How technology can enhance and change your outdoors experience

Over the past decade, we’ve seen many advancements in technology; from small-scale personal devices and apps to larger innovations and trends that impact all corners of our lives. Unsurprisingly, some of these new devices, apps and gadgets have reached the outdoor industry, offering the ability to make a camping trip, hike or backpacking adventure more safe, convenient and comfortable.

Whether you’re taking a long camping trip or going for a shorter hike, the latest technology can enhance your overall experience by providing you with a means to communicate, plan or navigate your route and learn more about your surroundings. Although it’s important to still be able to unplug and enjoy the outdoors, there are many products and tools that outdoors enthusiasts will find helpful that won’t compromise the tranquility of nature.

Power of smartphones

Smartphones play an important role in our lives and, whether we enjoy it or not, they’re here to stay. For travel, smartphones represent an “all-in-one” tool: we’re able to take pictures and videos, play music, scroll through social media, and keep in contact with family, friends, and colleagues while on the go. While some people have no qualms about leaving their phone behind and disconnecting completely, others could feel very lost without it.

If you prefer to travel with your phone, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t get damaged. To protect your phone from water or any potential damage, consider purchasing a waterproof case, bag, or pouch to place it in. Additionally, since you’ll likely be in a remote area on your hike or camping trip, a durable and lasting portable charger is worth purchasing. The beauty of a portable charger is that it doesn’t take up much room, as it can fit easily in a backpack or pocket. It ensures you’ll have enough power just in case you really need it, or if you want to take one last picture.

For longer camping trips and in the event of an emergency, investing in a solar panel kit may be worthwhile. Since these kits can be on the lighter side, they’re easy to travel with, and some, like this kit by Goal Zero, come with a rechargeable battery pack, which allows you to power your phone, GPS, headlamps, or any device of your choice.

Accessories for enhanced preparedness

In addition to electronics, many outdoor accessories are now much more high-tech than they used to be. Anti-theft and slash proof backpacks can withstand even the harshest conditions, while also providing reassurance and comfort by helping guard and protect your belongings. Additionally, the use of RFID blocking fabric, commonly used in wallets, can prevent scan scams and identity theft if leaving your belonging at a camp site or are on a group excursion with a lot of people.

Another item that may be overlooked and can be carried in your theft-proof backpack, is a proper water bottle and filter. When you’re active and in an unfamiliar area, it’s important to stay hydrated and have an ample supply of clean drinking water. A lightweight and easy-to-carry water filter will provide you with access to safe drinking water anywhere you go, but be sure to double check that the filter is meant for multiple uses to ensure it will produce clean and reliable water for your entire trip.

Safety is key

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or camper or just beginning, it’s important to be prepared for anything. For outdoor navigation, a GPS system is a helpful addition to any trip. Most modern outdoor adventurers rely on GPS and digital mapping to get around, and not to mention, they’re much easier to read than a map, atlas or compass! While it’s great to carry a map as a backup and for the novelty of it, a GPS system is a much more reliable means of navigation. A convenient way to carry a GPS system is by wearing one on your wrist. GPS watches are a unique product that can guide you in an unfamiliar area through built-in navigation, sensors and mapping features. Not only do these systems help you with directions, some also have additional capabilities. This GPS watch from Garmin includes features such as fitness training metrics, wrist-based heart rate and the ability to monitor and track your steps.

Technology and the increased accessibility and safety

Years ago, who would have thought that technology could enhance a hiking or camping trip? Whether we choose to fully immerse ourselves in it or not, technology has given us convenient access to critical tools and enhanced safety in disconnected areas. While technology doesn’t have to fully take over the natural enjoyment of hiking and camping, it’s there if and when we need it.