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Seven Gadgets for the Great Outdoors

By Mark Jeffries, Special to The Maverick Magazine

One of the best things about getting outside, especially as the temperatures climb, is simplicity. You get away from screens, pings, rings, and all things that demand your attention. That said, there are some gadgets out there that can actually enhance your experience in the great outdoors. Whether you’re camping, hiking or just going for a walk in your backyard, these devices complement your time in the sun, without taking your attention away from the beauty around you.

  1. A famed favorite of hikers and athletes alike, the brand CamelBak has come out with a water bottle that purifies itself. Hikers no longer have to wait for chlorine tablets to purify water while gasping for a drink. The CamelBak All Clear water bottle uses UV lights in the cap to turn any tap or clear natural water into potable drinking water in 60 seconds.
  2. Whether you’re camping and need a jolt to start the day or just enjoying nature at its finest on the patio, the Handpresso portable espresso maker gives you that sweet taste of java wherever you happen to be. The French company strived to combine quality, simplicity and mobility into the sleek device that’s designed to make great coffee easy to get. With manual and electric models available, your next cup is just a button push away.
  3. It’s a well-established fact that weather and expensive tech don’t mix. For those who want to capture the vast beauty of nature but don’t want to ruin their expensive camera in the elements, Lumix has produced a camera that’s as tough out there as you are. The DMC-TS5 Lifestyle Tough Camera is waterproof, dustproof, shockproof and freeze-proof. It also connects to Wi-Fi so that when you finally get back to civilization, sharing and posting your photos are a snap.
  4. While we’re talking imagery, zoom in on this new gadget. Sony’s DEV50 binoculars let you capture the beauty of nature from a safe distance. The binoculars record high-def video of whatever you’re looking at through the lenses. Whether you’re a birder who wants crisp footage of a rare bird sighting, or someone going on safari who wants beautiful video without the matching claw marks, these specs make it happen.
  5. Of course, the outdoors isn’t all fun and games—the only way to enjoy a great lawn in the summer is by watering in the spring. Rachio is a smart sprinkler system that helps you stay in the green. This system monitors the weather, so it stops watering when the rain comes, and “learns” all kinds of information about your lawn as the season progresses. You can even control it remotely through your smartphone!
  6. Birding has truly entered the 21st century. Rather than rain-spattered, dirt-smudged notebooks, look no farther than your smartphone. Cornell University’s eBird app allows bird enthusiasts to seamlessly record birds they spot on their phone, and then link to a mobile network used by hundreds of thousands of other birders to chart which birds are where throughout the world. You get to enjoy the outdoors and contribute to groundbreaking research all at the same time.
  7. Time to dust off the grill! Spring is the perfect time to tune up your grill skills with iGrill, a Bluetooth-enabled thermometer probe that you insert into meat on the grill, then watch on your phone as the temperature rises to the desired level. No more overdone steaks, pink-in-the-middle chicken, or agonizing over whether something is done or not while your family has fun by the pool.

Do yourself a favor as the weather continues to improve and get outside—the air is fresh, the water is warm, and best of all, there’s no inbox to constantly check. But just because there aren’t any electrical outlets out there doesn’t mean this year’s latest gadgetry can’t help take your outdoor adventures to the next level.