Saturday, June 3, 2023

TOP 10 Unusual Hiking Gadgets


Let’s be clear. Going out into nature, it is not necessary to fall into the Stone Age. Action cameras, trackers, walkie-talkies, satellite navigators, cameras, e-books, smartphones, laptops, music players – these electronic devices really help to make the trip more interesting, comfortable and safer. Recently, there have been many other gadgets created specifically for travelers. We will talk about them further.

We start with the simplest, most reliable and versatile solution. The fact is that from the “bank of power” you can directly power heated clothes, light bulbs, mosquito traps, fans … Providing energy for any device that is charged from USB 5 volts, portable batteries can be light and compact.

But there are also really powerful power supplies with several simultaneously operating ports, with large outgoing currents for charging, with different output voltages (6, 12, 19, 24 volts).

These are the so-called start-up chargers , which are designed to help out autotourists. They often have adapters for laptops, regular USB ports, and a built-in flashlight as standard.

For demanding wanderers, special models of power banks have been developed, with a shock-resistant and waterproof case. Among them are many expensive and high-tech power sources.

Also, for the electrification of everyday life in nature, high-speed and capacious (up to 40,000 mAh) solutions with a 220-volt outlet can be useful . From such a power bank with a “multi-outlet” at a campsite, you can power a water pump, a quadcopter battery, a mini-fridge, medical devices, some portable office equipment (yes, sometimes you need to be able to do something emergency right from the forest ).

Clothing with electric heating
This technology was first mastered by manufacturers of tools and construction equipment. She has performed well and is selling well. Hiking clothes with built-in heating are designed to prevent hypothermia and frostbite, allowing a person to feel normal at temperatures down to -60 degrees.

These clothes are made on the basis of membrane fabric, between the layers of which (including in special pockets) there are heating cables or special infrared modules made of carbon-containing fibers. The whole thing is powered, as usual, from power banks connected via USB. If we talk about specific types of camping wardrobe, then these can be:

coffee pots
For lovers of an invigorating drink, quite effective devices have been invented that function without electricity or a kitchen burner. You can take a metal French press or a camping coffee maker of a different design with you.

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For example, these can be devices powered by a tourist gas cylinder, such as the famous Coleman QuikPot.

Flashlights and smart bulbs with USB output
In fact, these are the same power banks. It’s just that now manufacturers of “camping” devices with built-in batteries have begun to supply them with an additional board and a 5-volt port for charging gadgets via USB.

As a backup “emergency” solution – quite a suitable option. We carry batteries inside our flashlights anyway, so why not have full access to them if needed.

Solar panels
Photovoltaics has proven itself well on long hikes, when batteries and accumulators may still not be enough. Portable panels can be integrated into electronic devices and objects (for example, there is a solar refrigerator, oven, table).

They can also be used as a separately portable folding module.

Photovoltaic panels are perfectly combined with power banks to collect precious energy in them throughout the daylight hours. Sometimes the “buffer” battery is part of the solar module.

It should be borne in mind that the efficiency of solar charging is highly dependent on the weather, season and climate zone. It can be very difficult to achieve the indicators indicated in the characteristics, especially if the panel works on the go (on a backpack, in a boat or even on the back of a camel).

Also, this device has an integrated geolocator, which helps to navigate the terrain.

Compact hydro turbines and wind turbines
Manufacturers have gone different ways. Some companies have relied on the variety of sails.

Others use a miniature turbine. It is set in motion by a design similar to a “fan”.

Still others made a smaller analogue of a three-bladed windmill and equipped their 50-watt device (weighing 650 grams) with a built-in 7500 mAh battery.

Also on sale are compact wind farms with a capacity of up to 400 watts (weight 3 kilograms) for installation on a car trailer or on a motor home. They are supplemented by an inverter that delivers current at 12 or 220 volts, which makes it possible not only to charge the phone, but to organize quite normal benefits of civilization in the campsite.

An undoubted advantage of producing electricity using water is that it is an almost all-weather occupation (unless water bodies can freeze in harsh winters). The only negative: you need to find a river or stream, the current of which is strong enough to put pressure on the blades of a portable turbine at a speed of at least 5-6 km / h.

Also, some manufacturers offer to tie turbines to a boat or boat, which makes it possible to get the coveted ampere hours on batteries even in still water. You can also use water from a hose, but where in nature to find such conditions remains a mystery.

By the way, there are several models of generators that can simultaneously charge batteries from both wind and water.

Furnaces that give out current during operation
A tourist does not always have the sun, wind or river flow in the right amount. But without fires or gas / alcohol burners, things can not do. It was decided to use thermal energy, which we release anyway. This is how devices such as FlameStower appeared, which generate current due to the thermoelectric effect.

It is enough to direct the flames to the metal plate, and then pour some water into a small tank – and you can slowly charge the gadgets while the camping pot boils.

According to the same principle, various kinds of wood chips work, which are equipped with built-in Peltier elements.

muscle power generators
Well, why not. This energy source is perhaps the most reliable and most renewable. Previously, such devices, due to their low efficiency, seemed to be something frivolous. Now the topic of the so-called “hand turbine power” has sharply become relevant: they are able to give the smartphone battery those missing percentages that are necessary to make a life-saving call in every sense. It only takes a few minutes to vigorously turn the handle.

With the option of manual recharging, we lose nothing even in terms of excess weight. After all, “dynamka” is often an element of a power bank, which almost all tourists take with them anyway. Above, we wrote about portable turbines that can be powered by wind and water. So, they can be untwisted by hand.

Segway for off-road
This type of electric transport used to be considered an attribute of purely urban life, but not so long ago, segway SUVs have become popular, which go great over rough terrain. They are endowed with more powerful motors and hooked 19-inch wheels. Their complete lithium batteries provide a range of up to 35 kilometers. The devices give speeds up to 20 kilometers per hour and have a carrying capacity of over 140 kilograms. On such a device for the whole day you can safely travel all around.

The solution turned out to be so successful that even the military became interested in it, which is actively introducing segways for combat and rescue operations. And these guys definitely know a lot about efficiency.

As a conclusion
Naturally, not all hikes are equally long and we do not always carry a lot of gadgets with us. One spare set of AA batteries for a headlamp is enough for someone, while others cannot imagine their vacation without full-fledged 220 volts and always take a compact gasoline generator into the car when going out into the countryside.


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