Tag Archives: gear

Review: PowerTrekk charges your gear with technology…’from the future’

powertrekk_open

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.

Waterproof cases keep your iDevices high and dry on the trail

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Having just delivered a Macworld|iWorld session on “High Tech Camping,” we’ve been on the lookout for gear and gadgets that promise to protect your expensive gear in the great outdoors. Two exhibitors on the show floor look to fit that bill very nicely when it comes to keeping your iDevices safe in that most deadly of elements to electronics: water.

Watershed makes a full line of dry bags for all sorts of uses, from recreational to military, but the one that caught our attention was its Grid Tablet bag — an over-the-shoulder carrying case for your iPad. The bag uses Watershed’s “ZipDry” technology to enclose the iPad in a windowed plastic bag that uses a rugged rubberized seal similar to food storage bags to create an airtight seal that the company says is rated for submersion down to 300 feet. By squeezing out the air, the bag forms a vacuum seal around the iPod that lets it be used through a clear plastic window. A protective flap snaps shut to provide extra protection when the iPad is not in use. The $97 bag comes in a variety of colors ranging from camouflage to bright yellow — perfect for standing out in the woods, which is a big selling point for campers with less-than-perfect eyesight.

For iPhones, Dry Case offers a waterproof bag that comes with a squeeze pump to create a vacuum seal the company says is waterproof to 100 feet. The $40 clear case also allows you to use your phone and includes a waterproof headphone jack that can be paired with waterproof headphones (sold separately for $30) so you can take calls or listen to music in the water. It includes an armband and a lanyard to ensure your iPhone won’t float away on you. The company says the case is clear enough to allow you to use your iPhone as an underwater camera.

With so many useful apps for camping and hiking, it’s becoming more and more common to see iPhones and iPads in the backcountry and on the trails. As that happens, the need to keep those devices protected from things like shock and water becomes ever more important.

You can check out the Grid Tablet on the Watershed website and the Dry Case iPhone on its site.

Camp stove cooks meals, charges gadgets

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Sure, any good camp stove can heat up a pot of stew and maybe even let you warm your hands, but charge your iPhone? That’s the gimmick in a new line of stoves from Biolite, which makes a camp stove that converts heat into “usable electricity,” providing five watts of power to “charge your phone, lights and other gadgets,” according to the company’s website. The electricity generated by the stove also powers a fan to increase burning efficiency and temperatures.

About the size of two Nalgene bottles, one piggybacked on the other, the Biolite Camp Stove burns twigs, sticks, pinecones, pellets and other biomass and weighs in at 2lbs. 1oz and packs down to 8.25 x 5″.

The CampStove will ship “in time for the 2012 camping season,” according to the company and can be pre-ordered now for $129.

More information is available on the company’s website.

Yahoo Sports lists five ‘must have’ items for winter camping

Winter Camping by Ron Cole (used under Creative Commons)

It wasn’t much of a winter for most of the U.S. (yet, anyway), but Kileen Gonzalez at Yahoo Sports penned her list of “must-have” items for winter camping.

At the top of Gonzalez’ list is a four-season tent. “You will want to look for a winter tent that has wide diameter poles, multiple areas to fasten guylines, ample ventilation, and plenty of room to store your bulkier winter gear,” she writes, adding that a ground tarp and wisk broom (to brush the snow off your clothes before entering the tent) are two good accessories. (We’d consider a ground tarp a must-have in any season.)

Gonzalez also lists insulated sleeping bags and pads and a portable heater/cook oven. A winter backpack rounds out her top five.

The entire list — and her rationale behind her picks — are in the article on the Yahoo Sports website.

Sneak Peak of ‘The Geek Outdoors’ session at Macworld

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It’s a rare opportunity when my love of technology and my love of the great outdoors align, so I was thrilled when I was asked to deliver a seminar on “High Tech Camping” at next week’s Macworld | iWorld event in San Francisco.

If you’re coming to the event, I certainly hope you’ll consider attending my session. Camping geeks are as enthusiastic about their gadgets as technology geeks, and the two fields are converging in some pretty interesting ways, mostly thanks to the portability and versatility of the iPhone and iPad. Here’s a taste of what I mean.