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Thread: tech on trail

  1. #1
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    Default tech on trail

    i've thru'ed the AT twice. and almost thrice but only 80%. also thru'ed the PCT. blah blah.

    i don't carry, nor do i own a cell phone. or any of those gidgets or gadgets. so i don't know what trump's doing, what the weather "should" be. and the only facebook in my face is a book by kerouac or salinger.

    question : what % do you think of thru'ers these days carry a phone/ipad/thingamabob?

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    95%


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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffordbarnabus View Post
    i've thru'ed the AT twice. and almost thrice but only 80%. also thru'ed the PCT. blah blah.

    i don't carry, nor do i own a cell phone. or any of those gidgets or gadgets. so i don't know what trump's doing, what the weather "should" be. and the only facebook in my face is a book by kerouac or salinger.

    question : what % do you think of thru'ers these days carry a phone/ipad/thingamabob?
    .

    no camera ?

  4. #4

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    The percentage of people carrying interactive gadgets like GPS devices and smart-phones on the trail are likely similar to the percentage of people who carry these daily in the general population.

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    I'll say 98%, I carry a flip phone and a old camera, My phone rarely gets turned on.

    New technology has made the world an eerie place.

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    I used to carry old flip phone
    2.8 oz
    Batt last a month taking it out, only put in to send text in evening.

    But being able to make travel arrangements on fly, in town entertainment and communication, drove me finally to smart phone. My old phone wasnt finding many towers it could talk to anymore either

    On trail its just a camera, unless use guthook to check position.

    Yeah, theres a lot of younger people addicted to social media, waste all their time seeing what 1000 people they barely know is tweeting.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-02-2017 at 07:45.
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    Many years of hiking w/o phone. Since 2000 or so, have carried some sort of phone. It provides obvious conveniences. More often than not, I carry a camera also. Lately, an altimeter/compass watch as well - surprisingly useful.

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    While downsizing after my first thru-hike, I decided to go through old photos. I threw away about 80 pounds of photos. They all looked the same, just me and some friends on various peaks or trails, various seasons. I decided to stop carrying a camera right then.

    And one of my greatest pleasures in going for a hike is getting away from the phone.

    Nothing wrong with tech in my mind, but I prefer to leave it at home.

    Someone recently gave me an old smartphone that works on the house Wifi with various useful apps. (I no longer need to go to the bank to deposit checks.) The thing weighs 8 oz w/charger. I won't carry it with me.

    Friends call me retrogrouch.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffordbarnabus View Post
    i've thru'ed the AT twice. and almost thrice but only 80%. also thru'ed the PCT. blah blah.

    i don't carry, nor do i own a cell phone. or any of those gidgets or gadgets. so i don't know what trump's doing, what the weather "should" be. and the only facebook in my face is a book by kerouac or salinger.

    question : what % do you think of thru'ers these days carry a phone/ipad/thingamabob?
    We all know the % to be very high, it seems like you might have a thesis as to how it affects the trail experience?

  10. #10

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    Just finished a 783 mile hike in Eastern Europe and couldn't have done it without the phone.
    There are no maps. Only an app and GPS track.

    The Outdoor Active app is the ONLY way to tell (through past hiker's comments) where there might be water (and 1/4 of the time, the water was locked anyway, so we left comments for future hikers)

    Google maps: To get a ride to a town for resupply, we google mapped a hotel, called them, and if they had vacancy, asked them to come and pick us up (the ones who had

    There are no maps. Only an app and GPS track.
    The app is the ONLY way to tell where there might be water (and 1/4 of the time, the water was locked anyway, so we left comments for future hikers)

    To get a ride to a town for resupply, we google mapped a hotel, called them, and if they had vacancy, asked them to come and pick us up (the ones who had vacancies ALWAYS did)

    Not only took photos, but a bunch of video too and now I'm working on a youtube vid about the amazing trip.

    The compass app I downloaded was great and I used it quite a bit.

    Flashlight: came in handy a few times although we were mostly always in bed when it got dark.

    Google maps (to help figure out which town to resupply in (put it on satellite and you can even see coffee shops, pizza places, bars, etc.)

    Google translate: Couldn't have communicated sometimes without it. Messenger: was great to show live vids to people we hiked with after they went home (and we were still out there). We figured out how to just speak into it and then hit a button and show our phrase to a local in each of the 4 different languages we encountered: Sovenian, Croatian, Serbian, Albanian, (Bosnia and Montenegro spoke mostly Croatian, except some old people who only spoke German or Russian (we knew a few words in those languages already, and hadn't downloaded them, so we were quite limited with those people)

    Other (not so important things) we used it for
    Sky map for stars,
    Posted to instagram and FB from the trail (right before sleeping),
    Airbnb (used it twice and weren't so happy with the results as the location wasn't as stated.
    Recorder: every other day, we did an aprox 3 minute recording to remember things that we hope to put in a blog someday (since so few people have hiked the Via Dinarica, any info out there is a BIG help)
    Called a taxi once with the phone. (but used it more for booking rooms, like I said above)
    Figured out the bus schedules when we finished from Google (in Albania and got a bus to Kosovo) (there's only one mini-bus a day, so important to know the schedule)

    Probably a few more, and calling my wife and son for free from my hotel room and doing free video chats for up to an hour sometimes was another biggie.

    All in all, it made our hike possible, all in one device, that I kept in my pocket all the time (the trail disappears a lot, so it's important to have it handy)
    Don't know how anyone could do this trail without it. (the trail is only 3 years old)
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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    Quote Originally Posted by garlic08 View Post
    While downsizing after my first thru-hike, I decided to go through old photos. I threw away about 80 pounds of photos. They all looked the same, just me and some friends on various peaks or trails, various seasons. I decided to stop carrying a camera right then.

    And one of my greatest pleasures in going for a hike is getting away from the phone.

    Nothing wrong with tech in my mind, but I prefer to leave it at home.

    Someone recently gave me an old smartphone that works on the house Wifi with various useful apps. (I no longer need to go to the bank to deposit checks.) The thing weighs 8 oz w/charger. I won't carry it with me.

    Friends call me retrogrouch.
    yes man! yes!!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post
    Just finished a 783 mile hike in Eastern Europe and couldn't have done it without the phone.
    There are no maps. Only an app and GPS track.

    The Outdoor Active app is the ONLY way to tell (through past hiker's comments) where there might be water (and 1/4 of the time, the water was locked anyway, so we left comments for future hikers)

    Google maps: To get a ride to a town for resupply, we google mapped a hotel, called them, and if they had vacancy, asked them to come and pick us up (the ones who had

    There are no maps. Only an app and GPS track.
    The app is the ONLY way to tell where there might be water (and 1/4 of the time, the water was locked anyway, so we left comments for future hikers)

    To get a ride to a town for resupply, we google mapped a hotel, called them, and if they had vacancy, asked them to come and pick us up (the ones who had vacancies ALWAYS did)

    Not only took photos, but a bunch of video too and now I'm working on a youtube vid about the amazing trip.

    The compass app I downloaded was great and I used it quite a bit.

    Flashlight: came in handy a few times although we were mostly always in bed when it got dark.

    Google maps (to help figure out which town to resupply in (put it on satellite and you can even see coffee shops, pizza places, bars, etc.)

    Google translate: Couldn't have communicated sometimes without it. Messenger: was great to show live vids to people we hiked with after they went home (and we were still out there). We figured out how to just speak into it and then hit a button and show our phrase to a local in each of the 4 different languages we encountered: Sovenian, Croatian, Serbian, Albanian, (Bosnia and Montenegro spoke mostly Croatian, except some old people who only spoke German or Russian (we knew a few words in those languages already, and hadn't downloaded them, so we were quite limited with those people)

    Other (not so important things) we used it for
    Sky map for stars,
    Posted to instagram and FB from the trail (right before sleeping),
    Airbnb (used it twice and weren't so happy with the results as the location wasn't as stated.
    Recorder: every other day, we did an aprox 3 minute recording to remember things that we hope to put in a blog someday (since so few people have hiked the Via Dinarica, any info out there is a BIG help)
    Called a taxi once with the phone. (but used it more for booking rooms, like I said above)
    Figured out the bus schedules when we finished from Google (in Albania and got a bus to Kosovo) (there's only one mini-bus a day, so important to know the schedule)

    Probably a few more, and calling my wife and son for free from my hotel room and doing free video chats for up to an hour sometimes was another biggie.

    All in all, it made our hike possible, all in one device, that I kept in my pocket all the time (the trail disappears a lot, so it's important to have it handy)
    Don't know how anyone could do this trail without it. (the trail is only 3 years old)
    super interesting post. thanks. when you say no maps are available....like, literally no paper maps? even if they're from the 90's or something? that's bizarre! not doubting you ~at all~, but it just sounds whacked!

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    I can easily belive that there are almost no hiking maps of these countries, maybe except some very limited areas around famouse summits and national parks.
    Remember, these countries had a strict communist government for many decades, then had a raging war for many years and are now just recovering from all this.
    If there were any detailed maps at all, they would not be available to the public, but for military only.
    Street maps is the only stuff I've ever seen, the best one I have is an Austrian make, scale 1:200.000. Good for riding a bike, no good for hiking.

    Looking forward to hear some more, fiddlehead!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffordbarnabus View Post
    ..........question : what % do you think of thru'ers these days carry a phone/ipad/thingamabob?
    I bet that 100% of hikers 25 and under take a smartphone on the trail. Smaller percentage for us older folks but still probably 90% or better.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

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    Now that we've settled the cheese issue once and for all, this may be at the top the list of FAQs. For me, the bottom line is it is entirely up to you if you want to hike with a phone or not. If you choose not to, be happy with that decision (but don't be that guy constantly asking to borrow a phone because you decided not to bring one or complain about people who choose to use one). One the other hand, if you choose to bring every bit of technology known to man, be happy with that decision (but don't that guy who says trails can't be hiked without a phone. It's not like no one in the history of the world hike the AT, PCT, etc... before the 21st century).

  16. #16

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    I think the big value of a smart phone is the ability to get real time weather info. Being able to look at the radar and knowing "if I stay put another 1/2 hour, I won't get wet" or "Yikes, I need to get under cover quick!" or " I think I'll just zero here today" is a really nice feature.

    Sure you don't need a smart phone, just as you don't need a lot of things, but they sure are nice to have. It was 2008 when I first started meeting hikers with smart phones. I didn't start hiking with one until 2014. Now their ubiquitous.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    yeah, my guess is more like 99.xx% of folks carry some sort of phone.
    Folks that actually turn it on regularly a bit less of course.

    garlic08, I can relate to that....Not too long ago I went through my old photos. Only got about half way through before putting the project aside, but I tossed a barrel full. I need to remember to get back on that the next rainy day at home....

    I used to be a photo buff back in the days of film. Slowly came to realize that often folks don't want their picture taken....and I got tired of lugging around that stuff all the time. Went to a point and shoot, then ultimately even gave that up mostly.

    I read something a couple years ago, where someone either did a study, or just theorized about how much folks miss when they are photographing an event. The example was a parent taking pictures of their kid in a school play or concert. The parent looking through the view finder will not remember a good bit of the show. Based on my experience I believe it. Much better to live it then to shoot it.

    It is nice I think to have a snapshot here and there, but not too many. Likely to never go back and look at them anyway. To me, teh value is the ones with friends. No point I think in taking the landscapes or whatever. If I want to see a picture of Grandfather Mountain for example, all I need to do is google it and find a million of them....

  18. #18

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    Love me techie stuff

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    Now that we've settled the cheese issue once and for all, this may be at the top the list of FAQs. For me, the bottom line is it is entirely up to you if you want to hike with a phone or not. If you choose not to, be happy with that decision (but don't be that guy constantly asking to borrow a phone because you decided not to bring one or complain about people who choose to use one). One the other hand, if you choose to bring every bit of technology known to man, be happy with that decision (but don't that guy who says trails can't be hiked without a phone. It's not like no one in the history of the world hike the AT, PCT, etc... before the 21st century).
    just asking %. not judgmental stuff. do whatever you want to do and hike the way you like!

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    Quote Originally Posted by blw2 View Post
    yeah, my guess is more like 99.xx% of folks carry some sort of phone.
    Folks that actually turn it on regularly a bit less of course.

    garlic08, I can relate to that....Not too long ago I went through my old photos. Only got about half way through before putting the project aside, but I tossed a barrel full. I need to remember to get back on that the next rainy day at home....

    I used to be a photo buff back in the days of film. Slowly came to realize that often folks don't want their picture taken....and I got tired of lugging around that stuff all the time. Went to a point and shoot, then ultimately even gave that up mostly.

    I read something a couple years ago, where someone either did a study, or just theorized about how much folks miss when they are photographing an event. The example was a parent taking pictures of their kid in a school play or concert. The parent looking through the view finder will not remember a good bit of the show. Based on my experience I believe it. Much better to live it then to shoot it.

    It is nice I think to have a snapshot here and there, but not too many. Likely to never go back and look at them anyway. To me, teh value is the ones with friends. No point I think in taking the landscapes or whatever. If I want to see a picture of Grandfather Mountain for example, all I need to do is google it and find a million of them....
    yeah man. i'm not married and ain't got kiddos, but i've seen footage of parents at school performances and all you see is parents seeing things through their recording smart phones.

    and without cost of film developing, when you take a pic, you actually take like 37 pics of the same thing. and so rather than having pounds of old school tangible photos, now you have tons of gigabytes and though you don't have to trash them, you still gotta delete 'em!

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