As both an Eagle Scout and a hopeless technology fanatic, I have a certain appreciation for utilizing tech to generate free time, and then using that free time to get as far away from tech as possible. I’m a firm believer that time outside of the office (and away from other humans) is vital on a number of levels. For one, it resets your mind and enables it to truly wander. Some of my brightest ideas, for example, have come six miles into a grueling hike with sweat pouring from my brow.
That said, I’m also a believer in practicing restraint, and I’ve found that bringing technology along for camping excursions can greatly enhance the experience, if used properly. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at what gadgetry is great enough to warrant inclusion in your next adventure.
Limefuel Blast L180X Pro Battery Pack
If you’re taking gadgets, you’ll need to pack some additional juice, as there’s no sense in weighing down your pack with gizmos that’ll be zonked in 24 hours. Limefuel’s L180X Pro is amongst the most versatile portable batteries on the market: it charges four devices at a time and packs enough power to keep everything else mentioned here recharged one or two times over. Plus, it weighs just 13 ounces and offers a built-in flashlight. You can never have too many flashlights.
Buy Now: $80
Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
“Use it, don’t abuse it” applies here. While it may be tempting to fully rejoin the world of the connected while you’re on the trail, I’d recommend having a hotspot in tow for trail enhancement only. For example, reaching a peak where you’ve enough signal to load up the latest local forecast is useful in planning for upcoming weather, and it’s never a bad idea to send the occasional message or email to friends back home informing them of your safety and present whereabouts. If you’re packing a hotspot, make sure it’s from Verizon. VZW has the best coverage in the most remote places. It won’t always snag a signal, but it’ll find service where the other carriers flat out won’t.
Buy Now: Here
iPhone 6 Plus with Offline Maps
Not only is the iPhone 6 Plus equipped with the most outstanding camera on any smartphone to date, it also packs a larger-than-average battery and a screen large enough to get some work done in a pinch. I’d recommend downloading Maps.me and Nokia HERE before heading out, giving yourself two offline mapping options. The former is great for spotting landmarks to hike to, while the other is more suited for vehicular navigation. (We’d also recommend wrapping your phone in a waterproof case.)
Buy Now: $299+
Spot Gen 3 Satellite Messenger
For those venturing deep into the wilderness and far from the grid, consider a Spot beacon. It’s elegant and compact, and it enables you to send a distress signal (or a call for help in non-life-threatening scenarios) with a single tap. You can also set it up to track your trip and send back periodic updates to family back home, giving another set of eyes the ability to see if you’re on course or you’ve stopped moving.
Buy Now: $130
BioLite Wood Burning CampStove
Unless you’re aiming to survive solely on filtered stream water and Kind bars, you might want to carry a way to cook and boil water. And if you’re taking a stove, it might as well recharge your phone. BioLite‘s 3-pound CampStove is a compact cooker that utilizes small twigs to generate heat, and while it’s cooking your dinner, it also converts that heat into energy for USB charging.
Buy Now: $130