Friday, October 21, 2016


For most people, being out “on the trail” brings up imagines of lonesome woods devoid of life and filled with violent animals. But the reality of camping is so different — and so much fun — that everyone should reassess and try it, no matter how annoying summer camp memories may have been. But whether you’re hiking up a mountain trail or just camping out in a National Park or even the backyard — there’s no reason not to bring some civilization with you. And by that we mean mobile devices that can add to the fun and even keep a bit of safety surrounding you. 

Here’s some examples:

Everyone probably has used a portable Bluetooth speaker at one time or another. But many don’t consider just how safe it is to take some of these speakers out on the trail — there are waterproof models that laugh (so to speak) at being dunked in a river, others that are weather resistant and others so rugged that they handle getting dirt on them better than you do. Portable speakers that are designed for the outdoors work just as great indoors, but when they’re taken on a trip is when they can really shine. And since their volume is usually all out of proportion to their size, which is often small and lightweight, there’s no reason not to take them along so that they can perform for you. 

The great outdoors rarely comes with electrical outlets. But mobile devices need power — and lots of it —so how can this be taken care of? The simple answer is to pack lightweight power backup devices that can be used to replenish the mobile device’s power. There are even backup devices that use hand cranks and solar power to generate their own electricity, such as flashlights and lanterns. Some of these self-generating power supplies (there are some portable speakers that fall into this category and even some portable camp stoves as well) are also made to supply mobile devices with power as well. That makes them not just “green” but also sensible to take along.  But having one of these battery backups on hand is a no-brainer.

The great outdoors rarely features WiFi, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own wireless network even while setting up camp or in your sleeping bag or tent. There are devices that go out and onto the Internet using a cellular signal — it’s basically the same as using a phone’s cellular signal to connect. The difference is that these devices then generate a WiFi “hot spot” so that everyone can use them. This allows not just phones but also tablets (which rarely have cellular services built-in) to be used. And unlike using someone else’s WiFi network, you’re in complete control of when and how it’s used (not to mention not having to share it with others that are not of your party). This also works much better than having to try and use a phone to create a “hot spot” because it takes a lot of processing power away from the phone being used for other purposes (like to provide music for that Bluetooth speaker).

Spending time outdoors away from home doesn’t mean leaving the convenience of today’s digital lifestyle behind. It just takes some planning and a little bit of technology to get the job done.


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