1. Spot | X
The Spot X is a two-way satellite messenger featuring an onboard keyboard. It’s like an older generation Blackberry but you’re communicating through outer space. Using the Globalstar satellite network, this standalone device can send and receive text messages, track and transmit GPS data, post to social media networks, and send out an SOS signal to emergency services—all while out of cell signal range. The large screen and keyboard offer intuitive setup and functionality. Monthly subscription packages and annual plans available.
$249.99 USD | $359.90 CDN | findmespot.com
2. DJI | Mavic Air
We never get tired of seeing big landscapes with tiny paddlers, and you’ll never tire of capturing the most spectacular selfies. The foldable, compact Mavic Air from DJI won us over with its balance between high performance and affordability. It takes 12-megapixel photos, boasts a three-axis mechanical gimbal—that’s nerd talk for being ultra-steady—and it can fly up to 21 minutes on a single battery charge. After a month of annoyingly laborious research and outloud weighing of the pros and cons, this is the model our sometimes-too-keen digital content manager has taken on a five-week canoe trip in Labrador, Canada. We almost miss him.
$799 | dji.com
3. MPowerd | Luci String Lights
Turn any campsite into a hipster paradise with MPowerd’s Luci Solar String Lights. On its lowest setting, the soft ambient glow of these solar lights is perfect for the backyard or the backcountry, and adds a bougie touch to tents, patios, #vanlife or glamping. Turn up the brightness for functional lighting or use its flashlight function. Features a USB port for charging a mobile device. The light string is 18 feet long, and the nylon-braided cord includes two clips for easy hanging.
$57.84 | mpowerd.com
4. Somewear Labs | Global Hotspot
This palm-sized hotspot from Somewear Labs turns your smartphone into a satellite communications device for off-grid connectivity. Leveraging the Iridium satellite network, the Global Hotspot offers 100-percent global coverage in a four-ounce, compact package, easily stowed in a pocket, or lashed to a pack. Download the Somewear Labs app, then get text messaging, location sharing, updates on weather and even an SOS feature. Subscription plans range from a $15 for a month to $100/year.
$350 + subscription | somewearlabs.com
5. Paddling Magazine App
Get your favorite magazine on your smartphone or table with the Paddling Magazine app, plus 20 years of archived content from Paddling Magazine, Adventure Kayak, Rapid and Canoeroots. Print subscribers automatically get a digital subscription.
6. Apeman | 4K Action Cam
Want an action camera but don’t want to pony up $500 for the latest GoPro? You’re not alone. Apeman’s 4K Action Camera looks a lot like the real deal, but costs less than a fifth of the price. It’s got all the bell and whistles paddlers want—WiFi, anti-shake technology, self-timer, time lapse, and 40 meters of waterproof performance. Considering the low price, we know there’s a catch—and we’re betting it’s likely in long term durability—but for shooting fun videos on trips with friends and family, it’s doing just fine.
$79 | apemans.com
7. Ultimate Ears | Wonderboom 2
An IP67 rating means Ultimate Ears’ grapefruit-sized Wonderboom 2 is pretty much drop-proof and waterproof—you can toss it in the river and float alongside it for proof. Wonderfully portable, the new Outdoor Boost feature is tuned for more powerful listening outside, so you can crank your tunes extra loud, if that’s your thing. This second-generation speaker rocks a surprisingly big and bassy 360-degree sound. With 13 hours of classic rock on a single charge, like say, The Kings… Sure, we’ll be rockin’ ‘till our strength is gone, yeah, this beat goes on. And on, and on, and on. Connects via Bluetooth.
$99 | ultimateears.com