Like our new tent?

I know. First world problem. Camping is supposed to be getting back to nature and unplugging, so why is camping without power even something to write about?

Because my husband and I have grown to depend on our gadgets for both life and entertainment. Yesterday, my husband said, “I’m not sure this camping without power thing is going to work out.”

A tiny bit of context. We used to camp in a trailer, and we’ve almost always selected camp sites with electric (though we routinely got along without a water hook up). Last year, after some trouble with the truck we used to tow the camper, we sold both it and the truck, bought a Honda Civic (yeah fuel efficiency!) and decided to go back to tent camping.

Our iPads were boon companions, serving as books, movie players (there’s nothing quite like curling up in the camper with a movie during a rain shower) and yes, even as gaming devices. Last year, I purchased a Paperwhite, in part for better reading outdoors, but my husband stuck to his iPad and hugged the shade. After we sold the camper, I convinced him to get his own Paperwhite, and this will be our first extended trip without easy access to power.

Now don’t get me wrong. We will have some power. All those external batteries I’ve been receiving as review samples will get plenty of use, especially the one which doubles as a camping light. We are taking one iPad because we like to play paper-based RPGs while camping, and we only have the rules in PDF form, so the iPad will be used to look up rules. (No laughing. This is important stuff!) The plan is to use the iPad in a limited fashion, and we’ll hopefully need to recharge it only once, if at all. One battery is reserved for the iPad.

Most of the rest will be used to keep phones charged. My HTC One has been a power hog lately (although it seems to be getting better), so we’re thinking most of the supplemental power will go to it. If it misbehaves, I may just turn it off most of the time and only turn it on a few times a day to process email.

We’ll reserve one for Kindles. If I read as much as I hope to, I might need to top mine off. I would like to take my new Fire (which I have grown to love), but it requires too much juice, so it’s staying home.

Of course, I’m sure we’ve completely over-planned this, and we will come back with mostly charged batteries. Which is a pretty good problem to have.

Here’s hoping we like the freeze-dried food we purchased. Losing our stove and fridge may be the bigger adjustment.


    • @Bridget, Kindle (eInk) or Fire? An eInk Kindle should last quite a while, which is why I’m guessing I won’t have to charge mine more than once, if that. A Fire, however…

      I do plan a follow up post when I return to report on how it went. And if my husband survived the experience. And how much my Fire missed me. 🙂

  1. That’s the same tent we have! We usually end up driving somewhere for hikes so we charge our phones and devices in the car on the way. We also just got back from a camping trip and my husband was watching the hockey game on his phone. Still, it’s a lot less power than we use on a regular weekend!

  2. Julie, your charging plan seems reasonable to me. Keep those Kindles in airplane mode and they should do quite well. As to freeze dried food, it has been years since we used it but it was wonderful then, so probably even better now. I do hope you got some freeze dried ice cream. It is divine!

  3. A few years ago I went on a seven day cruse and left the gadgets at home. I brought paper books and never really thought about the absence of personal technology. I kind of want to rent a cabin for another tech free long weekend. Oddly enough, my wife is more addicted to gadgets than me and give me a dead fish eye gaze when I suggested it.

  4. I’m back now, and the charging plan worked well. Planning a follow up post to report on everything.

    @Greg, I gave up paper books a long time ago and don’t intend to go back. My Kindle is easier and more comfortable to hold for long reading stretches (like when it rains ALL DAY LONG, and we’re stuck in the tent). However, I’m not one of those “you should only read ebooks” people, so if paper works for you on tech-free weeks, go for it. For me, tech-free means only taking my Kindle. 🙂

    @Mary, no freeze-dried ice cream, but the meals were pretty good, with one exception. The Chicken Teriyaki was yuck. But edible.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail