Sergei Zobov | Blog Software and robotics engineer

Useful modern-tech things for outdoor


Because of the closed borders due to pandemic, I’ve decided to spend my vocation in the famous Russian mountains – Caucasus. We also wanted to make 2 hikes of 6 days without getting back to any villages or cities. It’s not very long hike, but already requires some things to be well-prepared.

As an engineer I started to look for something modern and tech that could help me, so I decided to share with you what I found.


Solar charger

6 days in the mountains requires you to have something to charge your devices like smartphone or GPS-receiver. An option here is power bank, but if you discharge it, you’ll eventually have useless weight in your backpack to the end of the hike.

I spent some time lurking internet and found that solar batteries isn’t so bad today. It’s quite light-weight, powerful and some of them designed to be easily attached to the backpack. For example, you can look on this list on the popular mechanics site. I don’t think it’s exhaustive list, but it already include some very good models.

Personally, I’ve bought this one (they have only Russian version of site).


It actually exceeded my expectation: in sunny weather without too many clouds it can fully charge iphone 5se with ~2 hours. Just put it on top of your backpack, fasten and go.

Of course it’ll work only for places with at least few hours without clouds. For example, I won’t take it to Norway’s hikes where the sun never shines. :)


It’s mountain’s hike, so there is no artificial light, only this one you’ve brought with you. Most likely you will use the headlamps. Headlamps are super-cool, but the problem is the same as with smartphones – accumulators. There are a lot of headlamps with AA or AAA batteries. But I don’t really like the idea of normal batteries, because it’s very difficult to recycle it, particularly in Russia.

I decided to search the web and found this rechargeable batteries with capacity 3000 mAh. And again, it was beyond my expectations because 2 batteries were enough for 12 days. Of course, we used headlamps only on evenings and nights, but still it’s great value.



3D printed tools

Since I have a 3D-printer, I always try to find something useful, what could I print. I found this blog post and made several items from their list.

  • Carabiners are very useful. I won’t use it for climbing safety, but to hang or fasten something on backpack definitely. I fastened my tracking boots, bags with food or rubbish, etc. It’s lightweight and easy to use and print.


  • One of our Quechua’s backpack had a broken male part of a buckle. But someone already created this 3D-model, which isn’t ideal but quite good. I also suggest you to print spare one, because we’d broken one and quickly replaced it.


  • Gas canister stand can be very helpful, when you set up your camping on a rough surface. I also tried this one, but it broke twice while I tried to use it, but maybe it was a problem with my printing settings.

  • A strap buckle usually isn’t very important, but I bought several meters of strap and prepared model. The grip isn’t perfect, but it still can fasten more things to your bag.


I’m sure there are exists much more things, which I just didn’t find. But this ones, I’ve mentioned above, I used by myself, so I can say they work and made my hikes more comfortable, easier and safer. Hope it can help you too.

By the way, if you have something to suggest, feel free to write about it on related issue’s page. I will really appreciate this.