Ok, so really this blog should be about documenting the training and progress of our planned journey but having discovered these gadgets I can't resist sharing them. In fact, this could be considered part of our trip wish list and anyone with recession-proof cash burning a whole in their pocket could easily donate to a good cause!
The nPower PEG
I've been looking at ways to keep phones and cameras charged during our time in the hills and have mainly focused on popular solar solutions like the Powermonkey Explorer. However, even in the Summer there are obvious disadvantages with relying on the sun.
The nPower PEG is the first portable power solution to efficiently harness kinetic energy to store a charge. It looks fantastic. All you do is stick it in your rucksack and day or night, it harvests the energy from your motion. As yet, there is not a RRP for the UK but it's expected to set you back about £100 or so. It can generate enough power to charge mobile phones for talktime, iPods and even iPads. It cannot generate enough charge for a laptop but then who's likely to take a laptop out into the wilderness?
I definitely think there is something to be said for being out in the wilderness, away from the ties to technology. However, I am considering this for the importance of safety and so that we can check in occasionally with loved ones. Being able to be tracked via GPS would also add an interesting element to the documentation of our trip, which brings me on to the next gadget...
The SPOT Connect
This is a clever little gizmo that allow GPS data, social network updates and emergency requests by using satellite rather than mobile network. By downloading the smartphone app and linking the phone and SPOT Connect together via bluetooth, you can stay in touch in remote areas.
Having just read Between A Rock And A Hard Place (now a Danny Boyle film called 127 Hours) I can understand the terrible risks that being in the middle of nowhere can pose. Aron Ralston made the schoolboy error of not letting anyone know where he was going when he set off to explore remote canyons in Utah. He became trapped by a boulder and gradually accepted his likely demise over 127 hours before cutting his arm off to escape.
What Aron could have benefited from was a device that allows a message to be sent to an international rescue centre where help could be dispatched to accurate coordinates. Maybe he could have sent help requests to friends and family with a less urgent but equally helpful feature of the gizmo. Or maybe he could have updated his facebook or twitter status as "Aron is not enjoying being squashed by a boulder. ...like?)
Anyway, this does seem like an interesting piece of kit and, although I imagine it's very power hungry, quite possible worth it for piece of mind as well as up-to-date publicising of the progress of a hike across Scotland.