Thankfully survival kits have changed a lot since the days of gigantic maps and compasses, so whilst traditional equipment is still good to have on hand, technology has so kindly blessed us with a ton of survival options - many of which can be used through the touch of an iPhone app. With summer approaching, camping, hiking and biking adventures are a-calling, so be sure to pay close attention to these recent inventions if you want your outdoor excursion to be a little less bulky and a little more bearable...
A water source
Carrying water with you is advised at all times in the wilderness, but if you’re going reeeally far away from civilization it’s good to have another source of water, just in case. Regardless of your proximity to ‘fresh’ water, it’s usually not recommended that you drink it unfiltered, so thankfully we now have filtering canteens and straws that will remove harmful bacteria and other particles, making water drinkable if necessary.
Real talk – toolboxes just aren’t practical in the wild, hence the need for a handy utility knife. These have been around for decades, but only now are they becoming more streamlined and efficient, and built to include more cool stuff than ever. Need a saw? Scissors? A ruler even? There’s not much that can’t fit into a utility knife nowadays. Here’s a good all in one example if you’re looking for an option with pretty much everything you’ll ever need.
Having regular food is a given, but it’s also a good idea to have some emergency non perishable / non wildlife appealing food on hand, just in case. Regular energy bars and meal replacements are good, but bars and meals now exist with the specific intention to pack the most calorific punch in a small dosage whilst still being compact and durable – like astronaut food, emergency rations and calorie tablets.
Portable and protected devices
If like most people your phone is essentially a fifth limb, you’ll probably be using it to take photos and videos of your adventures. Although the iPhone is designed for some durability, it doesn’t stand much of a chance against water or heavy trauma, but now with specialized cases you can practically turn your phone into a GoPro and make it waterproof, shockproof, mountable and add on cool lenses as well. If you’re looking for a small standalone camera that doesn’t require a whole separate suitcase to handle all of its accessories, you’ve also got the option of a minuscule action camera which works (almost) just as well as the big daddy alternative.
The days of the crackly portable radio are well and truly behind us. Bluetooth and portable speakers are everywhere, but they’re not all built for outdoors use. But don’t fear, technology is one step ahead of the game, with some seriously great options now available that are not only waterproof, but boast long battery life and great sound quality to boot, because every outdoor adventure needs a good sound track.
Somewhere to chill out
There will always be traditional folding chairs and good ol’ logs to sit on, but thankfully comfort in the wilderness isn’t a pipe dream anymore. Now our options are endless, with self-inflating lounge chairs and super compact folding chairs to choose from which kick mossy old logs to the curb.
A power source
All of these new tech devices are great and all – and most come with a battery life that should last you for the duration of a short trip – but if you’re in need of some serious juice, harnessing solar power is a great way to keep your devices charged on the go. Solar-charged power packs are even more durable, discreet and inexpensive than ever, and they’re ideal for camping or hiking trips.
Doing laundry in the woods isn’t the most fun thing to do with your outdoor time, but for the sake of packing light and in times of unexpected accidents or muddy adventures, it’s pretty nice to have the option. Washing your clothes in the closest creek will always be there, but in case you’re not near a body of water or you’d rather stay close to camp, compact wash bags are a great option.
A travel blanket
The days of the bulky rolled up blanket are gone, replaced with compact alternatives that you can literally fit it in your pocket – perfect for sleeping, festivals, picnics etc.
A mattress/ sleeping bag
If you haven’t realized yet that pumps and bulk are so 20th century, the travel mattress and sleeping bag industry should convince you. With just a few quick breaths you can inflate a whole mattress, and sleeping bags are lighter, more efficient and more compact than ever.
You would think in 2016 we would have a better way to put up a tent without the huge bag of parts, pesky poles and excessive assembly time, right? Tent technology has really come a long way, with new options including super portable tents, hanging tents, pop-up tents and even jackets that turn into a tent.
At the end of the day, everything is getting a little bit smaller and easier when it comes to travelling outdoors, and we’re totally on board with that – as long as the adventure remains bigger than ever…