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Outdoor Exploration - Gadgets & Hiking Essentials
Decked-out caravan and camping parks may be the preference for some travellers, but others relish the opportunity to head off the beaten track and take their outdoor adventures to the next level. For such adventurers, this means experiencing the natural wonders of Australia that might not be easily accessible otherwise.
If you like the idea of discovering hidden delights but the thought of doing it is a little daunting, you'll be pleased to know there is a range of gadgets, tools and essentials that eliminates some of the more intimidating aspects of hitting the great outdoors.
Here are some ideas that may have you rethinking your next trip…
Anxiety about getting lost or stranded is one the biggest factors that has people thinking twice when it comes to heading off the beaten track. However, with the range of handheld and portable dependable GPS devices available from manufacturers like Garmin, keeping track of where you are, where you're headed and how to get back to basecamp has never been easier.
With pre-loaded base maps and optional topographical maps - long running time on alkaline batteries or some models rechargeable, and rugged, durable casing, handheld GPS devices are built to withstand outdoor demands and guide you to some spectacular scenery and destinations that might not be on your everyday map. Handy functions like SOS alerts, satellite tracking, weather updates, extensive coverage an navigation sensors and even two-way radio capability mean you can stay in touch with friends, co-campers and emergency services. They are also small and light enough to fit into your hiking pack.
For the more athletically minded who love their trail runs or mountain biking experiences, brands like Garmin also make wrist-watch GPS devices with heart-rate monitoring and the ability to pre-plan your route. All you have to worry about is performing at your best.
Maps & Navigation
Hema is one of the most trusted names in off-the-beaten-track navigation. They not only supply an extensive range of time-honoured touring maps and hike maps but they also publish a number of handy guides for camping, fishing, 4WD adventures and informative access maps - everything from the Kimberley, Cape York and Fraser Island to Victoria's high country, Tasmania and every other waterhole and observation point in-between.
As well as immersive guides, maps and publications, the popular Hema HX-1 Navigator GPS device boasts Australia's best off road topographic mapping, turn-by-turn navigation and over 45,000 campsites, caravan parks and other touring points of interest. If that doesn't get you excited for the great outdoors, nothing will!
If you're looking to head out for a few days - or even longer - and want to ensure you're prepared for anything the outdoors throws at you, water purification should be at the top of your essentials packing list (right next to first aid!). Lifestraw are the industry leaders in water purification technology, with their Lifestraw Universal (weighing just 200g!) able to purify up to 4000 litres!
In addition to their entire range, Lifestraw Universal also easily fit into most standard water bottles and include a 2 stage filtration process using activated carbon that helps to remove up to 99.99% of waterborne bacteria, parasites and diseases (such as E.coli), leaving you with clean, drinkable water in times where fresh water is unavailable. You'll never want to go off track again without one!
Lighting & Head Torches
If you're heading out when there's limited light, the type of lighting support you choose is critical when exploring difficult to navigate and tricky terrain. Head torches are perfect for those a little more 'hands on' and help direct light in front of you whilst keeping your hands and arms free. Whether you opt for a rechargeable one (simply charge it up in the car) or a battery-powered one, head torches are perfect for close-knit activities such as sorting gear, activities that require your hands (such as climbing or traversing rugged terrain), cooking or setting up camp after dark.
If you're staying put for a little while, and want the luxury of more permanent lighting solution, opt for either LED light strips, such as the Dorcy Portable LED Light Strip which can be attached via magnets to any tent opening, awning or fixed structure (such as a caravan) or remote lights such as the Spinifex Tent Light with Remote which are perfect for inside and take up minimal space.
No essential outdoor gadget-list would be complete without mentioning the ever reliable multi-tool. And whether you're hiking, camping, 4WDing or having fish, there are a huge range of options no matter what situation you find yourself in. Gerber is notorious for its range of 'hard-yakka' multi-tools, with the likes of Bear Grylls amongst its fans. From multi-tools, to knives, fillet knives and camp cooking utensils, Gerber tools offer high quality, durability and effectiveness against anything the outdoors can throw at you.
If you're new to the outdoors, and want something a bit more 'all-rounder', Leatherman offer a great range of entry-level multi-tools that are perfect for the every day adventurer. From pocket-size to full out '17-tool inclusive' multi-tools, there's one for every type of outdoor adventurer.
When it comes to awesome gadgets that can help you get the most out of your next adventure, you can't go past the fun that comes with metal detectors. Fill your pack, grab your GPS and head out for a bit of prospectin'!
Internationally respected Minelab metal detectors range from introductory level units for beginner fun, right up to professional level detectors with customisable search functions, wireless audio capability and waterproof submergibility. Add to this a range of accessories like gold panning kits, and you and your family will experience a side of the great outdoors you never knew existed.