There’s no doubt that technology has touched the wild backcounty these days. It seems like just about everyone on the trail has some type of nifty gadget that makes the trail just a little bit easier, and why not? These items help to make our trips safer and more enjoyable.
These five items are at the top of the technology gear must-have list.
1) GPS Sports Watch: The GPS units of old were clunky and could be quite cumbersome. You also had to attach it somewhere or dig it out of your pack each time you wanted to check in. The latest series of GPS sports watches changes the game. You can download trails right to your wrist. When you have an active trail going, it will show you the route as well as where you came from. It tracks overall mileage and elevation gain/loss. They also monitor your heart rate and can calculate calories burned.
2) Solar-Charging Lantern: These small devices are great for backpacking. Most of them are inflatable, making them lightweight. Attach the lantern to the outside of your pack while hiking to ensure it is charged for the evening. Inflate at camp and hang in the tent or on a branch for illumination. The best feature? They are inexpensive as far as cool tech gear goes. Most of them range from $15-$25.
3) Solar-Charging Headlamp: With a headlamp that has a solar charging panel, you never have to worry about carrying extra batteries again. The panel for these headlamps are small and the weight it would add is inconsequential, less than that of extra batteries for sure. You can attach the entire headlamp with panel plugged into it on the outside of your back during the day or the panel alone.
4) BioLite Campstove: A camp stove is not a new thing but this device is a multi-tasking genius. The camp stove makes use of sticks and leaves that you’d find naturally so you can leave the heavy fuel canisters at home. The really great feature of this stove is that it will not only cook your food and boil your water, but it will also turn the energy generated by the fire into that which can charge your electronic devices.
5) CamelBak All Clear Water Bottle: This bottle can double as an emergency water filter. This bottle uses UV light to effectively neutralize viruses, bacteria and protozoa. Simply fill with dirty water, turn on the UV cap and shake for 60 seconds. The battery will last for 80 treatments and is rechargeable by USB port.
Wilderness safety and gear has come along way thanks to modern technology. Take advantage of it and make your trail life a little easier!