Tents, Tractors, and Tackling Savings (image)

Tents, Tractors, and Tackling Savings

By Mark Jeffries, Special to the Maverick Magazine

There’s always something extra in the air as summer wanes and cool autumn breezes start to blow. A crispness, even in the lingering heat, overtakes nights and mornings. Age-old pastimes move to the forefront—the harvest, enjoying nature before the coming winter, and traveling with family during fall holidays, all fill the calendar during these fleeting weeks. Although these activities have been enjoyed for generations, modern technology has melded with them to increase your enjoyment and accessibility.

Nothing embodies the transition from summer to fall quite like the harvest. Loads of seasonal vegetables are coming from area farms. And though it’s quaint to remember the times when pumpkins and butternut squash were harvested with an old red tractor and a sunburned farmer with a hoe, we can thank advanced technology for the wide variety and surplus in our grocery stores and farm markets.

A method called precision farming has taken center stage in the world of agriculture. Crops are managed based on observing, measuring and responding to the variability in a farming environment. The goal is to get the most from the land without damaging it. The relatively recent development of GPS allows farmers to locate the precise position of a field and create maps to show how many crops can be planted based on terrain features, topography and even such data as soil-makeup, relative moisture content, nitrogen levels, pH and other factors.

This allows modern farmers to make smarter choices on how to plant, irrigate, fertilize and rotate crops. They no longer have to guess at what will do well, only to find that they’ve consumed all the available resources in a certain tract and ruined the land. Precision farming helps get as many delicious vegetables to our tables as possible while maintaining the health of the land.

Preserving the environment isn’t just the concern of farmers, however – many people like to take advantage of the last few hot days by getting out of the house to enjoy nature. As the leaves begin to turn, the time is perfect for avid campers. This year has seen some amazing tech advances for gadget – ahem, we mean nature lovers as well.

The Keb Endurance 4 tunnel tent from Fjallraven is a four-season tent that will keep your hiking party warm from the chilliest of autumn winds, and cool during those sunny days. Reinforced against the elements, the tent also features reflectors for location in the dark, mosquito netting throughout and a design that keeps the inner tent dry, even if you pitch it in the rain!

The Lighthouse Mini Lantern from Goal Zero is perfect for late-night card games or treacherous walks from the car to the campsite. The lantern is perfectly versatile, with features allowing for brightness adjustment, runtimes up to 500 hours on the low setting and a built-in USB port to charge your phone.

Anyone who has camped in September knows that while you may need a campfire to keep away the chill at night, it can get pretty warm during the day. The Climachill line from Adidas is perfect for unexpectedly hot treks. The inside of these shirts are constructed with flat fibers that lend a cool touch to the fabric’s surface. The flat shape helps evaporate moisture close to the skin and transfer extra moisture away from your body. These shirts also contain tiny particles of Titanium, which boost the fabric’s ability to keep you cool.

Of course, before embarking on the great American camping trip this fall, some purchases may have to be made. To save for this and other trips this fall, a new saving tool called Qapital can help. This is an app and service that allows you to set a financial goal (like the cost of a vacation) and save incrementally toward that goal, all while making your everyday purchases. You set up rules, like rounding up transactions to the nearest dollar, and putting the difference toward that goal, or charging yourself a little extra when you indulge in guilty pleasures. Who knew that weekday doughnut could help send the family on vacation? Bonus! You’ll be saving without even realizing it.

Whether you’re traveling the country this fall, enjoying the great outdoors, or just sitting down to a great meal with harvest season produce, the latest tech will help you make the most of this amazing season.