Earlier this year, a reader wrote to Outside asking about the tech our editors use when they’re working on the road. To find out, I asked several staffers, all of whom travel throughout the year, to name their most important off-the-grid tools.
iXCC 10-Foot iPhone Charging Cord ($12)
Associate travel editor Chris Cohen uses this ten-foot cord at those tall, crowded airport charging stations because it lets him plug in and sit down away from the hordes of fellow chargers. He also likes it for hotels where the only outlet is across the room from the bed. “I like to read and send emails before I go to sleep, so being able to reach an awkward outlet and still lie around is nice,” Cohen says.
Moleskine Notebook ($20)
Assistant editor Wes Judd refuses to use technology on a plane since it’s one of the few places he can disconnect. Instead, he catches up on his magazine subscriptions and brainstorms in a Moleskine. “I find there’s something therapeutically productive about writing ideas down on paper, giving it a sense of permanence,” he says. “I can go back and trace my thought process, which isn’t possible, say, when I’m constantly adding and deleting things in a Google doc. I have some of my best work ideas on planes when it’s just my Moleskine and me.”
Mophie Powerstation XXL ($100)
When executive editor Axie Navas travels for work, she’s constantly using her phone—responding to Slack messages, checking email, and catching up on the New York Times. All of which drains her phone’s battery. “When I’m at Outdoor Retailer or going from airport to airport, I like having an extra 100 hours (totally insane) of power in my pocket,” she says.
Sony M-470 Microcassette Recorder ($370)
Assistant editor Erin Berger has used an M-470 since high school to record interviews and dictate notes. “I know there are digital versions of this, but I’d argue the cassette recorder has its perks,” she says. “It’s dependable—it hasn’t broken down once. It’s unassuming, it auto-pauses recording during lulls to save tape space, and it’s much harder to record over a microcassette by accident.”
Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L ($150)
Associate editor Jakob Schiller likes the Black Hole because it’s thoughtfully organized. “There’s a huge, full-length zipper along the side, so I can immediately get at my laptop plus whatever kit I have buried at the bottom, like my rain jacket. I also like that, like a roll-top bag, the upper section expands, so I always have extra capacity. Minimalist hip and sternum straps don’t add unnecessary weight but keep the bag secure when I’m riding my bike or running through airports, and the outside keeps everything dry if I get caught in a rainstorm.”
Gerber Shard Key Chain Multitool ($7)
Assistant editor Will Egensteiner, who edits gear for the magazine, is always opening new packages, even on the road. He carries the Gerber Shard, which helps rip through packing tape and, most important, is TSA approved.
Subscribe to Outside
Save 66% and get All-Access: Print + iPad