Saturday, July 05, 2008
It used to be that people took went into the wilderness to escape a lot of the technological innovations that surrounded them at home and at work. Now though there are a huge number of different gadgets that are designed to make the outdoor experience more enjoyable and in many cases safer, while causing a minimum of technological distraction while in the wilderness.
Digital music players are a great example of gadgets that are tremendously popular in the outdoors. After all, it's extremely common to see someone out trail running or riding a mountain bike with ear buds in her or his ears. There are actually a huge number of benefits to enjoying digital music players while in the outdoors. First of all, there is evidence that music can help to be a motivator while working out. Specifically, someone found that people who worked out while listening to music by Metallica were able to maintain a greater intensity of activity for longer than people who worked out without any music at all!
It's also possible to use a digital audio player to enhance the outdoor experience itself. For example, these gadgets can allow people to listen to books on tape by Thoreau or Muir while hiking. It would also be possible to listen to the Symphony of the Planets while star gazing. The possibilities are virtually endless.
There are also gadgets that can be used to share your outdoor experiences with others. For example, Archos makes a portable video device that can record video when it has a digital camera connected to it. Plus, there's a helmet cam accessory specifically designed for this gadget. With the addition of the helmet cam, the gadget can be used to record mountain bike rides, snow boarding, skiing, and rock climbing from a first person perspective!
A portable video device can also be used for camping. A special problem that confronts people who like to camp during the winter months is the huge amount of time spent in tents during the long hours of darkness. It's only possible to sleep so much, and a portable video device is a gadget that can go a long way towards eliminating boredom. The fact that portable video devices can be used to play music makes them an even more versatile type of gadget to use while camping out.
Perhaps the most useful electronic gadgets to bring into the woods from the perspective of safety is the GPS. When used in conjunction with maps (which are often loaded onto the GPS device itself) a gadget with a GPS receiver can be used to pinpoint your exact location in the wilds. This can be extremely useful when it comes to preventing yourself from getting lost, figuring out where your are if you get turned around, or summoning help if you're injured. Of course it's also extremely helpful to have a mobile phone under these circumstances, and GPS transceivers are often built into mobile phones these days as well.
While some people might argue that the woods is no place for gadgets, it should be pointed out that technology is a necessity in some form or another. Clothes, fire, sleeping bags, rope, and camp stoves are all examples of technology. So why not add some electronic gadget onto the list of outdoor essentials?