Top 5 Useless Camping Products

Like most outdoor recreational activities, camping is one of those things that seems to draw the snake oil salesmen out of the wood, or probably cubicle, every time you turn around. I’ve never seen any of this stuff in the woods, so I’m not sure who they’re selling it too, but these are all actual products so someone must be buying them.

Coleman Propane Fry Well

Coleman Propane Fry Well

Coleman® Propane Fry Well

Why don’t we just start letting McDonalds setup shop in our parks? Seriously, how intricate does your camp kitchen have to be before you start wanting a deep fryer to round it out?

Camp Chef® Outdoor Camp Oven and Range

Camp Chef Camp Oven and Range

Camp Chef Camp Oven

I suppose you can’t have deep fried Tempura at the campsite and not follow it up with a batch of fresh baked cookies or a nice Bundt Cake, but for the price of a decent family tent, you could! I’m not sure why anyone would want too, but you could.

AeroBed Tailgater Chair

AeroBed Tailgater Chair

AeroBedâ„¢ Tailgater Chairâ„¢

The manufacturer claims that it inflates and deflates in less than 90 seconds, but I bet it would deflate a lot faster than that if you throw a pitch-log on the fire.

Winlow Productsâ„¢ Funky Colored Flamesâ„¢

Okay, I can understand the novelty of this, but when a manufacturer says that a product is “Safe for use in indoor or outdoor wood fireplaces; not for use in cooking fires” it makes me wonder. I mean, even if I’m not roasting marshmallows, I’m still breathing some of the smoke.

Electric Marshmallow Toaster

Electric Marshmallow Toaster

Electric Marshmallow Toaster

I couldn’t even find the manufacturer of this little jewel, so the link is actually to Target®, who sells this for $24.99. Imagine, an entire generation could grow-up thinking they can’t roast marshmallows if their batteries run down.One word, kid: “stick.”

Now, I’d be the last guy in the world to tell you that if you’re actually using any of these products, then you’re not really camping. And I sure wouldn’t turn down a nice piece of Bundt Cake if it was offered, either. Maybe, though, if you find yourself trying to take it all with you when you go to the woods, you could step back for a minute and reconsider what camping is all about.

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18 thoughts on “Top 5 Useless Camping Products

  1. My grandmother, who died two years ago at the age of 96 started camping on the east side of the High Sierras in 1939, when it would take 12 hours driving from Los Angeles to get there. For years, here favorite piece of camping gear was her Coleman Outdoor Camp Oven, similar to the ones still sold. Once each camping trip, she would bake (from scratch) an extra special treat for my grandfather: a peach pie, made with canned cling peaches. I grew up thinking this was something that everyone did! As an old man of 55, I don’t think of a camp stove oven as “useless” or “camp porn”; i think of how good that pie tasted along with a meal of hash-brown potatoes and fresh caught trout…

  2. Gerhard – yes, we call it “gear porn” here in the states 🙂 I’m afraid that for some reason our love for the outdoors often translates into the need for strange and wonderful (if not always useful) gadgets.

  3. As long as there is camping, there will be gadgets! But in fairness, these are recreational products, not camping in a tent products. The fryer and oven are more for caravans (or trailers as you may call them). So I gues it about your idea of how you want to live when you go into the wilderness – in a tent, close to nature, without a lot of stuff to get in the way, or in a mobile mansion with aircon and satelite tv….

  4. Craig – we carry some of those too, just in case. I wonder if that company ever sold very many of their electric ones?

  5. After spending most of my Saturday trying to make more room in the Pop-Up and getting rid of things I don’t use any more, this post is very funny. The marshmallow roster takes the cake. I do have some of the slider type cook forks as some of the campgrounds around the Central Coast of California have a limited supplies of quality roasting sticks.

    Craig Travis’s last blog post..Wawona Campground Review Yosemite National Park

  6. I think all y’all are missing the point. I mean we can really redefine the concept of roughing it.

    Just imagine the hardship. You’re chilling in your blow up easy chair. While the prime rib roasts in the oven you decide on a toasted marshmllow appetizer, only to discover that the battery has run dry.

    Omigod! The agony! The despair! Would definately call for another martini. Oops, I’m sorry. The outdoor martini maker will be in the next group of useless products.


    Brook’s last blog post..Jan 4, Grouse Hunting: Down East Wings of Thunder

  7. That’s right, Gretchen, it would be like roasting marshmallows over an electric burner!

  8. The chair (if one thinks tailgating) and the oven–they’re a stretch, but a possibility. Electric marshmallow toaster? I have camped all my life, but the thought never occurred to me. I can’t imagine a marshamallow without that hint of stick flavor. It would be an abomination.

  9. An electronic marshmallow Toaster? There should be laws against such things…Half the fun of camping is looking through the woods for the perfect toasting stick..

    Eric’s last blog post..Looking forward

  10. Oh my gosh… are the people using/buying these things camping or trying to take their entire house into the woods?

    Wow… I really can’t believe people have the money for this stuff!

  11. Heh – yeah, I’ve got a folding-kitchen setup too, from RSI. Kind of on the fence about recommending it, though – it’s kind of flimsy. It sure is nice for washing-up, though. Come on now – you gotta share the camp stove, what is it?

  12. I have to agree with you. There’s a time and a place for deep frying. It’s Thanksgiving in the back yard! Well, at least it’s at home. I prefer a minimum of doo-dads, but I have to admit that I’m a sucker for my little collapsible kitchen that gives me a bench and space for a basin. I won’t even tell you how big the family camping stove is. Let me put it this way – the flames might reach your eyebrows.

  13. Sounds a lot like our family trip. We always seem to have a few crock pots going. Last year we had an outdoor movie night using a sheet a projector it was a hoot. It is definitely a trip I look forward to every year.

  14. We do a big family reunion in Pasco every year. There’s a family “tent city”, and always a couple of RV’s. The kitchen does get a little crazy, I think there’s about 4 bbq grills and a Camp Chef griddle going, at any one time.

  15. As all these products are a little ridiculous. You really have to look at why you are camping… My extended family holds a camping trip once a year. I think all of the items listed would be fun to have for that trip. That camping trip is more about time with the family than time away in the woods. Every other camping trip of the year is about enjoying the woods. And I try to take as little as the girlfriend will let me…