Camping With Portable Gadgets

One of my favorite summer activities is camping. If you’re like me, it can be difficult to detach yourself from your connected lifestyle. But thanks to portable gadgets such as netbooks, smartphones, and handheld gaming consoles, it’s easier for one to leave the confines of his (or her) digital hub while enjoying a semi-disconnected sabbatical.

Protecting your devices from the elements is one of the most important things one must consider. Purchasing a waterproof case might be the ideal solution, but it might not be the most cost efficient option. If you already own a protective case for your gadget, why not invest in a $5 box of Ziploc Freezer bags. A well sealed Ziploc freezer bag will provide you with extra protection against the harmful effects of humidity.

Keeping your device powered might also be an issue while vacationing outdoors. Mind you, most campgrounds offer electricity as an option; this privilege is not available to those who choose to camp in the wilderness. If electricity is available, it would be wise to bring along a surge protector to avoid any damages due to voltage spikes. A $20 purchase might save you a few headaches down the road.

If electricity isn’t an option, investing in a car adapter (which plugs into your car lighter socket) or purchasing an inexpensive portable solar charger can be an excellent alternative for keeping your devices powered. A car adapter can be purchased for as low as $9.99, while a portable solar charger will set you back approximately $49.99 if you shop around.

If you desperately need to stay connected, accessing the Internet from your wireless handset might not be the most cost effective way to do so. Cellphone roaming costs could easily result in higher than expected usage charges. With this in mind, disabling your phone’s data roaming capabilities, and using public Wi-Fi hotspots to fuel your connected needs would be the ideal solution. These days, many campgrounds have free Wi-Fi access as an incentive to using their facilities. Local cafes might also offer Wi-Fi access as part of their service. A site, such as http://www.wifi.com will assist you in finding a hotspot in which ever area you are visiting.

These are just a few simple tips for using your favorite devices while vacationing. The most important tip of them all is to simply have fun, while knowing when to leave the gadgets behind. As much as you might enjoy the notion of having access to some of your preferred gadgets, keep in mind that those around you might simply prefer that you disconnect yourself temporarily from your digital routine. Always remember that vacation is defined as a period of suspension of work, study, or other customary activities, so make sure you take the time to relax and enjoy yourself.

Andre Barriault runs the blog GamingCult.com, an independent Web site dedicated to the world of gaming, entertainment and technology. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/abarriault.

  • http://crackerboy.us Bill Webb

    When I camp, the only electronic gadgets that travel with me are a digital camera, LED flashlight and cell phone (switched off) for emergencies. Camping is for getting away and recharging, and discharging batteries is not part of that. Not for me, anyway.

    I say anyone who is that pathologically wired needs detox worse than most.