GPS device with digital maps. GPS has revolutionized navigation and accurately gives climbers their location on a digital map. Modern phones, combined with a reliable GPS app, match the best dedicated GPS units for accuracy and are easier to use. Devices often have extensive libraries of maps, many available free; download the ones you need before your trip. Together with downloaded digital maps, phones can guide climbers in the wilderness far from any cell towers. The caveats Phones are fragile and they need electricity. Backcountry travelers should take steps to armor these delicate devices, keep them dry in the rain, and extend their battery life. Bringing a fully charged external battery pack is an important precaution. Dedicated GPS devices are more rugged and weatherproof than phones, making them a good choice for extreme environments.
In the outdoors, headlamps are the flashlight of choice, freeing hands for anything from cooking to climbing. Even if the party plans to return before dark, each member must carry a headlamp and consider carrying a backup. The efficient, bright LED bulb has completely replaced the inefficient incandescent bulb of a few years ago. An LED bulb lasts virtually forever but batteries do not, so always carry spares. If you are using a rechargeable headlamp or batteries, start with a full charge. Any headlamp carried by an outdoor shop will be weatherproof, and a few models can survive submersion. All models allow the beam to be tilted down for close-up work, such as cooking, and pointed up for looking in the distance. Some headlamps feature a low-power red LED to preserve night vision and help climbers avoid disturbing tent mates during nocturnal excursions. 153554b96e