Coachella: The Techie Survival Guide

Posted April 12

Welcome to Coachella. We know you’re got your SPF100 mega-spray, your lightweight backpack and your stash of bitcoins for buying “illicit” items. But what you really need is to remain “connected” and “charged,” right? If Twitter really is launching a new music service, you MUST be able to use it so you can show off to everyone around you. Fortunately, there are a couple of amazing new gadgets that’ll keep you charged and connected throughout the festival and beyond.

Karma: Pay Your Wi-Fi Forward

The folks at Karma have created what they like to call, a “social hotspot,” which allows you to gain data bandwith by sharing your wi-fi. The 4G and wi-fi-capable hotspot is about half the size of a smartphone (so it does indeed fit in your pocket), comes with a range of 6 to 8 hours of battery life, is capable of speeds of up to 6 megabits per second (Mbps) and can facilitate up to 8 open connections at once.

Additional bandwidth costs $14 per gigabyte and “never expires,” according to Karma co-founder Robert Gaal. Once the device is received, you create a Karma account (sign in via Facebook) and are immediately given 100MB of free bandwidth. If you go over that limit, you pay $14 for each additional GB of data you use. When others log on to your wi-fi, they immediately receive 100MB of data and you get 100MB credited to your account too! The device is perfect for use in public places, but is especially good for use in areas where there is little or no wi-fi access.

Let The Sunshine In — And Charge Your Devices

Sounds great, but how are we going to keep our wi-fi-enabled devices charged? Say hello to Powertraveller‘s Solarmonkey Adventurer solar-powered battery charger. The Solarmonkey Extreme houses a massive 9000mAh capacity Lithium Polymer battery and offers users real power in a compact, durable shell. The unit is capable of recharging most 5V devices, including an iPhone up to six times, a Garmin Edge 800 up to six times and standard mobiles up to 12 times. Attach the solar panel to your backpack, connect it to your electronic device of choice and it’ll continuously charge as long as it’s plugged in.

I used this setup during South By Southwest while using an iPad and iPhone to post updates. I never had wi-fi issues and my battery level never dropped below 80%. Boom!

Not only will you be the coolest kid on the proverbial Coachella block, you’ll be eco-friendly, and — most importantly — connected with the rest of civilization for your entire Coachella experience!

Todd Cochran is the managing editor of the music blog The Dumbing of America.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Jason Persse