13 Best Hiking Gadgets That Are Ridiculously Popular (2020)
Hiking is an incredibly popular sport, and with good reason. Not only does it keep you in great shape, but it is mentally invigorating as well.
It is also an inexpensive hobby to start because you don’t need a heck of a lot of equipment to enjoy a good hike. And yet, finding the best hiking gadgets certainly makes the experience a lot more fun.
We compiled this list of interesting and useful items by taking the following three things into consideration:
- 20 hours of intensive research both online and offline
- Reading reviews from real-life customers who purchased the product
- Doing comparisons of distinct features and benefits
If you’re curious about some of the trendiest gadgets for hiking, keep reading because it is easy to determine why the following 13 products are so popular among hiking enthusiasts this year.
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Last update on 2020-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Hiking Gadgets: Quick Overview
Cooling Towel For Neck And Face
Waterproof Lighter And Flashlight In One
Solar Panel Charger With Foldable Panels
Garmin Fenix 5X Hiking GPS Watch (TOP PICK)
Emergency Crank Radio With Flashlight And Reading Lamp
Hands-Free Portable Neck Fan
HD Monocular Telescope And Smartphone Holder
Don't Die In The Woods Emergency Sleeping Bag
Survival Kit Paracord Grenade
Led Light Walkie Talkies With Weather Scan
Wireless Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Garmin inReach Mini GPS Radio Communicator (TOP PICK)
UV Self-Cleaning And Water Purifying Bottle (TOP PICK)
#1 Cooling Towel For Neck And Face
When you hike, you’re going to work up a sweat, but even if that sweat doesn’t bother you, it will still feel much better to have a cooling towel to place on your face and neck as you hike. In that way, staying cooler and more comfortable is a lot easier. It is larger than other sport towels and it is super quick to cool, allowing you to stay dry throughout the entire trip.
The way this towel works is very simple. You simply soak it in water that is warmed up to 132 degrees Fahrenheit, wring out the excess water, and snap it with both hands three times to activate it.
You place it over your face, then tie it on the back of your neck to secure it. It is made to stay cool for up to three hours, and it even comes in roughly two dozen colors so it can match your hiking attire.
The towel is just what you need to stay cool and comfy throughout the hike. If you want to buy a few extras for friends, you can do so easily because you can buy these towels in packs of three or five if you like. It’s dirty cheap!
Alfamo makes it super easy to get just what you’re looking for in a cooling towel, and if you’ve never thought of purchasing one of them, now is the perfect time to do so.
As a bonus, it comes with a carrying pouch and a carabiner clip so you can attach it to your backpack or fanny pack.
#2 Waterproof Lighter And Flashlight In One
When you stop to take a break in the middle of a hike or stop for an evening before getting a fresh start the next morning, you might need a simple way to start a fire and find your way around. This handheld flashlight has several lighters inside that make starting a good fire insanely easy. The device is both waterproof and windproof and therefore makes the perfect hiking accessory.
This is the perfect item for lighting campfires, for cooking meals, candles, and even BBQ grills. Plus, the LED flashlight works great every time.
Available in both matte black and camouflage, the lighter is easy to use and reliable regardless of how long you own it. Its construction of ABS plastic and high-grade aluminum alloy means it can take a lot of abuse and keep on going.
It can also be totally recharged in about two hours and can be operated successfully even when it’s raining outside. This is definitely a convenient multitool that lets you look at hiking in a whole new light because it can truly be a lifesaver in many instances.
It is sturdy but lightweight and therefore you can carry it from one location to another with ease.
#3 Solar Panel Charger With Foldable Panels
If you need a way to charge up your cell phones or tablets while you’re out and about, this solar-powered charger is just what you need. It looks like a simple device, yet its power is astonishing. It is exactly what you need when you take a break for the evening and you have to re-power your electronic devices so they’re available to you the following morning.
This is a foldable panel that never takes up too much room in your hiking backpack or dry bag.
It is extremely reliable and efficient thanks to having two USB ports. This means you can charge both a tablet and a cell phone at the same time, and all it needs is a little bit of power from the sun during daylight hours to work right.
Priced reasonably and made by a company that specializes in electronic products, this handy tool has thousands of 5-star reviews. It is also easy to power up thanks to eye holes on each corner that allow it to be attached easily to your hiking backpack so the sun’s rays can hit it as you’re walking.
It includes fail-safe protection and premium components combined with intelligent high-speed charging technology. Who would’ve thought keeping cell phones and tablets charged could be so easy? This is a gadget you’ll soon discover you can’t live without, and you’ll be able to use it for many years to come to make your life a lot easier.
It’d make a perfect addition to your lightweight gear list. Last but not least, it has a 18-month warranty.
#4 Garmin Fenix 5X Hiking Watch
Hiking through long trails means you need to know where you are at all times, and this feature-rich Garmin-based watch will do that and much more. It has a rugged but lightweight design and tons of powerful functions that allow you to travel more safely because you’ll know where you are every step of the way. It is the easiest way to keep important stats at your fingertips. Check it out!
Made for all types of sports, including running, hiking, and even golfing, you’ll actually be surprised at some of the statistics it provides to you. These include pace, altimeter, gyroscope, barometric pressure, and even a reliable compass to help ensure you’re going in the right direction. In case if you're wondering whether it's a good idea to have a smart watch, here's an infographic that explains it all.
Its rugged design means it can take a lot of abuse and keep on going, and you can also download the app to make it even more functional. This is a fun but very useful device you’ll want to keep on you all the time so that hiking can prove to be as relaxing and stress-free as it needs to be.
It looks like a very fancy watch but is much easier to operate than you might think. The preloaded TOPO U.S. mapping is full color and the watch has a rear case. It's the most expensive hiking gadget on our list.
#5 Emergency Crank Radio With Flashlight And Reading Lamp
An emergency radio is always a great item to have on you when you’re deep in nature. Since this little buddy can be operated via the handy hand-cranking device, you’ll have a simple way to charge your cell phone and listen to weather reports when you’re stuck in an emergency situation. Priced very reasonably, this portable radio is powerful and can make a huge difference if you’re ever stuck without power for a while.
Perfect for hiking even when you’re not experiencing an emergency, the flashlight on one end of the radio is amazingly bright.
You also get features such as a micro USB charger, access to seven NOAA weather stations, external antenna for reliable power, and a replaceable lithium-ion battery that is easy to find when you need it.
The motion sensor reading lamp is perfect when you feel like relaxing with a good book, and the price means it is affordable for everyone. Indeed, this is one emergency radio you’ll quickly find you can’t do without, especially because the longer you keep it, the more functions you’ll come to love and to rely on each and every time you go out hiking.
Plus, it makes a fantastic camping gift.
#6 Hands-Free Portable Neck Fan
Ideal for hiking, fishing, and even cooking out in the backyard, this hands-free neck fan is comfortable and easy to wear, and most importantly, it works like a charm! Thanks to the mini USB device, it is super easy to charge, and it is surprisingly quiet as well, which means you can even use it while you’re working at your desk at the office. It is indeed an efficient fan you’ll fall in love with quickly.
This hands-free portable neck fan comes with a built-in 1000mAh battery and once it’s charged, you can use it for roughly three to five hours at a time.
Using this fan, you can stay cool while hiking, gardening, exercising, camping, and a lot more. You can feel cooler instantly any time, night or day, thanks to how easy the fan is to use and how reliable it is. It even comes with a thick pad to make it even more portable.
The fan is also compatible with most devices that come with a USB port, including computers, cell phones, tablets, etc. It can keep you cool and comfortable on most hikes, making it one item that is sure not to disappoint, and since it is so reasonably priced, you can get this handy device without breaking the bank.
#7 HD Monocular Telescope And Smartphone Holder
This waterproof gadget is quite practical. It consists of a telescope and a holder for your phone, making it a very useful device when you’re out hiking and want to stop to watch birds or snap a quick photograph. Perfect for watching wildlife, birds, or even just taking in the view of the mountains, it allows you to take pictures and view items up close so that you can have a few mementoes to better remember the moment.
Not a necessity but certainly something that will make each hiking trip a lot more fun, this telescope and cell phone holder is easy to use and very well-made.
You’ll be able to count on it working right for many years to come. Its high-tech features are very easy to learn because they aren’t complicated, and you can see everything up close and personal with vibrant colors and a clarity that you are certain to appreciate.
The next time you want to make your next hiking trip a lot more productive, take along this amazing HD telescope so that picture-taking along the hiking trail is easier than ever.
It makes stopping in mid-hike and snapping a few photographs of the surrounding wildlife or birds a lot easier to do, and the picture quality is doesn’t disappoint.
The Gosko monocular has a large BAK-4 prism and adjustable eye cups for comfortable use and clear view.
#8 Don’t Die In The Woods Emergency Sleeping Bag
This is another one of those items that you’ll be glad you have if you’re ever stuck in some type of emergency and find you need to bunk down for a little while. It looks like a thin layer or lining of some sort, but it is amazingly comfortable should you ever have to use it. Complete with a built-in hood, you can carry it in your backpack and only take it out when you need it, making this an item that provides great peace of mind every time.
Since you never know when the elements might try to wreak havoc on your life, this sleeping bag can be the perfect thing to have if you get stuck in a sudden rain shower or storm.
Weighing only 7 ounces, it folds easily into a carrying case when it isn’t being used, but when you do need it, it will keep you dry, warm, and comfortable for a long time. It is also available in three different colors for some aesthetic appeal.
This emergency sleeping bag can also be used as a cover (bivy) if you aren’t interested in sleeping but just want the extra protection when the weather suddenly turns bad.
Since it is ultralight and doesn’t take up much room, you can easily keep it in your backpack without adding much extra weight.
Yet if you ever do need it, it will instantly become a very valuable part of your hiking or camping existence. It is the perfect item to have if “better safe than sorry” is a rule you live by.
#9 Survival Kit Paracord Grenade
Available in black and a blue-and-black design, this kit becomes invaluable in an emergency because it contains a total of 48 tools that will come in handy when you need them most. It looks like a small grenade but unfolds when you need it to and gives you access to items that include matches, razor blade, LED flashlight, needle and thread, compass, and so much more. It is truly amazing how many items fit into this small grenade-shaped kit.
This is yet another practical “what if” tool that gives you great peace of mind when camping, hiking, or taking part in any other outdoor activity.
When you need it, simply disassemble it and find the tool you need, whether this includes a compass, pocket knife, or something else. It also makes a great gift for any man in your life because let’s face it, what man doesn’t want more than tools?
Furthermore, it allows you to enjoy the outdoors even more because you’ll be able to relax and know that you’ll stay safe should any type of emergency arise.
With nearly 50 different tools to choose from, this kit can literally be a lifesaver in certain situations, so it will be there should you unexpectedly need a tool such as aluminum foil, safety pins, electrical tape, butterfly sutures, and can opener.
It also contains a 45-feet military grade paracord which is quite useful in many situations.
#10 Led Light Walkie Talkies With Weather Scan
Reasonably priced and built to last, these two-way radio walkie talkies can be true miracle-workers when you need them. The 16-mile talk range makes them a truly invaluable tool when you need to stay in constant touch with a partner while hiking or enjoying the great outdoors in any other way. They even come with more than 2,600 different channels and a LED flashlight for maximum safety.
The less obstruction you experience, the longer distance is covered with these walkie talkies, and even if you’re in the middle of the city, they offer a range of up to three miles, which is quite a lot.
You can enjoy hands-free operation with these walkie talkies and their many perks include NOAA weather scan, built-in earpiece with microphone, and voice activation transmission (VOX) with three different sensitivity levels. Nice, huh!
Even when it isn’t an emergency, you’ll still appreciate these walkie talkies because of the convenience they provide. You can also enjoy up to 75 hours of use time and a standby time of 120 days, and you can even use the USB device to quickly charge the batteries at any time.
Besides, they provide you with an alarm whenever inclement weather is detected in your area, making them very valuable indeed.
#11 Wireless Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Anytime you need a portable speaker that is wireless and can be used successfully even when it’s raining outside, this is the one. Available in black, red, and blue, the speaker is easy to use and provides an amazing sound considering how small it is. It offers a really powerful HD sound and allows you to take your music with you wherever you go.
Super popular among hikers, the Kunodi speaker provides perks such as a subwoofer, enhanced bass, and a built-in microphone. On top of that, it can be used anywhere to provide you with access to your music, cell phone, and so on.
Even in harsh conditions, the speaker works splendidly, and at such a low price, you can afford to buy more than one at a time if you like. Going camping or hiking no longer has to be a quiet or boring experience because with this speaker, you can enjoy a little music the entire time you’re gone.
If the only thing that seems to be missing from your hiking experience is a little pleasant music, don’t worry much because the Kunodi portable Bluetooth speaker just solved this problem with a bang.
The trendy Kunodi speaker has a powerful enough battery (800 MAH) to play for 4-6 hours and it’s compatible with every popular Bluetooth device including tablets, smartphones, and iPads.
With a clear sound and a lightweight design, you can carry it with you wherever you go with ease, and it won’t even take up that much extra room in your backpack.
#12 Garmin inReach Mini GPS Satellite Radio Communicator
This is a very small but very powerful communicator with features that include downloadable maps, NOAA charts (U.S.), two-way text messaging, and even color aerial imagery. Giving you the peace of mind you deserve should an emergency occur, this radio communicator provides invaluable services. The display resolution of 128 x 128 pixels means it is always an easy-to-read device. Check it out!
This radio communicator is lightweight and compact, making it easy to bring with you wherever you need to go, and it is sturdy enough to take a lot of abuse and keep on working as expected.
You can contact the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team through an SOS alert if you need to, and it provides you with the tools you need to be in touch with someone any time, day or night, whenever it is needed.
The radio fits in the palm of your hands and is very simple to use, and you also get perks such as unlimited cloud storage and the ability to plan your trip from start to finish, including the possibility to store all of your location tracking data.
In addition, it has an inReach weather forecast service and you can send inReach messages via compatible Garmin devices.
This is a very powerful tool that will let your friends and family feel better knowing that you have a device that will keep you in contact with the outside world regardless of where you’re going or what you’re doing.
#13 CrazyCap UV Self-Cleaning Bottle
This bottle can be truly invaluable when you’re hiking out in the middle of nowhere and you get thirsty. It instantly takes any type of water and purifies it so that it is healthy and drinkable, allowing you to get the water you need to keep yourself hydrated. It has a water-purifier cap and is fully insulated. Plus, it can prevent a disaster if you’re thirsty but only have access to unhealthy water
This 17-ounce bottle is super easy to use because all you do is fill it up with water, put the cap on, then pat the top of the cap to activate the UV-C light.
The special light sterilizes the water instantly to remove tons of contaminants, and because the cap is what makes the process work, you never have to worry about replacing filters just to get clean drinking water.
The bottle also lasts a very long time, requires almost zero maintenance because you do nothing except screw on the cap and tap it a few times to get it to work.
You can turn any water into clear, germ-free water that is healthy to drink in no time, and this equates to great peace of mind. That’s especially true when you’re hiking in an area that is unfamiliar to you and you’re not sure what type of water you have access to.
And as we know, proper hydration when sweating on strenuous hikes is crucial.
5 Crucial Factors To Look At When Choosing The Best Gadget For Hiking
So far, so good. You have a nice list of the trendiest tools and devices that people just seem to love.
But what next?
How do you pick the best one for you?
Most importantly, how do you pick one without regretting your purchase? How do you make the right choice?
In this section, you will learn just that.
No matter how cool or fancy a tool might look, it won’t do you any good if it’s not practicable.
See, hiking is an actionable sport. Therefore, it requires gear that will actually help you on your trip. In other words, you need equipment that will ease your life on the trail.
Truth is, we live in a consumer society. We often become obsessed with buying the latest Iphone or that fancy car, just because everyone else is doing so. It seems the most normal thing to do.
The tons of persuasive ads using psychological tricks that we see every day only increase our desire to buy stuff.
In fact, every year, we spend more than the previous. Check out the graph below. It shows the U.S. consumer expenditure in trillions of dollars for the last 10 years.
Did you notice it? The upward trend, I mean. It’s crazy.
If you want to buy a hiking gadget, make sure that it will be useful for you. Don’t purchase stuff only because it’ s super popular.
Ask yourself the question – “do I really need this”? Also – “how this thing will help me out in nature exactly”? For example, a hat with a solar-powered fan might sound and seem original? And it is. But is it practical?
On one hand it looks silly, and on the other, it just doesn’t make sense wearing this big thing with a noisy fan on your head.
It’s not a surprise that this product is discontinued. On top of being a bad idea in the first place, based on the user comments, it was terribly executed.
You got the idea. Let’s move on.
#2 Ease Of Use
No one likes to deal with devices or tools that are difficult to operate with. That’s especially true when you’re out in nature. You need something intuitive and easy to understand. Imagine having to work with a complicated GPS device that needs hours of tuning.
Even if so, it’s always a good approach to learn how to operate with your new gadget prior to your hiking trip. Also, it’s best if that new toy of yours has a user manual. It’d be much easier to understand how it works.
Because there are thousands of brands out there, it’s logical that the market is flooded with lackluster products. It’s inevitable.
A key feature to consider when choosing your new hiking gadget is its durability. You’ll agree that it would be terrible to end up with a broken tent on your first overnight hiking trip. Or with a faulty emergency shelter out in a stormy night.
Hiking is an activity that often involves harsh conditions. Without a doubt, you need durable gear that would be able to withstand it all.
You need to avoid flimsy stuff at any cost. Doing diligent research will help. Here’s how:
- Read buyer reviews online
- Research the brand and avoid shabby manufacturers with a suspicious reputation or only a few products in their product line
- Aim for products that are backed up with a warranty
In most cases, chances are that your new tool or device will be exposed to water, one way or another. After all, you’re on an outdoor adventure, right? For instance, it is a scientific fact that mountains receive more rainfall than lower areas.
Don’t you think having a water-repellent gear sounds logical? I’m sure you do.
Now, that really depends on the type of gadget you’re buying. For some products, it’s more important to have waterproof protection than others.
For example, it’s not a big deal if your backpack is not waterproof if you have a rain cover. But things would be different if it starts to rain and your smart watch or GPS tracker doesn’t have water resistance. It’s always recommended to have gear that’s waterproof whenever that’s required, based on common sense.
#5 Your Budget
You’ll be surprised how many people do spontaneous purchases based on an emotional choice. In other words, they think irrationally and act emotionally when buying something.
As a result, they often end up spending too much money on something they don’t need.
To minimize that risk, set a budget and stick to it. Think exactly how much you’d want to spend on a new gadget and try not to go beyond that. Know your limits.
Don’t forget that brands and advertisers have many tricks to lure you into buying their stuff.
As you can see, this list of the very best hiking gadgets consists of everything from items that make it more fun to hike to items that will come in handy if you’re hiking and run into some type of emergency.
Each time you hike somewhere, it provides you with a brand-new experience, an experience that is greatly enhanced by having convenient and potentially life-saving equipment on hand.
Most of these items are inexpensive, but even the more expensive ones will provide you with a way to keep your hiking and camping trips much safer, thus more enjoyable.
To research the items further, just check out the links provided above and get access to both additional information and full-color photographs of the items themselves.
If you’re going to go hiking or camping anyway, why not make the trip more exciting, more convenient, and a little less worrisome when it comes to your safety by considering one of these incredible products?
Founder of this website, Asen is a passionate hiker and writer who is also a gear nerd. He’s been featured on many established hiking websites where he gives hiking advice & tips. When he is not trekking with his family or friends, he is writing articles and product reviews. Asen spends most of his time in Bulgaria but he constantly travels the world in seek of more unforgettable experiences. Read more about Asen here.