Just because you’re heading out into the backcountry doesn’t mean you have to resort to roughing it. The advancement of technology is everywhere and has made outdoor activities like camping and hiking far more enjoyable. These types of gadgets and tech not only make your adventure more comfortable but also can keep you and your loved ones safer.
(Have a look at our article on the Best Camping and Hiking apps for iOS and Android)
If you find yourself heading on a camping trip or some other activity in nature soon, you’re going to want to check out these five awesome tools and accessories.
Best Hi-Tech Gear for Camping and Hiking
One of the most frustrating things about camping, hiking and other outdoor activities is losing mobile phone service. Remote areas often mean you’ll experience drops or total loss of coverage. Aside from it being slightly annoying to have not be able to send a text or check an email, it can actually be dangerous. In the event of an emergency you may find yourself with no means of contacting outside help. The goTenna is therefore both a luxury and a necessity.
The goTenna allows your smartphone to work anywhere, regardless of where you are. The way it works is through an independent signal that communicates with other goTenna connected smartphones. This product is sold in pairs so you can give one device to a friend so you are able to stay in touch. With this device you’ll be able to send basic text messages and your GPS location. The goTenna is designed to work with any number of other goTenna enabled devices within a few miles radius.
The goTenna is lightweight and completely waterproof. It will also work with majority of popular Android or iOS phones, connecting via Bluetooth. This product is perfect for outdoor activities where you may be split up from your main group. It is especially great for camping, outdoor festivals, group hikes or exploring local areas while on vacation.
A camp stove is pretty much a necessity for overnight trips. Sure, you can find cheap propane or Sterno stoves from most any store that sells camping supplies but all they really offer is the bare basics of cooking. Wouldn’t it be great if your camp stove had more than one purpose?
The makers of the BioLite Wood Burning Campstove saw the opportunity and jumped on it. This product provides the benefits of a normal camp cooking stove with one very cool feature – while you cook you can charge USB-compatible gadgets! The Biolite stove runs purely off of power from burning wood. Roughly 20 minutes of a hot fire will give you the equivalent of one hour of talking time on the average smartphone. You can charge any other device you’d like, so long as it charges via USB.
As a normal campstove, it performs equally well. It is perfect for cooking and can boil 1 liter of water in less than 5 minutes. It weighs only 2lbs and is as compact in size as a typical 32 ounce wide mouth bottle. This makes it perfect for backpackers. Another aspect that makes it ideal for backpackers is that this stove burns wood, so you don’t have to carry fuel. Simply gather small sticks and twigs as well as some tinder material and you’ve got our fuel. This is far more friendly to the environment than chemical fuels.
Clear drinking water is an absolute necessity, especially when camping overnight. Not long ago people relied on either carrying their whole supply of drinking water with them or having to boil water once they reach the campsite. Both techniques have their flaws. Water is heavy to carry and takes up valuable space in a backpack. Having to boil water takes time and is a waste of energy. The better way of providing your drinking and cooking water is through a water filtration system designed for outdoor enthusiasts.
The CamelBak All Clear is a water purifying system designed in the simplest way possible. At first glance it looks like a regular water bottle but inside the inconspicuous cap is a powerful UV bulb. This UV bulb is solely responsible for neutralizing any bacteria, viruses and bacteria in natural water sources. In fact, it can reduce these contaminants by 99.9 to 99.9999%! It is recommended to use this bottle in clear water sources, and of course, only freshwater.
While this bottle isn’t strong enough for very polluted water, it is perfect for short camping trips or hikes in areas with non-polluted creeks, rivers, ponds or lakes. Since there is no filter in this bottle, just the UV light, you can easily recharge the device. One charge should get about 80 filter cycles. In total the light will be effective for 10,000 cycles.
One of the first things you do when you get home from a camping trip is take a shower. Most of the time there isn’t a way to wash off properly when you’re camping. Sure, you may be able to rinse off in a nearby water source but introducing soaps or hair products into the water is frowned upon. Thankfully the Nemo HelioTM offers the perfect alternative.
Now, there are plenty of camp shower systems on the market but there is a common issue with them. Most are gravity fed and need to be hung up high on a tree branch. Even then gravity is the only force pushing the water out which means the stream is very difficult to wash with. The HelioTM is a huge improvement. It has a foot pump system which means you get an excellent stream and you can set it right on the ground. Simply fill with water and use the foot pedal to pressurize the water.
Since this product relies just on pumping your foot, the danger of over-pressurizing the system simply isn’t there. It all packs up to a side of 5.5″ x 8.5″, weighing only 25 oz. While this device is more of a luxury, if you are camping for more than a day you will really appreciate this system. Aside from being able to take a quick 5 minute shower, you can also use it to hose off dirty gear or clean dishes. This versatility means it would be great to keep in your car for other outdoor activities like a day at the beach, mud running events, cooling off at an all day festival and more.
Cinch! Ultimate Pop-Up Tents
Food, water and shelter are the three most important things for camping trips. Most people rely on a good old-fashioned tent for shelter on camping trips and similar extended outdoor stays. It probably comes as no surprise that technology is even changing the way tents function. The Cinch! Ultimate Pop-Up tent is a perfect example of how some designers are working towards making everyday camping/outdoor gear even better.
Pop-up tents aren’t exactly revolutionary but are usually made on a small scale, such as a kid’s shelter or play tent. Cinch! has changed the way people view the somewhat novelty idea of a pop-up shelter. Their line of tents are available in 2, 3 and 4 person capacities – with plenty of room compared to similar capacity tents. Each shelter has two entrances, complete with vestibules for storage. The tent itself is a hybrid double wall that is 100% waterproof with Cinch!’s ventilation system to keep things comfortable. Windows also help with ventilation.
The whole tent is super lightweight and easily pops right up to save you the hassle of erecting a tent. One of the coolest features is you can add solar power packs to the tent which will power your favorite devices. This tent also comes with LED torches for inside light and LED tent pegs for maximum visibility. There are a whole number of other features to this tent. It isn’t yet released for sale to the public, but you can rest assured you’ll want to be on their waiting list.
Spending time in nature is good for both the mind and body. If you are a big fan of tech and gadgets, you can definitely indulge in that passion while still getting in time in the great outdoors. These five options are hardly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cool, hi-tech gear to take with you outside.