5 technologies making the outdoors a more comfortable place to live in

Your time in the great outdoors is about to become infinitely more enjoyable, thanks to these key innovations…

Man toasting marshmallows on a campfire by water

Spending time outdoors is a true mood booster, helping you to de-stress and disconnect from the pressures of everyday life. Whether you’re camping or backpacking, there are some key innovations in outdoors tech capable of making your time in the wild much more comfortable.

These different technologies can be found inside a range of products, from tents and sleeping bags to camping stoves and adventure-proof jackets. Let’s take a look at the first of these now, and discover how it can help you sleep better than ever outside…

1. BlackOut Bedroom: sleep soundly in dazzling sunlight

Now if only the BlackOut Bedroom could stop John's snoring...

Nothing kills our enjoyment of camping faster than an unwanted early morning wake-up call from the sun. But bright sunlight streaming in through the ‘walls’ of your tent doesn’t have to be your fate… Not when you’re sleeping inside a tent fitted with blackout fabric.

When used in all sleeping areas, blackout fabric blocks daylight from entering the tent. This, in turn, enables you to sleep for longer each morning without being disturbed by sunlight. Outdoor specialist Coleman has developed a technology called BlackOut Bedroom, which blocks up to 99 per cent of daylight from entering.

By storing energy from the sun in the surface of the fabric, BlackOut Bedroom tech also manages the temperature inside the tent, keeping your bedroom up to 5°C cooler during the day and up to 1°C warmer at night.

To experience BlackOut Bedroom tech for yourself, try the Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Plus. Not only does it keep out the sun, the Mountain 5 Plus is also infused with UVGuard, providing SPF50 coverage, and WeatherTec waterproofing.

2. Thermoelectrics: turn fire into power for your phone

Cook dinner and recharge your phone all at once

This genius technology enhances your comfort in two major ways. Firstly, it generates fire, enabling you to stay warm and to heat up food and drinks. Secondly, it converts fire into electricity – handy for juicing up your phone and other USB-chargeable gadgets.

Eco-friendly thermoelectric tech is found in the award-winning Biolite CampStove 2, a renewable energy camping stove capable of creating three watts of electricity from the heat of its fire.

The stove then uses that electricity to charge your devices. It can also store energy in the integrated 2,600mAh battery, for use at a later date... All while you’re using the stove to grill sausages or toast marshmallows.

3. DryQ Elite: stay dry and comfy, whatever the weather

Snug as a bug

Just like with tents, it pays to spend as much as you can afford on a high-quality sleeping bag. After all, this is the main piece of camping kit keeping you warm and sheltered from icy nighttime drafts.

DryQ Elite technology, developed by Mountain Hardwear, is a waterproof, highly breathable and windproof shell designed to reduce the impact of harsh weather. Ideal for cold and damp environments, DryQ Elite – as used on the Mountain Hardwear Wraith sleeping bag – offers maximum maintain heat retention even when it’s exposed to moisture.

When teamed with Q Shield 800 fill down, as with the Wraith sleeping bag, Q Elite is one of the best technologies around for ensuring you stay dry, comfortable and warm (but not clammy) when camping out in colder weather.

4. AirBeam: pitch a tent in record time

Yes we meant an actual tent

Living more comfortably in the outdoors starts with spending less time faffing around with your tent. That’s why we’re still excited about inflatable tents – they’re super-fast and easy to pitch, leaving you with more time to spend adventuring.

Outdoor giant Vango was one of the first companies out of the block with high-quality inflatable tents, and the magic centres around AirBeam technology. Vango’s revolutionary AirBeams are used instead of traditional poles, enabling rapid pitching on a wide range of terrain.

The beams are durable and incredibly solid once fully inflated. If you want to experience the ease they can bring to your time living outdoors, we’d recommend the Vango Santo AirBeam for couples and small family weekend trips, or the Vango Illusion TC 800XL Air for larger families and groups of friends.

5. Tri-Zone Heat: get extra body heat, precisely when you need it

The birdwatching guide is optional

During the colder months, the outdoors is an infinitely more comfortable place to live in when you wrap up warm. And even though there are plenty of stellar technical jackets to keep you toasty when teamed with base- and mid-layers, nothing delivers quite like Tri-Zone Heat technology.

Utilised in the Explorer Jacket by Blazewear, Tri-Zone Heat tech targets your core to distribute heat evenly and continuously around your body. How? Via three strategically placed, rechargeable battery-powered heat panels – there are two at the front, one at the back. 

Thanks to Tri-Zone Heat tech, you can enjoy hours of uninterrupted heat. This could be a lifesaver if you find yourself outdoors in particularly cold conditions. There are three individual heat settings to enjoy (low, medium and high), with the battery lasting up to 13 hours per charge.

The best part is, you don’t have to wear oodles of layers underneath the jacket, so you can pop it on over your favourite long-sleeve and adjust the jacket’s heating level to suit.

This article is part of our Tech Innovation for the Future series, brought to you in association with Honor.

Claire Davies

Claire Davies is Senior Content Editor for T3 magazine, and also edits camping, walking, backpacking, hiking and outdoor sports/adventure tech for T3's Outdoors channel.