5 Electronic Devices to take Camping or Hiking
By: Tobin Carlberg & Derek Wells | July 24, 2022
Last week, we listed a few great hikes to check out around Oregon. But before you hit the trails or pack up your tent, we want to go into more detail about some electronic devices you might want to bring along — which of course you can charge via USB with your NexiGo solar power bank.
Here are a few things that are worth making space for in your bag:
Your Phone (of course)
When you’re out camping, it’s always nice to have your phone charged and ready just in case. That way, you can still use it as a flashlight, capture some great pictures, or even play your favorite tunes on a hike. Ideally, you’ll also be able to make a phone call in case of an emergency, but depending on where you’re hiking there may not be service. In that case, a magnetic compass or a map could come in handy.
Even for those who want to enjoy nature in its purest form (i.e. without technology), a smartphone can still be useful. You may need to check the weather so you know if it’s safe to hit the trails that day, and apps like Hiker Alert will notify your loved ones if you don’t check in with them by a certain time. Therefore, if you’re out of service and unable to call for any reason, your friends and family will know before it’s too late.
Luckily, the NexiGo E21 Solar Power Bank includes five ports (two USB-A, and one each of USB-C, Micro, and Lightning), letting you take advantage of its true 20,000 mAH capacity to charge up to five phones at once.
A Digital Camera
Sure the camera on your phone can take pictures, but do they really capture nature in all its grandeur? A proper DSLR or mirrorless camera will help you to do that. Dedicated cameras benefit from larger lenses and sensors, which let in more light for a brighter and sharper image with better contrast and a wider color gamut. They also enable greater control over your photos, such as by using a lens with optical zoom for taking pictures of wildlife from a distance, or by setting a long exposure and mounting the camera on a tripod to capture the movement of the stars at night.
The downside? All those features can be a real drain on battery life. One way around this is to bring along multiple batteries and swap them out as needed. Another is to carry a USB power bank and recharge your camera after each session.
While many hikers enjoy the ambient noises of nature, some of us prefer our own soundtrack. Whether it’s a playlist of favorite tunes, the latest episodes of some podcasts, or a choice audiobook, a pair of wireless earbuds are the perfect accessory for your next adventure.
If you’re going to endure a monumental rock climb, driving rock or epic orchestral music can give you that extra boost of energy that will help you reach the top. Conversely, soothing jazz provides the perfect soundtrack for a casual walk through the woods. For hikes with your friends, a Bluetooth speaker can really liven up the party.
Both of these items can be easily charged with a solar power bank, ensuring you will always have the right tunes playing throughout your trip.
Camping gets you away from a lot of the distractions of the modern world. If you go out far enough, you may not even have internet access, which can give you time to catch up on reading actual books. However, camping also means you’re constrained by the light of the sun more than usual. If you want to keep reading in the tent at night, a backlit e-reader is a great way to do that.
Of course the Amazon Kindle is synonymous with “e-reader” for most people (RIP Nook), but there are other options such as the Kobo Libra 2 and the premium Boox Note Air 2, which lets you draw and take notes with its stylus. All of these are USB-powered, so it’s worth bringing along a USB power bank for longer trips.
One of the most novel aspects of camping is being out in the dark without the convenience of artificial lighting. This can lead to a greater sense of connection with nature, but it can also be dangerous if you have to go out at night —- or if you get stuck outside after the sun has gone down. You can always use a flashlight to get around this limitation, but that will occupy one of your hands. A headlamp is the most convenient solution; there’s a reason spelunkers use them exclusively, but to use it for an extended period you will need a way to provide power for it.
Fortunately, there are lots of rechargeable LED headlamps available which use USB charging rather than disposable batteries. Here’s a brightly colored one you won’t lose easily, and here’s a stylish one with a light on the side. Whether you’re navigating your way to the campground restroom, doing a bit of night fishing, or crawling through a cave, they’re sure to come in handy.
Stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors!
Camping and hiking are some of the best ways to (re)connect with the natural world. That said, it’s not necessary to leave all modern conveniences behind. A little technology can not only make your outdoor experience more fun and memorable — it can also help keep you safe. The key is to only bring along the things that you're really going to use. And of course, keep them charged.