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My 5 must-have gadgets for off-grid adventures

Being in the wild doesn't mean I can't be civilized and have an office to get stuff done. These are my must-have gadgets when traveling off-grid.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Most people go into the wilds to get away from it all. You know, leave their desk and work behind, and absorb all the goodness that Mother Nature has to offer.

But some people -- photographers and videographers spring to mind -- go off-grid to work. I'm one of those people who takes a bunch of cameras and drones into nature to capture photos and video from the ground and air.

Also: Forget the Apple Watch Ultra: This is the ultimate outdoor smartwatch

I used to be happy going into the wilds with minimal kit, but as I've become wiser -- or older, I'm not sure which -- I've seen the value of having some kit to make my outdoor life a little easier. 

Summer's in full swing here in the U.K. I'm planning a few trips for the next few months, and I've pulled together a few items to build an off-grid office.

Here's what I'll be taking. 

Nemo Equipment Stargaze Reclining Luxury Camping Chair
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I've tried a lot of camping chairs -- from the cheap bargain basement stuff to genuine military camp chairs -- and the Nemo Equipment Stargaze blows them all away.

I really wasn't convinced that this chair was anywhere near as good as advertised -- right up until I sat in it.

This is the most solid, well-made, well-designed camping chair I've owned. It's big and sturdy and can take up to 300lb loads, which is reassuring, because this camp chair's party trick is that it reclines back, turning the chair into a mini hammock.

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The chair is super-comfortable. I've spent quite a few hours in this chair, set it up and broken it down a number of times, and even left it out in the elements for over a week -- and it's still as comfortable and reliable as the day I first pulled it out of the packaging.

In short, this camp chair is the best.

The EcoFlow RIVER 2 Max is home to 512Wh of power stored in long-life LiFePO4 batteries that should last a decade, and a 160W solar panel to recharge the unit. 

For me, this generator is the perfect size for off-grid use where you might have to move the power station about -- big enough to power all my stuff, but small enough to not give me backache lugging it about. As I've mentioned before, it's the Goldilocks of power stations.

Also: I tested this tiny satellite communicator on an off-grid adventure. Here's my verdict

The solar panel is also ideal -- not too big, not too small, and waterproof in case the weather turns soggy (a distinct possibility here in the U.K.).

This is an absolutely brilliant combo and comes in at under $1,000, which might seem a lot but is not a big hit for such a decent solar generator setup.

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

This is the perfect mobile hotspot for spreading Wi-Fi, whether you're in an office, a hotel room, or in the great outdoors.

So, why do I use a mobile hotspot router when I have a smartphone with a hotspot with me 24/7? 

It's because the mobile hotspot routers, such as the Nighthawk M6 Pro, are packed with cool features and are a lot more versatile.

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First off, my phone is used for a lot of different things throughout the day, and I don't necessarily want it tied up supplying internet to devices all the time. It's inconvenient, and it hits the battery hard.

Also, if signal is poor, I might need to put the hotspot up a tree, or attach an external antenna to it -- stuff I don't want to do or can't do with my iPhone.

The Baseus Blade HD makes use of silicon-carbon lithium polymer battery technology, making it 18% lighter and 20% smaller than its earlier version. The capacity remains the same at 20,000mAh, but I'm OK with this as it offers ample power to recharge devices. 

Also: Traveling soon? Take these 4 tech essentials on your summer trips

The flat, square design with rounded corners, texturized soft coating, and soft silicone feet means this is perfect for throwing into a bag and taking outdoors, as I hate things with sharp corners, which always come with a risk of puncturing an expensive tent at the worst possible time. 

Garmin inReach Messenger
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

For those times when you venture out of cell coverage, but you still need to be able to stay in touch, a satellite communicator is the perfect solution.

This puck-shaped, pocket-sized device can connect to the Iridium satellite network and it allows you to send location data, send and receive messages, and even call for help if things turn bad.

Also: 5 tech gadgets I never leave home without (and they make great gifts)

Sure, this doesn't give you the data bandwidth that you're used to with a cell network. But it can be invaluable when it comes to offering peace of mind to family and friends of those who like to go on adventures that take them beyond the reach of a cellular network, and can become a lifeline in the event that something goes wrong.

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