Upventur 2017 Best of: Technology

 

We may be an outdoor company, but we still love our tech and these devices were our favorite this past year. Some of us got really into drones and video production while others preferred to keep their phones charged outdoors. Let us know what some of your favorite pieces of tech were down in the comments, and don't forget to share. 

 

DJI Spark

Give the Gift of Flight this Holiday Season 🎁 | Credit: @ivvnwong | #DJI #Spark

A post shared by DJI (@djiglobal) on

Website

DJI is a leviathan in the drone industry, and their smallest iteration, the Spark, is the easiest to fly yet. Its compact body makes it travel-friendly, but with that comes some caveats such as a shorter flying range—120 meters—and a lack of 4K video capture. Apart from those minor nitpicks, one of the more refreshing features is the drone’s capability to land on the user’s hand. Other features include guiding the drone with hand movements, pre-recorded flight-patterns, and several intelligent flight modes.

Why you need it:

The spark was designed with the novice drone-flyer in mind, and most of the drone’s features prove that point. For most consumers, including myself, flying a drone can be a daunting task, but DJI eases beginners in and brings them up to speed. It may not fly as high, or record as clear as other drones, but it has them all beat on size, safety and all-around fun.

 

Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit

Website

Solar panels have been around for decades now—mostly on roofs or in deep within desert—but Goal Zero finally brings the technology to consumers. The solar panel and power bank combo changes the way people travel, camp or live through natural disasters. It takes 9 hours of sun for the solar panel to charge the power bank, which has a capacity of 7800mAh. That much juice translates to charging two phones, or one tablet, but it is also for GoPro cameras and other small other electronics.

Why you need it:

It is one of those products you will always want with you if you are camping, hiking or going off the grid. Even the most skilled adventurers need to charge their headlamps, GPS or action cameras. And when not using the solar panel, the power bank is still a power bank that can be charged via a USB port.

 

Fitbit Ionic

Website

After the 2016 debut of the Fitbit Blaze, which attempted and failed to break into the smartwatch market, it was not clear if Fitbit wanted to go any further; enter the Fitbit Ionic. Whereas the blaze was a feature deprived, half fitness tracker and half smartwatch, the Ionic really set out to make a name for itself. It still has all the features one can expect from Fitbit, like the heart rate and sleep trackers, but the Ionic is water-proof, can be used to pay, has built-in music storage and best of all: third-party app compatibility.

Why you need it:

I bought the Blaze last year because I fell to marketing hype, but the Ionic is a huge step forward for Fitbit, who bought Pebble last year, and is the watch I wish the Blaze were. Apart from its sleek design and expanded features, it remains as one of the best fitness trackers on the market, and it runs on a proprietary OS.

 

Biolite Firepit

Website

When this first came up on my social feed I could not believe it was real; a portable fire pit capable of charging phones, cooking food and controlled through an app. I did not know much about Biolite back then, but the Firepit truly is a revolutionary product. Although it is way too heavy for thru-hikers and ultra-light backpackers, this device is for weekend campers, those who travel in vans, and apartment dwellers with balconies. Charging the device’s battery requires it to be placed inside a duffle bag with a built-in solar panel, which comes with the purchase. The firepit is available for pre-order and comes out Aug. 2018.

Why you need it:

Not only will the firepit cook your food and keep you warm, but its x-ray mesh also offers a view into the smoldering fire within. The fan system in the device, activated through an app, makes it so that the fire remains contained, so no more embers flying off to melt through down jackets. This is much bigger than Biolite’s previous camp stoves, but it eliminates the inconvenience of building a fire.  

 

Gnarbox

Website

Because of the internet, content is king and more and more people are traveling with a camera, a drone or one of the many devices used to capture video, but where does one store it all? Gnarbox answers that question with its eponymous device, capable of storing up to 128GB—a new version comes with 256gb—of memory in a weatherproof case. It is more than just a memory bank, however, it is also capable of handling video editing with its onboard GPU and CPU through a smartphone.

Why you need it:

This portable device is a hard drive with enough processing power to edit 4k video, and it is small enough to fit in your pocket. The Gnarbox with enough ports for almost any kind of camera, and it can transfer data up to 4GB. Whether it is putting together a touching family video during the holidays or storing footage on a big trip, the Gnarbox makes creating content more accessible.