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oct 14 2008

Fresh camping gear makes the Great Outdoors a bit more modern

The LightCap is a one-liter bottle that has a solar panel on the lid (Courtesy SolLight)

The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisp. It's a great time of the year for camping. We've rounded up some neat (and affordable) gadgets to help you weather the wild. And keep these in mind for any outdoorsy folks on your holiday gift list this year.

It's a water bottle! No, it's a flashlight! Wait—it's both! The LightCap is a one-liter bottle that has a solar panel on the lid. Charge it in the sun all day and you'll have up to six hours of light to guide you at night. ($25)

There's nothing like drinking wine around the campfire. But who wants to lug around fragile bottles that you have to drink in one sitting? The Bota Box holds four bottles' worth of California wine in a lightweight box with a handle. It stays fresh more than a month after opening (about $20).

Souped-up tents are out, apparently. Hammocks are the new black. REI's travel hammock won't break the bank, and comes with a built-in mosquito net to protect you from the little beasts ($39). The Hennessy Hammock comes with netting, a detachable rain fly, and support ropes. "It's especially popular with teens who don’t want to sleep in the big tent with Mom and Dad," says the site (from $80).

The lightweight, pocket-sized HYmini charger converts wind and solar energy into a power source for all your gadgets. In just 20 minutes, you can tack 40 minutes of life onto your MP3 player or take an additional 20 photos with your camera. Think of all the power you could harness on a long bike ride (from $50).

Find these and more thought-provoking ideas for camping gear at TrustyPony.com, the travel goods blog.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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