Why it’s best not to rely on cellphone navigation when hiking
Jan 19, 2020 at 8:49 am #3627892
Yeah, I can do that sometimes : )
It gets sort of boring when the same arguments are repeated many times, but we can just not click on this threadJan 19, 2020 at 9:46 am #3627899
“…lack of understanding of GPS was the primary reason the Iraqi army performed so poorly in the 1st Gulf War.
Primary reason? that’s a bit over the top, isn’t it? smartphones would have turned the Iraqi army into a sudden formidable force? and smartphones won the war for us? Gee, what can’t they do!
I also bring my Garmin when I’ll be in the snow. However: again, the topic of the thread is, why it’s good not to RELY on smartphones and this is what Roger and others were responding to. And many established rescue people have been quoted as agreeing with this basic point–again, the topic of this thread. Second, people bring up extraordinary scenarios like the Alaska Wilderness Classic and the Iraq war to justify their points. But the vast, vast majority of backpackers aren’t going into these extraordinary scenarios. And sure, you can cry ‘be prepared!’ but when does this tip over into packing your fears?
In planning a trip you should look at your itinerary and make a choice. do you bring snowshoes into the Sierra in the spring ‘just in case’? No. Do you need a cellphone? In most cases, for most people, no. I bring my Garmin if I need gps. That way I don’t have to buy a smartphone and pay for its plan year around. I choose to simplify. and not believe the hype about how I MUST have a smartphone with a hundred apps or die.Jan 19, 2020 at 10:54 am #3627906Mike MBPL Member
people bring up extraordinary scenarios like the Alaska Wilderness Classic
An extraordinary event for sure (as is the Bob Open!), but not extraordinary in the context of what & where many folks do on this forum- traveling across rugged, remote country on/off trail; this is exactly where I like to spend my time, wether hiking, backpacking or elk hunting.
To a eschew a tool as handy as a smartphone with mapping & gps capability (and pretty darn good photography as well) out of hand because someone has fears of becoming addicted seems awfully silly in my book.
I don’t see anyone advocating you MUST have a cell phone or die; simply stating they offer a lot of functionality in a small, lightweight package (in something that many folks already own).
If someone elects to instead bring a gps and a nice camera in lieu of a smartphone, then more power to them. I’m fully satisfied with the photos I get off of my old iPhone (certainly won’t be featured in Nat Geo anytime soon, but still occasionally get a pretty nice one) and fully satisfied w/ the gps and mapping capabilities of it as well. The fact that it slips into a pocket and weighs 4.5 oz doesn’t hurt either.
You have a system that works for you, I have a system that works for me.Jan 19, 2020 at 12:06 pm #3627913Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
PS – talking of the military, lack of understanding of GPS was the primary reason the Iraqi army performed so poorly in the 1st Gulf War.
Just an FYI – At the time of Operation Desert Shield there were two GPS signals: Military & Civilain. I am pretty sure the Civilian signals were scrambled. My wife was out doing field research in the tropics and couldn’t get an accurate location.Jan 19, 2020 at 1:52 pm #3627925
@Geoff (and others)
I challenge you, or anyone else, to find a single posting of mine in which I argued that GPS units are useless. Go on, find ONE.
On the other hand, I have said several times that I own one and that I have used it a couple of times.
My arguments have been that relying on a tiny screen can be dangerous when you are not on a well-marked track. I am saying that you should have a map and compass, and be able to use them. If you want to carry extra electronics, that’s fine, HYOH, but have the basics.
They were assuming it was impossible to navigate through the featureless desert to the west of their defences, and were surprised when the US forces used GPS to emerge from the desert and hit them on their flank.
You know, a good navigator with map and compass should be able to do this without a GPS. He might not hit the target smack on, but he should get close. Whether the US Army had good navigators is a separate question.
CheersJan 19, 2020 at 10:43 pm #3627978Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Ah, Roger, it seems we both like bushwhacking in the backcountry for days on end. Maybe that partly explains why we share a different take on borg-ware, to coin a phrase.Jan 19, 2020 at 10:48 pm #3627979
Origin unknown, but I like it. :)
CheersJan 20, 2020 at 10:40 pm #3628090Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
OK Roger, can’t leave you in the dark.
From Startrek, the 2d TV series. The starship encounters a race of beings that were formerly humans, but were converted somehow to reconstructed humans, or Borgs. Probably short for ‘Cyborg’. Like zombies, when they find humans, they either eliminate them or convert them to existence in a hive mind, sort of like ants and bees. They have various gizmos implanted on them, the grossest being a metal mask implant over half their faces with a scary eye thing. This is what happens when humans become so addicted to their gizmos that they must get them implanted. Knee or hip replacement anyone? But don’t worry, climate change will destroy the planet long before the Borgs take over.Jan 20, 2020 at 11:29 pm #3628095
Ah yes, now I remember.
Hence the ‘borg collective’?
CheersJan 21, 2020 at 10:03 am #3628131
Another thing is…it’s not just the phone. It’s charging the damn phone. and then you start to organize your trip around charging the phone. Bleh. and the weight of the charger…Jan 23, 2020 at 2:18 pm #3628425AaronBPL Member
Is this the spot for old people to complain about kids these days and their fancy new-fangled tech?
Books and paper maps were new at one point as well. I can imagine all the old guys sitting around complaining about “kids today with their faces in books instead of telling stories verbally like back in MY day. We don’t NEED your stinkin’ books.”Jan 23, 2020 at 3:12 pm #3628433KatttBPL Member
“Is this the spot for old people to complain…..?”
Old me complains elsewhere but same thing.Jan 23, 2020 at 5:50 pm #3628451
Aaron, the way it works is…you need to respond to the arguments against relying on cell phones for navigation in the back country in order to be relevant. Poking fun at ‘old people’ is entirely irrelevant. It makes you look a bit dithery. Did you just wake up from a nap?
Or start a new thread. Maybe write, a la Andy Rooney “you know what I hate? Old people…” and go from there.
google Andy Rooney.Mar 6, 2020 at 12:42 pm #3634530Brian WBPL Member
I think, it boils down to skills. If you bring along a map and compass and don’t know how to use them, then you can get yourself into trouble. Likewise, if you bring along a GPS, and you don’t know how to use it, you can also find yourself in trouble.
I do think using a GPS is easier to use than a map and compass. But the device can fail you. However, if you destroy your paper map in a rain storm, you’re also out of luck.
Given that both can fail you, bring both. They now make devices that don’t weigh a lot. I received an inReach Mini over the holidays that I’m learning to use. I’m doing some testing tomorrow on a local hike.
At he end of the day, learn to use them, and buy insurance in case you need to get rescued.Mar 6, 2020 at 1:53 pm #3634540
if you destroy your paper map in a rain storm, you’re also out of luck.
If you photocopy your map onto waterproof paper, that does not happen.
CheersMar 6, 2020 at 2:41 pm #3634549Brian WBPL Member
What waterproof paper do you recommend? That’s a great idea. I’ve always used ziplock bags with mixed luck.Mar 6, 2020 at 4:02 pm #3634561
I use regular paper and a laserjet printer. Ink is waterproof.
I used to use inkjet but that smudges in water. Not to mention the jets clog after a while if you don’t constantly use it.Mar 6, 2020 at 4:02 pm #3634562matthew kModerator
Rite in the Rain paper works great in a laser printer (I haven’t tried it in an inkjet but it is supposed to be good too)Mar 6, 2020 at 5:03 pm #3634570
There are quite a few brands of waterproof paper on the market. The only thing is you must use a laser printer, NOT an inkjet printer. Ink jets wash away, even when they are called ‘LaserJet’ by HP Marketing.
I have used Rite in the Rain myself.
CheersMar 6, 2020 at 5:09 pm #3634571
waterproof paper is good, but it is heavy
regular lightweight paper sustains a lot of wetness. If you try to keep it dry but it gets a little wet it’s okay. If you set it out in the rain, then smoosh it, it will eventually turn into fibersMar 6, 2020 at 5:41 pm #3634574
and of course there’s always the trusty zip loc bag. I understand that you might need to refer to the map while it’s raining. Then, there’s the trusty rock overhang or Jeffrey Pine. But there’s always those scenarios in the desert or at altitude when none of this available.
Or just hike in the Sierra, where this is almost never an issue. Best of luck, duckies!Mar 6, 2020 at 8:08 pm #3634583
I use ziploc bag. You can read the map through it. Occasionally a drop of water will get on paper regardless, like when I hike from one page to the next, I’ll have to pull that page out and put it in frontMar 6, 2020 at 11:15 pm #3634598rubmybelly!BPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
“The only thing is you must use a laser printer, NOT an inkjet printer.”
I’ve used waterproof paper from Rite in the Rain made for inkjet printers and have had no problems with the inks washing away in the rain (using an inkjet printer).
“even when they are called ‘LaserJet’ by HP Marketing”
HP Marketing calls them Laserjets because they’re laser printers, not ink jet printers (at least in the US).Mar 7, 2020 at 12:04 am #3634604
I stand corrected – current LaserJet printers are toner-based.
There was a time (OK, many years ago) when it seemed that some LaserJets were ink-based, but maybe I got confused by DeskJets, OfficeJets, PhotoJets, and so on. No matter.
Thanks for the correction.
PS: A lot of vendors call the HP toner modules ‘ink cartridges’, which might account for some of my confusion.Mar 7, 2020 at 6:37 am #3634611Geoff CaplanBPL Member
@geoffcaplanLocale: Lake District, Cumbria
For relatively small areas with complex topography that you visit regularly, it’s worth printing out a section of map centered on the area and getting it laminated with light film.
You can do this at home with simple kit, or any print shop will do it for you.
I’ve done this for Glencoe, Ben Nevis and the central Cairngorms, for example.
100% waterproof and lasts for years.
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