High-tech apps, gadgets for outdoor activity

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When web designer Andy Wright heads out for a paddle or hike he doesn't unplug entirely.

"A lot of the apps and technology that I use are things that make things a little easier when I'm away from everything else, but hopefully not too easy," Wright said.

He isn't alone. According to an Outdoor Industry Association study, 70 percent of consumers use technology during outdoor activity.

"They want to be more comfortable outdoors. Others want it to be more social and have the ability to share those experiences with others. For some it's about tracking their performance, and others it's just really about enhancing their overall experience," said Christie Hickman.

Companies are responding to consumers with gadgets like a rugged waterproof Bluetooth speaker, special housings for smartphones to turn them into underwater cameras and even an electric skateboard that can hit speeds of 22 mph.

Apps can turn your smartphone into a guide.

The Salomon City Trail app helps you find the best trails in cities you visit, Roots Rated has information on different outdoor experiences across the country.

Yellowstone National even has an app that predicts when the geysers will go off.

But Gearjunkie.com Editor in Chief Stephen Regenold points out it's important to not rely entirely on tech tools.

"There are drawbacks to bringing technology into the wilderness: your GPS can run out of batteries, your app might crash and then you could be lost, so knowing traditional techniques, map and compass and general wilderness best practices is always a must before you head outside," said Regenold.

Even though tech is trending, there's also a big trend towards artisanal made in the United States, everything from knives to clothing to backpacks. Regenold calls it the Etsy generation in the outdoors.
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