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June 2018 Issue
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Looking after your electronics

Conserve the battery by switching your phone to flight mode. Photo: Helen Duff
How to ensure your expensive devices make it back from your tramp. 

In a world of ever-expanding mobile coverage, coupled with the expectation that you’ll share photos of your latest tramp on social media immediately afterwards, it’s easy to find yourself adding various expensive electronic items to your pack. Here’s how to keep them in good working order.

Keep them dry

It sounds so simple, but I’ve inadvertently drowned two cameras and a phone on tramps. For peace of mind, use a waterproof phone case and carry other electronic devices inside a dry bag (or plastic snaplock) and bury it deep inside your pack. Don’t assume the outside pocket of your raincoat is fully waterproof – the seams and zip can be weak points, so store your gear in an internal pocket instead.

Minimise exposure to dust and grime

Dust is the enemy of all electronics, and nothing ruins a stellar photo like a smudge of dirt across the lens. Store cameras inside a carry case and remember to put the lens cap back on after every photo. 

Avoid DEET

DEET has solvent-like properties, and is capable of stripping paint, melting plastic and removing nail polish – it’s not hard to imagine what it can do to your phone, camera or e-reader. Always wash your hands after handling DEET-based insect repellent and store it inside a plastic bag.

Use flight mode

It’s easy to turn your phone on while on a mountain summit, then forget to turn it off again before heading back below the bushline – with the end result being a flat phone that’s spent the afternoon searching for non-existent cell sites. The same goes for e-readers with wi-fi capability – they’ll last significantly longer if the wi-fi is turned off.

Do you need it?

The safest way to look after your electronic devices is to leave them at home – or at least reduce your use of them. Replace a string of selfies with a single group photo on top of a mountain. Play a game of 500 or Last Card with someone you meet in a hut instead of reading the latest bestseller on Amazon. Leave the phone in the car and commit to a digital detox for a weekend.