Smart Trekking Gear: Advancements In the Outdoors

By Vyshakh Nair

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In the last couple of decades, people who spend more time outdoors have been blessed with major enhancements in the technology of equipment they use. Would you believe that everything has become almost seven times lighter than what it used to be before? Let us look at all the equipment that is being used currently, which would not have been possible without the various technological advancements.

Tents

In 1870s, tents had a waterproof canvas layer on top and an oil cloth beneath the floor to provide protection from wet snow. Both combined weighed up to 25 kilograms. Today, the tents weigh a little above two kilograms.

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Tent poles are now made from aluminium, carbon fibre or fibre-glass, each of varying strengths.

Tents are powered by solar technologies like Cinch, which are fitted with 3500 smart lanterns. These provide luminescence rather than coloured luminescence.

Smart camping tent
Smart camping tent (Credit: www.fishpond.co.nz)

Sleeping gear

Bedding for one person in a climbing team weighed about 10 kilograms in 1890s. This has come down to 990 grams (for –2°C to +14°C temperature range).

Sleeping bags are insulated with goose-down or synthetic fibres.

Sleeping gear
Sleeping gear (Credit: www.iceland-camping-equipment.com)

Clothing

In 1930s, most clothing and apparel was either made from leather or cotton, both of which are not suitable to insulate the cold from the hostile environment.

Today, we have gore-tex layers, which let the air go in but not water. This keeps the climbers dry most of the time, by taking out moisture from time to time.

Footwear

A few decades ago, leather boots were the only durable shoes mountaineers could use. Now with the introduction of gore-tex layers and plastic boots, outdoor enthusiasts can push things further. They can withstand harsher environments and much difficult terrains with the grip and durability that tactical boots provide.

Shoes from Hi-Tec come with a special technology, which provides a removable ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) footbed and a compression-moulded EVA (CMEVA) midsole.

Hi-Tec hiking shoes
Hi-Tec hiking shoes (Credit: www.aussiedisposals.com.au)

Camera

Until recently, documenting and photographing expeditions was tough. The equipment was big, not weather-proof and had limited range.

Today, as obvious as it sounds, one can store thousands of photographs in a tiny microSD card. This was only possible with hundreds of camera rolls before.

Drones and POV cameras have given trekkers an entirely different angle for footages that could not be thought of before.

Drone camera for hiking
Drone camera for hiking (Credit: https://sunriseodyssey.com)

Medical equipment

Portable oxymeters and BP meters make sure that everyone participating in an outdoor expedition is medically fit and of sound mind to continue the expedition.

Portable blood pressure monitor (Credit: www.amazon.com)

Communication devices

With the invention of very high-frequency radios and satellite phones, people who venture outdoors are always connected to the base stations or with their team members.

Thousands of lives have been saved because of such devices, which can be used for calling for back up in emergency situations.

Satellite phones from Garmin are quite popular among hikers in India.

Navigation

Gone are the days when one needed to carry multiple maps on paper. Today, a GPS enables recording of all milestones on the way. One can even download the entire map of an area on a smartphone before venturing out. Using Google Maps offline functionality, one can track distances covered easily through a smartphone, as well.

 

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