Not so long ago, holidays meant going to destinations with plush hotels and gigantic malls to shop imported clothes and shoes. But gradually, our definition of a holiday has changed, thanks to our frenetic pace of life. Now, rather than seeking materialistic comfort, most of us prefer to have some me-time where we can reconnect with nature.
On my last work trip to Taipei, all I wanted to do was spend some time trekking. So, as soon as my work finished, I packed my backpack with some basic necessities and set off to the jungles. And as I realised during the trek, here are some absolute must-have gadgets that can help you make the most of your nature trips:
Suunto Ambit2: (Rs 16,000 onward)
Available in various models, depending on your budget and requirements, Ambit2 range from Suunto, is a GPS, Altimeter and a training monitor, all built into a wristwatch. The watch has a full-featured GPS with location in multi co-ordinate systems, waypoints and route navigation.
It lets you plan your route, mark point of interest along the way and retrace the route if you get lost. To repeat the route at a later date, you can select it and let the watch lead you. The Suunto Ambit2 features an Altimeter that can measure GPS altitudes, the total ascent and total descent.
It can also measure vertical speed and produce an altitude graph for your reference. The watch is equipped with a weather detection function, wherein it can measure Barometric pressure, temperature, and when paired with its App, give Sunrise/Sunset timings, sound Strom alarms and give tidal information.
The training monitor measures the GPS-based speed, pace and distance covered. When paired with its own heart rate monitor band, the Ambit2 lets you set heart rate limits, make graphs in real time and measure peak training effects and recovery time.
LifeStraw: (Rs 750)
LifeStraw neither has a battery nor is it rechargeable. Yet, it can be the one thing that can save your life when you run out of water in your bottle. It is a Water Filter, designed to be used by one person.
You cam simply put this in your empty water bottle and put water into the bottle from any source that might be available, like a stream or a river, or simply drink directly from these sources using the LifeStraw.
It can purify up to 1,000 litres of water, filtering down to 0.2 microns and removes almost all bacteria and parasites. LifeStraw has a shelf life of up to five years, so it can be stored at room temperature and be reused for your next trip.
Divoom Bluetune Bean: (Rs 1,999)
Nothing enhances the pleasure of walking in a jungle, more than listening to your choice of music. Bean from Divoom is a Bluetooth speaker that can connect to any of your Bluetooth-enabled device to stream music on the go.
A carabiner is included in the pack, which can be attached to its metallic loop and in turn hung on the loop of your backpack or your belt loop. The rubberised shell makes it a sturdy outdoor companion. Its rechargeable lithium – ion battery can deliver up to six hours of music playback.
The Speakerphone capability also makes it a great hands-free for your phone. The bean charges via a USB port, so you can simply connect it to your battery pack for two hours for a full recharge.
Instax Mini 90 - Fujifilm: (US$ 150 - Rs 12,500)
Instant gratification in retro style is what this camera is all about. Instax Mini 90 from Fujifilm is a Polaroid camera that looks like something out of the bygone era, with its metal and leather body.
Loading the film, in this set of 10 instant film cards, is as simple as opening the back door of the camera and dropping the pack inside. The camera has two shutter buttons for easy use, one for taking vertical shots and one for landscapes.
There are five buttons below the LCD for Macro, adjusting brightness (three levels), setting timer so that you can take your own pictures, flash on/off and a Mode button that lets you toggle between five advanced shooting modes.
The advanced modes include Party for using flash and slow shutter to get better exposure in dark backgrounds, Kids for taking snapshots of fast moving objects like animals or people on the move, Landscape lets you focus on distances from 10 feet to infinity great for pictures of the distant scenery, Double Exposure takes two shots, one after the other and then superimposes both into a single exposure for an artistic picture, Bulb for taking night time shots and light streaks by opening the shutter for a longer time.
TYLT Energi+ Backpack: (Rs 12,000)
This is a dream backpack that not only stores your stuff but also charges your gadgets. The Energi+ Backpack has a discrete 10,400mAh rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, which simply fits in an elastic pouch in one of the bag’s pockets and charging cables can be routed to any of the bag’s six compartments to charge the gadgets on the move.
On one end the battery has a micro USB port for charging the battery itself and three full-sized USB ports for charging devices with the battery. Two of the ports are of 1 Amp, for charging any smart phone and the third port is of 2.1 Amp, for charging your tablet.
The bag itself is well-padded to protect all your gear against any bumps or falls and the thick nylon shell is water resistant. The shoulder straps are well-padded to cushion your shoulders against the weight of the fully-loaded bag.
The sleeve for holding the water bottle is hidden inside one of the pockets and can be pulled out whenever you want. The bag even has a hard pocket with soft interiors to keep your sunglasses safe and a small headphone compartment on the strap to give you easy access to them.