The best hiking technique for your fall adventures

The best hiking technique for your fall adventures

Do you need technology for your hike? (Image: included)

“Let’s do a 25 mile hike in the Scottish Highlands and stay in a shepherd’s hut. It will be great!’ That was my best friend’s “funny” suggestion.

For context: I had never hiked before. She has a degree in geography. But she also gets lost between our local bar and the school where we train in martial arts. These two buildings are less than 25 feet apart.

It was a good job tech on hand to save the day and keep us from becoming a missing persons statistic…

route tracking

The Garmin eTrex 32

Keep an overview (Picture: eTrex 32x) 32x

Keep an overview (Image: eTrex 32x)

Cell phone mapping is reliable for urban areas. But you need backup in more remote areas and forgot to download your maps. Or not took a paper map and compass and learned to use them.

That Garmin eTrex32 is a portable device, about the size of a tissue pack, preloaded with TopoActive Europe maps. Powered by two AA batteries, it offers up to 25 hours of continuous use.

You can draw your own routes and upload them as GPX files to check you’re on the right track. You can also program specific landmarks (or waypoints) into the journey, which will ping reassuringly as you pass them. By connecting to GPS and GLONASS satellites, you can find out where you are in the most distant places.

Controlled via a mini joystick and side buttons, this device took some getting used to. And the 2.2-inch screen doesn’t offer the greatest view. That’s the trade-off for such pocket portability. It kept us on course amazingly reliable and once we became familiar with its other features it was the technical find of the voyage.

Buy from Garmin for £239.99.

Mobile miracle

The Nokia XR20

The durable option (Image: Nokia)

The durable option (Image: Nokia)

If your route is less remote, a cell phone will suffice. But of course you want to take something with you that can survive if it falls on a rock or in a creek.

That Nokia XR20 is tough enough to take a beating and stylish enough to endure a night out like dating a fashion-savvy MMA fighter. Its polymer composite housing meets military standards MIL-STD-810H, meaning it’s built for more extreme environments.

It can be submerged in 1.5m of water for an hour and survive a 1.8m fall. The screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus which is very tough.

It also provides strength. Its 4,630mAh battery lasted two days of regular use without recharging. In addition to its rugged build and long battery life, another selling point of the XR20 (pictured above) is its 6.67-inch screen, which makes map reading much easier than on smaller phones.

While pricier phones might have faster refresh rates and fancier cameras, the XR20 is reliable and robust. It’s also 5G ready and costs less than £350.

Not only that, it survived a soak when I fell into a mountain stream with it in my pocket. It’s fair to say the phone came back in better shape than I did.

Buy for £349 from Nokia.

Wearable miracles

Polar Grit X Pro

Polar Grit X Pro

The Polar Grit X Pro is a tough beast (Image: Polar)

If the idea of ​​portable mapping devices isn’t for you, the Polar Grit X Pro is a sturdy beast of a watch that packs all sorts of exercise and health data, as well as navigation features.

A scratch-resistant 1.2-inch sapphire crystal touchscreen sits in a bezel with compass points. The stainless steel case has five buttons around the edges and users operate the device using a combination of these buttons and the touchscreen.

It also boasts military-grade durability, is water resistant to 100m, and has a seven-day battery life, which translates to 40 hours of continuous use in GPS tracking mode.

Planning routes is a bit fiddly, as they have to be drawn in a related app, in this case Komoot, and then saved as a GPX file. Komoot cards are also subject to a fee. Your route will be uploaded to the Polar Flow app and then uploaded to the watch.

Once complete, you must begin your hike and follow the turn-by-turn directions on the clock screen. It also has a feature that takes you back to your starting point if, like us, you come across a mountain river that you can’t cross and you need to retrace your steps. It’s a wrist navigator and very good.

Buy for £429 from Polar.

Fenix ​​7 Solar Edition

The Fenix ​​offers more tech for your money (Image: Fenix)

The Fenix ​​offers more tech for the money (Image: Garmin)

That Fenix ​​7 Solar Edition is a more expensive offering, but you get more tech for your money. It includes the usual advanced heart rate and activity tracking you’d expect from a high-end Garmin wearable, and the related apps (Garmin Connect, Garmin Explore) present data accurately. The watch is operated using five buttons and the touchscreen.

Its military-grade durability has been tested for temperature, shock and water resistance, and the 18-day battery life can be extended to 22 days thanks to solar charging built into the Power Glass touchscreen. I got through 21 days without needing to charge it and used its tracking metrics regularly.

Its GPS mapping offering is impressive. The watch comes with pre-paid TopoActive maps that you download using a Wi-Fi connection, your computer and the watch’s built-in map manager function. Download pre-planned routes as GPX files and the GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellites will intervene when you are out of cellular signal range. It is a comprehensive offering with easy-to-use accompanying apps. But there is a price to pay for that.

Buy from Garmin for £689.99.

Picture book

GoPro Hero10

Capture the action (Image: GoPro)

Capture the action (Image: GoPro)

You can’t jog through the stunning Highlands without snapping photos to make your friends on Instagram jealous. That GoPro Hero10 can not only take 23MP photos, but also record 4K or 5.3K videos. It can also capture action with time-lapse and slow-motion capabilities, and has stabilization technology for filming on the go.

All of this is packed into something smaller than a medium-sized post-it note and thinner than a Mars bar. It takes up less space than three protein bars in my backpack!

I grabbed 47 of them. My hiking partner said that was overkill. She didn’t say that if the weather meant our trip was cut short after five miles and she was hungry on the way back. Everyone is a critic.

Buy from GoPro for £349.98.

power banks

Anker 325 power bank

Power up with anchor (image: anchor)

Power up with anchor (image: anchor)

If you’re taking tech with you on a long hike, you’ll need to pack an emergency power source.

That Anker 325 power bank is slim enough for a backpack and light enough to carry long distances.

Users can get up to five full phone charges with the 20,000mAh battery.

Buy it from Amazon for €39.99.

Quechua solar panel 50W

Recharge naturally (Image: Quechua)

Recharge naturally (Image: Quechua)

If you return to a campsite and spend daylight there, that is Quechua solar panel 50W is a pretty good option. In carrying mode, it has the footprint of an A3 sheet of paper.

Once unfolded to twice its size and facing the sun, it charges everything that needs electricity.

Buy for £129.99 from Decathlon.

This article contains affiliate links. We receive a small commission for purchases made through any of these links, but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and verified independently from commercial initiatives.

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Justin Scacco

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