You know.., a person might be watching movies they uploaded from their Camcorder and DSLR of the day’s and evening events..,and then they can really watch the stars 😉


    ..,ok ok back to watching the flames

    ooops these flames


    If you type the word “Camping” in the BestBuy web site search bar, the results are amazing. Considering all that is available , a person might only need to come home for a change of clothes.


  5. Elico, I love the suggestions.  An axe is invaluable. I love cooking over an open fire.  Fireside Chili.. mmmmm.  Roast chicken (beer can chicken), also mmmmm…  I also LOVE these coolers from Sportcraft. I bought some for us and our friends.  They’re super handy, but fold totally flat. 

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