The Best Backpacking Electronics of 2021

The Best Backpacking Electronics of 2021

This year's top gadgets are designed to keep you safe and comfortable on the trail while staying out of your way.

Suunto 7

The 7 is one of the most well-rounded smartwatches we’ve ever worn. Using GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou satellites (the latter a relatively new system still uncommon in the smartwatch world), it’s dialed in for heading to rough locales: “I used this watch on a snowy, wet overnight ski trip in Chugach State Park.

SPOT GEN4

Lest you become a cautionary tale on our Out Alive podcast, have a plan for emergencies in the backcountry. Carrying a satellite communicator is a start, and the Gen4 provides security at a fraction of the price of most competitors

Nitecore NB10000

Rechargeable devices (headlamps, PLBs, etc.) offer a greener alternative to traditional batteries, but long trips require an additional—and packable—source for topping up. The NB10000 fits the bill: When one ounce-counting tester’s headlamp turned on in his pack on a weekend trip to Badlands National Park, this compact battery saved him from 13 hours of darkness.

Goal Zero Nomad 20 Solar Panel

Need even more juice than a powerbank can provide? The Nomad 20 will charge your devices while standing up to whatever abuse the backcountry throws at it. “I brought this panel on a trip in Wyoming’s notoriously rocky Wind River Range for a five-day trip,” one tester says. “I left it outside the tent through single-digit temps and snow, and it kept on charging my powerbank through all of it.”