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best hiking gadgets to buy in 2022

The best hiking gadgets to buy in 2022

Published: 02nd May, 2022 at 11:00
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Make the most of the outdoors with our selection of the best hiking gadgets, from essential gadgets to the best handheld GPS for hiking.

Hiking season for most people starts in the spring and lasts until the late autumn, however, there are some great walks to be had in the winter, too. Having the right equipment can help you navigate terrain, keep you hydrated, and help you enjoy the journey. Life’s about the journey, after all!

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We’ve rounded up some of our favourite hiking gadgets and accessories for you to make the most of the outdoors this year. On the lookout for more tech? Check out our ultimate list of cool gadgets.

Discover some interesting facts about walking:

23 of the best hiking gadgets and hiking accessories to buy in 2022

Handheld GPS: The Garmin eTrex 32x

The Garmin eTrex 32x is one of the best hiking gadgets

Geologists and engineers will be very familiar with handheld GPS units, and this Garmin eTrex 32x is one of the best. Before you head out, add your waypoints into the GPS unit, these can be things like the car park, a café along the trail, the top of the mountain, or the centre of a nearby village. Then, once you're out and about, your Garmin eTrex 32x will use satellites to tell you which direction, and how far you’ve got to go.

Since it uses satellites, you don’t need to have a mobile signal, which is ideal if you’re in the middle of nowhere. It's also rugged and waterproof, so you can toss them in a pocket or bag without worrying about damaging your equipment.

GPS watch: The Garmin Fenix 7S Solar

The Garmin Fenix 7s Solar is one of the best hiking gadgets

As well as being a stylish piece of wearable kit, the Garmin Fēnix 7S Solar makes for a fantastic hiking gadget. It has a bright 3cm display (1.2”) and holds a 14-day charge, which you can keep topped up with solar power. This nifty watch will inform you of the terrain, elevation, and weather with its built-in barometer, as well as measure your health stats.

It can also access multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo), to aid in even the most challenging of environments. All this is in a military-grade package that’s been tested for thermal, shock and water resistance. Very nice.

Read an expert review of the Garmin Fenix 7 Solar from 220 Triathlon

Hiking head torch: PETZL Tikka Headlamp

The Petzl Tikka Headlamp is one of the best hiking gadgets

If you’re likely to be out before dawn, or after sunset – make sure you can be seen with a hands-free head torch. Try to find one with a comfortable headband, and you’ll barely notice you’re wearing it, but it will be there when you need it. The PETZL Tikka Headlamp is a tried and trusted favourite among many hikers, it's comfortable and you can adjust the angle of the light - mine is still going strong after almost 15 years.

The FitBit Charge 5

The FitBit Charge 5 is one of the best hiking gadgets

The latest FitBit to hit the stores (as of March 2022) is the FitBit Charge 5 – an advanced fitness and health tracker which features a bright, OLED colour display. Both the FitBit Charge 4 and 5 are waterproof up to 50m, have a 7-day battery life and are compatible with both iOS and Android. There are other FitBits available, but for hiking we like the Charge 4 and 5, as they also include onboard GPS and an EDA (electrodermal activity) sensor to measure changes in stress levels, all wrapped up in a fairly rugged package.

Tairoad lightweight tripod

A lightweight tripod will be a photographers best friend when hiking

If you’re like me, then going out on a hike is even more exciting when there’s a waterfall you can take a long exposure photograph of. For this, you’ll need a sturdy tripod to keep your camera still throughout the exposure. Something that’s lightweight and portable is essential, so this durable aluminium tripod from Tairoad is a good option. It comes with a carry case, so it won’t snag on stuff in your bag, and weighs just 1.2kg.

Apple watch, series 7

The Apple Watch Series 7 is best suited to casual or fair weather hikers

If you’re a casual hiker, then an Apple watch could be a good option. Just be aware that battery life is not as long as dedicated GPS units, and it’s not built for all-weather use – so you might also like to get yourself an all-weather strap if you’re keen on using the apple watch as a hiking gadget.

In general, the apple watch is great in fair-weather conditions, but you’ll need to be careful not to scrape it. Of course – you’ll also need an iPhone, so it’s not worth buying an apple watch if you’re on Android. That said, there are some useful apps for hiking, including the heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter (to measure altitude), compass, blood oxygen sensor, and of course, GPS.

Solar-powered portable charger

A solar powered charger is essential for long hikes

If you’re carrying a power-hungry device like the apple watch, you’re probably going to need a portable charger. For more options, see our round-up of the best power packs and portable chargers. This one from Hiluckey is solar-powered, so you can keep the power bank topped up with juice by hanging it outside your rucksack while you hike, but you can also charge it from the mains if preferred. It also has a built-in flashlight which is handy.

Hydration bladder: Gregory 3D Hydro Reservoir

The Gregory 3D Hydro Reservoir is one of the best hiking gadgets

Stay hydrated on your hike and sip on the go without having to unpack your entire rucksack. Hydration bladders fit neatly at the back of your pack, providing better stability and comfort on the trail, without adding cylindrical bulk and additional weight of a water bottle. This Gregory 3D Hydro Reservoir comes with a useful hook, integrated into the base of the bladder, providing a convenient way to hang it out to dry at the end of the day. It also has a quick disconnect feature, so you can refill without having to unthread the drinking tube from your shoulder.

Water filter: The LifeStraw

The LifeStraw is one of the best hiking gadgets

If you’re out on a long hike, taking the LifeStraw with you means you can drink directly from streams and lakes, and filter up to 4,000 litres of water into safe drinking water. That’s enough for around five years for one person. The LifeStraw is made with a hollow fibre membrane that traps pathogens (as well as protozoa and bacteria) inside, ensuring that only clean water can escape.

Hiking accessories: Berghaus waterproof overtrousers

These Berghaus waterproof overtrousers are highly recommended and are one of the best hiking accessories

These lightweight waterproof overtrousers from Berghaus have a zip at the bottom of each leg, so you can easily slip them on over heavy, muddy, walking boots at the first sign of a deluge – without getting mud on the inside of the trousers, and without having to faff around taking your boots off.

If you’re out hiking in the cold, don’t underestimate how much heat a pair of waterproof trousers will help to retain. If you’re determined to make the most of the outdoors whatever the weather, then a pair of waterproof over trousers that can be scrunched up in the bottom of a rucksack might just become your new best friend. They come in a choice of leg lengths, and there are different cuts for both men and women.

Hiking accessories: All-weather notebook

The Rite in the Rain All Weather notebook is one of the best hiking accessories

Use waterproof paper for on-the-go note-taking or jotting down information about your experiences or observations. Some waterproof notebooks, like this one from Rite in the Rain, will even survive underwater – so you can write in complete submersion, if the need should arise.

Hiking accessories: All-weather pen

The Uni Ball Power Tank are brilliant for use outdoors in any weather and is one of the best hiking accessories

Pencils will work in all weather, but if you prefer writing in ink, then this Power Tank all-weather pen from Uni-Ball features a pressurised refill that allows you to write in the most extreme conditions. It will write in temperatures as low as -20°C, upside-down, horizontally, and underwater. The manufacturers even claim it will write in zero-gravity, although we haven’t had a chance to test that…

GoPro Hero10

The GoPro Hero 10 is one of the best hiking gadgets, just be sure to pack an extra battery

The GoPro Hero10 is the most powerful GoPro yet. It shoots 5.3K video, takes 23MP photos, and has been enhanced for better low-light performance. It also boasts HyperSmooth 4.0, GoPro’s most advanced video stabilisation to date.

But one of the best features is the new Quik app. With this, you can wirelessly transfer your videos and photos quickly to the app, and start editing straight away, ideal for on-the-go hikers. If you’re worried about damaging your camera or phone on a hike, then the GoPro is a great alternative. And, if you’re keen on capturing sunrises – but can’t quite manage to drag yourself out of your sleeping bag – you can set the GoPro to automatically start recording. It will even record time-lapses.

Hiking sticks: TrailBuddy Trekking Poles

Save your knees with some hiking sticks as one of the best hiking accessories

Using hiking sticks when you’re out walking helps to alleviate knee pain and exercise your arms. These ones from TrailBuddy are made from lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminium, and they come in a choice of eight colours with interchangeable pole accessories for different terrains, and are reasonably priced. They also have over 24,000 positive reviews on Amazon and make a thoughtful hiking gift.

For more on hiking poles head across to Countryfile's list of the best walking poles

Swiss Army Knife

The 33 function Swiss Army Knife is absolutely one of the best hiking gadgets

A penknife is the ultimate hiking gadget, and for practical purposes, something not too bulky (or heavy) is ideal. Think about which tools you’re likely to need; this one has 33 functions, including multiple screwdrivers, magnifying glass, wire cutter and stripper, pliers, and ruler, as well as the all-important bottle opener and corkscrew, and all the usual functions.

Hiking accessories: Hand lens

Having a hand lens in your pack is one of the best hiking accessories

This might be a bit of a specialist hiking gadget, but if you’re prone to examining rocks or fossils on your adventures, you might like to consider a geological eyepiece or hand lens (also called an eye loupe). You’ll soon get to recognise different minerals, and there’s something satisfying from looking around your feet and gleaning something of the geologic history. Most hand lenses are alike, but this one comes with a handy case, and can also be strung on a lanyard around your neck for easy access.

Hiking accessories: Amazon brand waterproof phone case

The Amazon Eono waterproof case is one of the best hiking accessories

Keep your phone safe and dry with this waterproof universal phone case from Amazon. The touch screen will work through the clear TPU material, which has been designed specifically for this use, and it’s waterproof up to a depth of 30m. So, no worries if you accidentally drop your phone in a river or lake while hiking.

Hiking gadgets: The essentials

Map reading compass

The Trekrite compass for map reading is one of the best hiking gadgets

Using a compass with a map helps to give you an understanding of the broader geographical area, and it’s a useful hiking accessory to have in your kit – and learning how to take a bearing is also a great life skill to have. If you’re not sure which path to take, then a compass like this one from Trekrite will help orient you on the map, just make sure you lay your map out on a flat surface before you begin.

Waterproof map case

The Kosibate waterproof map case is one of the best hiking accessories

There are some beautiful trails here in the UK. If you’re in a larger village or town where there are popular walking routes, there will likely be somewhere you can pick up an OS map with all the best beauty spots. Given how unpredictable British weather is, you might like to consider keeping your maps clean and dry with something like this waterproof map case. Sling it over your shoulder and keep your hands free, or pop it in your rucksack and the case will protect your map from accidental water spills. Just be sure to seal it properly before you head out.

Whistle

An emergency whistle is an essential hiking accessory

It’s the hiking gadget you hope you’ll never use – but if you need one, then you’ll really need one. It could be the difference between being lost or found, and is essential, especially if you find yourself injured, or lost in the fog or cloud. This safety whistle from Venture Zone can produce over 100 decibels in volume, will float in water, and the clip feature means you can attach it easily to your gear, but there’s also a handy lanyard hole if you prefer.

Emergency foil blanket

An emergency thermal blanket is an essential hiking accessory

Emergency blankets are incredibly lightweight, less than the weight of a pencil, and you won’t even notice that you’re carrying them. In fact, you’ll probably forget it’s even there. Like the whistle, we hope you’ll never have to use this hiking gadget, but one day, it might just save your life.

Mini First Aid Kit

A basic first aid kit is an essential hiking accessory

Okay – so this one’s not technically a gadget as such, but whether you’re a casual hiker or a seasoned pro, it’s always worth just carrying the essentials. And even if you’re fine, you never know when you’ll meet someone who needs your help.

For more on first aid kits head across to Countryfile's list of the best first aid kits.

Ultralight towel

A lightweight microfibre towel is a great hiking accessory to take on the trail

Hiking and camping towels are highly absorbent, quick-drying, and usually have some sort of microfibre element. They’re ideal if you come across a stream and fancy a quick dip, and this hiking towel from Amazon comes in a handy case, with a corner zipper pocket for storing your phone and/or keys. If you are struggling for space, take it out of the case use it to line the bottom of your bag. It even comes in eight different colours, with five different size options.


More simple ways to stay active this year:

Looking for more outdoors gifts?

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We hope you’ve found something useful in our round-up of the best hiking gadgets and hiking accessories. If you’re keen to make the most of the longer days and good weather, why not check out our pick of the best sports gadgets.

Authors

Holly SpannerStaff Writer, BBC Science Focus

Holly is the staff writer at BBC Science Focus. Before joining the team she was a geoenvironmental consultant and holds an MSc in Geoscience from UCL.

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