(BPT) - A vacation in the BWCAW is all about leaving your devices behind and experiencing the wilderness, right? Well, not exactly. Just like technology has changed everything from education to how we interact with our friends, it’s also changed how we experience the great outdoors. New technology can make your time in the woods easier, safer and more comfortable.

For your next trip up to Ely, consider bringing these five high-tech gadgets with you.

  1. Pure water with SteriPEN. The water around Ely and in the Boundary Waters is some of the cleanest in the country, but it’s not necessarily safe to drink. Many people have the experience of using water purification tablets or hand pump filters to drink water in the backcountry. These make water safe, but can leave a bad taste in your mouth. A SteriPEN is a remarkable, handheld device that uses ultraviolet light to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses and protozoa, so you can safely drink from the lakes or rivers.

  2. Thermacell. Forget slathering your entire body with DEET to keep bugs at bay. A Thermacell is a portable mosquito repeller about the size of a walkie-talkie, and trust us, this thing works. It's DEET-free, scent-free, and spray-free. Pop in the fuel cartridge, slide the insect-repellent mat into its slot, turn it on and, bam, you've got a 15-by-15 foot zone of bug-free nirvana.

  3. BioLite CampStove 2. Portable camp stoves have been around for decades, but what makes this one so unique is that it can actually charge your phone, or any USB device, while it boils a pot of water. Since you can use wood chips and twigs you find on the forest floor, there’s no need to carry additional fuel. The heat from the fire charges your device!

  4. Gaia GPS. This is not so much a gadget as it is an app. Gaia GPS is an outdoor navigation app that contains an extensive catalog of topographic, satellite, road and even NatGeo Trails Illustrated maps. That means you can be assured of having a detailed map for wherever you go.

  5. Wanaka day pack. From camera bags to shoulder slings, there are thousands of types of bags on the market. It can be hard to decide which one is best. The innovative Adapt Backpack can transform into a sling, camera case, hip pack, compression sack, cooler … you get the idea. Bottom line: It’s one of the coolest, most adaptable pieces of gear out there.

These high-tech gadgets can take some of the worry out of a BWCAW trip, so you can focus on paddling, listening to the loons, and telling stories around the campfire.