Travel Smarter In 2024: 8 Must-Have Gadgets For Trekkers & Adventurers (Mini-Reviews Inside)

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It was after six months that I was going away for a vacation, but the tech journalist inside me disapproved of a work-free eight days. So he decided to fill a backpack with different types of gadgets, including a power bank, Bluetooth speaker, portable karaoke device, and a wearable speaker and tested them in the beautiful and scenic little town of Munsiyari.

The time this article comes out, June 2024, is the peak summer season in northern India. It’s also the peak tourism season for Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir states. During this time, many people search the internet for “things to carry on a trek” or “things to carry while traveling to mountains.” Hopefully, this article will give you an idea about the gadgets/accessories I carried on my trip, along with their pros and cons.

ALSO SEE: Laptops With USB-C Charger in India 2024

I Ditched The JBLs For This Bluetooth Speaker, And I Love It

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth speaker

Over the years, I’ve toyed with several Bluetooth speakers. The first one I got (from an internship’s paycheck) was the Boat Stone 200. Then I upgraded to the Boat Stone Brixx, but its battery life degraded way too quickly. Then my sister got the JBL Go Portable as a birthday gift, and man, I was impressed with the sound quality. The JBL Go 3, Portronics SoundDrum, etc., I’ve tried them all, but I couldn’t find a better Bluetooth speaker than the Tribit XSound Go 16W Bluetooth speaker.

While preparing for my trip to Munsiyari, I was going through the best-rated Bluetooth speakers on Amazon for a budget of around Rs. 2,500, and the product’s listing immediately caught my eye. It has over 12,700 ratings and has an average of 4.4 stars. Given that it offered 16W of sound, promised 24-hour playtime, supported Type-C charging, and carried an IPX7 rating, it took me around two minutes to review the specifications and place an order. Spoiler alert: I don’t regret my decision.

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth speaker

Given that portable Bluetooth speakers have a smaller form factor, it’s physically impossible for them to produce that loud, thumpy bass we’re accustomed to from home theaters or relatively larger speakers. However, the Tribit XSound Go produces just the right amount of bass to complement the crisp mids and sharp highs. It doesn’t feel like the loudest Bluetooth speaker in the segment, but it sure comes with the best, most balanced sound signature.

Unlike most brick-style Bluetooth speakers that sit flat on a surface, the Tribit XSound Go sits at an angle, ensuring a wider sound distribution. It sports two front-firing speakers (8W each, with a passive radiator) behind the grill on the front. The rest of the device is covered in a rubber-like material that is soft to the touch. On the top, you get buttons to control the playback, adjust the volume, enable pairing mode, and turn the device on/off. On its rear is a compartment that houses the USB-C port for charging and a 3.5mm aux input port.

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Tribit Bluetooth speaker

The only other con, besides loudness, is the device’s microphone. I only attended a few calls on the speakerphone, but the other person always complained about not being able to hear my voice clearly. It was only when I held the device pretty close to my mouth that the issue didn’t exist. However, I can let that go, given that I hardly attend calls on a Bluetooth speaker. Apart from this, there’s nothing about the Tribit XSound Go 16W Bluetooth speaker that bugged me.

We mostly enjoyed our favorite Bollywood songs (and some English tracks) while having dinner on the rooftop or in the hotel room, and nobody complained about the sound quality. Further, I managed to get around 16 to 18 hours of playtime, with the volume being around 70 to 80%, which isn’t what the company claims but isn’t something that raises concerns either. If anyone at Tribit India is reading this, you guys have done a really good job, and I would like to review some other Tribit speakers as well.

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I Didn’t Know I Needed A Karaoke Device Until I Tried The Portronics Dash 2

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Portronics Dash 2

I’ve been on trips with family, friends, and acquaintances (although those were mostly workations), but I never realized how much fun a portable karaoke device could add to the mix. The Portronics Dash 2, one of the company’s most popular devices, can liven up any gathering, turning a quiet night with family or friends into an amazing karaoke session. The best thing about the device is that it doesn’t require a troublesome setup.

The Portronics Dash 2 is designed in such a manner that it packs a 10W Bluetooth speaker, a microphone that picks up your voice, and multicolor RGB lights, all in one device that looks like a traditional microphone. All you need to do is connect a smartphone to the device (via Bluetooth) and play music via a streaming app (or YouTube). Using its built-in voice canceling mode, the device cancels out the vocals in any song, converting it into a backing track.

One of my friends, who already has a karaoke setup at his home, was so surprised at seeing the device that he ended up using it for 20 minutes straight. Giving credit where due, Portronics has done an excellent job of making the device portable and easy to use, so much so that even my parents could use it without any assistance. To turn on the device, you have to press the power button for two seconds. By default, the device boots up in the Karaoke sound mode, which adds a bit of echo to your voice (like every karaoke device).

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Portronics Dash 2 button controls

However, you can browse through four modes: Karaoke, Professional, Speech, and Original Sound. The latter two are ideal for using the device as a portable microphone in schools, colleges, society meetings, cafes, etc. Once the device connects to your smartphone, you can start playing songs right away, with your voice on top of the vocals. If you wish to cancel the vocals, press and hold the voice-canceling button for two seconds, and there you have it — a karaoke track — without the hassle of removing the vocals through software or an audio deck.

You can even adjust the volume of the backing track and your voice separately by pressing and holding the power button for two seconds and using the volume buttons to increase/decrease them. Yes, the sound gets a bit distorted on higher levels, especially if the microphone volume is above 80%, but you can remedy that by holding the device a little farther.

While the push-button controls are on the device’s stem, it also features a Type-C, aux-in, and headphone port at its bottom. Further, there’s a tiny button to switch the light modes between four different modes: flow, breathing, nightlight, and rhythm. Although the device has a claimed 10-hour playtime, I haven’t reached the point where it needs another charge. I’ve used it for over five hours since the last time it was charged. Moreover, this is one particular addition to my travel backpack that I didn’t think I needed, but now that I’ve used it, it’s become the ultimate party starter!

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The Good Old Xiaomi 20,000 mAh Power Bank

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Redmi 20,000 mAh power bank

The more devices you carry, the more power you’ll need to keep them charged, especially while you’re traveling and don’t have access to power outlets. This is why carrying a power bank becomes important, especially for people who can’t let their smartphones die, as they won’t be able to navigate, manage their bookings, talk to their friends/family, and make payments without it (including me).

For me, the battery pack of choice has been the Redmi 20,000 mAh power bank. Yes, it’s a bit heavy and doesn’t offer USB-C to USB-C charging, but it offers a bit too many pros to overlook these cons. Even after you factor in the loss in capacity due to voltage conversion (about 2/3rd of the total capacity), the power bank still offers around 13,000 to 14,000 mAh of usable battery, which is enough to charge my iPhone 13 a little over three times.

I usually charge the power bank overnight, as it takes a lot of time to fill in the large battery, but once no LED light is blinking, it gives me a sense of satisfaction. Usually, on my work trips to Delhi (for around three to four days), I use the Redmi 20,000 mAh power bank whenever my phone’s battery goes below 20 or 30%, and with its 18W power output, it charges up my iPhone in a little over an hour. More importantly, I don’t have to plug in the power bank for the entire duration of my work trip.

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Redmi 20,000 mAh power bank ports

On my six-day trip to Munsiyari, I carried the power bank and a Portronics Type-A to Lightning cable. I mostly used the battery pack in the car (since there were few charging ports), at food joints where I could rest the phone aside for some time, and during power cuts in the property we stayed at. I also carried the device to Khaliya Top Trek, a famous trekking point about 8 km from Munsiyari.

While I was clicking pictures of the 5-hour-long trek, my phone’s battery was draining too fast. However, I kept the power bank in the side compartment of my backpack (where I usually keep a water bottle) and let the cable charge the phone in my pocket. We were about halfway through the trek when my phone hit around the 30% battery mark, which is when I plugged it in. In about 25 minutes, my phone went up to 55%, which is pretty decent.

Unlike my short work trips to Delhi, I had to charge the Redmi 20,000 mAh battery pack two times through the power outlet in the property we stayed at, primarily because of all the pictures and videos we were creating.

How About A Wearable Speaker That Doubles As A Speakerphone?

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Portronics Talk Three wearable speaker

In May 2024, Portronics released a new wearable device, the Talk Three. It is a portable, 2W Bluetooth speaker (slightly larger than an AirPods Pro charging case) with a spring clip for attaching to clothes or a backpack’s strap. The brand places it as a “wearable Bluetooth speaker” that lets users control their music and attend calls without touching their iPhone: fair enough. But I couldn’t get the best use out of it.

While we were trekking through the mountains near Munsiyari, I clipped the speaker onto the shoulder strap of my backpack. Four people, including me, were trekking at their own pace and, naturally, weren’t together at all times. Hence, I decided to use it as a speakerphone to attend the conference calls we made every 10 minutes or so. Thanks to the clip’s sturdy grip, the speaker didn’t get off the strap for once.

Surprisingly, my friends didn’t complain about the microphone quality for once. Yes, Talk Three’s microphone picked up quite a lot of wind noise, but that was also true for the TWS earbuds I carried (more on that later). Further, I really liked how the device let me accept phone calls with the press of a button without having to take my phone out of my pocket. I guess when you’re exhausted from walking a steep incline for a couple of hours, wearing earphones might make you feel uncomfortable, and that is where the device really worked out for me.

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Portronics Talk Three on curtain and bag's strap

One of my friends, however, took the device from me and started wearing it every single day. He came to like the 67-gram lightweight speaker that clips onto whatever one is wearing. So he started watching YouTube videos and scrolling through Instagram Reels connected to the speakers, clipping them on his t-shirt’s collar or the nearby curtains (pretty unique place, though). I can even argue that people can take it out for open-ground workouts or sports sessions.

However, when it comes to personal preference, I prefer using earphones for better sound quality and privacy. Nonetheless, the device also features a magnetic clip, provides 10-hour playtime, charges via a USB-C port, and has an official IPX5 water resistance rating.

If You’re Going To The Mountains, Always Carry A Flashlight With You

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Eveready Digiled Flashlight

Although I ordered a powerful 20W LED torchlight to carry with me on the trip, the parcel didn’t arrive on time. Instead, I had to purchase the inexpensive Eveready Digiled DL36 from the market. For Rs. 80, I got a tiny, plastic-body flashlight that claims to produce a brightness of 120 lumens and runs on two AA batteries. It’s obviously not the best on the market, but I couldn’t complain much, because of its price.

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Eveready Digiled Flashlight

Before heading on to Munsiyari, we stayed at an Airbnb at Sukha, near Bhimtal. In the evening, as we were heading out to do some grocery shopping, the lights went out in the entire area, and that is when I got to use the Eveready flashlights. In pitch darkness, the flashlight made a lot of difference. The focussed LED light could travel through at least a dozen meters, making the cemented pavement visible.

We also used the flashlight to lighten the kitchen while cooking, as everyone’s phones were about dead. Fun fact: the Duracell batteries I used cost half as much as the flashlight. Nonetheless, it got the job done, so no complaints.

If You’re Going On A Road Trip, Consider Carrying A Portable Tire Inflator

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Portronics Vayu 2.0 portable tire inflator

For this trip, I was carrying the Vayu 2.0 Rechargeable Trye Inflator from Portronics, just in case. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I didn’t get to use the device much during my trip, except that one time when the right tire (in the front) of my friend’s Kia Seltos started to wobble a bit, followed by a confirmation via the TPMS. We were in the mountains, somewhere after Pithorgarh on the NH 125.

However, I took out the Vayu 2.0 from its packaging, attached the air hose to the top of the device, and powered it on. Pressing and holding the power button for a few seconds turned the device on, after which I switched through the available modes to reach the one for cars. By default, the device sets the pressure to 36psi. However, since my friend suspected a puncture, he didn’t want to inflate the tire to the said pressure.

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Portronics Vayu 2.0 portable tire inflator attachments

So I pressed the minus button on the device to take down the preset pressure to 30psi, connected the other end of the air hose to the tire’s valve, and pressed the power button. The device began pumping air (with a relatively louder noise than we expected). However, it inflated the tire from 22psi to 30psi in about 35 seconds. Later, we did this again after some 40 to 50 km until we found a local service center and got the tire fixed.

I found the device to be pretty useful. It also has a USB-C port and doubles as an emergency power bank (with 6,000 mAh of total capacity). Further, you get a flashlight on the top, which is not the brightest but can help you set the device up in darker environments. After returning home, I even used the device with the vehicles in my device. While it did well on the preset pressure for my Hyundai i10, the minus button malfunctioned while I was trying to lower the pressure to 22psi for inflating my scooter’s front tire. Anyway, I managed to decrease the pressure and got away with it.

TWS Of Choice – The Nothing Ear (1)

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Nothing Ear (1)

Ever since I got the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation), I’ve stopped keeping track of the new TWS on the market. This is partly to keep me from spending more and getting new earbuds (just for fun) and partly to pay respect to the ultra-expensive earbuds I purchased. However, if there’s one TWS that has stuck out for me, it’s the Nothing Ear (1).

I purchased the earbuds for a heavily discounted price in February of 2022, and they’ve been working fine ever since. The battery life is still good, and so is the sound quality. On top of that, I always turn some heads when I keep the earbuds on a table. The inner plastic on the left earbud got off (near the charging interface on the bottom), but that doesn’t make the earphones less comfortable to wear, nor does it compromise on any other feature.

The fact that these earbuds provide decent ANC is something that I like, especially when traveling. You can go with any TWS you prefer, as long as they have great battery life and are comfortable to wear for longer periods; the Ear (1) is just a model that I prefer over others due to their unique design and feature-loaded nature.

I Carried Everything In A 45 Litre Aristocrat Rucksack

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Aristocrat rucksack backpack

First things first, I got the rucksack on a sale on Flipkart. Usually, it is available for around Rs. 1,200, but I got it for Rs. 863. Nonetheless, the rucksack has three main compartments. The one in the back, the thinnest of all, can carry your books or laptop. Then there’s the main compartment, which is nothing short of an endless black hole. It could be that my packing skills are extraordinary, but I could comfortably pack in clothes for five days, including three pairs of jeans, five t-shirts, two jackets, and a towel, in this very compartment.

Gadgets to carry while traveling: Aristocrat rucksack backpack from the back and side

Then there’s a quick-access compartment on the front, which contains several pockets for cash, your wallet, ID cards, a flashlight (like I did), and other items. It also has a plastic key hanger for attaching your keys. On the bottom, there’s some space for shoes, but I prefer to carry them in a separate carry bag. On the sides, you get two bottle holders and a couple of small compartments for keeping miscellaneous items.

No, the rucksack isn’t waterproof, which could be a con for some people. On the brighter side, it has a waist belt to distribute the weight, making it comfortable to wear. I chose to take the rucksack instead of a trolly bag because it is easier to carry and can fit more items in less space. It also has extra padding on the back. Moreover, the rucksack is ideal for packing clothes and other items for a five- to eight-day vacation, and I’ve seen many young people carry it around.

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Shikhar MehrotraShikhar Mehrotra
A tech enthusiast at heart, Shikhar Mehrotra has been writing news since college for an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Over the last four years, he has worked with several national and international publications, including Republic World, and ScreenRant, writing news, how-to explainers, smartphone comparisons, reviews, and list-type articles. When he is not working, Shikhar likes to click pictures, make videos for his YouTube channel, and watch the American sitcom Friends.

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