June 22, 2024

Mid Designer

Breakaway from the pack

10 Tech Gadgets That’ll Elevate Your Next Hike (Beginners or Veterans)

Get out your hiking boots and head to your favorite trail, because the weather is finally sunny enough for outdoor adventuring. Hiking is a great way to explore nature, chase breathtaking views and fit in a good workout while you’re at it. 

Whether you’re a beginner looking to get into hiking or a seasoned veteran with a lot of miles under your belt, reliable tech devices can make your hike safer and more comfortable. You never know what can happen while you’re out among the elements, so it’s smart to be prepared if something doesn’t go the way you planned.  

Here are 10 products and tech devices that you’ll thank yourself for keeping in your backpack. 

1. Solar power bank

Keep a portable solar bank in your backpack to prevent any of your important gear from losing its charge while you’re out on the trail. With no electricity required, you can keep all your important tech properly running using the power of the sun. This one from Amazon also has a built-in flashlight for extra safety. 

2. Garmin inReach Mini

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Garmin

The inReach Mini from Garmin pairs with your phone via Bluetooth and is a crucial satellite messaging device to take on your hikes in case of emergency — especially if you’re trekking on unfamiliar trails or taking an extended ramble. 

It sends text messages with your coordinates, tracks your waypoints at different time intervals and has an SOS feature that connects you with rescue personnel 24/7, among other helpful tools, like access to topographical maps and weather forecasts. It’s ultra lightweight and should be attached on the outside of your bag to maintain a good signal. 

You do need to pay a monthly subscription fee — $25 for the annual plan, or $35 for the Freedom plan. But you may decide that the peace of mind alone makes it worth the price. 

3. Garmin Fenix 7S Solar

This stylish, solar-powered watch tracks your health stats and offers advanced performance metrics. It also has pro features like ClimbPro and RacePro and access to satellite imagery and enhanced topography maps (with a subscription). The Garmin Fenix’s charge lasts up to 14 days, and the more sunlight your Garmen watch gets, the more your battery charges. 

4. AllTrails app

Compatible with Android and IOS, AllTrails is smart for hikers to have on their phone. I can’t count the number of times my AllTrails map kept me from going down the wrong path when I was out in unfamiliar territory. You can set up a free AllTrails account to access some features. A subscription costs $35.99 a year, but I think AllTrails+ is worth it for any hiker.

See more: Best Fitness Apps of 2023

5. JBL Clip 4

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David Carnoy/CNET

Clip a small portable speaker to your backpack to keep your favorite songs playing throughout your hike. I especially like using a speaker when hiking in a group, so I can simultaneously listen to music and enjoy the conversation. 

6. Bug repellent 

Bug repellent always comes in handy, but especially if you hike near water. Avoid using sticky, smelly aerosols and try Thermacell bug repellent. You don’t need to apply this scent-free mosquito repellent to your body. Just turn on the gadget, and it repels bugs with a 15-foot barrier of protection. It’s magic. 

7. Hydration bladder 

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker, a hydration bladder is great while you’re out on the trail. Available in two or three liters, the Hydro Booster makes it easy to carry and drink a large amount of water without having to lug around a chunky water bottle. Pop the hydration pack into your bag with the hose sticking out and hit the road. 

8. Water filter 

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Stephen Beacham/CNET

The Lifestraw is a lifesaver if you’re hiking over an extended period and can’t tote large amounts of H2O. According to the company, one filter can turn a thousand gallons of pond or lake water into H2O that’s safe to drink, filtering out 99.99% of pathogens and harmful bacteria. You can even drink straight from a pond using the straw filter.

9. Trekking poles 

Improve stability, increase speed and help relieve pressure on the body with these trekking poles from Fizan. They’re lightweight, collapsible, adjustable and comfortable, checking a lot of boxes. You also can’t beat the price. 

10. GoPro Hero 8 with backpack strap holder 

GoPro Hero 8 Black

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Document your adventures while out on your favorite hikes. The GoPro Hero 8 captures 4K video and 12 megapixel photos and features livestreaming capabilities and three levels of stabilization. Keep the footage rolling with minimal effort by mounting the Hero 8 to the shoulder strap of your backpack.  

For more on fitness, here are tips on finding time to work out and here’s how to exercise on a budget.