Poll: How many section hikers/thru-hikers carry a GPS and plot locations during your hike?

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  1. #1
    Administrator attroll's Avatar
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    Default Who's using a GPS?

    How many section hikers and thru-hikers carry a GPS when you hike the Appalachian Trail and plot locations during your hike?
    Lets hear about it after you vote.
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  2. #2
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Please, clarify what you consider a "GPS." Many hikers, myself included, use the GPS capabilities of a smartphone to run an application like Guthook. Is that to be included in your survey or are you only looking for those who use a dedicated GPS device?
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  3. #3
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    It's kind of a weird addiction for me. I carry an etrex 20 with 3rd party trail maps and topo. Upload and generate waypoints for easy navigation and keep my tracks. I try to tag water, tent sites, and shelters etc. All gets uploaded to BaseCamp and merged so I can track where I've been. I've actually gone back and re-hiked a section because I gooned the file. Runs a few days on a pair of AA and perfect for knowing where I am and how far I have left to go. I have data from Hog Camp Gap to portions of PA and some other cats/dogs. Hoping it will be helpful to me later on when I attempt a through hike.

  4. #4

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    In the past, I've tried to keep it to guide pages and regular maps (scaled for size and weight savings). What I may have to invest in for no other reason but the wife's peace of mind is a satellite tracker so she can track me, or at least the bear she figures will eat me. I may go to something like a Guthook app for the thru attempt in 2021 though. I spend so much time debating mentally about the weight using a phone/charger/spare battery and so on. Just one of a thousand things to consider when preparing.

  5. #5

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    You need a "sometimes" button. I'm more likely to track a local day hike then something like the AT which has been accurately mapped and for which I have Guthook.

    It can be fun to track a day hike and check the distance/time/elevation change compared to what you guess from the map.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6

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    I carry an InReach that sends my location out every 10 minutes. It just lets family see where I am. But the primary reason for carrying this device has been the ability to send text messages from anywhere over satellite.

  7. #7
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    I carry an InReach Mini so that my family allows me to continue hiking.

    For GPS navigation, I use my iPhone. GAIA mostly.

  8. #8
    Administrator attroll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    Please, clarify what you consider a "GPS." Many hikers, myself included, use the GPS capabilities of a smartphone to run an application like Guthook. Is that to be included in your survey or are you only looking for those who use a dedicated GPS device?
    I do not consider Guthooks app a GPS, only because you are only using as a reference.
    Correct me if I am wrong.
    Can you use tracking with it and save your track?
    Can you plot way points with it and save them?
    Can you able to download the tracks and way point that you save?
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  9. #9
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by attroll View Post
    I do not consider Guthooks app a GPS, only because you are only using as a reference.
    Correct me if I am wrong.
    Can you use tracking with it and save your track?
    Can you plot way points with it and save them?
    Can you able to download the tracks and way point that you save?
    I'm not sure about all the new capabilities of most recent Guthook update, but I do know you can't save a track or download tracks. I seem to recall you could save waypoints in the old app, but I can't find the feature in the new updated app.

    Anyway, thanks. You answered my question.
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  10. #10

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    Are you asking what GPS receiver people carry? iPhone, inReach, and Garmin Fenix 3 watch.

    If youíre asking what GPS based capabilities people carry then it includes: Guthook app (stores tracks, records tracks, plus a whole lot more). Gaia GPS. Earthmate. All Trails. Plus a few more.

    These all use the GPS receiver in my iPhone except Earthmate which uses the inReach receiver and my Fenix 3 GPS watch which is augmented by the Garmin Connect app. Most of these accept an imported track, record tracks, allow you to save waypoints, download tracks/waypoints, Etc.




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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    I carry an InReach that sends my location out every 10 minutes. It just lets family see where I am. But the primary reason for carrying this device has been the ability to send text messages from anywhere over satellite.
    Same for me, except when I go out for a long time I'll use two-hour location pings. I do not use this for navigation--still rely on a paper map to ID the terrain and guthook for up-to-date beta.

  12. #12
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    I don't own a GPS of any kind, nor do I carry a smart phone when I hike.

  13. #13

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    I don't own a GPS of any kind, nor do I carry a smart phone when I hike.
    I don't either. I do carry maps, a guidebook, and a very basic Tracfone, which is off 99 percent of the time.

  14. #14
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    Nothing here. I don't even use the GPS on my phone around trail towns. I like to explore them more than go from point a to point b. I just use the guidebook (photo copy of pages for sections) or the .pdf when I did my thru.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  15. #15
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    To contradict what I said before about not wanting Guthooks cause of it taking away the adventure aspect...

    I picked up an etrex 30x and downloaded some (free OSM) maps that work on Basecamp and I've been loving this thing. Not so much for planning my day but it shows all kinds of side trails I would never explore or even notice. Seeing your elevation plot is pretty cool, the compass on it is so accurate when you point it at a trail it's right on. I map stuff out on basecamp to see the mileage/elevation. I've really been enjoying and its been helping to just check out/enjoy/ and understand the areas I'm hiking through better.

    It's nice for going off trail to but I still always carry a good compass with a good map for the area with the up to date magnetic declination - just incase something happens to that little piece of technology, I'm not relying just on that.... not that I've been getting out for much lately.

    When I thru hiked I wanted to do the AT all the way, now on future AT trips I'll definitely bring it cause I'll be wanting to explore and do any alternate/scenic side trips I can, not just the shorter spur trails I went for.
    Last edited by LazyLightning; 07-28-2019 at 10:06.
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  16. #16
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    The AT is easy to follow, no electronics needed, and I have enough screen time at home & office. I don't use anything to track/plot/map/record. I don't even take pictures. I carry a smartphone to call my wife when I've reached the car so she can get the washing machine warmed up. On a longer trip, I might use the smartphone to make lodging reservations. On a thru, I would likely get Guthooks.

    I still prefer a paper map, and maybe a section of a guidebook.

  17. #17

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    I agree with a lot of the others, inReach is nice because it allows family to follow the trek and share the experience (from the comfort of their chairs . It also provides an SOS option if someone gets hurt bad outside of cellular coverage. I use it to map share with family and message home so the wife knows things are okay and Iím not snake bit, eaten by a bear, or hanging out in a bar with a bunch of cougars.

    The AT is easy navigating, I use Guthook 90% for getting info on water sources and campsites/shelters. Maybe ~10% for navigation if I miss a blaze and want a quick route back.

    Gaia is my go to for other trails, but only to augment a paper map. I donít want to lose those skills.

    The GPS watch (a gift) I use to tell time . Also as a compass. It does a bunch of other things too, all depends on my mood if I want to use those features or do the math in my head.




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  18. #18
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    The only time I use GPS is when I'm driving to a trailhead

    I carry my iPhone while hiking, mostly to take pictures, but it does have a compass feature.
    I always carry a standard compass and maps- when I'm hiking, I like using those to navigate instead of an electronic device.

  19. #19

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    Well, the thing about having a GPS is it can show you exactly where your located on the map. Otherwise, it's usually "I think we're some where around here".

    If you start to wonder if your still on the trail (and that does happen!), a quick check of your location will tell you if you are or not. And if your not, it will show you the way back to where you should be.

    The disadvantage is it's harder to get an overview of the surrounding area as detail demishes as you pan out. Still a good idea to have the hard copy maps. Hiking around the Whites I'll always have my map. My phone - maybe, maybe not.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  20. #20

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    I carry a GPS whenever I am on unfamiliar trails and even some of the trails I am familiar with in case I go off trail. It's a tool, much like the map and compass I carry with me as well. It may be overkill to some who prefer cell phone technology, however in the midst of the Olympic peninsula or Sonoran desert these tools can make a serious difference.

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