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By 3 September 2013 | Categories: feature articles

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Welcome to the Great (Tech) Outdoors

It need not come down to a choice between enjoying technology amid home comforts, versus forsaking it for the fresh air and adventure to be found in the great outdoors.  In fact, certain technologies come into their own when you step foot outside.

Reboot your life: Hi-Tec V-LITE SPHike mid WP boots

These V-LITE SPHike mid WP boots from Hi-Tec (review) are certainly on top of our must-buy-for-summer list. As the ‘V-Lite’ portion of the name suggests, they are of the lightweight variety of hiking boots, and boast a number of technological advances. These include waterproof synthetic uppers to keep one’s feet dry when striding through streams, Hi-Tec’s Liquid Rubber on the toe and heel for added protection, as well as Vibram rubber outsoles, which the company  promises will deliver traction, comfort and durability. At R1 200, they aren’t cheap, but are still less expensive than accidentally straining your ankle on the first day of the Otter.

Look out: Nikon Monarch 7 10x30 binoculars

Presuming your family tree cannot count eagle or owl in its genealogy, no doubt your long range vision could do with a bit of a boost. These Monarch 7 10x30 binoculars from Nikon would be our choice. The binocs are built with extra-low dispersion (ED) glass for clearer viewing, brighter images and natural colours, while also compensating for chromatic aberration. The Monarch 7 boast waterproofing up to one metre for ten minutes, as well as rubber armouring for shock resistance, helping ensure the precious glass contained within is less likely to encounter its premature mortality in the event of a fall. They have a RRP of R6500.

Find yourself: Garmin GPSMap 62s

One piece of kit we consider essential to some off-road exploration (especially if you plan on going geocaching) is a decent GPS. Garmin’s GPSMap 62s (review) is certainly that. The rugged and waterproof device sports a 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter and ships with integrated worldwide basemap with shaded relief. Critical to a GPS, it also boasts a quad helix antenna, Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)-enabled GPS receiver as well as HotFix satellite prediction, to enable you to find your way regardless of whether you are surrounded by heavy foliage or in the bowels of a gorge. It has a not too bad RRP of R4 500.

Show off: Ion Air Pro 2 Wi-Fi

Why keep your best outdoor adventures to yourself? This Ion Air Pro 2 Wi-Fi helps ensure you don’t have to. The wearable camera, which offers a wider shooting angle (as much as 180°) and battery life than its predecessor, offers a 14 megapixel camera that can record 1080p video at 30 fps. Add in integrated Wi-Fi (making the camera controllable from iOS or Android devices), and the Air Pro 2 Wi-Fi earns itself a place in your backpack. It has a RRP of R4 500.

Be empowered:  Powerchimp 4A Dual purpose charger

Sure, there comes a weekend when you just have to turn off Twitter and show Facebook your back, but we would still recommend you stow a smartphone and an extra boost of power along for the ride. After all, suffering an unforeseen accident miles away from civilisation, with no way to call for help, is no joke (as 127 hours proved). This Powerchimp 4A will ensure that your cellular phone of choice doesn’t resort to ‘expensive paperweight mode’ when you need it most, allowing you up to two additional charges using rechargeable AA or AAA batteries. RRP: R600.

Run, run, run: Puma Faas 100 TR

Puma’s Faas 100 TR is built for the trail runner who wishes he could actually run barefoot. With the least amount of cushioning in the Faas line, it is more a training shoe, with a zero millimetre heel-to-toe drop that helps toughen a runner’s feet. Also onboard is high rebound Ortholite sockliner which Puma believes provides higher responsiveness through the gait cycle. RRP: R1 300.

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