Summertime tech: Apps and gear for your next outdoor adventure

- select the contributor at the end of the page -
Summer is hands down the best time of year to unplug, unwind and detox from our daily digital disturbances. But before you go swearing off all tech on your next big trip, take note of these vacation-friendly gadgets and apps, guaranteed to make any outdoor adventure your most memorable yet.


BioLite CampStove, $130

Eating bugs might have been acceptable when you were a Boy Scout, but now that you're all grown up,  you can leave the crickets, the cicadas and the ants (which apparently need to be cooked) for aspiring Eagle Scouts behind. Instead whip up something more savory on the BioLite CampStove, which runs on little more than twigs and a USB charge. Not only is this crafty contraption highly efficient, cooking meals and boiling water in mere minutes, but the fire it creates is also smokeless. You can also purchase the BioLite Portable Grill (pictured in the video above) to use with your CampStove to achieve the perfect burger. Of course, finding the meat poses an entirely different challenge of its own, but let's be real, that's why you've already packed your bow and arrow (read: your high-quality cooler).

Nite Ize Reflective Rope, $12

Here's proof that your gear doesn't need to be outlandishly high-tech to create the ultimate campsite. Thanks to these reflective ropes, you'll never again have to worry about tripping over your tent at two in the morning when you're sauntering all zombie-like to those utterly horrific campground washrooms (shudder).

Garmin eTrex 30, Around $300

Speaking of wandering off in the night, you may want to have this one handy for long treks in unfamiliar territory. With no signal on your device, it's all too easy to end up 100 percent lost. Once you've managed to catch your breath-after shaking your compass (to the point that it now belongs in a vintage-themed Etsy shop), screaming some obscenities toward the sky, and convincing yourself that this is now your life-you can trust that this offline GPS will get you back where you belong.

SteriPen Water Purification System, $100

Sure, your body can survive days without food (though it wouldn't have to if you'd bothered picking up that stove we mentioned earlier), but skip that whole hydration part and you're in for serious trouble. Whether you're lost somewhere in nature (you clearly didn't bother grabbing the Garmin) or you're just a paranoid urbanite, this water filtration system will keep your worries at bay (pun intended). You can also recharge it directly from your laptop, portable solar panel or an outlet.


Chimani National Parks (Android, iOS)

Remember the days when you had to drive for miles and miles, hoping to eventually find a decent campsite? Chimani's app removes the guesswork with its database of 401 national park locations. The app also offers information on sunrise/set data and ranger-led events, along with audio tours and professional photos.

AllTrails (Android, iOS)

Yeah, your standing desk is great and all, but it still means you're stuck behind a desk. Do yourself a favor and shake off those office blues by planning an epic hike this summer. Aside from actually having to move your feet, this app does all the work for you by offering 50,000 trail guides in the US and Canada, ranging in difficulty from I-Can't-Remember-the-Last-Time-I-Walked-a-Whole-Mile to This-is-So-Hardcore-That-My-Bones-Feel-Like-They're-About-to-Break. Avid hikers can even take it a step further by creating their own trails and saving them for later or sharing them with the rest of the world.

SAS Survival Guide (Android, iOS)

If we ever had to give an award for “Best Survival App,” this one would undoubtedly take the cake. And that's not just because it's equipped with a Morse code signaling device, a comprehensive first aid guide and insightful survival checklists…though, these things certainly help. We love that you can download various videos with expert survival tips, along with the 100-plus question quiz that tells you whether or not you've got what it takes to make it.

So before you unplug and go completely off the grid, try a few of these outdoor-inspired gadgets and apps to make your summer adventures even better!

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Stacy Warden

Stacy Warden is a contributing editor of the Pluralsight blog and has worked in publishing since the dawn of the iPhone. Currently, Stacy deals in tech and education--a combination that she finds absolutely fascinating. You can find her on Twitter @sterrsi.