The Ultimate Guide to Thru-Hiking Electronics: Designing an Efficient and Lightweight System

The Ultimate Guide to Thru-Hiking Electronics: Designing an Efficient and Lightweight System

Navigating the world of electronics on the trail can be overwhelming, but with the right knowledge, you can design a system that meets your needs without weighing you down.

Thru-hiking has become increasingly popular, and with it comes the need for reliable electronics to navigate, document, and communicate on the trail. From smartphones to power banks, wall chargers to cables, there are numerous factors to consider when assembling your electronics packing list. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the devices, power banks, wall chargers, and cables you’ll need to create an efficient and lightweight system for your thru-hike.


The devices you choose to bring on your thru-hike will form the core of your electronics system. Smartphones are a must-have for most hikers, serving as a navigation tool, documentation device, and means of communication. Consider factors such as camera quality, screen size, and battery capacity when selecting a smartphone for your hike. Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) and handheld GPS devices are also worth considering for safety and navigation purposes. Headlamps, smartwatches, headphones, and cameras are other devices that can enhance your thru-hiking experience.

Power Banks

Power banks are essential for keeping your devices charged on the trail. Consider factors such as device battery sizes, the number of times you’ll need to recharge each device, and the length of your resupplies when choosing a power bank. Understanding the concepts of amps, volts, and watts is crucial in selecting the right power bank for your needs. Energy density, charging times, and efficiency are key considerations when evaluating different power bank options.

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Wall Chargers

When you reach a town during your thru-hike, you’ll need wall chargers to recharge your devices. The charging speed and number of ports on your wall charger will depend on your charging needs. Consider the input charging rate of your devices and the number of devices you typically charge at once. USB-C ports are recommended for future-proofing your charging setup.

Cables and Adapters

Choosing the right cables and adapters is crucial for connecting your devices to your power banks and wall chargers. Opt for USB-C cables whenever possible, as they are becoming the universal charging standard. Consider the length and weight of your cables, as longer cables can be heavier. It’s also important to choose high-quality cables to avoid short-outs and ensure reliable charging.


Designing an efficient and lightweight electronics system for your thru-hike requires careful consideration of your device needs, power bank capacities, wall charger capabilities, and cable choices. By understanding the key concepts of amps, volts, and watts, you can make informed decisions about the best devices and accessories for your hike. Remember to prioritize energy density, charging times, and efficiency when selecting power banks, and opt for USB-C ports and high-quality cables for seamless charging. With the right electronics system, you can stay connected and powered up on the trail without sacrificing weight or convenience.