How To Go Trekking High Tech Style or How To Not Get Lost Outdoors

Smart phone solar charger and Mammut bivy tent

I am by no means an early adopter and I'm not particularly a guy who wants to have top gear for my outdoor activities. However, when I get to test a nice piece of gear, I find it enjoyable.

Technology and innovation can make your life more pleasant and now that it's all about mobility, you can enjoy the benefits of modern life even if you're outdoors, in the middle of nowhere.

Long story short - after my old phone broke a few times and after $30 repair costs I decided it's about time to ask my provider for a new phone. So they gave me an Android smartphone (go figure).

Now, I'm not saying a sleek and shiny phone is the perfect fit for an outdoor enthusiast. Actually you have to be more careful with it. Then there's the Facebook, Twitter, email and reading blogs addiction you may fall into (not that I have this addiction, I'm just saying...).

Smartphone solar charger

But, boy oh boy, those GPS based utilities are just awesome!

You can actually locate yourself on a Google map - anywhere. (How dumb sounds this from a guy who's supposedly knowledgeable about technology?! I'm a blogger, right?)

How much technology is too much technology?

Well, this depends on you.

I see others who carry way more gear and are way more into technology than I am. And it works for them.

So I'm sure each of us will find his/her own style of travelling outdoors, using more or less gear. As long as you feel comfortable with it and as long as you feel each piece of gear brings value to your outdoor experience, I'd say use it.

What gear works for me

Of course this new phone thing - which is actually a computer and it does so much more than a phone. I love using Google Latitude, Google Maps for navigation and Endomondo for tracking my treks, mountain biking tours, etc.

Then there's the Nomad 7 smart phone charger which allows you to charge all your other gadgets while in the wild.

Tip - Since the GPS and 3G (data services and internet) drain your phone battery, you may wanna plug it into your solar panel - especially if you wanna track long hikes. Just hang your portable solar panel on your backpack and place the phone inside the pouch.

The prototype Mammut bivy tent is perfect for solo hikes. And it can even accommodate two persons in extraordinary situations so that's a plus.

Hydrapak reservoir and portable solar panel

I don't use the Hydrapak Big Sur as often as I should but the water reservoir (3 liters) is a steal! You can place it in your other backpacks and enjoy the hassle free hydration on the go.

Nomad 7 Portable Solar Panel

The most rewarding feeling of being outdoors is getting away from it all so having these gadgets and a permanent (almost) internet connection is kinda counter intuitive. I get that.

And I don't preach technology or social media over sharing. (my first Facebook updates after I got the phone were "Oh shit! I'm enjoying this smart phone thing."; and a bit later "Oh shit! I'm a walking symphony of notifications.").

So use what works for you and keep it simple.

Mountain Camping with Mammut Bivy Tent
Mammut Lodge Bivy Tent
Mammut Tent

Over to you
  • What are your favorite gadgets you carry with you outdoors?
  • What about your favorite piece of outdoor gear?
  • Am I the only one excited about Endomondo? :-)

Valea Gaura - Bucegi Mountains

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  1. I carry my Blackberry with me wherever I go, but it is not a great outdoors phone, not does it have a very good camera. It's adequate but I'm looking forward to upgrading to a Droid-based phone!

    1. Yeah, I forgot to mention, these things can actually replace your camera now. The camera in mine is not great but it's okay for a "Swiss army knife type of gadget".

      I think you'll love Android. :-)

  2. I only carry 3 electronic devices:
    - watch
    - headlight
    - 20 euro phone

    I just like distancing myself from the on technology focused life I have in the city. I love to be independant of that stuff when I'm outdoors.

    Love your blog.

    1. I hear you Jef. That's a healthy approach to outdoors.

      Since I got into editing videos I developed a moderate (?) affinity for technology.

      Maybe now this affinity turned into addiction... I gotta distance myself from it a little bit. I'm aware of that.

  3. I am known as an outdoor tech junkie lol.
    I use SPOT Connect to track me.
    I use an android smart phone to record my track as a gpx file.
    I use ViewRanger as my mapping app on my smartphone.
    I use a Power monkey Extreme battery pack combined with solar panel to keep me powered on multi day hikes.
    I use to share my hikes live linking my SPOT Connect to it for my mapping purposes.
    I enjoy tech in the hills, but use it to suit my needs. :-)

    1. Ha! :-) Enough apps to keep me busy for the weekend. Thanks for the list!

      I don't like to admit it but I'm becoming addicted to tech as well - it blends nicely with outdoor blogging though.

  4. I didn't know all of this until I found this blog.Technology really has a lot to offer. Our part is to use it wisely.All the tips mentioned works for me.

    1. :-) C'mon, Dave! You promote portable solar panels so you should know about "all of this". Drop a proper spam comment, man. Do I have to teach you how to do it? lol


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