chris burkard, backcountry, off the grid, gear essentials

6 Essentials for Going Off The Grid

Words, photos and video: Chris Burkard

Adventure photographer Chris Burkard knows a thing or two about venturing to remote places. Here are some of the things he packs before dropping off the map

As Chris Burkard’s mesmerising outdoor images indicate, he doesn’t do car camping. But aside from the obvious items – tent, camera, etc – we were curious about what hebrings on his rural sojourns. Well, wonder no longer! Let the video and list below give you a glimpse of the necessary essentials Burkard totes along to help him survive in the middle of nowhere.

Goal Zero Venture 70 Charger

If you’re bringing electronics into the backcountry, having auxiliary power is a must. The Venture 70 is a little larger than the Venture 30, but I find it more applicable for multi-day missions. I’ll bring a small iPhone cable to charge my phone as well as a cable to charge the satellite phone, just in case. These also work great for plugging in my camera when running overnight time lapses.

Spot Global Satellite Phone

Going off the grid is something I love doing, but I must do my due diligence to make sure that I’m prepared. The Spot sat phone is used in emergency situations only, with the exception of a text message every day or two notifying my wife and kids that I’m OK. The Spot Global Phone assigns you a 10-digit number and allows you immediate 911 calling capabilities. It goes without saying that this is an absolute necessity when going into the backcountry.


Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Waterproof, bulletproof and pretty dang bright, this headlamp produces 250 lumens of light and has a solid weatherproof construction. There’s a heat sink installed that diffuses excess heat into the battery compartment which is especially important when using headlamps in cold climates. 

camping, photo, adventure
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Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool

You never realize how much you use an article of gear until you forget to bring it. I feel like any time I’m using a multi-tool it’s in a situation that I didn’t expect would happen — cutting rope, adjusting metal camera gear/accessories, prying open a can of food, etc. The nicest feature of the Leatherman Signal is that it has a built in flint for starting fires. 

chris burkard, backcountry, off the grid, gear essentials

Bheestie Bag

These bags have saved me multiple cameras over the years. They act as a portable dehydrator to suck all the moisture out of your electronics. Any time I’m shooting in snow, rain or the ocean, I’ll put my camera in here overnight. Moisture is a slow killer and can take time to work its way inside your camera – even after you’ve got home and put your camera away.


I’ve tried many different water purification systems and found this to be the smallest and most versatile method. The SteriPEN uses UV light to sterilise the water. It doesn’t rid the water of weird colors or odours, but it will kill any bacteria, such as E.Coli, which is your main area of concern. It’s battery powered and can be charged on the go, so drink up, my friends!

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