High-Tech Hiking

Fitness, Travel

For me, hiking is one of the best ways

  • to find perspective on life
  • to come up with new business ideas or solutions to existing challenges
  • to catch up with my podcasts
  • to make some breath-taking panorama photos
  • and to feel great from the sense of accomplishment.

The latest gadgets then allow you to magically expand your abilities and to make most of your precious time.

Jiri’s Recommendations

  1. Make at least one (extended) weekend escape per month
  2. Choose the right days – you want to avoid the high seasons
  3. Book the trips a few months ahead with special sales – you can save 25%-50% of the usual prices. Every now and then there are flash sales of air tickets or special hotel packages. Book for non-refundable hotel rates and the savings usually pay for a Travel Insurance allowing you to cancel with full refund, should it be needed.
  4. Choose one airline frequent miles program and stick to it – I chose Miles & More and though they may not be the cheapest airlines around, whenever there is a problem, it’s handled somewhat properly. If you choose an exotic airline or the cheapest airline in the world, when something goes wrong, you may be left disappointed.
  5. Choose one hotel loyalty program and stick to it – I chose Discovery – and enjoy the benefits, such as complimentary upgrade upon availability.

Preparation

Preparation, as usual, is the key to a successful journey.

By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.
Benjamin FanklinOne of the Founding Fathers of the United States

 

Keep a list of the places I wish to see in your life, each with a few landmarks to see. Once you decide on the next destination, depending on the weather – for example, you cannot hike in Norway until late June – choose the hotel and ask the hotel concierge about her recommendations what to see. They usually help you identify the treasures you may otherwise miss.

The weather forecasts are usually not very reliable, in my experience, the best forecasts globally come from the Weather Channel. Take the forecasts into account when planning the hikes so that you do not go via slippery trails when it might be raining and schedule the hikes with best views for the least likely rainy days.

Do ask about the dangers of the particular area – snakes, bears, etc. and be prepared to deal with them.

Always have backup plans.

Necessary Equipment

You want to pack in such a way that you carry as little as possible which usually rules out DSLR Cameras.

Recommended ItemRecommended Models/BrandsComments
GPS MappingGarmin Montana 680t Weather-proof mapping
360 Degrees CameraRicoh Theta SUntil GoPro Fusion is available, one of the most compact 360 degrees cameras available
GoPro, GoPro Mount, GoPro BatteriesGoProGoPro is light and shoots amazing videos.

When hiking, you require your hands to be free so the best mount is the Chest Mount or mounting to the special GoPro backpack, such as Thule Legend GoPro Backpack.

Take at least 3 reserve GoPro batteries per day’s hike.

Extra Cell Phone BatteriesXQisit
Water BottleKor DeviKeeps cold/warm drinks in their original temperature for 10+ hours.
Energy ChewsGU ChewsExtremely light, and tasty enough
Sun GlassesOakley All mid-range and above Oakley’s glasses are excellent
HatTilley’s Hiker’s HatThis hat is windproof, water-repellent and has excellent UV protection
BackpackGoPro SeekerVery light and perfect for hiking.
Backpack Waterproof Cover
ClothingIcebreaker or X-BionicClothing which reacts to the outside temperatures. Can save your life.
ShoesAny hiking shoes from Salamon
Sun Cream

GPS Device

Hiking without a GPS device is less fun, and is both waste of time and sometimes very dangerous since the trail posts or labels may get lost, be hidden in the snow or you may miss them for any reason and then you have to go back and search.

Furthermore, the local printed maps can be inaccurate or may use local names, sometimes in a non-latin alphabet, of the waypoints and the result is that instead of admiring the scenery you find yourself walking the same trails back and forth for hours and deciding how to proceed.

Therefore, a GPS device helps make most of your time on hiking since it’s impossible to get lost with it.

I highly recommend using Garmin’s devices since one can buy very detailed TOPO maps for most countries for them. They also come with Garmin BaseCamp which enables you to plan the trip and upload the trip as a Route (GPX file) to the device. I personally own Garmin Montana 680t and it helped me save hours.

While Garmin maps are excellent, sometimes they use strangest names for points of interests and you may not be able to find the location on their maps. For this reason, I usually plan my hikes using OutdoorActive.com which has a very comprehensive global database of points of interest. It also has an iPhone app which can download any trail prepared with OutdoorActive.com and can serve as a backup, should the GPS device fail (never happened to me, yet).

How to Plan a Hike with OutdoorActive.com

  1. Go to https://OutdoorActive.com and choose the Route Planner
  2. Select the activity type as “Hiking Trail” (1) and put in a few points of interests – if the name of the location consists of a number of words, search by the individual words – (2). When you’re happy, download the GPX file which then can be imported into Garmin BaseCamp as a part of the Trail – if the trip is a round trip, do not forget to add the start point as the last point as well.
  3. Import the GPX file into Garmin BaseCamp and convert it into the Route using the appropriate Topo Map
  4. Upload the Route to the Garmin GPS device

Hike Day Recommendations

  • Set out as early as possible – sunrise hikes are one of the most memorable
  • On your cell phone, turn on the Airplane Mode since your phone’s finding of the nearest transmitter may take incredible amount of battery life especially in the sparse areas. For iPhone owners, I recommend also entering the Low Battery Mode at the start of the journey.
  • Start a new Trail on your GPS device (tracking your journey) and have it upload your trail to the Garmin Connect & BaseCamp later.

Post-Hike Inspiration

  • If the hike was especially memorable, have it 3D printed with NiceTrails
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