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Hi-tech camping

If you don't plan your trip far enough in advance, chances are you won't find an accommodation. So, what do you do? Why, carry your room with you, of course.

The very first Christmas was celebrated in a stable because there was no room in the inn. Whether or not any of the other Christmas traditions have found their way down the ages, the practice of moving out of home to celebrate the holidays has continued.

And, if you don’t plan far enough in advance, chances are you won’t find place in an inn either. Sadly, not too many hotels run stables; and even if they did, your chances of being allowed to bed down with the ox and ass are pretty remote. So, what do you do? Why, carry your room with you, of course.

Take a tent and pack your rucksack with some of these tech doodads and get set to party the holiday season away under the stars.

Find your way

Intrepid explorers might want to load up with compasses and maps, but the techsavvy simply pick up a GPS unit. Featured here is MapMyIndia’s Navigator, which comes with a good database of local and long-distance maps. Price: Rs 22,000

Ice, ice...

Twenty minutes into the drive and somebody’s demanding water, someone else wants a drink...Instead of stopping at every little shop, get a car fridge. And once you get to your destination, fill it up with drinks and you’re all set to party. A 22lt fridge costs Rs 7,000; an 18 lt version comes for around Rs 5,000.

Stay connected

Your uber jazzy laptop is not made for life under canvas. You need a cheap, sturdy machine that will let you surf for clever party games online and not complain if it gets jolted. We think the Linux-based sub-Rs 20,000 Acer Aspire 3680 is a good bet.

Let the music play...

A party without music? You might as well sleep the New Year in. Creative’s SBS 370 2.1 speaker system (Rs 1,800) delivers amazingly good sound from its 2.5” speakers. If you can get your hands on Creative’s TravelMate 400 batterypowered speakers (Sing$100) you don’t even need a power point.

The sweetest songs...

...are those from your iPod. If you really want to celebrate, splurge on the iPod Touch. A touchscreen interface lets you access music, videos, photos, iTunes, Safari, YouTube, calendar, contacts, clock, calculator...Oh ok, if you don’t want to spend the Rs 15,000 or so for an 8GB Touch, spend less on any of the other zillion portable MP3 players available.

Light up

You cannot live in a tent and not have a torch— it’s almost the basic law of camping. Instead of the workmanlike Maglite that your American cousins might swear by, get a battery-less Chinese import. A torch with two LED lights, which comes with a lever that can be pumped when the lights dim. It costs around Rs 300.

Cuts like a...

...Swiss knife. And has the memory of an elephant. And includes a screwdriver, scissors, LED mini-light and a ballpoint pen. Store all your photos and music on the card, and use the knife to keep music pirates at bay...The catch is that this is not yet available in India; it costs around $200 abroad.

Picture perfect

You could get any digicam that takes decent pictures. But if you really want to make memories, why not push the boat out? The Samsung NV3 is so much more than a camera. It has a 7MP sensor, 3x optical zoom, 5x digital zoom, a PMP player and a text file reader, and digital camcorder functionality, and comes with two built-in stereo speakers. All this for around Rs 22,000.

Charged up

One of the drawbacks of living outdoors is that charging your numerous electronic gadgets could become a problem. Get a car charger for your laptop and a nifty battery-operated emergency charger for your mobile phone. The charger works off four AAA batteries and costs under Rs 200.

Party lights

The stars are all very well, but to really get into the party mood, you need bright lights. Thanks to the influx of cheap Chinese imports, you can pay something like Rs 500 and get yourself a jazzy LED lamp that works off your laptop’s USB port. Hi-tech party lights — can you really want anything else?