It’s time to disconnect from the net and reconnect with nature, but that doesn’t mean abandoning all your tech and heading into the wilderness unequipped.
Aside from your smartphone (obvs), there’s a host of hot hiking tech that’s cheap, cheerful and, once you have it, essential. Remember to swing by on Twitter and let us know what you would never hit the hills without.
I’m not talking about an Apple Watch here. Those are so expensive I’d never dare wear it. But for less than 20 quid (and often closer to 10) you can pick up a touchscreen watch that’s not really all that smart but neatly transports info from your smartphone screen to your wrist.
Take photos using it as a remote button, monitor your steps and heart rate, get hydration reminders, set timers, and keep an eye on notifications without disappearing into your smartphone’s screen and missing the great outdoors.
It’s not that long since a pair of incredible, yet very expensive cable-free headphones went down a storm on Kickstarter. Then Apple released the insanely expensive AirPods. But the design concept is out there now, and you can pick up a pair of wireless earbuds complete with a charging case for £15 or under.
Taking a pair of these with you helps keep your phone in your pocket while adding a personalised soundtrack to the rolling hills. Remember to take them out sometimes and listen to the wind and birds and the silence, though.
At one time the Leatherman was king, but they occupied space in your pocket that used to be filled with cash. These multi-tools come in handy in ways you never imagined once you develop the habit of carrying one, and the good news is you no longer need to pay through the nose to equip yourself when hiking and camping.
A multi-tool is yours for 10 quid or less, and you’ve got a lot of options available. Classic pliers with tools in the handles, cycling specific devices, carabina shaped, and even key ring sized tools. Don’t leave home without one.
Solar Powered Emergency Charger
Disconnecting from heavy tech while heading into the outdoors is the goal here, but that doesn’t mean you should go unequipped. A smartphone offers navigation, communication and emergency contact features that you’d be crazy to abandon.
But what do you get out of a full charge? A day? Maybe two if you never use it. So a power bank is essential hiking tech, and you can pick one up that charges itself using solar power for a fiver. Upgrade a little, and you get more solar for your cash.
Don’t forget to take a USB cable, too.
Okay, this one’s pretty low tech (if it’s tech at all) but when you can pick up a folding, portable hammock for under a tenner that barely takes up any room in your rucksack, you know you’re onto a winner.
String this beauty between a couple of trees, climb aboard and you’ll instantly understand the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of relaxing in the outdoors and disconnecting from all that digital noise.
French Press Travel Mug
There are some luxuries we’re trying to leave behind when we take to the fells and trails, but we’re not animals. If you’re going into the wild, there’s no reason you can’t take good coffee with you. Not if you take a cheap, portable cafetiere/French press flasks with you.
When you’re ready to recharge, you just add your ground coffee, pour in the water, and press the upper part of the flask down like with an ordinary cafetiere. Except this one is built from rugged plastic, keeps the coffee warm, and is leak proof.
For a couple of quid, this could be a life saver! A solar lighter is a mirror that looks like a small, palm-sized satellite dish. At the centre is a spring that holds a small amount of dry kindling. Point it at the sun, and it focuses the rays on the kindling in just the right spot, until it creates a small flame for you to get a fire going.
Put two 10p coins in your wallet before you head out among the hills and green fields. Might not sound very techy at first, but it actually is!
If you should happen to lose your wallet, the non ferrous metal of the 10p pieces will make your wallet easy to find with a metal detector. You might not have your own, but a local group of detectorists will often happily take on a task like this if you can give them the rough area where it went missing.
Got your own favourite hiking or camping tech? Tell us!