Top Tech Gear for Camp­ing

Must-Have Tech for Your Out­door Sum­mer Ad­ven­tures

iPhone Life Magazine - - Front Page - by Con­ner Carey

Whether you're camp­ing in a tent, an RV, or a van, there are cer­tain things al­most any­one will find help­ful while spend­ing time in the great out­doors. As a child, my fam­ily and I camped in North­ern California for a white­wa­ter raft­ing trip. Fun­nily enough, I can't tell you much about my life dur­ing that pe­riod of time. But I vividly re­mem­ber that week— hik­ing up huge boul­ders, roast­ing corn in foil over a flame, putting on a wet­suit for the first time, fill­ing a note­book with na­ture po­etry, ap­pre­ci­at­ing an eight-minute hot shower im­mensely. Camp­ing is a beau­ti­ful roller­coaster. Here's my fa­vorite tech-geek prod­ucts to make your next camp­ing ad­ven­ture just as mem­o­rable.

Ultimate Ears Won­der­boom Speaker ($79.99– $99.99) A good speaker is im­por­tant for, well, any oc­ca­sion. But for camp­ing, I pre­fer some­thing wa­ter­proof and small that also has re­ally great sound. Which is why I'm hugely im­pressed with Ultimate Ears' Won­der­boom speaker. The Won­der­boom is dust­proof and has a wa­ter­proof rat­ing of IP67, which means you can sub­merge it in more than 3 feet of water for up to a half hour. It de­liv­ers 360-de­gree sound and keeps play­ing even when you walk up to 100 feet away with your phone, thanks to its rock-solid Blue­tooth con­nec­tion. I tested this out my­self, and it's no joke. The speaker of­fers ten hours of bat­tery life. Size-wise, it's about the same height as a cof­fee mug and about an inch or two wider around. But my fa­vorite part is that the sound stays crys­tal clear even when I max out the vol­ume, which gets damn loud.

AquaVault 100% Wa­ter­proof Float­ing Case ($19.95)

There are lots of wa­ter­proof iPhone cases on the mar­ket, but do they float? If you're at the lake, the ocean, or any other body of water, drop­ping your phone is all it takes for it to be gone. No one wants that. That's why I wanted to try out the AquaVault 100% Wa­ter­proof Float­ing Case. This case is more like a pouch, ex­cept you still have full ac­cess to your screen and cam­era. It's wa­ter­proof up to 33 feet—yeah, 33 feet! Plus, it's univer­sal, so it will fit any phone smaller than 5.7 inches di­ag­o­nally. I had no prob­lem fit­ting my iPhone X into the pouch, even with an Ot­ter­box De­fender case and a Pop­socket at­tached to the back. But how did it float, you might ask? Fan­tas­ti­cally; even when I dropped it from a few feet above the water, it rose right to the top.

goTenna Mesh (Start­ing at $179)

The Mesh is a de­vice for off-grid com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It al­lows you to send mes­sages and GPS lo­ca­tions to other Mesh users with­out a cel­lu­lar or Wi-Fi con­nec­tion. So, if you're camp­ing in a re­mote area with­out cell­phone re­cep­tion, you can use your goTenna Mesh to send texts and find each other. From one de­vice to an­other, you'll get up to four miles in open en­vi­ron­ments (plains, desert, beach, etc.) and up to half a mile in dense ar­eas such as moun­tains and cities. How­ever, the net­work grows stronger as more peo­ple use the de­vices since they work to­gether to, essen­tially, ping the sig­nal from one de­vice to an­other un­til it reaches you. The bat­tery lasts about 24 hours when in use; and it will hold a charge for a year. For the pur­poses of camp­ing or in­ter­na­tional travel where you may not have cell ser­vice, this is a great de­vice to have. You can go off in sep­a­rate di­rec­tions with no sig­nal and still be able to com­mu­ni­cate if needed.

Out­door Tech Ko­diak Plus 2.0 Por­ta­ble Charger ($79.95)

I re­mem­ber be­ing in the mid­dle of nowhere, out­side of Taos, New Mex­ico, in a small earth­ship (which is a type of pas­sive so­lar pow­ered house) while trav­el­ing with a friend. The morn­ing sunrise was the most beau­ti­ful I've ever seen, but ev­ery de­vice we owned was com­pletely out of power so we needed to get our butts to a cafe so we could work re­motely. We would have been able to ap­pre­ci­ate the beauty of our sur­round­ings for a few more hours if we'd had the Ko­diak Plus 2.0. This 10,000 mAh power­bank is im­pres­sively light­weight for the amount of power it holds. And it's ready to go camp­ing with you—it's shock-proof and has an iPX7 wa­ter­proof rat­ing. It has a builtin flash­light so it can dou­ble as a lan­tern, and it has two USB ports so you can charge mul­ti­ple de­vices. This is a must-have item for any­one go­ing on ex­tended camp­ing trips.

Anker Pow­erPort So­lar Lite Charger ($49.99)

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, so­lar pan­els that charge your de­vices are hit or miss when it comes to func­tion­al­ity. Yet it only took a few min­utes of re­search to learn that the peo­ple of the in­ter­net highly rec­om­mend op­tions from Anker. Now that I've tried it my­self, I can see why. Like all so­lar pan­els, the Pow­erPort So­lar Lite works best in di­rect sun­light at a nice tem­per­a­ture of 77 de­grees Fahren­heit. I've tried a cou­ple other small so­lar pan­els for per­sonal tech and this is by far my fa­vorite for two dif­fer­ent rea­sons. Firstly, it's very por­ta­ble. The Pow­erPort So­lar Lite has a tri­fold de­sign, so it folds in on it­self and closes us­ing Vel­cro, which makes it feel like a long thin book un­der your arm. Sec­ond, it works on a prac­ti­cal time­line. In di­rect sun with plenty of warmth, I can get about ten per­cent charge in twenty min­utes on my iPhone X; at that rate, it would only take a cou­ple of hours to fully charge my phone with just the sun.

Bon­tend Flex­i­ble Tri­pod ($18.50–$35)

If you're tak­ing your iPhone on a camp­ing trip, you're prob­a­bly go­ing to be tak­ing pho­tos and videos too. But have you ever used a flex­i­ble tri­pod? I had not, and do­ing so was im­me­di­ately a game changer for me. The Bon­tend Flex­i­ble Tri­pod is a univer­sal tri­pod; it in­cludes an adapter for both ac­tion cam­eras (such as GoPro) and smart­phones. Plus, it has a mount screw for hold­ing any other tra­di­tional cam­era that's less than five pounds. It has three legs, each with mul­ti­ple joints that al­low it to bend and be po­si­tioned at nearly any an­gle on any flat sur­face or un­even ter­rain. It's light­weight and com­pact, so it's per­fect for throw­ing in your back­pack. I will be us­ing this on many, many trips to come.

Hidrate Spark 2.0 Water Bot­tle ($54.95)

Hy­dra­tion is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant, even more so on hikes and dur­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Which is why Hidrate Spark 2.0 is the per­fect com­pan­ion on camp­ing trips to make sure you con­tinue to have a fun and safe time. If you've set your hy­dra­tion goal to the rec­om­mended daily amount, that target will ad­just based on the tem­per­a­ture, hu­mid­ity, and el­e­va­tion of your cur­rent lo­ca­tion. You can also in­te­grate the app with your fit­ness tracker; so if you've taken a lot of steps, your goal will also rise. The bot­tle holds 24 ounces, which is a good amount. I hate bot­tles that are cute and fancy but hold less liq­uid than my cof­fee mug. On your next camp­ing trip, con­sider the Hidrate Spark 2.0 for stay­ing hy­drated so you can en­joy your time in na­ture.

BioLite Cam­pS­tove 2 ($129.95)

BioLite's mis­sion is and has al­ways been to bring a sus­tain­ably fu­eled, non-toxic stove to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries where a lack of elec­tric­ity means ex­pen­sive kerosene lamps and open­fire cook­ing cause four mil­lion deaths each year. When you buy the Cam­pS­tove 2 for your ad­ven­tures, you're help­ing this com­pany bring off-grid en­ergy ev­ery­where. Pow­ered by the twigs and sticks you'll find at any camp­ground, the smoke­less flame can boil a liter of water in un­der five min­utes. The gen­er­ated heat is also turned into elec­tric­ity, al­low­ing you to charge your iPhone from the built-in 2600 mAh bat­tery. You can pur­chase the com­pat­i­ble Ket­tle Pot and Por­ta­ble Grill or sim­ply use the cook­ware you al­ready have.

Con­ner Carey is a fea­ture web writer at iPhone Life and a con­tribut­ing writer for Love U magazine. Her work has been pub­lished on Art Par­a­sites Ber­lin and Chron­i­cally. She holds a bach­e­lor's in English with an em­pha­sis in Cre­ative Writ­ing and re­sides in Fair­field, Iowa. You can find her per­sonal blog at con­ner­ or fol­low her on Twit­ter @con­ner­leecarey.

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