Guest Post by Rebecca Crawford
Do you love traveling? But, do you feel that, because we live in the modern era, no matter how much we love being on the road, we simply cannot live without technology gadgets such as smartphones, tablets or laptops?
Would you like to know how to enjoy traveling through the world and not staying off the grid?
If yes, then keep on reading to discover which gadgets will make your trips both easier and more fun.
1. Solar Charger
As we mentioned above, no matter where you go, you will always want to be able to stay connected with the world and have your smartphone with you. But, the main problem with smartphones or tablets, is that their batteries usually don’t last longer than two days. And, if you are in an area where the signal is weak or there isn’t any, the battery will last even shorter as the phone will constantly try to find the signal and suck all the power.
So, in order to be worry free when it comes to battery juice, you need a power source that will always be ready to top off your electronic device.
This is where the solar charger comes and saves the day. All you need to do is connect your device and place it together with the solar charger in direct sunlight.
These useful gadgets come in various sizes and with various power outputs. For example, if you have just one phone, you can choose the ones that are small and capable of fitting your pocket.
On the other hand, if you need more juice because you can’t live without your smartphone, the tablet, the laptop, and perhaps a camera, you should opt for bigger solar chargers that are usually foldable and bigger, or can be mounted on the back of your backpack. They are capable of delivering higher amounts of electrical power and can charge multiple devices at once.
Francis says: I brought solar chargers with me in Africa but I almost never used them. You'd think that Africa, with its undependable electricity and abundant sunshine, would be ideal for a solar charger, but I was surprised to find that I could get by using a power bank.
2. Power Bank
Having a solar charger to use the free energy whenever you need it is great, but there will be times when the sun will be behind the clouds and your solar charger will not be able to top off your phone. That is where the power bank will come in handy.
A power bank or external battery is a great gadget that can store electrical power and serve as a smartphone, laptop (depending on the capacity), or a tablet charger.
Also, you can combine it with the solar charger, when you aren’t charging any of your smart devices, and store the free energy for the days without the sun. This solar/power bank charger/storage combination will never leave you with an empty battery of any of your devices.
3. Soft-Sided Cooler
On your road trips, you are sure to hit a few beaches along the way, or at least travel through hot climate areas. Now, as you know, food or drinks and hot weather don’t get along too well. So, how to keep your sandwiches fresh, or your drinks cold when you are getting a gorgeous tan on the sunny beach?
Our suggestion would be a soft-sided cooler. Unlike the traditional coolers that are hard plastic and all bulky, soft-sided coolers, as their name suggests, are made of soft materials and can be folded and stored away in your backpack when not using them.
Francis says: This seems a bit unrealistic since most travelers pack pretty tight and wouldn't have that much spare space unless having a cooler is really important to them. I think coolers are only realistic for people who are traveling by car.
But, every time you have the need to keep something cold, you can just pop it out, fill it with ice and enjoy. But, don’t go for the cheapest ones as they tend to get damaged rather too soon. Instead, invest a little more money and check out a few best soft-sided cooler models, as they aren’t that expensive, actually, but are light years away from the cheap, low-quality models.
4. GPS Smartwatch
Having a watch on your wrist is always a good idea as, besides knowing the time, you can also, based on the time of the year, know much daylight you have before the darkness takes over so that you can stop and set up camp, or how much till the sun goes up and you have to get going again.
Either way, having a watch while backpacking is a must.
But, imagine having a watch that not only tells time but also can show you exactly where you are located on earth, no matter where you are. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Not only that, but depending on the model, your GPS Smartwatch can also be used as a compass, a barometer, fitness tracker, and plenty of other outdoor useful features. All you have to do is pick the model that best suits your personal traveling needs, and be worry free (about the getting lost part) every time you go backpacking.
You must have seen scenes in the futuristic movies, where space explorers, when on a new, unexplored planet, use drones to scout the terrain and see if there are any threats waiting for them and to see which route would be the best to take. Well, it seems that the future is here!
Thanks to the lightning-fast evolution of technology, drones are no longer ultra expensive and they are quite affordable and available for everyone. Of course, you don’t need to buy the most expensive model that has a 5K camera and can reach the lithosphere, but a much cheaper model that has a decent camera, is easy to control, and has a decent enough range.
Besides checking out the terrain by getting a bird’s eye view, you will also have great memories as your backpacking trip videos and photos will be taken from a completely new perspective.
If you are interested in a budget-friendly model that extremely easy to control, has some 150 meters of range, 10 minutes of flight time, and an HD camera that can shoot videos in 1280 x 720 resolution at 30 frames per second, we suggest checking out the UDI U818A.
Francis says: I expected to fly a drone all over Africa but I crashed it in the first of the 54 African countries. Make sure you get a lot of practice before bringing it with you on your travels. Make your mistakes at home. Fortunately, drones have become more idiot-proof since 2013 (when I used one). Lastly, like the soft-sided cooler suggestion, bringing a drone (especially one with a decent camera) is unrealistic unless you have a car during your trip.
Now that you have some cool gadget suggestions, all there is to do is pick the ones you think will be most useful to you, or pick all of them, and hit the road! Happy traveling and makes sure you let us know how it went by leaving the comment in the comments section. Thanks for reading!
About the Author: Rebecca lives in the USA but loves hiking all over the world. Her favorite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, the company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. The ocean is another one of her passions, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for HikingMastery.com