Technology That Actually Improves the Backpacking Experience

Hiking & Backpacking

Technology, particularly social media and Google maps, has ruined the spontaneity and adventure associated with backpacking across Europe, Alexander Besant suggested in an article for the Globe and Daily Mail. He also pointed out how the advent of the euro has made tourist hubs too expensive to even visit.

Backpacking essentials

Granted, backpacking will never be the way it was 40 years ago, whether you’re talking about Europe, Canada, or the United States. But technology has actually made backpacking a possibility for more individuals who may not be as adept at surviving difficult, yet life-enriching experiences. These four items will make any backpacking trip more efficient and memorable:

Osprey Argon 85

Of course, the first item you are going to need for a backpacking trip is a backpack. Get one that can carry anything and everything you need, but also distributes weight evenly enough to make carrying it less cumbersome. The Argon 85 does just that.

The pack can be loaded from both the top and side, and has six pockets to keep all your smaller items separate and organized. The custom hip belt and overall design of the bag can make 80 pounds of gear feel more like 50. The hydration bladder pouch allows for hands-free access to water. A hydration pack adapter, like the Katadyn Quickfill, can be attached for easier filling and access.

The Argon 85 is a bit pricey at $300, but you can’t go backpacking without a quality pack.

JOOS Orange Solar Charger

Backpacker.com rates the JOOS Orange portable solar charger the most powerful you can get for its size. Waterproof and highly durable, the JOOS Orange weighs only 1.5 pounds and can be stored in your pack without fear of being damaged.

The maximum voltage for charging is 5V, but can be more when you use a smart cable. That means it can charge your phone, cameras, and other devices in less than optimal weather conditions. One hour of direct sunlight will provide up to 2 hours of talk time on a dead smartphone, which is more than double the SolarMio and SolarDuo are capable of.

The $149 price tag is well worth it for those taking extended trips into remote areas.

Spot Trace Anti-Theft Tracker

A Lifelock membership will protect your identity and finances, and even earn you flier miles, in the unfortunate event of someone getting a hold of your vital information. But unsavory individuals can ruin your entire trip by making off with your pack and the contents in it.

The Anti-Theft Tracker by Spot Trace is small enough to sit in any backpack pocket, and powerful enough to give you peace of mind. The device sends text and/or email messages of its whereabouts whenever movement is detected. Not only will this allow you to track down your stolen items, but it will help family and rescue personnel find you in case of an emergency. The four lithium ion batteries included with the Spot Trace Anti-Theft Tracker provide 18 months of power before needing to be replaced.

A monthly or annual tracking plan is required to use the device.

GoPro Hero 3

Some argue that backpacking has become more about taking pictures and showing them on social media, as opposed to the personal experience it gives you. No matter where you stand on the issue, a backpacking camera must be compact, easy to use, durable, and waterproof. The GoPro Hero 3 covers it all.

The Hero 3 can take both still images and video. The least expensive models provide 5 MP resolution on photos. The more pricey models pack 12 MP power, along with 4kp high-definition video. Scuba divers use it to take pictures underwater. However a red filter will be necessary for color correcting if you decide to utilize it for this purpose.

The mid-range model runs about $300 and is perfect for every situation you may encounter while backpacking.

Last modified: August 27, 2014

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