Must-haves for your 2015 outdoor adventure

It’s that time again. Time to unfold yourself from the desk and emerge into the sunlight. Even though high-tech gizmos aren’t necessary for getting out and enjoying nature, we here at DT know from experience that the right assortment of tech gear can make outdoor excursions simpler, safer, and more fun. These days more and more companies are making gear that’s designed to withstand the elements, and make those backpacking trips more vacation and less survival. We’ve added some new tech to our round up of the best summer outdoor gear.

ECOxBT Wireless Bluetooth Speaker ($130)

EcoxBT

Ever wished you could take your tunes along on a nice, relaxing river float? Now that waterproof Bluetooth speakers are hitting the market with a vengeance, your dreams are a reality. This badboy is waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, completely buoyant and self-righting, and connects wirelessly to your smartphone in a snap. Their sound isn’t the best we’ve heard from a wireless speaker, but it’s crisp and clear in the midrange, which helps your tunes effectively cut through any ambient nature noise.

Available from:

Amazon Best Buy

Columbia Sportswear Omni-Freeze Zero Shirts ($38+)

Columbia 2

How cool is this shirt, huh? Sorry, couldn’t help it. That’s what you get when you make stuff that looks as cool as it makes you feel. Columbia Sportswear has outfitted it’s Omni-Freeze Zero shirts with little blue rings that absorb moisture as you sweat, drawing away heat in the process and leaving you feeling like you’re wearing a little portable air conditioner. And the best part is, the shirts are pretty stylin’; long-sleeve, golf polo, tank top, v-neck- take your pick. You can even get hats, shoes, and bandannas with the wearable tech.

Available from:

Amazon Columbia

BioLite CampStove ($130)

Biolite

This badass little biomass stove has won the hearts of techie outdoorsfolk ever since it completed its Kickstarter campaign, and we’re still in love with it two years later. It runs on nothing more than twigs and bits of wood, it can boil a pot of water in under 3 minutes, and it uses any waste heat created to power anything that charges via USB. As an added bonus, BioLite now offers a grill attachment.

Available from:

Amazon REI

Titan Stormproof Matches ($10)

Matches

Still need something to light the stove, right? It would suck to get to the middle of nowhere and discover your lighter is out of fuel or that the striker is worn to a nub. Say thanks to the experienced campers at UCO for their line of Stormproof matches –and this is the king of the bunch. At more than 4 inches long, these are the biggest baddest matches you’re like to find. Water resistant and nearly windproof, you can get 25 in a box with a pair of spare strikers. If you get the kit, you get 12 matches in a waterproof floating carry case with three strikers, and both are $10. Come July, you’ll be able to grab these.

Available from:

Amazon REI

Earl Backcountry Survival Tablet ($300)

Earl 1

If you’re thinking “why the hell would anyone need a tablet in the backcountry?” rest assured, that was our initial reaction, too. But then we looked at the features on this thing. Tablets by nature are designed for maximum utility, and Earl is no different. It’s almost got too many features to list here: it runs Android 4.1 and can run apps, has a flexible and durable 6-inch screen, solar panels on the back for charging, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, FRS/GMRS/MURS transceivers (two-way radios), GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer, barometer, thermometer, anemometer, AM/FM/SW/LW radios, and a 20+ hour battery life. We’re still waiting on the finished product.

Available from:

Earl

Petzl NAO Reactive Lighting Headlamp ($175)

Earl Backcountry Survival Tablet 1

Petzl’s headgear already sets the bar high for headlamp manufacturers, but the NAO reactive lighting system takes things to a whole different level. It’s more than just a head-mounted lamp – it’s got two different beams and an ambient light sensor that adjusts them in real time to fit what you’re looking at. The beam will get tighter and more focused when you’re looking at something in the distance, and instantly adjust to a dimmer, wider beam when you put a map up to your face. Necessary? Probably not. Cool? Absolutely.

Available from:

Amazon REI

SteriPen Water Purification System ($100)

Steri

Purifying water is a must when you’re out in the wilderness, but boiling takes too long, iodine makes it taste nasty, and reverse osmosis pumps are just a pain. If you’re looking to kill off waterborne illnesses in a snap, check out SteriPen – a fast, compact, and lightweight water purification system that uses high-intensity UV light to murder microorganisms in your water. The light kills 99.99 percent of all viruses, bacteria, and parasites in just a few seconds.

Available from:

Amazon SteriPen

Naked Water Filter ($25)

Naked Bottle

If you like the SteriPen, but not the taste of grit in your water, then add the Naked bottle top water filter to your go-bag. In the top of the bottle is a new filter made of electro-spun polymer that removes cysts, bacteria, and silt. It doesn’t get viruses, but it also doesn’t need to be charged. What’s more, the top itself can fit other sports bottles in case you already have a bottle you love. If you missed out on the Kickstarter campaign, check their page for info on where to find one.

Available from:

Liquidity

PowerPot ($100)

Powerpot 3

Electricity is hard to come by in the backwoods, and when it comes time to power up your gear on the trail, you’ve generally got three options: battery packs, solar chargers, or thermoelectric chargers. PowerPot is one of the latter. This clever little cooking pot feeds off the heat created by your campfire and converts it into usable energy you can use to juice up any USB-powered device.

Available from:

Amazon REI

Next Page: Nine more must-haves for your 2015 outdoor adventure

Home Theater

Put your home theater to the test with these spectacular Blu-ray releases

What's the point of having all of that awesome home theater gear if you can't breed a little jealousy in your friends and family? We've put together this list of fantastic Blu-rays that have the goods to drop a few jaws.
Music

Listen up! These are the best movie soundtracks of all time

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled background music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Photography

Snap, print, and go: The 8 best portable photo printers

Printing your favorite smartphone pictures on the go is easier than ever with a portable photo printer. They are compact and easy to use, transforming your digital selfies into souvenir.
Deals

The best affordable Samsung phone deals available now

Looking for a new Android phone? Samsung makes some of our favorites, but you don't have to shell out a fortune for a Galaxy device. Check out our roundup of the best afffordable Samsung phones available right now.
Outdoors

Bluetooth firepits, rock-climbing jeans, and more from the Outdoor Retailer show

We've scoured the show floor at the Outdoor Retailer convention in Denver, CO looking for the very best new products for hikers, backpackers, climbers, trail runners, and other outdoor athletes.
Mobile

Keep track of your workout intensity with our Fitbit syncing guide

Want to buy a Fitbit tracker or smartwatch but lack technical expertise? All you have to do is pair it with your Apple, Android, or Windows device to have access to its benefits. We compiled a walkthrough for how to sync a Fitbit.
Health & Fitness

Strava unveils Summit, a new a la carte membership plan

ààStrava is saying goodbye to its premium membership option and replacing it with a new à la carte service called Summit. The Strava Summit memberships offer three different packs that can be purchased separately or together in a bundle…
Emerging Tech

Scientists complete the first successful transplant of lab-grown lungs

For the first time ever, lab-grown lungs have been successfully transplanted into pigs, allowing them to breathe normally with no medical complications. Here's how they managed it.
Emerging Tech

IrisVision uses VR to help people with fading eyesight to see again

A smartphone-based VR system can now help people with severe macular degeneration see better. While it doesn’t cure blindness, it does enable users with this vision disorder to carry out tasks they would otherwise find impossible.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Cars

Dual-purpose pot and booze breathalyzer can tell how stoned or drunk you are

Experts don't agree on how much smoking marijuana impairs driving performance, but Hound Lab's breathalyzer, which also detects alcohol, reports whether a subject consumed marijuana during the previous two hours.
Deals

Start your fitness journey with the best Fitbit deals available now

If you're ready to kick-start your fitness regimen (or just take your current one to the next level), we've created a quick rundown of the best, most current Fitbit deals to help you decide which one is best for you.
Deals

The best computer reading glasses for eye strain

Eye strain, headaches, and dry eyes are all side effects of too much exposure to blue light and screen glare. Get yourself a pair of computer reading glasses to help relieve the discomfort.
Outdoors

The Mate X folding ebike carries a 55-mile range with an affordable price tag

The Mate X folding ebike promises to deliver a range of up to 55 miles, speeds of 20 mph, and an affordable price point. The bike is already a success on Indiegogo, raising $2.4 million in just a few weeks time.
1 of 2