Feb 14, 2012 at 5:49 am #1285651
@leslerLocale: right here, right now
who's not?Feb 14, 2012 at 5:59 am #1839235
Never bring. Very little signal where I hike, shoot, where I live.
disclaimer. I dislike phones in general.
Sat. phone on some trips does sound like a good idea though.Feb 14, 2012 at 6:12 am #1839240
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
Same as Ken and NO signal where I live.Feb 14, 2012 at 6:23 am #1839243
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Day hikes, yes in general. Overnights if I think I might have a signal. I hide it deep in the car– I'm always suspect of trailhead break-ins. I happily turn it off.Feb 14, 2012 at 6:27 am #1839245
@cvcassLocale: State of Jefferson
There is never any signal where I hike so I don't bother carrying it at all. I also enjoy being untethered from society when I am in the woods. My buddy on the other hand always brings his smartphone, and usually plays games or listens to music at night.Feb 14, 2012 at 6:31 am #1839249
I always bring a cell phone if I can climb up to a ridge and expect to get out, or rent a sat phone. It is almost a requirement with a wife and 2 small kids. It keeps them from constantly worrying about me.Feb 14, 2012 at 7:31 am #1839278
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
yes… but not to use as a cell phone. Normally off, but it gets turned on if I think I am lost (gps with offline topo maps), sometimes it gets turned on in the evening to read a bit.Feb 14, 2012 at 7:54 am #1839286
@artemisLocale: Great Plains
i take mine when I hike, but not because I expect to use it. I just don't want to leave anything valuable in the car. I just set the ringer to vibrate, tuck the phone away in a safe spot in my pack, and forget about it until the hike's over.Feb 14, 2012 at 8:24 am #1839296
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
It stays on the car for two reasons; it doesn't fit my backcountry philosophy and no service for the most part.Feb 14, 2012 at 8:25 am #1839299
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Much as I love to schedule dayhikes during work conference calls and get paid to stretch my legs, I can pretty much only do that by walking on the beach or a few trails around town.
Most of my dayhikes have no coverage so I hide it deep in the car (although I've never had a trailhead break-in.
If I'm going solo, light, and long (40-mile dayhike), Imight bring it in case I need to get word out, but usually bring SPOT instead.
The wife doesn't care if I bring it on solo hikes, but wants it on family BPing trips.
On a longer trip, I'd like the ebook function.Feb 14, 2012 at 9:00 am #1839317
@mzionLocale: Boulder, CO
On long hikes yes. Anything shorter than a week probably not.Feb 14, 2012 at 9:07 am #1839322
I go into the wilderness to immerse myself into the wilderness. The less of "man" you bring with you, the more you can appreciate the wilderness.
I want to absorb the environment, to breath in the sights, smells, and sounds — not bring barriers that separate me from the wilderness. For this reason I don't bring phones, MP3 players, books, eReaders, GPS, or even a camera on most trips (camera is only used to share certain trips with my children).
I don't build fires, because they separate me from the wilderness.
I usually don't bring people either, because they separate too with talk of politics, sports, news, war, etc. Solitude allows one to spend all their time in the wilderness unencumbered by man and his man-world. To spend more time, especially at night, to ponder the wilderness world, to look at it, to see it, to smell it, to feel it. Do not confuse solitude with loneliness; there is too much to see, do, and take in; which does not allow for excess time to engage in loneliness. The exception is occasionally sharing the wilderness with my wife or children.
Usually I sleep under the stars to wonder about the grandeur of the universe. In poor weather I use a tarp or similar open shelter, so I can still see the environment around me, winter storms excepted.
And when I return to the man-made world, it allows me to appreciate more, the good of it, and to despise with greater clarity the worse.
So no, I do not bring a phone. It provides no useful purpose. It is a burden. It is extra weight that weighs on soul.Feb 14, 2012 at 9:15 am #1839326
But it stays off in my pack unless I need the GPS. Offline maps make the signal problem a non-issue. I don't use it for games or music or anything. And in an emergency I'd rather have it and pray for signal than not have it and not know if there's signal.Feb 14, 2012 at 9:23 am #1839328
@clbowdenLocale: Berkeley Hills
A huge +1.Feb 14, 2012 at 9:32 am #1839333
if there is reception … i often turn it off
there have been too many rescues that have succeeded because of a cell phone or other such device for me not to bring itFeb 14, 2012 at 9:34 am #1839334
@edhyattLocale: The North
I take one as it satisfies a number of uses (ergo UL ;-)Feb 14, 2012 at 9:42 am #1839339
If I think there might be a signal, I consider bringing it, but I usually don't. But the only reason I don't is because it doesn't serve enough of a purpose to justify the weight. I don't really buy into the idea that it somehow diminishes the wilderness experience. Like Diana said, I "tuck the phone away in a safe spot in my pack, and forget about it until the hike's over." Although I turn it off entirely, not just set it to vibrate.
On a related note, I thought I read somewhere on these forums that even in areas where there is no signal (or maybe just a very weak signal), 911 calls can sometimes go through. Is there any truth to that?Feb 14, 2012 at 9:45 am #1839341
I think a 911 call will ignore any roaming restrictions and latch on to the nearest tower, any tower. There just has to be a tower. If there's not a single tower it won't matter.
Edit: of course there's the CDMA/GSM problem, but ignore that for the moment.Feb 14, 2012 at 10:21 am #1839357
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Chris: Yes, your system might not have coverage but a 911 call should go to any system with coverage. I'll try to confirm that with the local emergency preparedness guy at the Borough (County).
Therefore, a phone without a service plan also works for 911 (only). So an old pre-pay, or last-year's phone could go on hike and if it goes swimming, who cares?
Or if you're a total Luddite and don't have a phone, ask a friend to give you their old one and the charger.
Or if you want your kid (Scout group, babysitter, elderly parent) to have one "for emergencies only" then give them a phone with no contract. That will save $30-60/month. They can use it very literally "for emergencies only" and you avoid that $350 texting bill every parent seems to get the second month of cell phone use by tweeners.
Editted to add: If you want to test the off-contract phone, keep it in your car and call in the next wild driver or possible drunk driver you see to 911. Then you'll be sure it works.Feb 14, 2012 at 10:52 am #1839384
@yipperLocale: deep south
Prior to acquiring an I Phone, I always carried a paperback book. The I Phone weighs less than most paperbacks, so with its own I Books plus Kindle reader, I have a lot more to read. Then add in (with signal) phone, gps, I Topo maps, weather, star charts, Pandora, etc. and I’m way ahead. I seldom actually turn it on, though.
geoffFeb 14, 2012 at 11:08 am #1839399
@leslerLocale: right here, right now
thanks the cell input.
i continue to oscillate.
the question was initially raised in the context of personal safety.
(specifically being female)
should there be a need to defend self…
given the patchy reputation of a cell,
many have told me carrying bear mace (or the like)
would hold more worth
thoughts?Feb 14, 2012 at 11:21 am #1839405
obviously a cell phone wont protect you from bears … but i dont see the reason to NOT bring one or a similar device …
there was a hiker on grouse mountain last year which is less than an hours walk from metro vancouver … he got immobilized, and couldnt signal for help because he left his cell phone in his car … despite a multiday search effort, he was never located till some joggers came by him on the brink of death 10 days later
you really have to ask yourself how much UL pride in "carrying less weight" is worth should you need a communications device in an emergency …
ultimately its up to the person … but i have never heard of anyone using one in an emergency regret carrying one … just turn it off if you dont want to be connected
a quick search of google news turns up quite a few recent articles on cell phones in rescues … of course you shouldnt get into that situation in the first place, but accidents happen
Cell phone call helps save snowmobile riders after fall through Winnipesaukee ice
Lost Mount Hood snowboarder rescued uninjured
Cell Phones Lead To Quick Rescue For Hikers
Search and rescue locates stranded man near Nelson
Teens' lake rescue caught on tapeFeb 14, 2012 at 11:25 am #1839407
Being a man, I might be less concerned about personal safety regarding other people. I know this sounds sexist.
However, should you be accosted, a phone is not going to bring help very quickly — as needed — if it works at all. I have been backpacking for almost 50 years and have never felt the need for personal protection, although I have run into a few scary looking people on the trail; usually a very infrequent happening. And I don't hike near the Cahulawassee River :)
That being said, if I were a woman I might have a different outlook.
So Mace or self-defense training might be more appropriate, should such a situation ever arise… lets hope it never does.Feb 14, 2012 at 11:30 am #1839408
Aside from Leslie's appropriate concern, how did generations of backpackers ever travel safely before the cell phone?Feb 14, 2012 at 11:32 am #1839410
they worked on their fitness and skills and never got rescued in the first place … or became bear food
rather than buying gear and depending on that ;)
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