It’s a good time to be a camping geek. There are cool gadgets like UV water purifiers and locater beacons; there are GPS receivers that can help you find the trail (or your car.) And there are scores of smartphone apps to enhance your outdoors experience, from GPS trackers to stargazing apps to knot trying guides and more. If there’s anyone out there still saying that tech has no place on a camping or hiking trip, they’re just not paying attention.
Maybe it’s a function of age, but every time I contemplate a long hike along rough terrain or a lot of elevation, I reexamine my longstanding prejudice against trekking poles. I haven’t been alone in my suspicion that trekking poles are at worst a gimmick and at best an unnecessary weight to bear. But enough people I respect swear by them that I decided it was time to throw my preconceived notions away and take a fresh look. Even the Appalachian Trail Conservancy estimates that 90-95% of AT thru-hikers — notorious for eliminating all unnecessary weight — carry trekking poles.
iPhone owners with GoPro envy may find solace in a new case from Hitcase. The company’s eponymous case quickly seals your iPhone in a rugged, waterproof, shockproof enclosure complete with brackets that connects it to mounts matched to a variety of activities. The HitcasePro adds a removable lens that works as both a wide-angle and macro lens.
With the included and available companion mounts, the Hitcase can be worn on a helmet, chest, bicycle handlebars or — with its “StickR” mount, almost any hard surface like a car hood or dashboard.
We’ve noted before that with the number of useful camping and outdoor-centric apps these days, your iPhone is becoming a digital Swiss Army knife. Now it’s becoming a physical one too, thanks to an innovative new case from a company called The Task Lab.
The case is no thicker than many other fashionable iPhone cases, but ingeniously housed inside is a plethora of tools for the seriously geeky outdoorsman. In fact, the TaskOne sports no fewer than 21 tools in a case that weighs just 96 grams (for the iPhone 5 version; the 4/4S is an even slimmer 89 grams.)
We’ve often said that winter is the best season for camping — except for all the other ones. Most of the time, we’re kidding; but head out into that cold night with the wrong gear and you’re in for a rough time. Bring the right stuff along, however, and you can be not only comfortable but downright cozy. And of course, you get to enjoy all things only winter camping can bring: the clearest night skies of the year, the still quiet of a snow-covered wood and perhaps best of all — no bugs.
The folks at Scouting magazine love winter camping too. That’s why they teamed up with Gear Junkie to come up with a list of eight items that will keep you warm and snug on your next winter trek. They range from a down-filled jacket to a sleeping bag rated to 20 degrees below zero to an insulated water bottle.