This summer when you strap on your hiking boots, you have the luxury of taking along technology that has changed the nature of outdoor living.
So check out these brand new camping innovations. Whether you're spending a family weekend in the woods or undertaking a hardcore adventure, these items will either inspire you or leave you pining for the good old days of cedar-strip canoes and canvas tents.
1. Cruise some white-water rapids with this inflatable kayak from Innova that folds down to the size of a backpack. It doesn't have a solid body, so it's not suited for long trips, but it's perfect for white-water rafting and short jaunts around the lake ($1,025, Mountain Equipment Co-op , 400 King West, 416-340-2667). www.innovakayak.com
2. The Helix smart watch from Timex ($190) has an altimeter, a barometer, a thermometer and a digital compass built in for those moments when you find yourself stranded on a mountainside. Add to this a GPS and you have the Bodylink system ($350 at MEC), which also boasts continuous feedback on bodily functions like heart rate and pulse. www.timex.com
3. No iodine, no filters, no chemical drops. All you have to do is add a few drops of water and salt to the top of this pocket-sized cylinder, called the MIOX Purifier . An electrolysis reaction gets the chlorine out of the salt and turns the water into purifier droplets. Add these to contaminated water and you can drink pretty much anything ($159, MEC). www.msrcorp.com
4. No more tossing and turning in an itchy army-issue sleeping bag. New high-end down-filled sleeping bags (900 fill) from Marmot are as comfortable as the best quality duvets but scrunch down to the size of a 1-litre water bottle. ($419-$800, Europe Bound). www.marmot.com
5. Just give the see-through Nightstar battery-less flashlight a shake and it gives off high-powered light for up to 30 minutes at a time. A magnetic charging system stores energy and slowly powers a white-blue LED. It also floats if you find yourself in a cave on the wrong side of your inflatable kayak ($45 small, $59.99 large, Europe Bound , 383 King West, 416-205-9992, and other). www.nightstar2flashlight.com
6. This brand new super-lightweight backpack for adventure racers is made of the new Dyneema fabric, used for everything from fishing lines to bulletproof armour. Billed as the world's strongest fabric, its polyethylene fibres (they have silicon in them) make it strong, malleable and light ($109, MEC). www.dsm.com
7.Designer Moreno Ferrari creates lightweight parkas that metamorphose into any number of camping necessities like tents, air mattresses or sleeping bags, so you can literally carry your home on your back. Pictured here is a bright blue polyurethane parka that turns into an air mattress covered with a fine nylon mesh ($1,500-$5,000, www.cpcompany.com ).
Not pictured: Self-contained hot meals require no stove, microwave or open flame. Just add water to the heater pad and a simple, non-toxic chemical reaction turns the box into a little stove. This process, developed by ZestoTherm , creates enough heat and pressure to cook your meal in 12 minutes ($5.99, Europe Bound). www.heatermeals.com