Let’s face it, not many campers want to deal with laptops, cell phones or DVD players while in the outdoors. I mean, isn’t this why most of us leave the comforts behind: to escape to a place less traveled, where nature is the distraction and friends—or solitude—your cohorts?
That said, there are some electronic devices that can prove valuable to your outdoor fun and safety. This doesn’t mean that you’ll remain glued to them while you bask in the great outdoors. Nonetheless, the following gadgets and how to power them may prove more of an aid than a distraction in making the most of your time outside.
Phone. The case for the mobile phone is simple, yet practice may prove otherwise. If you can pack it and forget about it—rather than be easily distracted by a flood of phone calls—it’s simply another tool rather than a detraction.
GPS. The GPS makes more intuitive sense than the phone, as it is designed to get you from point A to point B, save your tracks and calculate total distance traveled. It can also estimate your arrival time to your next camp site or trail head.
MP3 Player. Do you enjoy some tunes while working out? Your choice of music can easily enhance an activity, like hiking or paddling. Keep it stowed in you jacket (many are now designed with pockets specifically for portable music devices), and should you suddenly feel inspired to imbue the surroundings with your favorite tunes—you can.
Now let’s look back at these particular devices. What characteristics do they all share? Well, for one, they run on batteries or stored energy. We’ll discuss how to manage this need shortly.
Another key trait shared by each, particularly in view of today’s technology-frenzied society, is that each is practically a tiny computer. Particularly in the case of phones—hence the term “Smart Phone.”
So what about taking with you the slightly larger, portable computer? Like a laptop, for example. Well, once again, a sticky question. After all, we’re outdoors—going camping, right? So, why would you possibly want to have a laptop?
It depends. The present size, weight and portability of mini laptops and the iPad, for example, place the traditional concept of tagging along the computer for the ride in an entirely different light.
Think of carrying one for uploading tracks from your GPS, uploading pictures, keeping a diary or notes and possibly email--should it posses wireless capabilities and a tower be nearby.