UPDATED Jan 2020!
I am updating this post because it’s been three years since I last talked about the gadgets I carry on trails, so I thought I’d talk about what changes I am going to make.
My Kindle is still going well! The battery life is not quite as good, and there is a tiny ‘e-ink leak’ on the screen, but I see no need to replace it.
I am thinking of buying a tablet that will essentially replace it – just in two minds at the moment. I love the battery life of a Kindle but it’s only an e-reader, where as a tablet is much more!
Cell / Mobile Phone
I am still using my Samsung S5 Neo phone! It’s been awesome. The only problem is that the charging socket might be on the way out and it sometimes stops charging. The problem was worse before, but I cleaned the socket and it’s much better now.
I am going to buy a new Samsung phone soon to replace this one.
As I mentioned above, I am in two minds over whether to buy a tablet to replace my Kindle. Seems to make sense as I don’t read too much on a thru-hike as I am often too tired in the evenings. I am more likely to listen to podcasts or audio-books.
Battery pack / power bank
My awesome Anker 13,000 got fried by a small solar panel that I was using while travelling Europe in a campervan this last summer! I replaced it with a cheap 10000 from a Korean lifestyle stores. It’s fine for normal travel.
I am planning on re-buying the Anker 13000.
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Original List of gadgets from 2016
Electronic gadgets are very important to me. A mobile smartphone (Samsung S5) and an ebook reader (Amazon Kindle) are the absolute minimum. Along with these comes two pairs of headphones (one as a backup), a double USB wall charger and a power pack (minimum 10,000 mAh). I also carry a number of Micro SD cards, I have two 128GB which are totally awesome for my phone and tablet.
On the Camino Frances I also carried a 7 inch tablet (Samsung Tab 4) which I have to confess to not using much. I did intend on using it to update my blog (this site!) but I ended up using my mobile phone instead. The S5 has a 5 inch screen and typing on it is pretty easy.
The other reason behind taking my tablet was to watch TV and movies on. I think due to the very sociable nature of the Camino it meant I didn’t watch too much in the end. On the Te Araroa, I might be on my own a little more and have less things to do in the evening, so having an extra screen might come in useful.
The total weight for my gadgets is just under 1 kilo or 2.2 pounds. I don’t think that’s too bad considering how important these gadgets are to me.
So here are my current gadgets for the trails…
AMAZON KINDLE 4 – 170 grams
Couldn’t imagine life without my kindle! I read a huge amount of books and the Kindle is the best thing since sliced bread!
My kindle cost me £59 / $75 in 2014
SAMSUNG GALAXY S5 NEO – 145 grams
The Samsung Galaxy range of phones has been my choice of smartphone for a number of years now. I have owned the S2, S3 and now the S5 Neo (slightly upgraded model of the S5 but essentially the same).
I use my phone for so many things on the trails.
- Listening to music
- Listening to podcasts
- Browsing the web
- Booking rooms, flights etc
- Checking the weather and tides
- Using Whatsapp & Skype to communicate with friends and family
- Watching TV and movies
- Trail planning and mapping using GPS
- Tuning my ukulele
- Checking exchange rates
- Managing my bank accounts
- Taking pictures
- Shooting video
- Updating my blogs via the WordPress App
- Keeping notes using Evernote
This list could go on!
This phone cost me £260 / $300 in May 2016
Check out the latest Samsung Phones on Amazon
SAMSUNG TAB 4 – 274 grams
This is a controversial one. Why am I carrying what is essentially a larger version of my phone and a kindle too? Good question!
To be honest, I am not sure it’s going to make my final gear list on the TA. I will take it on the Bibbulmun as I want to see how heavy my pack would be.
I guess there are a couple of good reasons to bring it. It doesn’t weigh a huge amount at 274 grams and with a 4000 mAh battery, it doesn’t require charging as much as a phone.
I do quite a bit of writing and it’s much easier to type on this than a phone. The TA is 5 months and I want to be able to write as well as walk!
My S5 battery life isn’t the greatest, despite being a new phone. Something to do with Android Lollipop I think. If I use my phone to do everything, including power consuming movie watching, then I am going to be constantly running out of juice.
This one cost me £120 / $150 in September 2014
See more Galaxy Tabs at Amazon
ANKER POWERCORE 13000 MAH – 254 grams
Another essential item! I highly rate Anker’s products having owned a number of their goodies from mini USB speakers to various power packs.
This one is quite a beast packing in 13000 mAh. This badass charges my smartphone at least 4 times which is pretty awesome and should see me through those longer stretches of the TA.
It does take a a long time to charge up so really needs to be plugged in overnight. It can charge two devices at once.
This cost me £25 / $40 in May 2016
Check it out on Amazon’s site
USB WALL SOCKET & TWO USB LEADS – 90 grams
Of course another essential item. I chose a double one so I can charge two devices at once or at least offer one lead to another person. Will have a NZ/Australia connection to avoid having to use any adapters.
Costs around £10 or $14
Check out Amazon’s selection of wall chargers.
SAMSUNG EARPHONES X 2 – 13 grams per pair
I like my music but not enough to spend £100s on expensive earphone or headphones.
The Samsung earphones that come with the phone is fine for me and I bought a second pair as a back-up.
Why need a back-up? Well I don’t want to be in the middle of the South Island with a broken pair of headphones!
A new pair cost around £15
See some more earphones at Amazon
SAMSUNG EVO MICRO SD CARDS – 0.5 grams each!
I always have a selection of Micro SD cards one me. These things are awesome and I cannot wait to get my hands on a 256GB bad boy!
I always but direct from Amazon as there are so many scammers out there selling copies that will die on you or be very slow. I also stick with the Samsung EVOs as they have proved very reliable and great value for money.
I have two 128GB, one in my S5 and one in my Tab 4. I also have a number of 64GB and a couple of 32GB. I don’t think it’s worth the hassle buying any smaller than this.
I paid around £30 each for my 128GB cards which is excellent value compared to high street stores which often charge £50 or more.