What does sailing, photography, and camping have in common? They are all about gear. They are just grand excuses for geeking out over, buying, packing, schlepping around, and occasionally using the latest and greatest specialty gear. Oh, and you get to sail, photo-journal, and camp your way through life.
Like everything in the last decade or so, camping gear has become more technical than mechanical. It is not just about waterproofing a tent and setting up a Coleman. You still get to go off-grid to places you have never been, and interact with creatures and terrain that is well beyond the everyday.
Camping is still a great way to learn about the world through close contact with untamed nature. It is the methods and tools that have radically changed. Here is some of the must-have gear you will want for your next trip:
A More Technical Pack for More Technical Gear
You need a gear bag that evolves with the times. Not only does it have to be able to handle water bottles and rope, but smartphones, cameras, a GPS, and possibly a laptop. Using your grandpa’s trusty old backpack is not going to cut it.
Lander offers a line of backpacks they describe as “electronics bags designed for the wild, but stylish enough for the city.” This acknowledges the fact that people are multifaceted. They do not have to be either nature lovers or tech enthusiasts. They can be both, and often are. They are likely to stop off at a nearby Starbucks for a cup of coffee before heading off-road to adventures in that undiscovered country we call a wilderness.
This kind of backpack is not just about having lots of little pockets to help keep charging cables neat. It is also about having pockets that are properly padded to protect your sensitive gear from bumping into rocks and trees, and getting poked by branches. The woods are tough on gear. The right bag makes all the difference.
Your stuff is going to run out of charge halfway through the day, maybe sooner. Other than not using those devices, there’s nothing you can do about that. However, you can pack extra power. Trust me. You’re going to need it.
There are a few reasons for this extra juice drain when going off road. The main one is the fact that your devices can’t find a signal. In a city that is saturated with LTE, there is no problem. But the moment your devices have to start working harder to find a signal, that is when your battery takes a real hit.
There are more things that drain your battery than you realize. Searching for a signal is just one of them. When you go off-road, extend your battery with a few tips:
- Put your devices in Airplane Mode
- Turn off push notifications and background apps
- Turn your screen brightness to as low as you can stand it
In the city, you are using your devices inside where the lighting is muted. Outside, your screen automatically goes up to full brightness. You can change that setting. Do so before starting out on your trip. Beyond all that, bring a battery pack that can charge multiple items multiple times. There are several models available at New Easy, where they have an assortment of As Seen on TV items and accessories for your electronics, as well as other handy items you can use outdoors.
Electronics don’t like water. Apple products especially have a checkered history when it comes to water damage. Just being in a humid climate could trip the water damage sensors. These days, products like the Apple Watch and the iPhone 6 have a much higher level of water resistance than before. But don’t be fooled, if you are going to use your electronics in situations where you might be caught out in the rain, you should invest in some kind of waterproof case.
Sometimes, a gear head has to take a step back from the actual gear, and consider the things needed to best use the gear in particular situations. A ruggedized product is meaningless if the battery dies too quickly. A GPS that can’t handle the rain will still leave you lost.
The most important gear you can take on your next camping trip is common sense… And a Coleman.