Summer is upon us, and in the technological age, it has never been so easy to photograph, track, record, fuel, and ultimately enjoy the outdoor adventures that we love. At Outdoor Project, we have your fix of the most useful gadgets for your summer sojourns, whether you’re planning a multi-day trip or just a run around the block. If it’s outside, check out these tools. They may just save your life.
Here are 10 of our favorite pieces of outdoor tech that we can't wait to put to good use all summer long!
A GPS watch is an indispensable part of any backpacking trip, as our contributors will tell you. It’s the best way to track your location and route, and Casio’s Pro Trek smart watches offer a wide range of other useful functions, including a compass bearing and altitude. The one knock on GPS watches is their battery life, which can drain quickly, especially when GPS functionality is on. The Pro Trek offers a respectable seven to nine hours of life while the GPS is in use, and with power-saving options to choose from, its battery life can easily be extended. Notably, the Pro Trek has a microphone, which allows you to tag notes to your location. Compatible with Android and iPhone, it’s a fantastic addition for backpacking journeys.
Learn more about the Pro Trek Smart here.
Gone are the days of battery swaps. The Radiant 250 offers five modes, including a gentler red light, and its bright burst illuminates up to 270 feet. The headlamp recharges in just two hours via USB, so you can keep your night light shining just by plugging it into your car, and you'll have up to 43 hours of run time on its lowest setting. For any trip with easy access to power, the Nite Ize Radiant 250 is a fantastic option.
Learn more about the Radiant 250 here.
Goal Zero has been at the forefront of outdoor power solutions for some time now, and the Venture 70 Power Pack is a critical mainstay for adventures, especially with so many powered devices used in the field. Recharge any device that uses a Lightning or USB port, including the items on this list. For multi-day trips without access to power, that’s an absolute must. Rugged, dust-proof, and waterproof, it’s a safe and reliable source of power that recharges easily overnight and is compatible with Goal Zero’s backcountry solar panels.
Learn more about Venture 70 here.
An update to the walkie talkie of yore, the GoTenna Mesh is a device that greatly extends the range of traditional point-to-point communication. It’s off-grid, meaning that the Mesh creates a network with anyone who owns and uses the device. Without cell service, you can send text messages, GPS coordinates, or maps from your mobile device, even when you’re far out of range. Keep your peace of mind with one or link several together on a longer outing—the Mesh will keep you connected even in remote locations.
Learn more about the GoTenna Mesh here.
The FUJIFILM X-H1 is a fully featured outdoor photographer’s dream. Its 24-megapixel sensor is top of the line, and the camera has much more to offer: touch-sensitive LCD, 4K capture, image stabilization, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. New to this model are improvements to video capture that allow you to shoot in 4K for up to 30 minutes, meaning you can capture that much more action on singletrack or at the crag. For stills, Fuji has improved the X-H1’s performance in low light conditions, so you can keep shooting day or night.
Learn more about the X-HI Camera here.
The GNARBOX has been a hot photographer’s item since it hit the market. The gap between shoot and edit is wider for no one than the outdoor photographer, and this powerful little device essentially eliminates the disparity. The little powerhouse mobilizes the editing studio, allowing you to backup and edit photos right after you take them, wherever you are, right from your phone. The Gnarbox 1.0 offers 256 gigabytes of storage at most, but the updated version (available soon) offers considerably more versatility.
Learn more about the GNARBOX here.
The Spark Drone is a photographer’s best friend: loyal, by your side, and aware of your emotions. This airborne camera comes in a small package and is packed with features that make it simple to use in the outdoors. Facial recognition and hand-gesture control make it lighter and more packable than bigger, bulkier options—and it’s more fun to use, too. It plugs into your mobile device for easy control at your fingertips. Intuitive, it recognizes obstacles before you do, making its flights safer. And while it’s swerving to avoid a crash, its gimbal will keep images stable.
Learn more about the Spark Drone here.
No speaker packs a greater punch than the WONDERBOOM from Ultimate Ears. With a sound that belies its size, the WONDERBOOM is waterproof, small, and packable. Its battery lasts up to 10 hours, which is more than enough for a day at the beach or an evening with friends around the barbecue – just keep the volume respectful, of course. Drop-tested up to 5 feet, it’s a hardy addition to liven the summer mood with music.
Learn more about the WONERBOOM Wireless Speaker here.
It’s hard to find a wireless headphone that is truly useful for sport. No ear is the same, and under intense activity, headphones tend to fall out of place. Not so with the Jaybird Run Wireless Headphones. With interchangeable fins and tips to help customize the buds for your ears, they’re snug and secure. They carry a four-hour play time and offer an impressively fast charge capability that provides an hour of battery life in just five minutes. Great for runners, it’s likely to lure anyone who sweats in the outdoors.
Learn more about the Run Wireless Headphones here.
Useful anywhere mosquitos fly (which is everywhere), the Thermacell Trailblazer Mosquito Repellant Camp Lantern needs to be on your packing list for outdoor adventures this summer. With an effective range up to 15 feet, the lantern creates a no-fly zone for the outdoor’s most bothersome insect. And the unit has an LED light that shines as bright as 300 lumens, so you’ll also be able to see that there are no mosquitos flying anywhere near you. The lantern is entirely DEET- and scent-free. Rest easy, dear camper.
Learn more about the Trailblazer Camp Lantern here.