Anil John
Making Digital Services Secure and Trustworthy

Anil John

Tools for the Connected Backpacker

 Tweet  Share  Comment  Print  Email

In this time of always on connectivity, I hike and backpack to enjoy the outdoors and step away from the pace of daily life. Provided you do not let them overpower your reasons for being in the back-country, these are some of the gear and technologies that I’ve found useful in the backcountry.

I recently got to introduce my son to overnight backcountry backpacking. While he has been with me on numerous day hikes, last night was his first experience with an overnight stay in the backcountry. We hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail and spent the night in a camping area near the Rocky Run Shelter on the A.T. It was a great experience and one we are planning on repeating. Given that we are both gadget geeks, there was definitely a technology component to our trip.

  1. iPhone + Lifeproof Case: I bring an iPhone 4S, but not for being connected to the grid. After all, the point is to not be tethered to the world. This is typically not a problems since where I go, there is often no mobile phone reception. I use it as a GPS and as a Camera (more on both below). But it is important to protect the phone from the harsh conditions on the trail, and I have found the waterproof, dirtproof, shockproof Lifeproof case to be outstanding for that purpose.
  2. Camera+ Photo App: This is my go-to photo app and allows me to bring out the best of the iPhone camera. The feature set is outstanding and includes grid support, self-timer, effects and more.
  3. Leki Trekking Poles + Camera Adapter: I use a pair of Leki Corklite Aergon SpeedLock trekking poles, but what I absolutely love about it is the photo-adapter camera mounting kit which turns the pole’s grip into a mono-pod with a universal threaded camera mount.
  4. iStabilizer Camera Mount: By attaching this iStabilizer camera mount to the leki’s camera adapter, I get something I can easily mount my iPhone to, and allows me to take very stable photos or group shots with a self-timer.
  5. inReach Satellite Communicator + GPS App: This was one of the best investments I have made for piece of mind and safety in the back-country. Global network coverage for text messages using the Iridium satellite network, GPS tracking, SOS Search and Rescue response, free companion app with topo maps and more. On my last multi-day backpack into the Rocky Mountain National Park, I had no cell phone reception, but was checking in with the family every night via text messages. Massive WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor)!
  6. Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Battery Pack: The rechargeable power unit, which can be charged from an outlet or from a solar panel, allows me to re-charge my iPhone or my inReach unit if I run out of power. It also doubles as an LED flashlight.

Did you find this interesting? Don't miss any new posts. Sign up to automatically receive them now!

I will never share, rent, or sell your information to anyone. Cancel anytime.

This blog post first appeared on Anil John | Blog ( The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent my employer’s view in any way.

By on |

Continue The Conversation ...

I would love to know your thoughts on this blog post. Please leave a comment below!

I am a Public Interest Technologist. I help technical leaders make digital services secure and trustworthy. Learn more »

Free Updates

I will never share, rent, or sell your information to anyone