Foldable Gear for Your Outdoor Adventures

Bulky gear is no fun to carry. Opt instead for these gadgets, which fold up small for easy portability.

By Brad Rassler

April 6, 2016

Even the most practical outdoor gear is a pain to store or carry when it's bulky. These days, light is right and compact is cool. We give props to the following foldable items for their usefulness, elegant design, and sheer wow factor.

Therm-a-Rest Treo modular lounger THERM-A-REST, the company that brought you the self-inflating sleeping pad, now covers your sitting needs with Treo, a modular lounger worthy of Mies van der Rohe. The German firm ITO Design helped create a clever tripod base that converts into a carrying case (10 inches tall, 4 inches wide) to store four aluminum struts and a pleasingly sculpted ripstop seat.

This is no ordinary camp chair—it's a blend of full-size comfort and sturdy simplicity that's at home around a campsite and maybe even in a living room. Weighing just two pounds, four ounces, it's perfect for the space-constrained car camper. $100,


Luminaid PackLite Spectra lantern The LUMINAID PackLite Spectra lantern rocks a multimode LED powered by a rechargeable battery. It folds into itself for easy storage in a pack, is waterproof and floats, and can cycle through nine color settings, providing cheap entertainment in camp.

The original, single-color model was distributed after Haiti's 2012 Hurricane Isaac to light the way for victims in refugee camps and to help villagers without electricity. Its creators won funding from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on ABC's Shark Tank. Buy a light for yourself and one for a disaster victim through LuminAid's Give Light program ($35, shipping included). $25,


Oru touring kayak The break-apart sea vessel has been around for about 100 years, but an origami-inspired version that can be assembled in five minutes is new to the category. Designed by an architect short on storage space, the ORU touring kayak folds into the shape and size of a large artist's portfolio—apropos for this piece of usable art. The craft has interior space for stowage and can accommodate a standard spray skirt. From $1,275,


Primus Onja stove When it comes to campstove manufacturers, it doesn't get more legacy-brand legit than PRIMUS, whose products were carried by Roald Amundsen, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Tenzing Norgay on their various exploits. The ONJA stove has a clever vertical design intended for car camping and picnicking (onja is Swahili for "to taste").

An oak lid doubles as a cutting board. With a gentle pull, the Onja's body snaps into place as its leg stands and wind guard open simultaneously. Two gas canisters screw onto the underside of the chrome-steel burners, which sit below an attached cooktop. The Onja accommodates an eight-inch iron skillet on one side and a two-liter saucepan on the other. $140 (gas canisters not included),