Oh how I love my electronic gadgets! Andrew thinks it’s all a bit of a wank, but I just love them and what they can do for me. In this day and age, staying in touch couldn’t be easier. So why not make the most of what’s out there?
My one aim though, was to be able to tour ‘off the grid’ completely. I am able to do that 100%, but the odd night we spend in a motel room I will generally still ‘top up’ everything. I invested in a special charger that has 4 USB outlets for this, you know, just in case there is only ONE wall plug…… They are not expensive, but you need to make sure that the Amps are high enough to charge power hungry items such as iPads and iPhones (2A minimum).
So what gadgets do I carry? I have an iPhone which attaches to my handlebar stem. I mainly use Google maps on it to navigate during the day but also for phone calls, texts, photo’s and booking accomodation.
I also take an an iPad, which I use to keep this blog you are now reading, as well as our Facebook page, up to date. Couple the iPad with my Airstash WiFi USB stick and we can watch movies stored on the 32GB SD card in the tent at night. The Airstash is also a storage system for manuals, important travel documents and photos. The iPad teams with a Rapoo E6300 mini wireless keyboard to use with the iPad. I ummed and ahhed about this as the iPad, of course, comes with its own inbuilt keypad. It isn’t very user friendly though, especially if you need to type a lot.
I carry a camera ofcourse. It’s a Panasonic Lumix GX7 which is a mirrorless camera, so it’s more compact than a full DSLR. It fits neatly into my handlebar bag and takes amazing photos. To keep the batteries charged I purchased a USB charger that weighs next to nothing, instead of carting the heavy wall charger with me.
My “luxury” electronic devices though, would have to be my iPod Classic and Jabra Bluetooth Solemate mini speaker. They serves no bike touring purpose whatsoever, except turning our campsite into a nice little haven with music at the end of the day. The speaker is also handy to tether to the iPad whilst watching movies at night, yep we have our own little cinema happening!
But all these things run on electricity. How do I keep everything charged?
Well, our bikes came with Shimano Dynamo hubs. As we pedal, the front wheel generates electricity. This powers our front and rear light, but by attaching a Busch and Mueller USB-Werk converter, I am able to charge my iphone whilst riding. When I’m not riding, or at the end of the day/lunchtimes I set up my Instapark Mercury 10 solar panel. This can charge 2 devices simultaniously, or, I use it to charge my battery banks.
The next piece in my arsenal are some external batteries. I started with a 6000 mAh Innergie PocketCell Duo battery bank. This clever device will charge 2 smartphones simultaneously TWICE! However, for a power hungry iPad it wasn’t much good, so I have recently invested in a Jackery Giant+ that stores 12,000 mAh.
So there you have it, I’m totally self sufficient in the electronics department and need never go near a power point again. This, dear readers, is an unreal feeling!