Outdoor Backcountry Technology: Some say they seek adventure in the outdoors to escape the trappings of technology, society, and the everyday. We get it. But in a way, advances in technology allow us to truly be free.
Want to get lost? Only when we have a solid GPS tracking system can we feel safe enough to fearlessly go out and get lost in the deep backcountry, knowing that we can always find our way home.
Want to head outside, into the wild, to be alone and seek respite from others? Technology can provide you with the added peace and security knowing that, if needed, you can send a message to a friend or loved one, or easily engage search and rescue with a touch of a button if things go bad.
It’s trendy to pick on technology, make fun of those who use it, think it’s evil and that you need to put down the gadgets. But we at Earth Gear believe that, with the right technology, your adventures can be better and more fulfilling. So, we’ve done the research and come up with our three pieces of electronics that are great for every trip into the backcountry.
Suunto has been making top-level multi-function watches and adventure gear for years and this one is no different. The Traverse GPS Multifunction Watch is an extremely easy to use timepiece that combines GPS and GLONASS functionality for hyper location accuracy, one-touch waypoint entry, and breadcrumb trackback features to make sure you always know where you are and, maybe more importantly, how to get back.
Add these features to Suunto standards, like a barometric altimeter, compass, water resistant depth of 100 meters, and a 100-hour battery life and you have the backcountry watch of your dreams.
“When you go off the beaten path, it’s not only about exploring the wilderness, but an inner journey to yourself. Let go of your hesitation, allow uncertainty to change into confidence, doubt into the joy of succeeding. Out in nature, adventure turns into everlasting memories. Suunto Traverse is your ideas companion on treks in the wild. Plan your route in Movescount.com with topographic maps and stay on course with the GPS navigation. The powerful battery of Suunto Traverse keeps you exploring hour after hour.”
Backcountry messenger devices are becoming more and more popular. Adventurers increasingly find it comforting to be able to alert friends and loved ones of their safe arrival, status, and location when out on solo trip. There are a few on the market, but only the Garmin inReach Explorer Satellite Messenger ads this capability with one of the most trusted names in GPS mapping technology for an all-in-one location/communication device.
With the inReach Explorer, you can access all the GPS features you’re used to, like waypoint tracking, track-back routes, and mapping, but also send and receive text messages, posts to social media and, if the need arises, can trigger an SOS message that is monitored by Garmin’s search and rescue alert center.
Some of these features require a service plan, but being able to stay in contact can be reassuring, and possible critical. You know the rule, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
“Navigate, create waypoints, log your trip and find your way back. Send and receive text messages. Trigger an interactive SOS. Plan, track and share your journey. You can do all of this from one rugged handheld device with 100% global coverage from Iridium. You can also pair it with your mobile device to access topographic maps and U.S. NOAA charts.”
If you’re going to rely on technology in the backcountry, then you are sadly relying on batteries. The good news is that our Sun is pretty good at providing energy to charge said batteries. Goal Zero has become the leader in offering practical backcountry-ready solar panels and charging devices for all of your adventures and their Venture 30 Kit is simply awesome.
The product is perfect and the application is simple, the Venture 30 Solar Kit comes with a totally lightweight and packable solar panel that charges your devices, or its own battery pack for future needs, while you are on the move and in the sun. It’s waterproof, can charge our GPS, phone, tablet, or just about anything else that takes batteries or has a USB port. If you’re going to rely on batteries, make sure you have what it takes to recharge them.
“The most rugged, durable, weatherproof phone and tablet recharger on the market, no rubber plugs needed. Charge up from USB or included solar panel. The Venture 30 packs the power you need to keep those small devices, cameras and tablets charged no matter the elements you may be out battling. With an IPX6 weatherproof rating and 7800mAh the Venture will keep everything running smoothly.”