View Full Version : cell service on the trail

09-25-2012, 16:58
My sister and I are planning on through hiking the trail this coming march. We were curious as to what cell service has been most reliable while on the trail.

09-25-2012, 17:13

09-25-2012, 18:38
At&T has little to no reception in the south...Verizon is best...which pains me to say since I hate Verizon.

09-25-2012, 20:17
Verizon works best. Regular phone calls from shelters at the end of the day is very frustrating because of lack of any signal. None of the guides list which shelters get a good signal. I went to a daily text msg. I type it out in the shelter then save it. When I get to a ridge line or mt top I turn the power on the phone and it gets sent. You must turn the power off after each use or it will go dead in a day. I can make a battery last a week this way. Carry a charger.

Sandy of PA
09-25-2012, 20:52
I use a Tracphone for hiking. Cheap, got good reception from most mountain tops, no huge loss if it got damaged. Tested from Damascus, VA to High Point, NJ.

rusty bumper
09-25-2012, 20:57
Verizon for sure. I was able to call or text almost every day on my end-to-end hike. I often had to wait until I got up high enough, but that was OK. I turned my phone on only when I was attempting a call/text. I wrote my journal every evening on my phone in "Offline" mode and then emailed it to my wife whenever I had a signal...usually the next morning when I was up high enough. The only area where I went without a signal for any length of time was in the northernmost part of the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine.

09-25-2012, 20:57
I had great reception with AT&T in northern Virginia and Maryland. Can't speak for anywhere else. Get a Duracell Pocket Charger or similar and you can recharge using AA batteries.

09-26-2012, 00:20
One more vote for Verizon. Only dead spots were in central Virginia. Other than that I had coverage almost everywhere.

09-26-2012, 08:26
Verizon has plenty of dead spots in Maine, but so do other carriers. You can usually find a spot on a summit but when you are in the woods or in valleys forget it.

09-26-2012, 09:01
I use a Tracphone for hiking. Cheap, got good reception from most mountain tops, no huge loss if it got damaged. Tested from Damascus, VA to High Point, NJ.

There are At&t versions of Tracphone and Verizon versions of Tracphone. If you are going to use Tracphone then a little research goes a long way in getting better reception in the woods. Of course since they are all old phones they are not trying to squeeze an antenna in as an afterthought so an At&t networked Tracphone probably gets as good of reception as a Verizon smartphone.

09-29-2012, 11:21
I used Verizon and had better service down South and middle states than in the North East. Almost always had some service (text capability if not phone) when at a higher elevation.

09-30-2012, 01:27
In 2011 I used a Virgin Mobile (Sprint Towers) and had good reception until Virginia. Used Skype when WiFi was available and many times I was able to make calls via Skype while Verizon users had no service. Advantage of Virgin Mobile was I had a smartphone but only cost $25/mo. From WV had excellent service till Vermont. Mostly no service except in towns after that but Verizon didn't fare to well either. Every McDonald's and many other locations had WiFi.

10-24-2012, 13:12
Has anyone taken a Sprint onto the AT? How is the signal?

10-24-2012, 21:12
Verizon for the most part, though I can tell you for a fact it does not work in MD! I also had an issue on the Long Trail in VT.

10-24-2012, 21:22
i went with an old dumb phone that i had from AT&T. worked fine from GA-ME on all the higher elevations and in town. I seen alot of smartphones out there that were not working or had sketchy reception. but then again, i did not feel the need to update my wife and kids every few hours either. I usually made a call every 2-3 days and never had any issues. most of my calling was done in towns because when i was on the trail that was my time. but i did loan my phone to alot of people that did not have service.