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Dear Uncle TUAW: What's the best way to blog while backpacking?


Dear Uncle TUAW:

Over the next two years my husband and I plan to hike El Camino de Santiago in Spain. I'd love to keep family and friends up to date on our trek by blogging on the trip, but since we want to keep our backpacks at less than 14 lbs. total weight, I'm not sure I want to carry an iPad and I know for sure that a laptop is going to be too heavy. Since weight and space are issues, what would you blog from if you were in my hiking boots?

Your loving niece,


Dear Susan,

I'm glad to hear that you're going to be out walking. Too many of you young whippersnappers spend all of your time on your keisters in front of those fancy HDTVs instead of getting good, clean exercise in the great outdoors. Your Aunt and I used to do a lot of hiking. Remind me to tell you about our experiences in Bhutan in 1958...

Anyway, my first choice for lightweight blogging would be to grab an iPad mini and one of those newfangled keyboard cases, but if you're really trying to keep things light, why not just use that iPhone of yours as a small tablet?

With that phone, you can not only grab great photos, but use them in your blog. While you're hiking, you can even talk to that Siri lady and she'll take down your notes like my old secretary Mabel used to do back at the munitions plant. Without the backtalk, of course. And the bad breath. But that's another story... When you get to wherever you're setting up camp for the night, you can while away the hours cleaning up her dictation. Yes, I had to clean up Mabel's dictation, too.

Frankly, I'd take along a lightweight keyboard of some sort if I were you. Since you won't want to worry about charging batteries on a keyboard, one that's powered by the sun might be handy. Speaking of charging batteries, you can also take one of these crank-powered things with you on your hike to give your hands something to do. Charge up the battery pack by hand-cranking it, then use it to charge your iPhone while you're trying to sleep at night with all of those other pilgrims snoring around you. No need to look for a power outlet or carry along those pesky international power adapters.

That's all I'll say about hardware, which referred to nuts and bolts in my earlier days, but what about blogging software? If you don't have a travel blog already, MapQuest's Travel Blog app is free and includes free hosting of your text and photos. Got one of those WordPress blogs? Their free app isn't too bad, either. You can be really smart and take all of your pictures with the iPhone so you don't have to carry a separate camera with all of its weight and bulk, and they'll go right into your blog. I'm rather fond of that Tumblr service for travel blogging myself, although please don't tell your Aunt about my "Tumblr After Dark" adventures in Amsterdam last year...

Stay safe; watch out for blisters; and have a good trip!

Hugs and kisses,

Uncle TUAW

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