"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," wrote Charles Dickens in "A Tale of Two Cities." And by "it" he could have easily meant camping. Watching the aurora borealis hit the night sky? Best of times. Sleeping on a quarter-inch foam pad on frozen ground? Worst of times.
But what if you'd brought a cushy air mattress instead of a thin foam pad? In fact, what if you'd packed a coffeemaker, a portable shower and a solar charger for your smartphone -- so you could take video of those green lights swirling the night sky? These little extras may not seem like much when you're lying around on your couch at home wishing your remote control were closer to your hand. But out in the wilderness, they seem like the greatest luxuries ever made.