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DanM
02-08-2010, 20:24
Hello, I am an Industrial Design student currently working on a new hiking shelter/information system for my senior thesis.

I'd like to ask this community how they feel about technology and hiking?

Aside from a GPS what other tech. do you bring?

How do you feel about bringing a social networking environment into the hiking world via "Smart Shelters"?

What would you recommend to improve traditional hiking shelters?

Or am I missing a point? Is the point to go back to nature and not have any tech. around you?

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
Thank You

emerald
02-08-2010, 20:27
How do you feel about bringing a social networking environment into the hiking world via "Smart Shelters"?

The point of the Appalachian Trail is to provide a means of connecting with the natural world. A.T. visitors are in some cases expected or encouraged to leave technological conveniences at home or at least to use them in a manner that doesn't impact upon other visitors.

You might modify your thesis to focus upon how communications might be improved with unintrusive personal devices or at facilities targeting hikers in towns.

paradoxb3
02-08-2010, 20:29
What would you recommend to improve traditional hiking shelters?

Tell'em Wolf... LOL

gruntledpainter
02-08-2010, 20:31
Hello, I am an Industrial Design student currently working on a new hiking shelter/information system for my senior thesis.

I'd like to ask this community how they feel about technology and hiking?

Aside from a GPS what other tech. do you bring?

How do you feel about bringing a social networking environment into the hiking world via "Smart Shelters"?

What would you recommend to improve traditional hiking shelters?

Or am I missing a point? Is the point to go back to nature and not have any tech. around you?

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
Thank You

I'd say the more primitive the better, aside from having decent water sources (and nearby resupply points if doing a long distance hike). I think social networking has its place, and I'm not sure that place is in hiking/camping.

The one question you probably want to address is: why? would it be a business venture somehow? help communication for safety's sake?

IMO, if a shelter is wired for facebook and twitter, I might as well be at home watching tv on a big screen and ordering in some pizza. Not what I want to get from my hike.

Pedaling Fool
02-08-2010, 20:41
It's only a matter of time. I blame "trail magic".

Cookerhiker
02-08-2010, 20:48
.....How do you feel about bringing a social networking environment into the hiking world via "Smart Shelters"?
......
Thank You


.....IMO, if a shelter is wired for facebook and twitter, I might as well be at home watching tv on a big screen and ordering in some pizza. Not what I want to get from my hike.

Dan, I'm not sure I understand your question - is Gruntled Painter's assumption correct? I hope not. You won't find any support on WB or among serious hikers/backpackers for modernizing shelters. In fact, you'll discover as this thread unwinds that many hikers - not sure if it's a majority or vocal minority - don't want any shelters at all.

Have you lurked on WB before? There are many existing threads on shelters which are accessible through WB's excellent search mechanism. While they many not directly answer your specific questions, you'll get a good idea of attitudes, feelings, etc. about shelter use.

As far as a shelter "information system," some degree(s) already exist in the form of The Companion, Appalachian Pages, the individual guidebooks, and forums here on WB. If you're talking about having something available real-time, can it really be an improvement on having the latest guidebook and tearing out the applicable pages? Not high-tech mind you, but perfectly adequate.

Lone Wolf
02-08-2010, 20:50
Tell'em Wolf... LOL
i ain't gonna go there :)

Jester2000
02-08-2010, 20:50
Um, guys, I think by "hiking shelters" it's possible he may mean tents, tarps, etc, not AT shelters. I could be wrong, though. Some clarification may be in order.

But there do seem to be many hikers that are not hiking because they necessarily want to get away from technology. So we shouldn't presume that our values are the only ones or even the right ones.

Personally, I take as little electronic/computer technology with me as possible. None of it is necessary for me, and none of it can be counted on.

But that's me.

JustaTouron
02-08-2010, 20:56
Several things.

1. They should all have ramps instead of stairs, very few are ADA compliant.

2. Easier highway access. Very few are accessible by car and none have adequate parking.

3. Plumbing. Flush toilets were greatly improve the smell over the privies.

4. Electricity and microwave ovens.

5. A fourth wall. Most a only have three. Need one more.

6. Room service.

7. Internet access and color TVs.

8. For those that require going up or down a hill to reach the trail ---escalators.

Turtle Feet
02-08-2010, 20:59
Hi Dan!

Well, I guess you've pretty much gotten the answer you're looking for, but I'll add that while I Tweet along with the best of them in 'this world', I most definitely won't be Tweeting on the trail. Keeping up with the real world, for me anyway, is something to do from town. No technology in the shelters please.

I've always wondered why more shelters aren't built with nice stone fireplaces though- it'd be on my wishlist anyway, but I suppose that doesn't fall under 'technology/information systems'.

paradoxb3
02-08-2010, 21:00
I think what you're going to find here is that many hikers prefer no technology at all on the trail, while some of us enjoy it on a limited basis. However, we have all found our own ways to incorporate as much or as little "smart-" in our hike as we are comfortable with.

And quite honestly, I was wanting to hear Wolf say "burn'em down" as an improvement on trail shelters. Just one more time man, please? :D

johnnybgood
02-08-2010, 21:08
Well there you have answer Dan in a half dozen posts. I like many, hike the AT to rid ourselves of the modern world ,do not embrace technology on the trail .

Lone Wolf
02-08-2010, 21:10
Well there you have answer Dan in a half dozen posts. I like many, hike the AT to rid ourselves of the modern world ,do not embrace technology on the trail .

do you take a cell phone?

10-K
02-08-2010, 21:11
Every shelter should have a resident cat and black snake.

johnnybgood
02-08-2010, 21:12
No ! Not on the trail.

Lone Wolf
02-08-2010, 21:17
No ! Not on the trail.

good man. i don't even own one

white_russian
02-08-2010, 21:24
***? This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

Mags
02-08-2010, 21:31
I wrote the initial version of this essay almost two years ago:
http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php/Outdoor-Writings/The-Changing-Culture-of-Connectivity.html

More and more, people want to stay connected. And my own theory is that people who do not wish to be connected will be looked on as the odd ones by not only the non-outdoor user, but also by fellow outdoors users.

ChinMusic
02-08-2010, 21:31
I'll be different. I love the trail. I don't hate modern life. I feel no need to be disconnected.

I bring "toys" on the trail but go out of my way so that others do not even know I have em. I respect their desire to be "disconnected". I know it is common. If I was on the trail today there is no doubt that I would have known that Murtha had died. I may or may not have shared that information depending on how a conversation goes. I can play it both ways.

Johnny Appleseed
02-08-2010, 21:32
Down pillow and satin sheets. But I want a piece of chocolate on my pillow or no deal.

prain4u
02-08-2010, 21:37
My most recent hike was not on the AT (Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior). My favorite part of the hike was having absolutely no cell phone or internet access for more than 10 days. (When I hike in the Rockies, I try to go to places where there are no shelters, no electricity, no water wells, no towns, and no toilets or privies).

Therefore, I would probably vehemently avoid visiting all "Smart Shelters" and mourn the fact that they had even been built anywhere near the trail.

It is my guess that the levels of vandalism and theft at such shelters would be pretty high--unless you also hired caretakers 24/7 to watch over the technological equipment. In my area of the world, people will steal wires and cables and convert it to scrap metal (i.e. cash). Buildings and vehicles in remote rural areas are a particular target. Vandals "gut" them and remove every trace of wiring and scrap metal that they can possibly carry.

My guess is that environmental "super activists" would fight the construction of Smart Shelters every step of the way--at public meetings, through endless legal battles, and through extreme disruption and agitation at shelter construction sites. These efforts would cause the project costs to skyrocket. (There are activists currently fighting to get rid of the EXISTING primitive shelters in designated wilderness areas. Building Smart Shelters in wilderness areas would cause these people to have a stroke!).

Smart Shelters are a BAD idea!

Rocket Jones
02-08-2010, 21:37
How about a bit of low-tech? An antenna to improve radio reception as part of the shelter. Something you can just clip your radio to if you need to drag in that weather report.

fiddlehead
02-08-2010, 21:54
If i was to do a hi-tech hike, where i could connect to the internet and do my 1-2 hours of work everyday, I would not pick the AT.
Problem is the shelters are where the water is and they draw people like flies on you know what.
If you pulled out your netbook or whatever, you'd get hostile looks from the Jeremiah Johnson wannabees.
I'd go to out west and enjoy the peace and quiet of my workplace.

Blissful
02-08-2010, 22:23
Home sweet tent sums it up.

wnderer
02-08-2010, 22:39
I'd like to see those old fashioned hand operated water pumps. Of course you'd have to worry about vandals taking the handles.

Captain Blue
02-08-2010, 22:55
Almost all hikers rely on technology of some sorts while hiking the AT. It may not be electronic technology. From fabrics, gear materials, water purification, guidebooks, shoe design to stoves we all benefit from technology and bring technology with us on the trail.

paradoxb3
02-08-2010, 22:59
Almost all hikers rely on technology of some sorts while hiking the AT. It may not be electronic technology. From fabrics, gear materials, water purification, guidebooks, shoe design to stoves we all benefit from technology and bring technology with us on the trail.

so hike naked then? :banana

JJJ
02-08-2010, 23:08
I'll have to think about it.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.Ok, I've thought about it.

BaceFook at shelters is Fed.

K2
02-08-2010, 23:28
How about Tippy Taps (http://ugandavillageproject.blogspot.com/2010/01/tippy-taps-handwashing-made-easy.html)? K2

Mags
02-08-2010, 23:37
Almost all hikers rely on technology of some sorts while hiking the AT. .


True. But I think there is a difference between interactive and passive technology.

Wool and polypro are very different in how they are made. One is essentially unchanged for hundreds of years. One if from post-WW2 technology. But both functionally work the same.

A canvas tent and a silnylon shelter are radically different technologies, but are no different in their functionality of how each is used.

A camera simply takes a photo. Even a GPS is nothing more than taking the functionality of a map and compass and doing all the heavy lifting in terms of figuring out where you are (an over simplification, but that is essentially what it does).

A cell phone, SPOT, etc. have no analogues to any equipment used in the past. And that is changing the nature of the outdoor experience.

Whether interactive technologies are good or bad is a pointless discussion because..well, they are here and they are being used in the backcountry.

But to say it is no different than using silnylon, stoves, etc is to ignore how these electronics have no equivalent functionally to what was used in the recent past. And these electronics are indeed changing what is a backcountry experience rapidly.

Alligator
02-08-2010, 23:53
Writing in the register is like updating your status on your wall.

Spokes
02-08-2010, 23:59
Alligator said it.

Social Networking Environment in AT Shelter= Notebook/Pen called Shelter Register.

ChinMusic
02-09-2010, 00:06
Writing in the register is like updating your status on your wall.
Great point........

white_russian
02-09-2010, 00:28
It is my guess that the levels of vandalism and theft at such shelters would be pretty high--unless you also hired caretakers 24/7 to watch over the technological equipment. In my area of the world, people will steal wires and cables and convert it to scrap metal (i.e. cash). Buildings and vehicles in remote rural areas are a particular target. Vandals "gut" them and remove every trace of wiring and scrap metal that they can possibly carry.
That is what I was thinking. Even if you were able to protect it from vandalism you still have to supply power and connect it to a cellular network. Solar is not very reliable and most shelters are covered in trees anyway. Then you have to pay probably Verizon for connectivity and they ain't cheap.

Even if you get past most people hating the idea, implementation of this idea would be a total nightmare.

I have no problem with people using technology and I love my smartphone, but a smart shelter is just a bad idea.

stranger
02-09-2010, 00:32
People are gonna do what people are gonna do, you show me someone with heaps of technology who needs to feel connected, and I'll show you someone who's not comfortable in the wilderness.

All this stuff is designed to make hikers feel more comfortable, it's not needed 95% of the time and certainly not along most of the AT. It plays on people's fears, just like heavy outdoor gear used to...and it works, many hikers carry mobile phones now, 7 years ago almost no one did!

Hiking solo in a dark corner of New Zealand that can only be reached by helicopter or boat, or in a remote area of Australia with Tiger and Brown Snakes, yeah a PLB makes sense

Hiking in Pennsylvania...you got to be ****ting me

ChinMusic
02-09-2010, 00:54
People are gonna do what people are gonna do, you show me someone with heaps of technology who needs to feel connected, and I'll show you someone who's not comfortable in the wilderness.
Couldn't disagree more. Some people can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 00:58
Hiking in Pennsylvania...you got to be ****ting me

There are certain parts of Pennsylvania that are far more dangerous than any part of Australia or New Zealand will ever be.

LeeAllure
02-09-2010, 01:33
How about Tippy Taps (http://ugandavillageproject.blogspot.com/2010/01/tippy-taps-handwashing-made-easy.html)? K2

These look very practical and useful, as long as there is a water supply.

prain4u
02-09-2010, 02:01
The question is--do we control the (electronic) technology or does the (electronic) technology control us?

Personally, I can easily carry a cell phone with me on a hike and only use it to check in with my family for just a few minutes every 1-3 days. (I have two "special needs" children at home and some ill family members. So, I do try to check in with my family in order to make sure that there have been no serious illnesses, hospitalizations or deaths). I turn the cell phone on in order to make my call--then I turn it off right after the call is ended.

HOWEVER, other people are MUCH more dependent upon their electronic gadgets when they are hiking or doing other outdoor activities. The gadgets literally control the persons' behavior. I find that to be unfortunate.

I am in the Army National Guard. Many of my younger soldiers "freak out" when they cannot use their personal electronic gadgets. They are indeed ADDICTED to the devices.

Their use of these devices has actually become problematic at times. We can be in the field, but the soldiers will literally spend HOURS trying to use their phones and laptop computers (and iPods). They stay up all night talking on the phone and texting. They partially neglect their duties in order to use their phones and send texts. They skip meals in order to keep chatting, texting, or gaming. My Commanders have had to actually issue orders BANNING the use of such devices in the field--because their use has become so problematic among the (primarily) younger soldiers. One Commander went so far as to say that if he saw any of his soldiers with a visible cell phone in the field--he would personally confiscate it and smash it with a sledge hammer. Some of these young people are FAR too dependent upon their electronic devices.

Back to Smart Shelters...I might be able to tolerate an emergency "phone" or an electronic shelter journal at an AT shelter. However, I would hate to see the shelters equipped in such a way that they encourage people to spend hours online at shelters---blogging, gaming, texting, and updating their personal trail journals. I would also really hate to see people getting into fights over such limited resources.

It is one thing to use electronic technology as a useful tool on your hike. It is quite another thing when the electronic gadget controls or dictates your behavior on your hike.

Panzer1
02-09-2010, 03:08
Everything you bring with you on the trail is technology of some sort or another.

compass, led flashlight, battery operated watch, digital camera, water filter, titanium cookware, gore-tex clothing, silnilon gear, cigarette lighter, lexan water bottles and the list goes on and on.

Panzer

KnittingMelissa
02-09-2010, 04:03
Aside from a GPS what other tech. do you bring?


Do people honestly bring GPS devices with them on the trail? I can't imagine why, the trail is clearly marked with white blazes, so you really shouldn't be deciding to suddenly careen to the east and lose any sense of direction.

I know I'm not taking a GPS device with me, I see no point. Though I will have a watch and a camera with as my two pieces of technology (and probably a cell phone to put my grandmother's mind at ease), but neither the watch nor the camera will help me on the trail. They're just there as conveniences. I like to know what time it is, and I figure that I might see some very beautiful scenery along the way that I might want to capture on digital film.

But, outside of that, I'm not really going to be using technology. If I run across someone in the middle of the AT with a laptop and internet, yes, I might check my e-mail or something. That's it, though. I'm hiking the AT to enjoy nature, not enjoy the internet in a different setting. Bringing unnecessary technology like that out to the AT defeats the purpose of going to the AT in the first place.

Though, if there were just a small, hand crank FM radio every now and then that could tune into weather data for the area, I could see the use in it. That's useful for people who aren't from the area and can't judge the local weather just by looking up (and yes, weather calling can change drastically from area to area), but nothing more evasive than that is needed.

Dan, if this is your senior thesis, you might want to rethink it and move to an idea that isn't vehemently opposed by those it is aimed at. I've seen students go down that road before because they have no experience in the subject, and it has ended very, very badly.

RGB
02-09-2010, 06:17
My most recent hike was not on the AT (Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior). My favorite part of the hike was having absolutely no cell phone or internet access for more than 10 days. (When I hike in the Rockies, I try to go to places where there are no shelters, no electricity, no water wells, no towns, and no toilets or privies).

Therefore, I would probably vehemently avoid visiting all "Smart Shelters" and mourn the fact that they had even been built anywhere near the trail.

It is my guess that the levels of vandalism and theft at such shelters would be pretty high--unless you also hired caretakers 24/7 to watch over the technological equipment. In my area of the world, people will steal wires and cables and convert it to scrap metal (i.e. cash). Buildings and vehicles in remote rural areas are a particular target. Vandals "gut" them and remove every trace of wiring and scrap metal that they can possibly carry.

My guess is that environmental "super activists" would fight the construction of Smart Shelters every step of the way--at public meetings, through endless legal battles, and through extreme disruption and agitation at shelter construction sites. These efforts would cause the project costs to skyrocket. (There are activists currently fighting to get rid of the EXISTING primitive shelters in designated wilderness areas. Building Smart Shelters in wilderness areas would cause these people to have a stroke!).

Smart Shelters are a BAD idea!

It wouldn't really bother me that much due to the fact that I tend to avoid shelters, but this is the scenario that I envisioned would most likely happen. I see the well-meaning intent, but the negatives would just outweigh the positives. While I don't outright condemn technology on the trail, social-networking can be as easy as shaking someone's hand, and you might get a friend for life out of it.

prain4u
02-09-2010, 07:16
AT Smart Shelter Year 2015: (My apologies to the original poster (DanM)--but I couldn't resist!)

http://cobraworxshopz.com/images/MissionControl.jpg

Trail Bug
02-09-2010, 07:46
I would like to see bear poles as standard for all shelters. May cut down on food bags kept in shelter which attract lots of little critters.

Old Hiker
02-09-2010, 08:22
[QUOTE=KnittingMelissa;967088]Do people honestly bring GPS devices with them on the trail? I can't imagine why, the trail is clearly marked with white blazes, so you really shouldn't be deciding to suddenly careen to the east and lose any sense of direction.

QUOTE]

Sorry, Melissa, but it HAS happened to me before. Stepped too close to the edge of a trail and found myself careening (bouncing, :eek: rolling, :eek: cursing!) in a different direction rather rapidly. I'm not sure which direction it was and when it was over I didn't care. Luckily for me, a friendly tree caught me by my ribs about 20 feet down the hillside.

Although, I'm not sure what my GPSr would have done for me, either before or after said careen! :rolleyes:

prain4u
02-09-2010, 09:12
I decided I was being a little rough on the original poster. He is a student trying to get a Senior thesis completed. He came to us for help--not our smart aleck or angry responses. So, I apologized to him in a private message for my comments and gave him some serious ideas that SOME people might find helpful. However, I stood firm in my belief that I would really prefer that we never had any Smart Shelters. I like things to be more rustic and electronically "low tech" when I am hiking.

sherrill
02-09-2010, 09:27
My answer would be no, but I am not a fan of shelters to begin with.

Who would maintain them? What about vandalism?

Least of which, I don't want to walk up to a building in the woods with solar panels and satellite dishes.

white_russian
02-09-2010, 09:28
Though, if there were just a small, hand crank FM radio every now and then that could tune into weather data for the area, I could see the use in it. That's useful for people who aren't from the area and can't judge the local weather just by looking up (and yes, weather calling can change drastically from area to area), but nothing more evasive than that is needed.

With any cell phone you can send a text message to Google (466453) with W and the Zip code and they will send you the three day forecast back. The radio idea sounds good in theory, but realistically finding a station that gives out the forecast at a reasonable interval can be hard.

white_russian
02-09-2010, 09:32
This whole connected thing might be a better idea for something like the AMC huts. The customers of the huts might be a more receptive audience.

DavidNH
02-09-2010, 09:38
Dan M,

I really see no point in bringing technology onto the trail In fact it defeats the purpose many of us--especially me--- go hiking in the first place which is to get away from that damn stuff.

1) who cares about the weather forecast. you still gotta hike through it.

2) a GPS? you can't be serious. Just follow the white blazes. How hard can that be. I can see brining a map for the fun of knowing what mtns are around you. At least a map doesn't need batteries! Compass also good (light and needs no batteries.

3) You don't really want to suggest having shelters with computers connected to facebook or my space? puhleeze! The suggestion itself is offensive to me.

4) one thing I would suggest as an improvement to shelters. Place a simple bear box that can be chained shut next to EACH one. That way, no one has to look for places to hang food --and most of the time the hands are NOT bear proof-- and no one would be hanging food in the shelter. that would cut down on critters. As for me, unless a bear box is provided, I am always going to hand food from the mouse hands in the shelter. Stays dry and besides that is what the damn things are for. i hung my food in shelters from southern VA northward except when bear poles or boxes where provided. Never saw a bear anywhere close to shelter.

David

Pedaling Fool
02-09-2010, 09:47
Itís almost useless to fight it Ė invasive technology. Itís only a matter of time, there will be some wins to keep technology off the trail, but in the end technology will rein.

Itís considered by most to be foolish to hike without a cell phone and as spot-like technology improves I believe itíll become virtually a requirement so rescue teams donít have to expend large resources looking for your corpse.

Also a factor is that really most want the invasion, but in a non-intrusive manner, how ever they reconcile that. Thatís why everyone wants "trail magic" at every road crossing, easy access to a town (which is "connected") with all services so they donít have to rely on the post office. The AT is a socially oriented environment by that fact everyone wants to be connected they just donít know it.

Cookerhiker
02-09-2010, 10:06
Itís almost useless to fight it Ė invasive technology. Itís only a matter of time, there will be some wins to keep technology off the trail, but in the end technology will rein.

Not sure about that. Keeping technology "off the trail?" Installing electonic/telecommunications gizmos on the trail requires resources - $$$, staff hours, changes to laws. That ain't gonna happen easily.

Remember Benton MacKaye's vision was to have work camps and communities, hostels along the Trail. There was no technological or physical barriers keeping it from happening but it didn't - nearly 90 years after his seminal article.


Itís considered by most to be foolish to hike without a cell phone and as spot-like technology improves I believe itíll become virtually a requirement so rescue teams donít have to expend large resources looking for your corpse.

It may be considered foolish by "some," not necessarily "most"


Also a factor is that really most want the invasion, but in a non-intrusive manner, how ever they reconcile that. Thatís why everyone wants "trail magic" at every road crossing, easy access to a town (which is "connected") with all services so they donít have to rely on the post office. The AT is a socially oriented environment by that fact everyone wants to be connected they just donít know it.

"Most," "everyone?" - I don't think so, at least not among hikers.

Two Speed
02-09-2010, 10:41
. . . Installing electonic/telecommunications gizmos on the trail requires resources - $$$, staff hours, changes to laws . . . Gonna second that. Almost all trail construction is performed by volunteers. Gonna get them to "volunteer" to provide and maintain an expensive suite of electronics so hikers can stay connected?

I'm not getting a "buy" signal on that.

If you have a problem with that concept try figuring out how many cell towers have been built solely for the convenience of hikers.

Lone Wolf
02-09-2010, 10:43
How do you feel about bringing a social networking environment into the hiking world via "Smart Shelters"?

what the hell is that exactly? put it in layman's terms

emerald
02-09-2010, 10:44
Installing electronic/telecommunications gizmos on the trail requires resources - $$$, staff hours, changes to laws. That ain't gonna happen easily.

I don't expect to see anything like what's been proposed because those who manage the A.T. still grasp why it was conceived and why it needs to remain as true as possible to its original purpose. Furthermore, those who think "smart shelters" are a wonderful idea no doubt think someone else should pay for them.


Remember Benton MacKaye's vision was to have work camps and communities, hostels along the Trail. There was no technological or physical barriers keeping it from happening but it didn't - nearly 90 years after his seminal article.

We already have them and have all along. Some people just haven't realized what MacKaye proposed already exists.

The concept has great potential. As conservationists continue their work to secure supplemental protection for the A.T., MacKaye's vision will be revisited, expanded and more fully exploited.

drumdancer
02-09-2010, 11:32
although I have considered leaving exlax out for the mice , i understand it is us whom is visiting their world. The idea of staying at shelters would be more inviting without having my food compromised or having to deal with disease borne droppings. So I would be impressed with shelters with the ability to expell mice without harming them.I,ll bet this can be accomplished without simply without electronics or need for complicated maintenance.

Pedaling Fool
02-09-2010, 11:35
Not sure about that. Keeping technology "off the trail?" Installing electonic/telecommunications gizmos on the trail requires resources - $$$, staff hours, changes to laws. That ain't gonna happen easily.

Remember Benton MacKaye's vision was to have work camps and communities, hostels along the Trail. There was no technological or physical barriers keeping it from happening but it didn't - nearly 90 years after his seminal article.



It may be considered foolish by "some," not necessarily "most"



"Most," "everyone?" - I don't think so, at least not among hikers.
I wasn't talking about on-trail installations. Technological advances are happening much faster today than when Benton Mackaye first proposed his vision. I think everyone is looking at this through today's technology, but it's changing pretty quickly.

Hiking the trail between 1950 and 1980 was not much different, yeah it would have been easier in 1980, but not much different when you compare that 30-year span to the 30-year span between 1980 and 2010.

Can you imagine what it'll be like in 2020, 2030, 2040...

Cookerhiker
02-09-2010, 11:36
although I have considered leaving exlax out for the mice , i understand it is us whom is visiting their world. The idea of staying at shelters would be more inviting without having my food compromised or having to deal with disease borne droppings. So I would be impressed with shelters with the ability to expell mice without harming them.I,ll bet this can be accomplished without simply without electronics or need for complicated maintenance.

Here's your answer:


I would like to see bear poles as standard for all shelters. May cut down on food bags kept in shelter which attract lots of little critters.

Better yet;)


Every shelter should have a resident cat and black snake.

RGB
02-09-2010, 11:46
Dan M,

I really see no point in bringing technology onto the trail In fact it defeats the purpose many of us--especially me--- go hiking in the first place which is to get away from that damn stuff.

1) who cares about the weather forecast. you still gotta hike through it.

2) a GPS? you can't be serious. Just follow the white blazes. How hard can that be. I can see brining a map for the fun of knowing what mtns are around you. At least a map doesn't need batteries! Compass also good (light and needs no batteries.

3) You don't really want to suggest having shelters with computers connected to facebook or my space? puhleeze! The suggestion itself is offensive to me.

4) one thing I would suggest as an improvement to shelters. Place a simple bear box that can be chained shut next to EACH one. That way, no one has to look for places to hang food --and most of the time the hands are NOT bear proof-- and no one would be hanging food in the shelter. that would cut down on critters. As for me, unless a bear box is provided, I am always going to hand food from the mouse hands in the shelter. Stays dry and besides that is what the damn things are for. i hung my food in shelters from southern VA northward except when bear poles or boxes where provided. Never saw a bear anywhere close to shelter.

David

I understand the disagreement with the OP, but taking personal offense? Christ, calm down people. Each and everyone one of you is taking technology into the woods unless you're going in the nude. The sticks that gorillas and chimps use to find bugs, and the rocks that otters use to break open clams are arguably technology by definition.

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 11:52
I'm not sure what the point is of debating what is and isn't "technology," when it's pretty clear by the original poster's words that he's talking about modern electronic, computer, and communication technology.

Everyone understands that we use "technology" and the fruits of it. He's asking about a particular kind of technology, in a particular place.

flemdawg1
02-09-2010, 12:16
http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:TNEVAQ2gKR58bM:http://roslynrobot.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/robocop.jpg I'd like one of these to get rid of the mice.

Pedaling Fool
02-09-2010, 12:20
I'm not sure what the point is of debating what is and isn't "technology," when it's pretty clear by the original poster's words that he's talking about modern electronic, computer, and communication technology.

Everyone understands that we use "technology" and the fruits of it. He's asking about a particular kind of technology, in a particular place.
Why debate it? Because it's damn cold outside, even here in Jax.:D

BTW, on the issue of quickly advancing technology let's just look at the last decade. Anyone hike in the year 2000? Look at the difference between 2000 and 2010.

http://www.hikesafe.com/index.php/planning_your_hike/gear_list/technology

ShelterLeopard
02-09-2010, 12:27
Hello, I am an Industrial Design student currently working on a new hiking shelter/information system for my senior thesis.

I'd like to ask this community how they feel about technology and hiking?

Aside from a GPS what other tech. do you bring?

How do you feel about bringing a social networking environment into the hiking world via "Smart Shelters"?

What would you recommend to improve traditional hiking shelters?

Or am I missing a point? Is the point to go back to nature and not have any tech. around you?

I am not a fan of "technology". However, without technology, my down bag would not be able to fit in a coffee can, weigh less than a pound, and keep me warm at 15 degrees... Okay, electrical technology (she says as she sits connected to the internet)

I suppose what I mean, is that I like the improvements that make things I use lighter and more efficient, but I do not like electronics, never carry a gps, watch, anything. I carry a compass. The only electronics I carry are my headlamp and my cell phone (which I brought for emergencies).

Spots are ridiculous for recreational hikers, but I won't go off on that tangent now...

Can you define a "smart shelter"? What I know of the company Smart Shelters is that they install Amish barns... Do you mean something electronic? Or something designed differently?

Make it light and super waterproof, and that is good enough.

(Sorry to ramble, too much coffee, not enough sleep)

ShelterLeopard
02-09-2010, 12:29
I didn't read the rest of the thread before I posted, so sorry if my questions regarding smart shelters have already been answered.

JustaTouron
02-09-2010, 12:31
http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:TNEVAQ2gKR58bM:http://roslynrobot.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/robocop.jpg I'd like one of these to get rid of the mice.


There is an old saying,

"Build a better mouse trap and the ATC will blaze a blue trail to your shelter." (or something like that)

ShelterLeopard
02-09-2010, 12:39
Okay, I think what is needed here (for me, anyway) is clarification on a "smart shelter". Are you talking about designing a different tent? Or doing something to the wooden and stone shelters on the AT? The shelters are fine, and everyone else said it pretty much.


IMO, if a shelter is wired for facebook and twitter, I might as well be at home watching tv on a big screen and ordering in some pizza. Not what I want to get from my hike.

That would make me vomit.


Um, guys, I think by "hiking shelters" it's possible he may mean tents, tarps, etc, not AT shelters. I could be wrong, though. Some clarification may be in order.

Personally, I take as little electronic/computer technology with me as possible. None of it is necessary for me, and none of it can be counted on.

Same question I had, and me too.


Several things.

1. They should all have ramps instead of stairs, very few are ADA compliant.

2. Easier highway access. Very few are accessible by car and none have adequate parking.

3. Plumbing. Flush toilets were greatly improve the smell over the privies.

4. Electricity and microwave ovens.

5. A fourth wall. Most a only have three. Need one more.

6. Room service.

7. Internet access and color TVs.

8. For those that require going up or down a hill to reach the trail ---escalators.

The escalators and ramps were a good touch!

(I hope the OP doesn't take it seriously...)

Appalachian Tater
02-09-2010, 12:39
Or am I missing a point? Is the point to go back to nature and not have any tech. around you?

Yes, I think that is the key--the whole idea is ill-conceived.

The best way you could apply industrial design to the shelter system is to design a model for attractive, functional, inexpensive and easy-to-construct (without road access) shelters out of natural materials that are vandal-resistant and reduce impact on the surrounding area. The outhouses could use some thought as well to reduce their impact. Vandal-resistance is very important as a practical consideration.

One shelter even has a fake electric switch as a joke if I am remembering that correctly.

Spend a couple of hours researching the original concept of the trail as envisioned by Benton MacKaye, that would give you some insight.

An information kiosk with solar panels and an emergency or pay telephone and the ability to recharge personal electronics and connect to the internet to be placed at trailhead parking lots and major road crossings may be something you could think about working on that may be more in tune with the trail.

An outhouse that would reduce waste to sterile soil that could easily be removed and which required minimum maintenance would also be something you might think about.

Another possibility is to design a footbridge that is inexpensive, vandal resistant, constructed of natural materials, etc. might be a little off course but some of the ones on the trail are brilliant. A suspended bridge that generated energy from the motion of people crossing it would be cool but I don't know what you would do with the electricity.

Pedaling Fool
02-09-2010, 12:43
Hello, I am an Industrial Design student currently working on a new hiking shelter/information system for my senior thesis.

I'd like to ask this community how they feel about technology and hiking?

Aside from a GPS what other tech. do you bring?

How do you feel about bringing a social networking environment into the hiking world via "Smart Shelters"?

What would you recommend to improve traditional hiking shelters?

Or am I missing a point? Is the point to go back to nature and not have any tech. around you?

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.
Thank You


I didn't read the rest of the thread before I posted, so sorry if my questions regarding smart shelters have already been answered.
I haven't seen an answer yet. Just a bunch of opinions (from all of us) on somewhat vague questions.

He does need to better define is question about "smart shelters".

As for his question:
"Or am I missing a point? Is the point to go back to nature and not have any tech. around you?"

My point is that people say they hike the AT to get back to nature, but not totally, they just want the illusion of being back to nature. Expecting "Trail magic" is not getting back to nature. Carrying a cell phone is staying connected, despite keeping it off, it's always there. Even slackpacking is a form of staying connected.

In 2005 cell phones on the trail was a hot controversey, now it's just accepted and some DO consider it wreckless to hike without one.

Appalachian Tater
02-09-2010, 12:46
Yes but nothing is more aggravating than spending an hour climbing up a mountain and you get to the top to the one spot with a view and some jackass is yapping loudly on a cellphone and never shuts up. You have to try to ignore them to enjoy the view, which is difficult.

HeartFire
02-09-2010, 12:49
Social networking at the trail shelters = shelter registers with some blank pages left and a pen that works.

ChinMusic
02-09-2010, 12:49
One shelter even has a fake electric switch as a joke if I am remembering that correctly.

Bilge Rat "installed" this at Spring Mountain Shelter.

http://www.trailgallery.com/photos/6095/tj6095_043008_131854_316548.jpg

http://www.trailgallery.com/photos/6095/tj6095_043008_131855_316549.jpg

ShelterLeopard
02-09-2010, 12:49
I haven't seen an answer yet. Just a bunch of opinions (from all of us) on somewhat vague questions.

As usual, of course. Is the OP going to respond to this ever?


In 2005 cell phones on the trail was a hot controversey, now it's just accepted and some DO consider it wreckless to hike without one.

Don't even get me started on how ridiculous that is. Ugh. How the heck do they think people hiked in the 80's/90's?

(I'll admit, I'm bringing mine, turned off, of course, but I may mail it home. I'm only bringing it so my family has their fears put at ease, but once I've been hiking a couple weeks and they realize I won't get eaten by a bear, killed by a mountain man, and there are plenty of other hikes out there, it'll probably make its way into the box with my winter gear coming home...)

Pedaling Fool
02-09-2010, 12:50
Yes but nothing is more aggravating than spending an hour climbing up a mountain and you get to the top to the one spot with a view and some jackass is yapping loudly on a cellphone and never shuts up. You have to try to ignore them to enjoy the view, which is difficult.
I agree, but I remember when cell phones first came on the scene and the same thing was said about someone yapping on a cell phone in a public place, like a resturant, coffee shop...But nowadays people kind of just accept it, you don't here people complain about cell phone use publically any longer.

I even hear it in the library, that's crazy to me, but it happens all the time.

Two Speed
02-09-2010, 12:52
Bilge Rat "installed" this at Spring Mountain Shelter . . . Makes you want to stash a motion detecting camera to see how many idiots try to plug something into it.

JustaTouron
02-09-2010, 12:52
Yes but nothing is more aggravating than spending an hour climbing up a mountain and you get to the top to the one spot with a view and some jackass is yapping loudly on a cellphone and never shuts up. You have to try to ignore them to enjoy the view, which is difficult.


Semi unrelated. When my kids were younger they would do a dance and celebrate upon summiting every minor hill as if they just reached the top of Everest. And like many kids they can get a bit loud at times. Typically if some one is trying to enjoy the solitude I will tell my kids to quiet down. One time one guy barked at me to tell my kids to quiet down because he was "on a very important business call"...that time I joined in with the kids making the volume only the more louder.

ChinMusic
02-09-2010, 12:54
Makes you want to stash a motion detecting camera to see how many idiots try to plug something into it.
Thought the same thing........a Candid Camera skit.

Two Speed
02-09-2010, 12:57
Seems like there used to be a phone at Jerry Cabin shelter.

VTATHiker
02-09-2010, 13:02
Trails like the AT are one of the few places in the US (and increasingly the World) where human influence is at least at a minimum. Personally, I’d like to see the shelters burn too. We have enough of an impact just walking and sleeping. Take whatever technology into the woods you want (be it a stick, a GPS or your desktop computer) but at the end of the day (or the thru-hike) it better not stay in the woods.

The only “smart shelter” I want is the one I conceive of using a tarp and my hiking poles.

Appalachian Tater
02-09-2010, 13:08
Bilge Rat "installed" this at Spring Mountain Shelter.

Yes, that's the one, a plug not a switch! Those photos drive home the point of this thread.

I remember sitting upstairs at the ice cream place in Harper's Ferry with several hikers eating ice cream. Another hiker's parents had come to visit them and came upstairs. Before they sat down the mother found the light switched and turned on the lights. We had all been sitting there in what was relative darkness without even thinking about turning on a light.

Everyone got a good laugh out of it. If it's not so dark that you need to use your headlamp, then you don't need electric lighting at all.

ShelterLeopard
02-09-2010, 13:33
Edit to my post: Without technology, my sleeping bag would not be less than TWO pounds, not one. Sorry!

white_russian
02-09-2010, 13:41
Seems like there used to be a phone at Jerry Cabin shelter.
I remember seeing one at at Little Bigelow. It said it was for in shelter calls only.

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 14:00
Why debate it? Because it's damn cold outside, even here in Jax.:D

BTW, on the issue of quickly advancing technology let's just look at the last decade. Anyone hike in the year 2000? Look at the difference between 2000 and 2010.



I agree, but I remember when cell phones first came on the scene and the same thing was said about someone yapping on a cell phone in a public place, like a resturant, coffee shop...But nowadays people kind of just accept it, you don't here people complain about cell phone use publically any longer.

I even hear it in the library, that's crazy to me, but it happens all the time.

Haha! Good point! It is cold. It's snowing again here now. In 2000, there weren't as many cell phones in the real world, and there were fewer people who thought they "needed" them. And there were very few, if any, on the trail.

Meanwhile, in 2008 I carried a cell phone on the PCT, not because I felt I needed one, or was afraid of nature, but because with the spread of cell phones pay phones have all but disappeared from towns.

I wanted to be able to contact friends back home without using someone's business phone, or having to get a hotel room to have a phone to use. I lament the passing of pay phones; I carried (or bumped) my phone to use in town.

As for the inappropriate cell phone use I still see in daily life, I still complain about it. Loudly. And when I worked retail and had customers come to me for help without getting off their phone, I would say, "I can wait until you're done with that call." They would get off the phone.


Trails like the AT are one of the few places in the US (and increasingly the World) where human influence is at least at a minimum. Personally, Iíd like to see the shelters burn too. We have enough of an impact just walking and sleeping. Take whatever technology into the woods you want (be it a stick, a GPS or your desktop computer) but at the end of the day (or the thru-hike) it better not stay in the woods.

The only ďsmart shelterĒ I want is the one I conceive of using a tarp and my hiking poles.

Soooo . . . if I'm offended by the sight of tarps and want everyone to build hooches out of natural materials, can I burn your tarp?

Two Speed
02-09-2010, 14:03
. . . Soooo . . . if I'm offended by the sight of tarps and want everyone to build hooches out of natural materials, can I burn your tarp?Only if you use a bow drill to start the fire.

RGB
02-09-2010, 14:07
Well, although cell phones aren't a necessity, my parents would get ulcers worrying about me if I didn't bring one. If something horrible ever did happen, it could also be traced.

Do this many people really get out on the trail with "I want to get away from technology" at the top of their Why to Hike list? 4-6 months of absolutely no responsibilities is what appeals to me. I don't see what the point is in grumbling about it when it isn't going to change anything. The ATC or any other organization isn't going to stop people from bringing phones, netbooks, etc. on the trail. Technology is only going to develop further from this point on, and whoever is willing to spend the money and carry the extra weight will have it on the trail. I guess if you really feel so strongly about it, you can leave the area when you see someone on a cell, or typing a journal up on a netbook or whatever.

As far as the comment about jackasses talking on phones loudly goes, I've had that happen to me several times. All you can really do is leave or tune it out. But taking a phone away isn't going to change this. Some people just seem to have the crushing desire to be heard no matter what, as if they have gold or rainbows pouring out of their mouths every time they open it. I've had this same experience at viewing areas when two or more people are together. It's no different. It's still very loud and very obnoxious and the amount that I would like them to shut the hell up would not change if they were speaking into a metal box rather than to another person.

The main point of all this: technology is here to stay, and every new year the concrete is gonna creep closer to the trail.

Maybe not to relevant to the original post, but he isn't saying anything back, so I went on my rant.

mweinstone
02-09-2010, 14:11
shelters should be clear. privys,...translucent.but shelters would cooler if they were clear.

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 14:18
Only if you use a bow drill to start the fire.


Well, although cell phones aren't a necessity, my parents would get ulcers worrying about me if I didn't bring one. If something horrible ever did happen, it could also be traced.

Do this many people really get out on the trail with "I want to get away from technology" at the top of their Why to Hike list? 4-6 months of absolutely no responsibilities is what appeals to me. I don't see what the point is in grumbling about it when it isn't going to change anything. The ATC or any other organization isn't going to stop people from bringing phones, netbooks, etc. on the trail. Technology is only going to develop further from this point on, and whoever is willing to spend the money and carry the extra weight will have it on the trail. I guess if you really feel so strongly about it, you can leave the area when you see someone on a cell, or typing a journal up on a netbook or whatever.

As far as the comment about jackasses talking on phones loudly goes, I've had that happen to me several times. All you can really do is leave or tune it out. But taking a phone away isn't going to change this. Some people just seem to have the crushing desire to be heard no matter what, as if they have gold or rainbows pouring out of their mouths every time they open it. I've had this same experience at viewing areas when two or more people are together. It's no different. It's still very loud and very obnoxious and the amount that I would like them to shut the hell up would not change if they were speaking into a metal box rather than to another person.

The main point of all this: technology is here to stay, and every new year the concrete is gonna creep closer to the trail.

Maybe not to relevant to the original post, but he isn't saying anything back, so I went on my rant.

I agree with most of this, except for me (and my friends will attest to this), gold and rainbows pour out of my butt.

I'm not particularly offended by others having whatever technology they choose to carry on the trail. I do find it kind of tragic that so many feel they need it on the trail. Then again, I feel that way about the regular world too, where many can't imagine what their daily lives would be like without a cell phone, even though they themselves lived without one a few years ago.

I'd be interested to know how many Kindles get sent home from the trail this year, either broken or unused, or because the owner realizes they could just go a little lighter and more low tech with a book.

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 14:18
Forgot to post there that I promise to use a bow drill.

Two Speed
02-09-2010, 14:22
Note to self: if I see Jester any where near my tarp with a bow drill go ahead and bean him with my Trangia.

OK, I'm good. :)

JustaTouron
02-09-2010, 14:26
Do this many people really get out on the trail with "I want to get away from technology" at the top of their Why to Hike list? .

I am not anti-technology, I am anti-annoying technology.

You want to lug a netbook or text on your cell phone -- I am cool with that. You having a half hour conversation on your cell phone around others -- I am not cool with that.

You want to bring an ipod or even a TV with headphones, I am cool with that. You bring a radio with speakers and playing so I can't hear nature -- I am not cool with that.

Blue Jay
02-09-2010, 15:03
I am not anti-technology, I am anti-annoying technology.

You want to lug a netbook or text on your cell phone -- I am cool with that. You having a half hour conversation on your cell phone around others -- I am not cool with that.

You want to bring an ipod or even a TV with headphones, I am cool with that. You bring a radio with speakers and playing so I can't hear nature -- I am not cool with that.

I'm afraid we're going to have to get used to it. Stoping idiots with technology (celbots) anymore is like building a sand castle and expecting the tide to leave it alone. It is more and more rare there is not one or more celbots on every mountain top and every single public place. They are addicts, they simply cannot stop and there is nothing anyone can do about it. I am getting used to it and it bothers me less and less. Lucky for us, for the time being, there is still open space lacking designated celbots.

RGB
02-09-2010, 15:06
I agree with most of this, except for me (and my friends will attest to this), gold and rainbows pour out of my butt.

I'm not particularly offended by others having whatever technology they choose to carry on the trail. I do find it kind of tragic that so many feel they need it on the trail. Then again, I feel that way about the regular world too, where many can't imagine what their daily lives would be like without a cell phone, even though they themselves lived without one a few years ago.

I'd be interested to know how many Kindles get sent home from the trail this year, either broken or unused, or because the owner realizes they could just go a little lighter and more low tech with a book.

Hahahaha, Kindles...

RGB
02-09-2010, 15:08
If I see an iPad on my hike, I might have to say something.

DAJA
02-09-2010, 15:19
Reading through this thread has been interesting and has raised a question. It keeps being said that the point of hiking and the AT is to "go back to nature". This surely can't be true for everyone?

As an example, my home and the way I live day in day out would be considered "go back to nature". I live in a small rural community. My home is surounded by tree's and ocean (my closest neighbor is 4 kms away).. I see more wildlife in the average week than I see people. Yet on the other hand my home would be considered a "smart home" using a variety of techonolgy to make it both highly efficient and maintance free.. I litterally have a computer that runs my home to maximize efficency and maintain it while i'm away.. Yet none of this takes away from the splendid beauty that surounds my home, nor does it impact it in a harmful way. So my question is, why does "going back to nature and techonolgy have to be conflicting? Perhaps the issue is more of poor ettiquette with technology rather than poor technology.

Do you suppose there was a group of cave men back in the stone age who scorned the descovery and use of fire? Probably, but i'm guessing they either learned to addapt or simply disappeared from the gene pool.

I think like anything, people simply need to figure out how to use things to make life better while not taking away from what already made life great.

I think you can have the "back to nature" experience while utilizing peices of technology when used with a purpose and a little bit of respect for your suroundings.

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 15:19
You want to bring an ipod or even a TV with headphones, I am cool with that. You bring a radio with speakers and playing so I can't hear nature -- I am not cool with that.

But, but if I don't bring my boombox, the breakdancing isn't going to be nearly as impressive. And if that's the case, I might as well not bother with the big piece of cardboard either.

Which brings me to the problem of how I'll get my pack weight up to an acceptable level.

JustaTouron has hit the right note, though, I think. You can bring technology (if you must) without it being invasive. The problem comes from both sides, though -- people who scream bloody murder at the mere sight of a cell phone, and the people who don't understand why I should be bothered by having it shoved in my face.

Can't we all just be (Facebook) friends?

ChinMusic
02-09-2010, 15:20
If I see an iPad on my hike, I might have to say something.
So much for HYOH.......

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 15:22
So much for HYOH.......

Well, you don't know what he's planning to say. Maybe he's going to say, "that's a pretty ridiculous name for that, huh?"

prain4u
02-09-2010, 15:42
I am not anti-technology, I am anti-annoying technology.

You want to lug a netbook or text on your cell phone -- I am cool with that. You having a half hour conversation on your cell phone around others -- I am not cool with that.

You want to bring an ipod or even a TV with headphones, I am cool with that. You bring a radio with speakers and playing so I can't hear nature -- I am not cool with that.

I agree with you 100%. If people want to bring their electronic gadgets out in the woods--let them. However, the rest of us should not have to be subjected to the lights and noises which are emitted by their gadgets.

The gadget person's right to "swing their fist" stops at my face.

I am a Christian pastor. If I want to pray out loud, lead a worship service, or sing hymns near the trail--many people who post on WhiteBlaze would argue that I should do such things far away from the shelters and away from places where people can hear or see my religious activities. I have very little problem with that.

However, I feel the same way about other people's electronic gadgets. Go ahead and use them. However, please be courteous and take your gadgets far away from the areas where the rest of us are eating, sleeping and relaxing.

ChinMusic
02-09-2010, 15:48
I'd be interested to know how many Kindles get sent home from the trail this year, either broken or unused, or because the owner realizes they could just go a little lighter and more low tech with a book.
Audio books is where its at.......

jesse
02-09-2010, 15:59
Kinda funny. Using the Internet to argue against technology.

RGB
02-09-2010, 16:06
Well, you don't know what he's planning to say. Maybe he's going to say, "that's a pretty ridiculous name for that, huh?"

Most likely, "Woah! That's a big iPhone."

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 16:13
Kinda funny. Using the Internet to argue against technology.

Well, kind of. It would be funnier if we were all on the trail right now, posting using laptops. Or if anyone were actually arguing against technology rather than what is being discussed, which is technology on the trail.

Prain4u had a post on another thread which I think applies here as well:


Today, so many people are concerned about their own "rights". Perhaps we should be more concerned about our "responsibilities"--especially our responsibilities toward our fellow hikers. When possible, our personal "rights" should be willingly, AND VOLUNTARILY, yielded whenever exercising our rights will significantly diminish someone else's hiking experience. We should do this--not because we "have" to--but because we respect our fellow hikers and because we respect their right to have a good experience on the AT. The AT is not my (or your) personal trail. Therefore, we need to learn to share it.

Remember, "Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose!"

I would posit as well that part of that sharing (if you're camping/sharing a shelter with people during thru-hiker season) is actually interacting with people around you instead of text messaging people far away. I would hate to see the AT turn into what has become the experience for many a child today -- separated from others rather than connected by technology, isolated in a room playing games instead of outside with others.

How will I get to know all about you in a shelter if you isolate yourself with technology? How will we become lifelong friends? I'm greedy and selfish that way. I need the sharing. I can't do it if you're all plugged in.

ChinMusic
02-09-2010, 16:14
Most likely, "Woah! That's a big iPhone."
It's marketed so that us older folks don't have to get out our reading glasses.....:D

Rockhound
02-09-2010, 16:15
3 walls, a floor and a roof. Throw in a privy and that's all that is needed, Some would say even that is too much.

Two Speed
02-09-2010, 16:16
Well, a couple of mice does add that finishing touch.

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 16:23
3 walls, a floor and a roof. Throw in a privy and that's all that is needed, Some would say even that is too much.

There's been a pretty vocal call for fewer shelters, but life-sized cardboard cutouts of me in all of the ones that do exist.

I can see the idea behind it, because obviously I can't be in all of the shelters at once.

But I'm not sure how I feel about it. It might be disappointing to people who think I'm at a shelter, only to find that it's not actually me. On the other hand it might scare the mice and terrify children, so there's that.

Hard to say.

Rockhound
02-09-2010, 16:26
cardboard makes good fire starter

JustaTouron
02-09-2010, 16:30
I would posit as well that part of that sharing (if you're camping/sharing a shelter with people during thru-hiker season) is actually interacting with people around you instead of text messaging people far away. I would hate to see the AT turn into what has become the experience for many a child today -- separated from others rather than connected by technology, isolated in a room playing games instead of outside with others.

How will I get to know all about you in a shelter if you isolate yourself with technology? How will we become lifelong friends? I'm greedy and selfish that way. I need the sharing. I can't do it if you're all plugged in.

I disagree.

Or are you that annoying guy that wants to talk non-stop on the 8 hour flight?

If someone want to read a book, text, listen to an ipod, write in their journal or just zone out, be it with technology or without instead of getting to know you and become their friend you should respect their right to be left alone.

KnittingMelissa
02-09-2010, 16:50
If I see an iPad on my hike, I might have to say something.

If I see someone with an iPad on the Trail I'll probably fall off a mountain laughing so hard. And then have my ghost request someone bean the person to death with the dagnabit thing!

That said, I suddenly realized what loud piece of technology I'm bringing with me on my trek next year: my flashlight. I have a hand crank flashlight that doesn't require batteries, and I love it to death. Not needing batteries cuts down on weight, and it's environmentally friendly as there are no used up batteries to dispose of, and it never dies because I just hand crank it and it's fine!

It is a little bit loud if I crank it really fast and hard, though. But I'm pretty sure that any other hikers would let me be on that one, it's just a flashlight, not a noise maker. :rolleyes:

Slo-go'en
02-09-2010, 16:51
Lets say somehow it would be possible to provide an internet connection and terminal at shelters. Then there could be a web cam so friends, family and stalkers could see if you got there ok and what your doing. Weather and news. On line shelter register. Daily WB/trailjournals updates. Movies on demand. Music downloads. Humm, it could get interesting. At a busy shelter, could be up half the night waiting for on line time.

Jester2000
02-09-2010, 16:59
I disagree.

Or are you that annoying guy that wants to talk non-stop on the 8 hour flight?

If someone want to read a book, text, listen to an ipod, write in their journal or just zone out, be it with technology or without instead of getting to know you and become their friend you should respect their right to be left alone.

Well, I am an annoying guy, but for completely different reasons.

I'm certainly not suggesting that I would ever interrupt anyone's personal time, or their need to zone out, or their desire to listen to music or journal. I too need time to myself, to do my own thing.

But what I am saying is that I know many, many people who went out to hike thinking that the part of the hike they would enjoy least would be the company of others, who eventually realized that one of the things they liked best about thru-hiking was the sense of community, the friendships made, and, at the very least, the feeling of shared suffering that bound people together and sometimes helped them stay on the trail.

And what I lament is that there are people who will never even have the opportunity to experience that, when it was right there for them if only they for a moment connected not with people far away, but people within speaking distance.

But in practical terms, I'm not going to foist myself on others, even though, to be perfectly honest, I'm really pretty amazing.

Blue Jay
02-10-2010, 12:56
There's been a pretty vocal call for fewer shelters, but life-sized cardboard cutouts of me in all of the ones that do exist.

I like this idea however please reinforce the neck area as the last one I saw the head had already come off.

Blue Jay
02-10-2010, 13:00
I disagree.

Or are you that annoying guy that wants to talk non-stop on the 8 hour flight?

If someone want to read a book, text, listen to an ipod, write in their journal or just zone out, be it with technology or without instead of getting to know you and become their friend you should respect their right to be left alone.

No I am that annoying guy. We are hired by airlines to force you tech guys to actually have a direct experiece since you rarely leave your parent's basement and we have no other opportunity.

Jester2000
02-10-2010, 13:34
I like this idea however please reinforce the neck area as the last one I saw the head had already come off.

Last time I saw one of them (there's more than one) it had its legs broken. Billville is apparently rough on foamboard.


No I am that annoying guy. We are hired by airlines to force you tech guys to actually have a direct experiece since you rarely leave your parent's basement and we have no other opportunity.

Haha! JustaTouron does have a point, though. Sharing a space well sometimes demands leaving people alone. Which I'm cool with. But I'll never forget that night in Georgia, when we were all laying there in the dark, none of us able to sleep because it was 6:30 pm and our bodies hadn't gotten used to going to sleep when it got dark (no electricity?!? What?!?). And we all took turns telling jokes in the dark.

Finally, we quieted down, and people were starting to drift off. And then one of the women in the shelter sang "Baby Got Back" the entire way through. We laughed for a good half hour before falling asleep.

toenail
02-10-2010, 14:43
I think a cheap, lightweight solar charger that could hang on your backpack, cardash, beach blanket, shelter, ect, ect, that can boost the charge on my cell phone, mp3, i phone, netbook, ect. That is something I would find useful. Design, engineer,patent, manufacture that and I will buy it from you, your buddy, your associate,your business ,ect.,ect.

Jester2000
02-10-2010, 14:58
I think a cheap, lightweight solar charger that could hang on your backpack, cardash, beach blanket, shelter, ect, ect, that can boost the charge on my cell phone, mp3, i phone, netbook, ect. That is something I would find useful. Design, engineer,patent, manufacture that and I will buy it from you, your buddy, your associate,your business ,ect.,ect.

Already exists. Many, many Solios on the PCT in 2008.

skinny minnie
02-10-2010, 15:06
I think Appalachian Tater actually had some extremely helpful comments and basically I second much of what he said.

In an ideal world a shelter would be clean and critter free and privies would be sanitary and well designed. But at the same time... that seems almost too sanitized and controlled. We live in a world that can be very sterile and homogenized, contained, controlled and designed for convenience... and I think for many of us the appeal of nature is that often, it can be the complete opposite of that.

That being said, I think anything that minimizes impact would be great. A way to reuse dirty water or lessen the impact of privies. Also one really simple wish would be better hook/hanging options for hanging up wet gear!

People hit the nail on the head when they said that the shelter register is the social network. I would shoot myself if there was technology that enabled people to be more dependent on the internet in shelters. However... hypothetically, I think it would be cool to know the weather forecast (and it could forestall some hikers from making a potentially life threatening decision in terms of hiking in inclement weather) but at the same time I think that many people would be opposed to technology in any form installed in traditional shelters. (Despite the vast majority having access to information about weather via their phones, anyway. At least, when there is cell service.) I wonder if the thru-hiker who got struck by lightning this past season had access to the weather report that day?

toenail
02-10-2010, 15:09
Already exists. Many, many Solios on the PCT in 2008.


:bananaAwesome! I'm going off the grid. BTW,I want to personally wish you good luck, good health, on your thru-hike. My wife and I will be section

hiking near Roanoke in late May, I think you'll be past there.

toenail
02-10-2010, 15:11
Woops, thought you were shelter leopard!

Jester2000
02-10-2010, 15:31
Woops, thought you were shelter leopard!

Haha! Well, I'll take the good wishes anyway, though I'll not be thru-hiking . . . this year, anyhow.

LimpsAlong
02-10-2010, 16:27
Kinda funny. Using the Internet to argue against technology.

It is irony. Irony we won't have to worry about in a few years when some third world power finally gets the ability to detonate an EMP device or two over the US. That'll fix those dang "Smart Shelters"!

ShelterLeopard
02-11-2010, 11:06
It is a little bit loud if I crank it really fast and hard, though. But I'm pretty sure that any other hikers would let me be on that one, it's just a flashlight, not a noise maker. :rolleyes:

Ugh- but, that's why I carry earplugs!


Woops, thought you were shelter leopard!

You confused me with Jester? I'm insulted. :D