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Zachsdad
04-07-2011, 21:51
Can anybody give me an update on the current use of communication technology on the trail? Nine or ten years ago the Pocketmail was popular. Cell phones were out there but not widely used. More recently I've heard about the Peek email device, but understand there were problems with it. Any and all comments welcome. Thanks!

Montana Mac
04-07-2011, 21:58
Blackberry Storm - Verizon Wireless.

Good coverage in most locations

The Cleaner
04-07-2011, 23:33
Shelter to shelter....just speak into one of the cans hanging on a piece of cord and wait for reply from nearest shelter...:D

SassyWindsor
04-08-2011, 00:29
Verizon Text messaging has excellent service, for some reason better than the actual voice service, which I hear is still better than the others along the AT.

88BlueGT
04-08-2011, 13:14
I wouldn't use a BlackBerry Storm if you gave it to me. sorry montana mac.

Now, get yourself an iPhone and you'll be in good shape :D

Miner
04-08-2011, 13:25
Most hikers use some sort of smartphone, blackberry, iphone since they allow you to send/receive emails, text messges and make calls. Iphone do work but as they lack the ability to change the battery, the other phone types are better in my opinion. That said, iphone users have managed to beg enough businesses in towns along the way to plug them in to keep them charged (less an issue on the AT, but a bigger issue on the PCT). No matter what phone you carry, power it off when not using it to save your batteries.

I know some who use the Peak device and they do like it. They last a long time on a single charge compared to other phones but the lack of being able to call from them to hook up with other hikers in town is a big negative to me. And Verizon does seem to have the best coverage in the sticks on all the big trails. The best option though is to hike with others who all have a different cell provider so at least someone will have coverage.

88BlueGT
04-08-2011, 13:56
Most hikers use some sort of smartphone, blackberry, iphone since they allow you to send/receive emails, text messges and make calls. Iphone do work but as they lack the ability to change the battery, the other phone types are better in my opinion. That said, iphone users have managed to beg enough businesses in towns along the way to plug them in to keep them charged (less an issue on the AT, but a bigger issue on the PCT). No matter what phone you carry, power it off when not using it to save your batteries.


Valid point.

jeremiah j
04-09-2011, 00:53
Why do u need all that stuff while hiking ? Maybe u should just stay home and play with the "communication technology".

Pony
04-09-2011, 01:24
I use a tracfone, which is only turned on in town. The whole reason I go into the woods is to get away from things.

Mountain Mike
04-09-2011, 01:29
I'd rather hear a bear attack my food bag at night than a phone ring on the trail!

TheKO
04-09-2011, 10:25
What are the bears using?

Miner
04-09-2011, 23:15
Why have a phone?
-Easy to connect up with trail friends in town, find the cheapest hotel & eats before you arrive, etc.
-Allows you to call for ride at trailheads. Makes it easy to coordinate packages sent from home.
-Makes it easy to type up a daily journal at night on the trail.

Is a cell phone necessary? Of course not. But it does make things easier. Most hikers I met on the PCT had them but it was rare to see someone actually using it on the trail so fears of it ringing all the time is overblown since its normally turned off to save the batteries.

10-K
04-10-2011, 06:52
I often wonder if members of the anti-cell phone crowd would decline using a phone on principle if they were injured and needed help in a bad way.

Derek81pci
04-10-2011, 07:38
I'll be taking my Motorola Adventure for sure (Verizons military grade so-called indestructible / waterproof phone). I dont plan on texting or checking my email, but you'd be a fool to not have one in case of emergency.

WingedMonkey
04-10-2011, 12:45
I don't go into the woods without a cell phone. No one would ever know I have it, no one would ever hear it ring no one would ever hear my conversations. I have used 911 twice to report fires and even once to call Game Commission to report gator poaching. If I have to call to make pick up arrangements or change travel plans or let someone know I am in town, it's my business and I don't need to be heard. And don't ask me to borrow it unless you need 911, I don't keep it charged for someone else to call or text the girlfriend cause they miss them.

:D

Cosmo
04-10-2011, 13:03
I too was in the "you'll never see me with a cell phone on the trail" camp. But I'm not now. Two things helped me change my mind.

1. Finding out and arranging off-Trail services in advance is really helpful for a section hiker seeking to spend as little time in town as possible.
2. I'm out for day hikes/trail maintenance pretty much every week in season. The phone lets me call the spouse and let her know I'm running later than planned.

These two things alone have saved me a lot of time and marital acrimony. I've also had to make one emergency services call (not for myself).

Texting capability is really handy in marginal reception areas (and when you don't really want to have a conversation). It takes a lot less bandwith to send texts than it does live voice.

I'd be interested in hearing how the Motorola Adventurer stands up to the Trail. I've gotten a small hardshell waterproof case to protect my phone after some unfortunate experiences with electronics and zip lock bags.

Cosmo

bigcranky
04-10-2011, 13:06
I often wonder if members of the anti-cell phone crowd would decline using a phone on principle if they were injured and needed help in a bad way.

Eh. When I break my leg, there is a 99% chance it'll be in one of the many places in the mountains with no cell coverage. Even if it worked, what are you going to tell the 911 operator three counties away?

Bucketfoot
04-10-2011, 13:32
I carry a cell phone on the trail but unless I am calling loved ones to let them know I am alright or there is an emergency It is definitely turned off. Being in a shelter and listening to people yack half the night away on there cell phones is not a great trail experience to me. One of the reasons I like to tent camp I guess.

Turkhevn
04-10-2011, 22:02
I use a tracfone, which is only turned on in town. The whole reason I go into the woods is to get away from things.

Thanks Pony. I use a Tracfone, too. Somebody, a backberry or i-phone user, once said my Tracfone-Motorola was a Quasimodo, but if it gets the job done, so be it. I'm glad to know that it can be used on the A.T. Some hostels, B & Bs, and motels want a telephone call a week in advance to make a reservation, and 2,180 miles of thru-hike fantasy plan does require some practical research so that maybe a thru-hike plan just might actually succeed. I hope occasionally I can find a bunk or bed along the way, and if my Tracfone helps make that happen, then amen! Yours truly, Periwinkle ;)

ChinMusic
04-11-2011, 00:04
Iphone do work but as they lack the ability to change the battery, the other phone types are better in my opinion. That said, iphone users have managed to beg enough businesses in towns along the way to plug them in to keep them charged (less an issue on the AT, but a bigger issue on the PCT).
You can't "change" the battery but you can certainly recharge it on the fly. I can recharge my iPhone with AA batteries if I need to.

You can Google "iPhone AA battery charger" and find lots of links. The one I have works perfectly, so I can use the iPhone as much as I want as long as I have the AAs to charge it. I usu don't use my iPhone enough to need it but it's a nice backup to have. I can look up the exact product I have if anyone is interested.

So, bottom line: The iPhone can be charged in the field with simple AA batteries.

Right now my plans for my thru are Verizon iPhone.

88BlueGT
04-11-2011, 15:04
AGREED, there is a thousand uses for a cell phone on trail. Don't get me wrong, I agree with everyone about USING them on the trail, there is a difference. Your phone can also double as your GPS, your camera, your phone, your trail journal, use it for phone calls (business and pleasure, when noones around of coarse), etc. etc etc. I always bring my phone with me, it stays off and in my bag. If there is an emergency, I would feel like a complete tart for not having it with me because I wanted to 'maintain trail peace' or save 4oz. HYOH, thats all I have to say. Be respectful if you use them and for all of those who don't bring them, don't ask me for mine when you want to call the gear store to see what time they close, or call that little burger place 2 miles into town to see if you can make it in time for a hot juicy burger :)

renais
04-23-2011, 10:01
I've tried a couple of AA battery rechargers for phones and have been sorely disappointed with them. Since there are quite a few out there, I am interested in hearing which ones folks have tried that have worked well.

Wise Old Owl
04-23-2011, 10:43
I'd rather hear a bear attack my food bag at night than a phone ring on the trail!

Change your ring tone to the sound of Crickets.

Wise Old Owl
04-23-2011, 10:46
I've tried a couple of AA battery rechargers for phones and have been sorely disappointed with them. Since there are quite a few out there, I am interested in hearing which ones folks have tried that have worked well.

The phones generally charge at 4.5 to 5 volts, I haven't played with smart phones but most of them are in the 5 volt range. The whole idea of a AA battery carge was to get you back up to the point of a emergency phone call and that was it. - They were NEVER intended to get you fully charged.

LDog
04-23-2011, 11:01
I've tried a couple of AA battery rechargers for phones and have been sorely disappointed with them. Since there are quite a few out there, I am interested in hearing which ones folks have tried that have worked well.

Haven't used it, but the Brunton Inspire Portable Power Device seems promising. Charge it in town and it allegedly stores enough power to recharge a smart phone 3x. Weighs 5.5 ozs

http://www.rei.com/zoom/ll/1eb496f1-d821-4815-bd77-722d92082ee4.jpg/440

http://www.rei.com/product/800240/brunton-inspire-portable-power-device

Papa D
04-23-2011, 11:39
I really don't like hearing folks making phone calls from the shelters - I also don't approve of all-out reliance on them - people who expect me or others to call-in or text them of my every move - it really detracts from the experience. That said, I do carry my i-phone on most long journeys - I keep it off, do not use it around others, do not "expect" service, and use it very sparingly - not to just "chat" for sure. I greatly prefer notes in shelter registers or at trail-heads - being able to call a hostel or a store or make some important communication is nice though - pretty new for me.

Kalell
05-07-2011, 23:56
My phone I just picked up was the HTC Inspire. Simply put the most of the apps are unneccessary but many of the apps really do help out on the trail. Check it out.
http://www.htc.com/us/products/inspire-att#

JaxHiker
05-09-2011, 14:17
Haven't used it, but the Brunton Inspire Portable Power Device seems promising. Charge it in town and it allegedly stores enough power to recharge a smart phone 3x. Weighs 5.5 ozs

http://www.rei.com/zoom/ll/1eb496f1-d821-4815-bd77-722d92082ee4.jpg/440

http://www.rei.com/product/800240/brunton-inspire-portable-power-device

Interesting. I picked up a Solio Rocksta for my hike last May and it only gave me about a 1/2 charge for the Blackberry I had at the time. I used the BB to get weather reports on the crap that was headed our way. Came in very handy.