The Winter Outdoor Retailer Show showcases the latest in Gore-Tex jackets, bomber tents, and convertible boots. While most gear improves comfort and safety in the outdoors, the gear does not perform unless used outside. The Technology Hiker Gear of the Year (or more realistically gear of the decade) is the Google Calendar. Without scheduling outdoor trips with the calendar, I cannot enjoy the outdoors in either a beater jacket or a waterproof, breathable one.
Work / life / family balance is a constant struggle. I need to set expectations that I’ll be outside long in advance since there is always something pressing otherwise. While scheduling impacts spontaneity, I actually get outside. The calendar also helps planning for California backcountry reservations.
The Google Calendar outperforms other calendars including my favorite Appalachian Trail Conference one. The Google Calendar’s ability to share trips with others sets it apart. Its price is right (free). It integrates easily with my phone and email.
January is an excellent time to use the calendar to plan trips. I just scheduled eight 2017 California camping and an international trip. All of these trips are enshrined on my Google Calendar.
To make the most of my time outdoors, I often follow the 24 hour trip approach. I make most of my outdoor trips family oriented or short, so they’ll have less impact on others. This approach uses the Google Calendar to notify friends, family, and coworkers.
Given price (free), performance (always available in the cloud), ability to share trips across multiple platforms (seamless), the Google Calendar wins the Technology Hiker coveted Gear of the Year award.