Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
We get it: The idea of having too much tech in the backcountry makes a lot of people cringe. After all, we go out there to get off our phones, wean our eyes off screens and literally unplug. But what if we told you there were a handful of battery-operated items that could actually enhance your time at the crag, on the route, or on the approach? Whether your loved one is a first-timer or a seasoned first-ascensionist, these are the tech gifts your favorite climber will want to make their off-the-grid experience even better.
Garmin fēnix 6X Pro Solar Smartwatch
It’s a lot easier to avoid getting lost when the map is strapped to your wrist. The fēnix 6X Pro Solar puts full topographic maps and GPS navigation capabilities literally within an arms’ reach. Plus, real-time elevation tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, and a ton more are easily-accessible mid-approach. Its 1.4” Power Glass™ lens uses sunlight to extend battery life for off-grid adventures.
BioLite HeadLamp 330
Never have a headlamp die mid-rappel again. This ultra-slim headlamp is rechargeable, so you can make sure to always head out at 100 percent. On the low setting, it will last a whopping 40 hours. The 330-lumen max output turns early-evening bouldering sessions into broad daylight and the comfortable, sweat-wicking band means you’ll forget you even have it on.
Goal Zero Venture 70 Recharger
Keep everything juiced on longer days and overnights with this high-output 1-pound power pack. Recharge your headlamp, phone, and more again and again without the need for carrying a solar panel thanks to the Venture 70’s 17,700 mAh of power. A waterproof and dustproof IP67 design keeps it from frying when the rain comes and a ruggedized rubber design means a drop is no big deal.
Nomad Carabiner Lightning Cable
This perfect stocking-stuffer pulls double duty as a convenient carabiner and an iPhone charging cable, saving room in your pack and keeping you from damaging or losing the longer dedicated cable. Use it to clip your smelly climbing shoes to your backpack on the hike in, then pull it off and use it to plug in your phone at the crag.
inReach Mini Two-way Satellite Messenger from Garmin
No product is as valuable as your loved one’s safety, which is why the inReach Mini is every concerned friend’s favorite gift to give and every climber’s favorite gift to get. The two-way satellite communicator lets off-grid adventurers send and receive text messages and location updates, get weather reports, and communicate with rescuers if anything were to go wrong (subscription required). Pairing the inReach with the fēnix 6 smartwatch lets you see incoming messages at a glance, as well as send preset messages and more right from your wrist. You don’t have to worry about being within range of a cell tower or encountering spotty coverage.
If you spend any time in the mountains, the Peakfinder App is critical. The augmented reality app lets you hold your phone up to the horizon and identify the mountains you can see from that spot. Look at the horizon on-screen using a sketch-like black and white outline of the peaks, or overlay the peaks on your camera to make picking them out easy. Plus, the app works completely offline and even lets you choose a different peak or spot to preview the view before you even get there.