What electronics do I need for hiking?
First things first, hiking does not require any kind of technology for you to get started. All you need is your feet, a map and a few other things to keep you safe. Check out this article if you want to find out what are the bare essentials to bring for hiking.
Depending on how long you are hiking for, the intention of your trip and where you are going, you might want to consider bringing any of the following:
♦ Power bank
♦ Fitness watch
♦ Two-way communication device or GPS
Let’s have a look at the different electronic devices.
This one speaks for itself. If you want to take pictures or document lasting memories, you will need a camera.
The question is however, what type of camera do you want to bring? Many smartphones are equipped with an excellent camera. But you might want to consider bringing a mirrorless or DSLR camera if you are serious about getting some high quality pictures.
Another question to ask is: are you going to document your hike? For example, do you want to make videos or a vlog from your hike? And if so, how much time are you willing to sacrifice for this? And more importantly, what weight trade-off are you willing to make to carry extra filming equipment?
Accessories to think about for filming or photography are:
For a list of the best lightweight camera’s for vlogging or documenting your hike,click here.
From experience I can say that lately, you need a drone to engage people with your hiking videos. Drones make some excellent footage of the surrounding area and give people a feel of what it looks like. It captures the surroundings and atmosphere a lot better than a normal camera.
If you decide to bring a drone on your hike, you will need to make a weight trade-off again. Here is a list of the lightest and best drones for hiking currently on the market.
I personally took the DJI Mavic Pro 2 on a 400km hike in New Zealand and I absolutely loved it. However, it was almost a 3kg weight trade-off and the drone took up a large size of my backpack. Still, it was worth the extra effort when looking back at the footage.
One thing to find out if you take a drone on your hiking trip is if you need a permit. In a lot of national parks around the world, drones are starting to get prohibited, unless you have a permit. Always try to find out from the local tourist information centre before you go. It can save you a lot of headache if you arrange this in advance.
3. power bank
For long distance hiking and even overnight hiking, I would always recommend to bring a power bank.
Power banks are handy to recharge your electronic devices on the go. This can be a life saver when it comes to getting lost or when you experience unexpected battery drainage.
A lot of people use electronic maps on their phone to navigate and rely on a two-way communication gps device for safety. This makes a power bank crucial to keep those devices charged and ready to use when necessary. Of course, it is always recommended to bring a physical map with you in addition to using your phone, especially when you are hiking in remote areas.
To find out which power bank is right for you, you need to find out how much energy you need to charge your devices. Try to calculate how long your devices can last for and how long your hike is.
Always keep the following in mind. Depending on how many times you need to recharge your devices and how much energy your devices need to be recharged, you will need a different power bank. Some power banks might sell cheap because they don’t have much energy storage. Please take care when selecting a power bank for your hike.
For the best lightweight power banks for long distance hiking, click here. It is a list of power banks that I would use on my long hiking trips. I will not leave the house without at least a 20,000MaH power bank if I am hiking for more than 5 days. Better safe than sorry!
My personal favourite is the Anker 20000mAH. It gives me more than enough power for a 7 day hike.
4. fitness watch
There are a lot of fitness watches out there nowadays, and most of them offer some pretty cool features. Heart rate monitoring, gps tracking, elevation tracking, etc etc.
I am currently in the market for a fitness watch myself and am working on assembling the best watches for hiking out there at the moment.
If you are wearing a fitness watch for hiking, you want it to be able to do:
♦ Heart rate monitoring
♦ GPS tracking
♦ Long battery life
♦ Smartwatch capabilities
♦ Map routing options
For now, my personal favourite according to research and reviews is the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro.
5. GPS or Two-way communication device
For long distance hiking trips, you might want to consider bringing a GPS or two-way communication device. It will provide safety and comfort and will allow you to track where you are as well as keep in touch with your loved ones.
Essential for your safety, if you are not bringing a two-way communication device, consider getting a PLB (personal locator beacon). This will give you peace of mind should anything happen, because it will give you the option to send out an emergency signal that will be picked up by emergency services.
There are many GPS, PLBs and two-way communication devices out there. These are the most popular options amongst thru-hikers:
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