Gear for Going off the Grid: Goal Zero, CRKT, Somewear, Grayl, and Good To-Go


The latest outdoor tech helps us stay safe, eat like a human, and recharge—even deep in the backcountry.

1. Goal Zero Nomad 5 Solar Panel

Charged! Goal Zero’s new Nomad 5, its smallest solar panel yet, is durable and waterproof, weighs a mere 12.7 ounces, and measures just 7 by 9.5 inches. With the sun shining, the panel can charge one of the company’s Flip 12 battery banks ($25) in four hours. If you don’t have time to wait, the panel can connect directly to a phone or satellite communicator: Hang the Nomad on a backpack or prop it up on its built-in kickstand to send an SOS. (“Help! We ran out of coffee!”)


2. Somewear Satellite Hotspot

With this device in my backpack, an out-of-office message saying “off the grid” doesn’t mean I’m SOL if things go sideways. The light and durable Somewear relies on the Iridium network (subscription required, $15 a month and up), the super-low-flying satellite system that blankets every inch of the globe with coverage. The device pairs with a phone to let me track my location and text the outside world via a mobile app. If you get really lonely out there, the Somewear can send and receive 1,000 messages before needing a recharge.


3. Grayl Geopress Purifier

There are many ways to purify water, and most of them have drawbacks. Ultraviolet light doesn’t remove particulate matter or kill hidden bacteria. Iodine tastes gross. Manual filters are time-consuming. But the two-piece Geopress—an outer vessel that’s essentially just a big cup and an inner vessel that’s like a water bottle with a replaceable filter cartridge ($25)—ingeniously avoids these problems. Just fill the cup with water from a lake or stream, then insert the inner container and use your body weight to press down on the whole contraption. The water is forced up through the ion-exchange, activated-­carbon filter and into the inner vessel, providing 24 ounces of drink-ready H2O in less than 10 seconds.


4. CRKT Kangee T-Hawk

The Kangee and a copy of Gary Paulsen’s beloved wilderness novel Hatchet (and clean water, see Grayl Geopress below) might be all I’d absolutely need to survive in the backcountry. This tactical tomahawk is made from a single layer of unsplittable carbon steel. With a chopping blade on one side and an imposing spike on the other, the T-Hawk helps me handle anything that needs cutting. And the textured, glass-reinforced nylon grip means I can apply my full force to the task without fear of it breaking or flying out of my hands.


5. Good To-Go Dehydrated Meals

Most freeze-dried camp food tastes like clammy garbage. But veteran New York chef Jennifer Scism—who was on Iron Chef’s first all-women team, which beat the then-undefeated (and pre-#MeToo) Mario Batali—has created truly good dehydrated meals that have distinct flavors and ingredients you can actually pronounce. Her menu has broad dietary diversity: carnivore, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and pescatarian. We like the New England Corn Chowdah with sweet potatoes and whole milk. A backpackable but satisfying dinner in the wild is just a little boiling water and 15 minutes’ wait away.


Styling by Audrey Taylor

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