Drew Romero’s hikes were weighing on him, literally. A Reston, VA-based senior software developer for technology consulting company Tkxel, Romero thought heavy accessories—battery packs and bottles of water—would hamstring him on a challenging five-day hike through a remote mountain range in Skardu in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. That is, until he discovered solar-powered hiking gear: “It opened up a whole new world of possibilities,” he said.
Romero isn’t alone in bringing technology to the trail. Today’s hiking accoutrements aren't your basic lace-up boots and walking sticks—new high-tech upgrades can improve hikers’ comfort and safety, plus make the whole experience a bit more fun. Leave it to tech workers to level up their sojourns a notch with smart gear even as they look to escape their screen-riddled day jobs. We spoke with some of Silicon Valley’s most avid hikers to see what they’re using to elevate their time on the trails.