Let me start this article by saying – I am not a gadget fanatic. I come from a family who watched video cassettes long into the DVD era. In my line of work – journalism – I’ve had to learn to love technology. But it’s fair to say I’m not the first in line for the latest i-thing.
My fiancé has also trained me to travel light. If it’s not necessary we don’t carry it.
You’ll also know if you read my recent post, a Tight-Arse Hiker’s Survival Tips, that I am currently on a spending freeze.
So why am I now recommending the latest, high-tech gadgets? Because sometimes it’s okay to blur the lines between want and need. And because Christmas is around the corner. #DearSanta.
Helix Lantern Series
When you’re trying to cook in the dark (or play Cards Against Humanity) sometimes you need a light that’s more inclusive than a head lamp. The Helix Lantern Series from Princeton concertina to half it’s original size (think of crushing a Coke can)
It’s also ridiculously bright, and even when you don’t have the light switched on the lantern shell glows in the dark.
The range, which starts at RRP$79.95 for 150 lumens with a 24-hour ‘burn time’, can either be hung up or stands on four pronged feet making it great for uneven ground.
The Bluetooth model can even be controlled from a smartphone or tablet. So, you don’t have to emerge from a warm sleeping bag to switch it off. For stockists visit www.outdooragencies.com.au
Suunto Traverse Watch
This is the ultimate gadget you didn’t know you wanted until you had it. Some of the functions of Suunto’s latest release are obviously useful (GPS navigator, altitude graphing, the ability to program in routes and a barometer which measures dropping air pressure so it can predict if a storm is coming). Others functions fall into the ‘not vital but actually kind of brilliant’ category (the ability to stream text message and Facebook posts through your watch. I didn’t think I’d want to until I could do it!)
It also has a pretty impressive built-in torch, can predict sunrise and sunset and has an accompanying app called Movescount, where you can create a 3D map of your journey afterwards. It’s pricey, yes, but it’ll make you feel like the James Bond of the bush. www.suunto.com.au
Logitech X50 Wireless Speaker
My fiancé and I are the hikers you hear before you see, because we often have music playing (note: I said ‘playing’ not ‘blaring’). I know it’s a controversial subject, as we probably should be soaking in the serenity. But we do only listen to music on the hike back, not the hike out, when we need motivations and a rhythm to keep our feet moving.
Logitech’s X50 wireless speaker is only the size of your palm (and I have small hands!). It can be attached to a belt or a backpack with a carabiner and music can either be streamed via Bluetooth or an audio cable. It also has a five-four battery life so may give up before your legs do.
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with sport earphones. They fall out, they sweat out, you get the wire tangled around your elbow. . . But I recently discovered Yurbuds Leap 100. Wireless, sweat proof and water resistant, they also have a range specifically for women that are fitted for smaller ears. www.yurbuds.com.au
Olloclip active lenses
As a journalist many of the photos which accompany my articles are, in fact, taken by my fiancé on his smartphone (apologies to my professional photographer mates!) This is why I love the Olloclip range of iPhone accessories –external lenses which can clip on the outside of your iPhone including the Macro Pro, which lets you zoom in on the texture of flowers, and an ultra-wide, telephoto lens for capturing landscapes. Available in iPhone 5, 6 and iPad versions, they’s also a range for Samsung devices too. Oh, and a special edition in rose gold, for the iPhone6, if looks matter to you! Available at www.pica.com.au
GoPro HERO4 Session
I am a bit of a GoPro evangelist (sorry!) The brands latest offerings, the GoPro HERO4 Session, is 50% smaller and 40% lighter than the usual HERO4 – and the different is noticeable. The new model also comes with a ball joint buckle mount which means you can swivel the camera 360degrees without disconnecting it, which is seriously handy.
As for accessories, well, the options are endless. When hiking my personal preference is a head mount because it seems to be less shaky than a chest mount. If you’re travelling anywhere humid get the Anti-Fog Camera Lens Inserts to stop your lens from steaming up.