With spring comes the fierce urge to get outdoors. Depending on how far from home you plan to go, you risk leaving behind the conveniences of your favorite mobile technology – unless you plan ahead.
There are new ways to keep the music going and the power flowing while also reserving storage space for each and every selfie.
Here’s how to stay on course when traveling the state or more remote reaches:
Recharge with portable power
Recharge your smartphone or other devices using the power of the sun with the 7-watt Nomad 7 Solar Panel. Connect your devices using the USB port or the 12-volt adapter (which can be used to connect a car charger). Charge up to two devices simultaneously. The panel is designed to be weather-resistant and lightweight. It measures 9 by 17 inches when unfolded for use and 9 by 6.5 when folded. $80.
There’s more than one way to use a solar panel, other than a direct connection. A second option is to store the energy by recharging a set of batteries that you can use later. The Guide 10 Battery Recharger gives you that flexibility. Connect the solar panel to the battery pack by day, while you use your phone to shoot vacation videos. At the end of the day, recharge your phone using the battery pack. The solar panel has a port for connecting the Guide 10 recharger, which also can be plugged into a USB power source, such as a computer, when the batteries are low on power. $50 at www.goalzero.com.
Backup power source is sturdy
Headed off trail? You might need backup power if you plan to shoot video with your smartphone or other mobile devices. The Soldier is waterproof and shock-proof to survive rough terrain. It’s built with a standard USB and a microUSB port. LED indicators let you know when to recharge.
Clean energy, timeless concept
You can have a bedside clock even in a tent. Water clocks were among man’s earliest timekeepers. The Squirt Water Alarm Clock is modern spin on the ancient concept.
Like those early models, Bedol’s water clock is powered without electricity or batteries. Fill the clock with water, and two metal plates inside use the positive and negative ions in the liquid to generate enough electricity to keep the clock ticking. The clock is estimated to run for six months between refills and is available in five colors. $20 at www.bedbathandbeyond.com. Wall clocks also are available.
Photo assistant goes panoramic
Bring the spectacular views home with you from your getaway destination. The Motrr Galileo iPhone Dock lets you take 360-degree panoramic pictures.
It’s available with Bluetooth ($150) for the iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 4/4S and iPod Touch (fifth generation). The 30-pin dock connection ($100) is for the iPhone 4/4S and 3GS, as well as fourth-generation iPod Touch.
Both versions have a standard tripod mount on the bottom. The 30-pin dock doubles as a charging station since it has a built-in rechargeable battery.
The Motrr app is free, but there is a charge for some others that you can use. The Panorama app, for example, is $1.99. Sphere and TimeLapse might also be options, depending on your device. www.motrr.com.
Store, share data
A smartphone and tablet can only hold so many pictures, videos and music files. The DataTraveler microDuo by Kingston Digital gives Android users up to 32GB of external storage and a way to share data among mobile devices. It’s similar to a thumb drive.
The microDuo is compatible with devices that support USB On-The-Go, a standard that allows microUSB ports (often used for recharging) to be used as expansion ports. $19.50 for 32GB at www.kingston.com. Also available in 8 and 16GB capacities.
Speaker system surrounds you with sound
A getaway isn’t complete without a little music. Jongo by Pure is an agile portable speaker system to pair with portable media players. Use each speaker on its own or group them. Connect to Apple or Android devices with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The indoor-outdoor Jongo S3 ($229) is a rechargeable wireless speaker that produces 360-degree sound from five internal speakers (four tweeters for 360-degree sound and an upward-firing subwoofer for bass).
The speakers can be accessorized by color to coordinate with a room’s decor, so it’s also suitable for a desktop or bookshelf. A pack of accessories ($30) is available with replacements in a variety of colors.
The company’s Pure Connect app lets users turn their smartphone into a remote control for music and your choice of Jongo speaker output. The basic app is free. www.pure.com.
Gregg Ellman contributed.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less