Why I Love Collapsible Camping Gear
When space is precious, turn to these key products to help you save big
Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
I camp most weekends in summer—usually chasing after some boulder problem—and I bring the same gear every time. I pack most of my camping stuff into a large storage bin, but it can be hard to make everything fit. To solve this problem, I use products that are collapsible without compromising on function. Here are a few of my go-to collapsible products.
Jetboil Jetset Utensil Kit ($10)
This convenient kit includes a spoon, fork, and spatula—all of which are shaped to fit the contours of a Jetboil pot, meaning no more macaroni and cheese stuck to the bottom. Telescoping handles pack small but extend to help you reach the bottom of dehydrated meal bags.
Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink ($27)
Washing dishes in the woods can be a headache without a sink or bucket. This collapsible sink holds almost three gallons of water and rolls up to the size of a baseball when not in use. It can also hold water for purifying later or even water for the dogs.
GSI Outdoors Coffee Cup/Grinder Combo ($40)
This collapsible pour-over kit makes Starbucks-quality coffee without the bulk of a Nespresso machine. The pour-over fits a standard number-two paper filter but collapses to the size of a one-inch-tall disc. A hand grinder is also included, so you can have freshly ground beans anywhere.
REI Co-op Camp Folding Cot ($80)
Car camping is all about comfort, and this folding cot gets you off the ground and provides a lot more support than your normal sleeping pad. The stainless-steel frame can hold up to 300 pounds and folds conveniently into the included stuffsack.
Sea to Summit X-Set 31 Cookset ($110)
Cookware takes up a lot of space. This kit utilizes flexible silicone walls that collapse and allow the bowls and cups to sit inside the pot when stored. The set includes a 2.8-liter pot, two bowls, and two mugs.
Platypus PlatyPreserve Wine Preservation System ($10)
Leave the glass bottle at home and pack your wine in this collapsible wine preservation system. The bag is specially designed to eliminate exposure to oxygen by creating an airtight seal. (Oxygen can tarnish the taste of your wine.) It weighs under one ounce, so it doesn’t add much weight to your kit.
Sea to Summit X-Pot Kettle ($45)
This kettle boils enough water for two dehydrated meals. The bottom is constructed from hard-anodized aluminum, and the walls are made from Sea to Summit’s signature silicone, which allows the kettle to collapse to the size of a Frisbee when not in use. Just don’t use it over an open fire—you’ll damage the silicone.
HydraPak Seeker 2-Liter Collapsible Water Container ($20)
The Seeker series is there for you when you need to tote around large amounts of water. The bags are made from an extra-durable thermoplastic urethane that resists tears and scratches. If you need to purify water, the Katadyn BeFree filter screws right onto the lid of this container, which can also be filled with water and frozen to use as an ice pack in your cooler.
REI Co-op Camp Roll Table ($65)
Unless you want to play cards on the ground, a table is a must-have for car camping. Unfortunately, most are too big and bulky to fit in a car. Not this one, which can support 100 pounds and is big enough to seat four. Plus, it rolls up small when not in use.
REI Co-op Flexlite Chair ($80)
This chair packs down small and is incredibly comfy. It weighs just over one pound, so it doesn’t add much weight to your kit. It also has a small mesh pocket on the side that holds snacks or your phone.
Mpowerd Luci Outdoor Pro Inflatable Solar Lantern ($35)
The Luci lantern is a car camping essential because it creates a nice glow and deflates small enough to fit anywhere. The Pro version has an internal battery, so you can use it to charge your phone after you’ve drained the battery from taking photos.
IceMule Classic Cooler ($60)
The Classic cooler is designed to keep 12 cans cold for more than 24 hours. It’s waterproof and has welded seams to avoid leaking around camp. The cooler collapses as you remove food or drinks, making it better for traveling than a Yeti.
Sven Folding Saw ($41)
It’s always a good idea to bring a saw while camping to cut firewood or clear a trail. This saw has a 21-inch blade and folds down to the size of a ruler when not in use.