There are many great gadgets out there that make hiking and camping easier and safer -- solar emergency radios, GPS devices, LED lanterns and more -- but most people don't want to be saddled down with too much gear. Not only does it make your pack heavier, but too many gadgets can be a distraction from the great outdoors.
One piece of gear that is the easiest to carry and serves the most purposes is a smartphone. Right within the one device you have a communication tool, GPS, light and more, but you need to be in cellular range in order to utilize most of those things. What happens when you go off grid, but still need a line of communication?
A new gadget called the Beartooth turns your smartphone into an emergency two-way radio for when you're out backpacking but don't want to lug many extras around.
The case acts as an antenna to communicate with another Beartooth device. It effectively turns your phone into a highly specialized radio completely non-dependent on cell phone towers or Wi-Fi signals. If you're hiking or skiing with others, using these cases could allow you to wander from the group while still having a way to communicate back with them if you run into any trouble by using the push to talk feature.
Users can choose to call a specific Beartooth user or to put a call out to any devices in range, including traditional 2-way radio devices.
The case also includes a geolocation tool for showing you where you are or sending that location to friends, beaconing, SOS broadcast messages for devices in range, as well as encrypted text. It also packs a battery that doubles your phone's battery life.
The Beartooth is compatible with iPhone 5 and above and Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5. The price tag has not been announced but you can reserve your spot in line for one now.