There are so many advantages to going off the grid. But make sure you check out these essential tech gear necessities to bring your outdoor experience to its highest potential.
We all escape to the wild outdoors to get away from the noise of everyday life—but just because you’re thirsting for a bit of perspective and a lot of fun doesn’t mean you need to leave the wonderful world of high-end technology behind. Here are a few tech gear options that can amp the car-camping celebrations while still living (mostly) off the grid.
We’re all for backpacking guitars and the pocket harmonica, but anyone trapped around the campfire with a less-than-skilled “part-time” musician can tell you that the 10th sing-along ain’t as fun as the first. Instead, be your own DJ. Just be sure your personal smart device is loaded with your favorite outdoor tunes. And don’t rely on streaming audio services, either—your backcountry retreat may not sit in service, and streaming apps also drain the battery quickly.
Bluetooth-enabled portable speakers are damn near ubiquitous these days, and are available in everything from hand-crafted wood models to lantern/flashlight/speaker combos. For your base camp, you want one that’s weatherproof, and one that boasts decibels levels decent to help your music rise above the noise without overwhelming the sounds of nature.
Think of these as a mainline right into the power of the sun. These book-sized panels have gotten lighter and more resourceful in the last few years, with features like integrated sundials that help you assure you’re positioning the panels correctly to easily strapping onto your day pack. Most even draw power in overcast days, and the better ones store the charge, so you can plug in long after the sun has set.
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Stop the death of the phone by securing some back-up juice. There are loads of options here, from lipstick tube-sized USB chargers to phone cases that boost both your battery length and your device’s memory capacity to portable batteries that can recharge a handful of devices at the same time. The tech wizards have even developed stoves that burn wood to cook your food—and convert that fuel into electricity that you can use to charge your devices via USB, a cool thing for us car campers, and a revolutionary solution for people who live far off the electrical grid.
The fuel-burning lanterns are good for the hipster traditionalist, but you can really up your game these days. Some lanterns even boast speakers and apps that let you blast your music and orchestrate a light show via your smart phone. There are even tents that have strings of illumination woven into their pole sleeves. But at a minimum, go for a small battery-fed lantern or two. Not only do they offer some much-needed atmospheric illumination to your campsite and tent, but if the bugs get bad, they’ll congregate around the lanterns rather than your head lamp.
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