These camping innovations of 1970 had all the comforts of home

Paul Soles looked ahead to the summer season in 1970 with gadgets that could improve the outdoor life.

Portable fridge, tiny stove could improve the experience with a campsite, cottage or canoe

Innovations for camping, cottages and canoe trips

52 years ago
Duration 2:54
Take 30's Paul Soles gets ideas for cooking, refrigeration and easy living in 1970.

Whatever a Canadian summer vacation consisted of, it was going to involve stuff.

And over 50 years ago, CBC's afternoon current affairs program Take 30 brought viewers a look at some innovations for outdoor living.

"These are some of the latest ideas for camping, cottages or canoe trips," said host Paul Soles in May 1970.

To reinforce the theme, he was wearing a checkered bush jacket over a plaid shirt with a bandana jauntily tied around his neck.   

Making outdoor life easier 

Guest Bonnie Cornell holds a $3.49 snack or drink tray designed to clip to the side of an aluminum lawn chair. (Take 30/CBC Archives)

"You want to get a few of the new things to make life a bit easier," he went on. 

Bonnie Cornell of the Toronto Daily Star was on hand to show Soles some of those things. 

She began with a $3 metal mesh dome that would avoid that "old problem" of flies landing on a plate of food.

Another device was a flat-bottomed campfire popcorn popper that could do a lot more than pop corn.

"This can also be a hot dog/hamburger grill, a potato chip warmer, a nut warmer … over a fire or a barbecue," Cornell said.

Refrigeration on the go

A versatile portable refrigerator could draw on hydro, propane or a car battery. (Take 30/CBC Archives)

For $135 to $170 ($995 to $1,250 in 2022 dollars), outdoor life got better with a refrigerator that resembled a small box with a lid.

"It runs on propane or hydro or a 12-volt car battery," explained Cornell as Soles removed a can of pop from inside the mini-fridge.

She pointed out that the 2.5-cubic-foot fridge could be used in the winter, too, as a bar refrigerator in the basement. 

Of course, it would drain a car battery if plugged in for more than three or four hours.

A “very sophisticated” oven for campers had space inside to grill a steak, plus a burner on top, for $30 ($200 in 2020). (Take 30/CBC Archives)

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