I cram as much tech as I can into a Rubbermaid Roughneck 31 gal Storage Tote and then I shove that tote into a trunk or under the bus for the week or weekend that awaits. I trust you will bring or have access to things like a video projector (VPU), laptop, sound system, etc. so, today we are talking add-ons. Here are 10 gadgets that will find their way into that tote for our next trip!
- Printer: I am never 100% ready for a trip. I may need to print a schedule (or adjust the schedule and reprint), speaker notes, or signs (like “Do Not Enter” or “These drinks are for staff only”). A printer helps me put fresh or forgotten material in my leader’s hands.
- Pick Punch: This tool creates guitar picks from old gift cards or credit cards. Our guitar players seem to be in constant need of picks (teens come to church without a Bible, guitarists come to agige without picks…go figure). For $20, you have a pick factory on the go. I know, a pick is 10¢, but when you are 100 miles away from Guitar Center this is magic!
- Coffee: Good camp coffee is a unicorn. I bring bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino and borrow (but may soon buy) a Keurig. You can provide K-Cups or ask staff to bring a box of their favorite to share.
- Streaming Video: iTunes does not fit in the tote but having an Apple TV (ATV), Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV will come in handy. If you need a time filler, or maybe you cannot play outside because of rain you can log into you favorite streaming device and rent or play a video as long as you have access to solid WI-FI (don’t forget to grab the correct adapters and cables).
- Adapters: I will have all the basic laptop adapters I need as well as a few different audio cables to make sure I can play music and sound from my computer and phone. But getting video from a streaming device into a VPU without an HDMI port can get tricky. I have a generic HDMI Female to VGA Female. There are mixed reviews on Amazon for this item–it did not work on an older VPU–but other than that it is cheap and it just works. If you are having trouble playing Apple content from you ATV to a VPU try the Kanex ATV PRO, it is more expensive but it works great with the ATV.
- iPad Cases: If you are teaching I suggest using the BookBook. It looks cool and is less distracting when teaching. If you are looking for something more durable I suggest the Otterbox Defender case. It is tough and grippy.
- Selfie sticks are ridiculous, but bring one. You can get a cheap one for $5, you may want to upgrade a little.
- The Challenge from Simply Youth Ministry is always with me. These 20 video driven contests are fun for the group and easy to use.
- Frisbee in the dark…it’s just more fun!
- Extra long charging cables. The extra feet are a game changer.
What gadgets are you using that should be on this list?
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5 thoughts on “10 Gadgets You Need to Take on Your Next Trip or Retreat”
Great list! I pack all those things as well! But here are some other random things I like to shove in a Pelican case or similar type of storage:
Italian lights – they set a great miss during worship settings. Especially for outdoor seating
Zip ties – not really a gadget, but boy oh boy do they become mans best friend during camps
Work lights – those yellow halogen lights you always see at construction sights. Ya, these things do you wonders at night. Slap some plastic colored film over them and you have some fun lightings around trees or rocks and you just got major style points.
Air pumps – lots of air pumps. Ones that plug into cars and into outlets. Both always come in handy
Power generator – a little Honda 2K will power more than you think and could really save you when you’re in a pinch or if you are just looking to bring a little light where there normally is not!
I always bring a couple extension cords and surge protectors because there never seems to be enough plugs for all the phones and devices that need to be charged or plugged in.
Without a doubt the number one gadget to have on any student trip is an external battery pack for your phone. This has been incredibly helpful to charge my phone and tablet where outlets are sparse at camps.
These five campfire gadgets cover most of the bases to enjoy the ideal campfire. Cold drinks, warm espresso, ideal lighting, quirky utensils and a fire pit are just a handful of gadgets you should consider for your next campfire this summer.