Must-Have Gadgets for Your Spring Break Adventure

Spring break is upon us again and many Canadian families seize the opportunity to get outdoors, either close to home or in warmer climates. Either way, there are a few gadgets that can make enjoying the great outdoors safer and more fun. Here are a few items worth looking into for your spring break adventures:


1. Action Cams

While experiencing the outdoors and living out crazy adventures is the most important thing, capturing those adventures can really enhance the experience. Video footage lets you look back at the experiences and share them with friends or family. Editing the footage also makes for a fun project for kids and teens, with a range of software available for all skill levels.


These days, action cams are very rugged, so they’re a great investment that will last years. Many of them can withstand bumps, drops, and can even be used underwater to a certain depth. Accessories such as helmets and underwater housings for deeper underwater adventures make it easy to take these cameras anywhere your adventures might take you.


A couple of action cams I recommend are the GoPro HERO5 and the ACTIVEON CX if you’re looking for a more cost effective solution.


2. Walkie Talkies

If you’re venturing off the beaten path, staying in touch is important to ensure everyone’s safety. While smartphones are fantastic tools they really do depend on network access and are fragile by nature, making them less than ideal for adventuring. By contrast, a set of walkie talkies makes a great tool for keeping in touch. Using good old-fashioned radio waves, walkie talkies make it possible to communicate within a set range regardless of network access. This makes them great for ski trips, hikes, and camping trips.


If you decide to invest in a set of walkies, I recommend the Cobra Walki Talkie.


3. Handheld GPS

If safety is a priority as you venture off the beaten path, adding a handheld GPS to your walkie talkie investment is a wise move. Again, smartphones are fantastic tools but they’re definitely not perfect and having designated tools can go a long way in helping you stay safe. When venturing into nature, a GPS device can help you navigate your way and keep you from getting lost. This is especially important this time of year when the days are getting milder but nighttime temperatures can still be dangerously low.


When it comes to handheld GPS, I recommend the GPSMAP 64s.


4. Rugged Smartphone Case

It goes without saying that we’re pretty attached to out smartphones these days and if you insist on taking yours on your outdoor adventures, you’ll be happy to know that you’re not alone. Personally, I find it difficult to be away from my phone for any length of time. For this reason, many companies have invested in creating rugged cases to protect phones from dirt, drops, and even water. Since your smartphone likely set you back at least a few hundred dollars, it’s wise to invest in this type of protection.


For me, the Otterbox Defender Series cases are king when it comes to rugged protection for my iPhone. Otterbox makes Defender Series cases for a range of smartphones so I recommend checking to see if there’s one available for your device. If not, rugged cases are available from other manufacturers as well.


5. Rugged Battery Backup

If you’re bringing your smartphone on your adventures, you’re likely to be concerned about running out of juice. This is especially true if you’re moving outside of network range as your phone will burn through power trying to find and connect to a network. To help you keep your phone charged even in the absence of an outlet, I recommend brining along a battery backup. While there are a lot of these on the market, a rugged one is always a better choice if you’re doing things like hiking or camping.


I recommend a device like the Scosche GoBat 6,000. This backup is both waterproof and shock resistant, so it can withstand bumps and dips.


6. Rugged Speaker

While definitely not a necessity, a few good tunes make sprint break adventures all the more enjoyable. To that end, having a rugged speaker in your arsenal is always a great idea. These speakers offer portability while being resistant to the elements and accidental drops. They’re also great for backyard barbecues so they’re an investment you can get a lot of mileage from.


When it comes to rugged speakers, there are a lot of them on the market and you really can’t go wrong here. However, I really like the JBL Flip 4 Portable Bluetooth Speaker because it’s not only rugged but a great size.

By Mike Agerbo

March 13, 2018