Unplug Your Camping, Keep Your Nerd

feature image via Shutterstock

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Hello Camp Beavers! I’m on a mountain with 300 queerdos right now, which means I hope nothing big happened in the tech world this week because I’m writing this post approximately a billion years in advance. If it did, don’t worry; we’ll talk about it when we all descend from our mountain with tired eyes and full hearts.

Queer Your Tech with Fun is always hard to make Camp-themed, mostly because things like phones don’t work on the mountain and who wants to bring a computer and work through nature. IT’S NATURE, UNPLUG YOUR ISH. Yet I’ve managed to make Queer Your Tech Camp-themed for two years running. This year, however, I’m going to encourage everyone to unplug when they take their closest queer pack into the woods—as little tech as possible is the name of the game. But that doesn’t mean you need to give up your nerd. Here are a few things I’ve found on the internet that can help.


Outdoor Gear

Camping obviously involves going outside.

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8-Bit Sunglasses, $7.99

Look like you’re straight out of a video game. But like a retro one. I actually think an A-Camper has these and that’s why I know they exist?

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Lightsaber BBQ Tongs, $34.99

This is modeled after Vader’s lightsaber and it makes the noises. Luke, I am your burger.

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Backpack of Holding, $49.99

Okay, so it wouldn’t be good for crazy outdoorsy camping or major hiking. It’s not big enough for that, doesn’t distribute weight like some of the more tactical hiking backpacks and is water resistant but not water proof. The kind of camping this is good for is camping in cabins, or in tents but on a campground. The kind of outdoors fun where the point is to drink beer, relax and bring a few things with you overnight. Basically, my kind of camping.


Keeping Warm

Because if you’re camping right now, and specifically where we are, it’s Summer during the day and Winter at night.

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Flag Your House Pajama Pants, $24.99

Strictly Ravenclaw, myself. You?

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Charmander Onesie, $69

The warmest one I could find. Toasty warm.


Very Portable Games

Boardgames are all about bonding with your fellow queermos. Here’s some that won’t take up a ton of space in your backpack.

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Gloom, $16.99

In the tradition of campfire tales, see if you can give your family of characters the worst lives possible before killing them off. This game is all about storytelling — make it as horrifyingly funny as you wish. Takes up so little space in your backpack because it’s just a deck of cards!

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Ultimate Werewolf, $20

The most fun party game I have ever played, I’m obsessed with Ultimate Werewolf. This is a bluffing game that pits two teams against each other: villagers and werewolves. And don’t worry about your group of friends being too big to play: this game accommodates up to 75 people.

via Hex19

via Hex19

Dread, $24 (plus the cost of Jenga)

Dread is a horror role playing game where success or failure isn’t based on a roll of the dice, but on removing a Jenga block. Even though the Jenga blocks do take up a bit more space than the other two (card-based) games, this RPG is basically a responsive campfire tale. So it’s definitely a great pick. You can also get the book for $3 as a PDF, but we’re unplugging. So if you can spring for the book, spring for the book.

So what did I miss? And before you tell me about the Tauntaun sleeping bag, I beat you to it!


This has been the one-hundred-thirtieth installment of Queer Your Tech with Fun, Autostraddle’s nerdy tech column. Not everything we cover is queer per se, but we talk about customizing this awesome technology you’ve got. Having it our way, expressing our appy selves just like we do with our identities. Here we can talk about anything from app recommendations to choosing a wireless printer to websites you have to bookmark to any other fun shit we can do with technology. Header by Rory Midhani.


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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 529 articles for us.

17 Comments

  1. That charmander onesie has probably made my day. I’ll never own it but Ali knowing it exists feels so wonderful.

    Ooh what about card games? I mean there’s the obvious gaming cards like Pokemon or Munchkin, but there’s all sorts of nerdy fandom themed playing cards out there.

    Also glow in the dark playing cards are a thing that exist like these retro mod and water proof ones from Kikkerland

    And these beautifully creepy ones I’m having really hard time pickin which picture to use because unf the details and facets

    http://www.bicyclecards.com/products/playing-card/bicycle-tragic-royalty

  2. These are great ways of keeping your nerd while unplugging as much as possible. I’ve been envious of a couple friends who have the Slytherin and Gryffindor sweatpants for the last two semesters, and I may need to celebrate surviving the first week of my new job with the Hufflepuff ones, even if I’m not going to be camping any time soon.

  3. Unplugging is the reason to camp! Love the Backpack of Holding.
    We always take a couple of MTG decks with us camping or on holidays, it’s great if the weather sucks and you’re stuck in the camper van. A single shuffle can alter the whole balance of the game. So much fun. Also for those who miss Instagram or like me want to scrapbook adventures – carry a Polaroid/intstax :)

  4. Me, my girlfriend, and a couple friends are trying to start a girl tabletop rpg group.We are looking for games to play that would work for beginners. Since there is an RPG on this list, I was hoping that there might be people with suggestions for this?

    • My RPG Habit, let me nerd at you about it.

      1) I support Girl Tabletop RPG hardcore. And sigh that you are 100% of the way across the country from me.

      2) How beginner? Like most never ever played or just never run one before?

      3) Do you have a genre you lean towards? Horror? Gothic? Cyberpunk? High Fantasy Epic Dungeon-y stuff? Superheroes?

  5. Camping games! IMO, card games are the best for camping (especially if you’re stuck in a draped tent due to rain or mosquitoes). My personal favorite is Bean bohnanza, an oddly addictive German card game that can lead to heated bargaining. Killer Bunnies (and the quest for the magic carrot) is also fun.

  6. I totally just turned to my girlfriend and growled, “I WANT THOSE SWEATPANTS SO BAD!” Yes, growled. (And now anyone still reading these comments knows I’m a giant dork.) Anyway, once she saw them, she understood. My problem is that I’m such a Gryffinpuff, I actually can’t choose a side/House. I guess I need two pairs of those sweatpants!

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