There’s nothing like the crisp, clean air to get your juices flowing, and help the family bond beyond the four walls of the home. While technology most certainly has an important place in the home, it can actually help enhance your adventures outdoors, too.

striiv fusion smartwatch.jpgReady to head outside and have some fun? Here are some tech tips to consider before embarking on your next outdoor adventure with the fam.

Keep track of your progress

Fitness, sport, and health will be an important part of any journey, whether it’s just a walk down to the local park, an intense gamily of tennis doubles, or a cycling trip down the trails. Keep track of your progress, whether it’s the number of steps you’ve taken, distance traveled, preferred route, or heart rate. Maybe even compete with other members of the family to see who gets the best workout. You can accomplish this through any number of activity trackers, like the Striiv Fusion smartwatch, which tracks all of the basic data, plus lets you see incoming calls or texts without having to take your smartphone out of your pocket.

The new Fitbit Charge HR adds the ability to continuously track your heart rate, without the need for a chest strap. And there’s a leaderboard within the app that lets you challenge your family as you engage in your favourite outdoor activity.

fitbark.jpgIf the family dog is part of the outing, keep in mind that there are trackers for it, too! Like the Fitbark, a tracker that lets you set health goals for your pet, too, and monitor his energy levels and movements along with the rest of the family. It’s waterproof, too, so there’s no worry if your puppy jumps into a puddle, or you find yourself in an expected rainstorm or snowfall.

Another worthwhile gadget for Sparky is Motorola’s Scoutrainer 50 Pet Training System, which lets the dog run free while you’re enjoying a game in the field or at the beach, but still lets you ensure that he’s being well-behaved. It has an up to 300-yard range, and digital walkie-talkie functions so you can still talk to the pet. There are three training modes, including tones and gentle vibrations. It’s lightweight, waterproof, an even has a backlit LCD for training at night.

gopro hero camera.jpgCapture the memories

Capturing memories is so much a part of our daily lives now. You can’t attend any event these days without seeing a smartphone in the air, snapping a photo.

No matter how intense your activity, you can still capture it with a device like a GoPro camera, which can be used in any weather and terrain with optional housings and other accessories, and mounted or strapped on everything from a helmet, to a boat, or bike. Then, you can capture the action from your point-of-view.

Another way to easily capture action is through an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone. With the Parrot A.R.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter, for example, one member of the family can record the action from high above while you hike up the trail, play soccer in the park, or just goof around in the backyard.

nikon coolpix Aw120 camera.jpgIf your outdoor adventure isn’t too intense, you can also opt for a traditional DSLR, like the Nikon D3200, which has a 24.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor and can capture full 1,080p HD video as well. The AF-S Zoom Nikkor 18-55 lens makes it easy to capture the action from afar, and you can instantly share them online with other members of the family using the optional Wireless Mobile Adapter. Find the perfect scene mode of six available.

A waterproof point & shoot camera like the Nikon Coolpix AW120 can alleviate any worry of damage if it’s snowing outside or drizzling rain. It’s also shockproof, which means you can confidently hand it over to your young kids to goof around, and freezeproof in the event that the temperatures drop on you.

Bring along what you need

Whether it’s a picnic in the park, a hike up the mountain, or team sports, you’ll need to bring along some necessities. And that requires a comfortable bag or backpack.

 burton youth emphasis 10.5 laptop backpack.jpg

With the bold and bright Burton Youth Emphasis backpack, you won’t lose sight of a family member! It has tons of storage space, plus you can fit a laptop, and has skate straps if you plan to do some skateboarding.

Or, if you’re planning a long walk or hike, check out the camo-designed Burton Cadet backpack, which can hold all of your gadgets, from a smartphone to lightweight laptop, camera, and other gear; plus water bottle, a sweater (in case it gets chilly!), and some snacks.

Music to your ears

Music can be a motivating part of the family outdoor adventure. If you’re doing something like cycling, you may all wish to ride in silence, each listening to your favourite tunes (or the same playlist.) So bring along a comfortable pair of sport earbuds, like the Bose In-Ear Sport Headphones, which can resist both sweat and unpredictable weather conditions, and comes with a Reebok fitness armband and inline remote and mic so you can control a compatible iPhone.

 bose inear sport headphones.jpg

If the plan is for the whole family to listen to tunes together, grab a good outdoor speaker that can handle whatever weather Mother Nature throws at you. What’s particularly nice about the GoalZero Nomad kit is that it has a solar panel so even if you run out of juice, the natural sunlight can help keep the music pumping. 

Or want to really be the talk of the town? Bring along the Sportcraft 4 Litre Radio Cooler which combines a cooler for your lunch, snacks, and drinks with speaker that can play back tunes from AM/FM radio stations, or a connected device. The waterproof inner PEVA lining keeps your food and drinks cold or hot, and there’s a shoulder strap making it easy to carry with you.

Don’t forget!

Before you head out, don’t forget some of the basics you should have with you: A water bottle for everyone; toques for the kids in case it gets chilly; a warm jacket in case temperatures are colder than expected; sunglasses if it ends up being a gloriously sun-filled day; a fully charged portable device charger in case your smartphone runs out of juice; and, of course, a multi-tool – you know, just in case. 

Happy outdoor adventuring with the family!

Christine Persaud
With 20+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism, I have covered the tech space since before social media was a "thing" and the smartphone as we know it was even invented. Writing for various technology, lifestyle, and entertainment sites, I have covered and reviewed hundreds of tech products, from home appliances to wearables, fitness tech to headphones, TV entertainment products and services, and more. I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV show fanatic (happy to give what to watch recommendations!), and proud mother to a 12-year-old son.