After over a year of indoor living, people are finally able to go out and enjoy the outdoors: beaches, sports, hiking, camping, bird-watching, bicycling, picnics… you name it. We asked some of our colleagues from The Verge what they were planning to take with them in their outdoor escapes. Here are some of their recommendations, including outdoor tech, camera gear, rugged footwear, and gadgets that help you take it easy.
Twelve months predominantly spent indoors did wonders for my battery anxiety. Not only was I using my phone less, thanks to having constant easy access to a tablet and laptop, but even when my phone got close to running out, my trusty charger was never far out of reach. However, I know that’s going to change this summer, and I’ll be confronted by the fact that my shiny new iPhone 12 Pro’s battery life really isn’t as great as I’d like it to be.
That means it’s time to bust out my ZMI QB820 PowerPack (more recently released as the ZMI PowerPack 20000), a hulking brick of a portable charger equipped with a massive 20,000mAh battery. Yes, I could probably get a slimmer model, but to me those feel like a half-measure: if I’m going to bother to carry a standalone portable charger, it might as well be massive. It charges over USB-C, and there are two additional USB-A ports to charge other devices.
It’s basically the last portable charger I see myself needing. Well, until someone makes an identical model with MagSafe, I guess. — Jon Porter
For a while, I was resisting the urge to get a pair of fully wireless earbuds — I usually listen to podcasts or audiobooks when I’m walking around, and my old single-ear Plantronics Explorer 500 headset worked fine. But the idea of being able to sit outside on a summer’s day listening to music finally proved just too much for me, so I checked out The Verge’s roundup of best wireless earbuds.
My main phone is an Android and in addition, I’ve put myself on a budget, so the top-rated AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM4 were both out of range. I finally went for the Jabra Elite 75t earbuds — and so far, I’m very happy with them. They have good sound quality (especially after I tweaked the settings); they work with two devices at the same time, which I find very useful when I’m working on my laptop and somebody calls; and I was able to get a pretty good deal on them during Amazon’s Prime Day sales (especially since the 75t is one iteration down from the more recent 85t model).
Unfortunately, old habits are a bit hard to break, and I find myself, more often than not, only using a single earbud (the right one) as if I were still wearing my Plantronics headset. But for those times this summer that I want to listen to music, I’m set. — Barbara Krasnoff
For the longest time, my go-to portable speaker for camping and backpacking was the UE Roll 2. It was small and efficient, but it didn’t mesh well with the rest of my audio setup, especially on those sweltering summer days when I barely made it beyond the confines of my own backyard.
This year, however, I splurged on the Sonos Roam. The rugged, pint-sized device is on the pricier side when compared to other Bluetooth speakers, but it produces solid sound for the size, offers wireless charging, and can automatically jump between my home Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth, a convenience I’ve come to appreciate when strapping the speaker to my bike and heading out the door.
And while I might not be able to fire off my usual quips at Alexa when I take it into the backcountry — the Roam only supports voice commands when connected to Wi-Fi — I certainly can still do it poolside with a drink in hand. — Brandon Widder