Humans have been cooking over open campfires for more than a million years, but that doesn’t mean the process couldn’t use some refinement. Outdoor manufacturers have unleashed a new wave of cooking technology that does more than just boil water. From stoves that can charge your smartphone to devices designed to maintain a steady flame, these seven gadgets will help you pack light—and feast well. Our ancestors would be impressed.
BioLite KettlePot ($50)
One of the smartest cooking accessories on the market, the BioLite stove debuted in 2012. Using twigs and brush, you can create an “eternal” charger for your phone or camera. The heat from the pot generates power with a thermoelectric generator, which in turn causes a fan to blow, generating even more heat. You connect your phone with a USB port. The new KettlePot holds about six cups of water and weighs just one pound.
PowerPot V ($150)
This two-in-one cooking pot weighs about 12 ounces, making it light enough for long treks. As you cook, the metal pot transfers heat using a thermoelectric generator to charge your phone in less than 90 minutes. The pot holds about 6 cups of liquid and has a standard USB port for charging. Serious hikers, take note.
BBQ Dragon ($50)
This handy addition to a cooking arsenal will save pyrophiles a lot of time and effort. The BBQ Dragon clamps to the side of a firepit and blows a steady stream of air, which is helpful when it comes to starting and maintaining a cooking fire. The device runs for about three hours on medium speed using four AA batteries. (There’s also an optional rechargeable battery pack.)
MSR Reactor 1.0L Stove System ($170)
Also available in 1.7-liter and 2.5-liter sizes, the MSR Reactor stove uses standard camping fuel canisters and holds about four cups of water—enough for two people. You connect the base to the fuel canister, and then set the pot on top. This metal-to-metal approach creates a better heat transfer when you’re cooking in a place with high winds, and the whole kit fits nicely inside the pot.
GSI Outdoors Halulite Boiler ($35)
The GSI Outdoors Halulite Boiler uses a proprietary hard-anodized alloy material that’s scratch-resistant and at just 11 ounces, this device is unusually light for a full eight-cup cooking pot with a fold-up handle. The spiral-turned bottom is designed to stay put on the fire grill, and the lid doubles as a strainer.
Barocook BC-007 1200ml ($45)
The Barocook is a unique cooking system made for windy conditions and high altitude. The plastic cooking pot, which comes in several sizes, uses a heat pack that reacts to water to create an exothermic reaction with the stainless steel base. It looks a bit like high-tech Tupperwear that can heat water to more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Close the lid, and cook your meal in less than 20 minutes. While there’s still no word when this Korean import will be available in the U.S., it’s something to keep an eye on.
USB Rechargeable Lighter ($20)
No, this isn’t exactly cooking technology, but it still deserves a place on this list—and in your backpack. The USB-powered lighter charges electronically through a port on your computer or BioLite stove. Once charged, you can use the lighter to light about 100 campfires, without ever having to rely on gas or butane again.