Technology in the Wilderness: Introduction

Technology in the Wilderness

What do you think about when envisioning an outdoor persons base camp? Do you see a primitive hand-built shelter and tools made from what can be found in the wilderness or do you see a pop-up tent, solar panels, and modern water filtration systems? You may see a combination of both. No matter what answer you choose, you are not wrong. The modern outdoors person has the personal choice of trying to be as primitive as possible or incorporating technological advancements into their outdoor activities. 

My personal approach is to blend both primitive skills and modern technology into my outdoor adventures. It is important to understand that while technology, particularly electronics, has plenty of advantages it also has its limitations. These limitations reinforce the importance of learning and practicing primitive skills, however, it does not mean we should not take advantage of the modern tools we have available to us.

In this course, we will be exploring a variety of technological tools that we can bring with us into the wilderness to help make our experience safer and more enjoyable, as well as their limitations so that we can ensure that we are properly prepared for anything that comes our way.

Modern Advancements in Traditional Tools

Even if we wanted to, it is almost impossible to avoid technological advancement in our gear set. Our cutting tools have benefited greatly from advancing technology, from the quality of the steel used to make them, the synthetic handle materials, and the equipment knife, saw, and axe makers use to make these tools. The same can be said for our soft goods such as our packs, tents, and clothing. Ironically these advancements are often accepted by those who shun the use of electronics in the wilderness. I do not bring this up to put anyone’s perspective down, but rather to give our students some perspective on how technological advancements are being used to create most of the tools that people use on a regular basis in the wilderness. If we are comfortable embracing technology in our gear production, then why not be comfortable embracing technology in our wilderness activities?

The Types of Technology we will Discuss

Throughout this program will discuss a variety of different types of technology that we have personally used in our own outdoor adventures, their benefits, and their inherent limitations. Each piece of equipment we go over will be something that we have used extensively and thoroughly tested. Some of these will include, but won’t be limited to:

-Water Filtration/Purification

-Back-Up Power


-Clothing and Outerwear

-Light Sources

-Solar-Powered Items

-Fire Starting Devices

-Medical equipment

-Phone applications

Understanding and embracing technological advancements in outdoor gear is important to our overall safety and enjoyment of the great outdoors. Even if you choose to not utilize this equipment on a regular basis, having it available and knowing how to use it can be very beneficial in an emergency situation.