Category Archives: How-To
In a world of smartphones with built-in GPS chips and cars with included navigation systems, what’s a navigation device manufacturer to do? If you’re as smart as Garmin, you diversify, that’s what.
Sure, Garmin still makes standalone GPS receivers. They even make my favorite iOS navigation app, Navigon. But what’s even more exciting is the way Garmin is reaching out into other areas, bringing its mapping expertise to other cool devices.
Like cameras. Sure, GoPro is getting a lot of the buzz now, but Garmin’s VIRB Elite is versitile, rugged and feature-packed “ruggedized” camera — a fancy way of saying it can take pretty much anything you can dish out on your most extreme outdoor adventure, and play it back to you in stunning 1080p high definition video.
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.
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.
If you couldn’t be in San Francisco last week for TrailCamper chief Chuck La Tournous’ “Tech vs. Wild” session, fear not: AllVoices.com’s Joe Kakura was on hand, and posted a great write-up of the session.
Calling it a demonstration of “many ingenious tools and apps shown off in a rollicking, hilarious Macworld/iWorld session,” Kakura said “prolific Mac blogger Chuck La Tournous gave a fascinating demo ‘marrying (his) two loves — camping, and the geekiness that is Apple.'”