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  1. #1
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    Default Thru W/Out Phone?

    I would like to thru-hike without my phone. I just like the freedom, plus don't want the extra pounds, and don't feel like worrying about keeping it dry and charged throughout my hike.
    I understand this course of action would mean a lot of hitch-hiking into town instead of calling a shuttle, but would that really be that bad?
    And is there any serious safety argument saying I should bring my phone?
    Is anyone else considering going phone-free?

  2. #2
    Section Hiker
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    People have been traveling by foot for thousands of years without cell phones. I personally wouldn't do it in this day and age without one (safety reasons), but surely it's not impossible. If you, or your family (I see you're 18), want you to have something for an emergency, grab a cheap TracPhone or something and stick it in your dry bag, just in case. Happy trails!


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
    "


  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ronen.schatsky View Post
    I would like to thru-hike without my phone. I just like the freedom, plus don't want the extra pounds, and don't feel like worrying about keeping it dry and charged throughout my hike.
    I understand this course of action would mean a lot of hitch-hiking into town instead of calling a shuttle, but would that really be that bad?
    And is there any serious safety argument saying I should bring my phone?
    Is anyone else considering going phone-free?
    I've gone for years at home with a flip phone, that isn't even charged half the time. I'm not particularly into the prevalent phone culture.

    I can't think of a huge safety concern. If you have a medical emergency, other hikers (most?) will be happy to help you make a call. They might not be so happy if you're constantly asking them for help with mundane web searches like weather forecasts/nearby restaurants/lodging/outfitters/etc.

    That said, I ended up going the opposite direction and got a used Iphone 4 from a family member, and signed up for the month to month Verizon plan with minimal data. I still may not turn it on more than once a week, but I don't want to have to rely on other people if I need to order some replacement gear online, or want to see if that hostel I'm hitchhiking to actually has a vacancy on a rainy day.

    They extra weight isn't a big deal, and you can always choose not to turn it on.

  4. #4

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    When I did my thru attempt in 2002 I made it 850 miles and only saw 2 cell phones. In those days almost nobody had one. Seems to me folks that do it today lose a lot of the adventure of the hike by having all of the logistical support that a cell phone provides...seems not much is left to chance when you can call for a ride from the top of a mountain a couple miles before you get to the next road and spend your days text messaging back and forth between your friends...used to be the only means of communication were the shelter registers and the grape vine, and believe it or not those were amazingly fast and reliable means of communication. I think there is something people miss by having phones with them all the time.

  5. #5
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    Default

    It used to be normal to hike without one, but as cellphones have become commonplace, payphones have all but disappeared and this can make hiking without a cellphone a logistical hassle. Would I consider it major safety issue? Probably not.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  6. #6

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    Refreshing attitude! Go for it. I love it when people put freedom first, especially when hiking.

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. -Franklin

    If you need a phone, others have them and generally are willing to share...

  7. #7
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    On the plus side. My son carried a cheapie candy bar phone on his thru in 2011. I was amazed at how often he could call and check in, even on ATT. I was also able to check weather conditions etc. for him. Made re-supply a little easier as well. AND you could be a sport and let other hikers that decided NOT to carry a phone, make calls on YOUR phone...

  8. #8
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ronen.schatsky View Post
    I would like to thru-hike without my phone. I just like the freedom, plus don't want the extra pounds, and don't feel like worrying about keeping it dry and charged throughout my hike.
    I understand this course of action would mean a lot of hitch-hiking into town instead of calling a shuttle, but would that really be that bad?
    And is there any serious safety argument saying I should bring my phone?
    Is anyone else considering going phone-free?
    to White Blaze!

    Please post a picture of your cell phone that weighs "pounds." Is your phone from the 80s & 90s? Thankfully, they make 'em a lot lighter these days!

    Most people carry phones out of convenience, rather than safety. Some places are easier to catch a hitch than others - During a rain storm is not the time to be caught without a phone, without others who have a phone, and lack of ride to town. While it (hopefully) wouldn't be the end of the world, that is one time a phone would come in quite handy...if you have cell reception.

    A cheap Trac Phone can be charged, turned off, and then stowed in a Ziploc at the bottom of your pack. Only a few ounces. Might also come in handy if you start hiking with a group of people and then want to reconnect along the trail. Many will send messages to get locations and figure out the logistics of meeting back up.

    It is absolutely your call (pun intended!) and I hope you have a wonderful hike.

  9. #9
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    Hike without a cell phone? Why, when I was a boy we took chances. We used to walk clear around the block without a bottle of Evian in our hands - thought nothing of it. Of course the roadsides were piled with the bones of those who died of thirst.
    "It goes to show you never can tell." - Charles Edward Anderson Berry

  10. #10

    Default

    A super cheap flip phone or candy bar phone holds a charge forever, costs next to nothing, and weights an ounce or two. You don't have to carry one, but for the cost, weight, and size it's an awfully powerful part of a first aid kit. Which you also don't have to carry. But literally, you could stuff a cheap phone in your first aid kit. Turn it off, leave it in there.

  11. #11
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    I will be carrying an old, extremely basic (no camera, no MMS support, no web, 1 inch screen) phone "just in case", but it will stay packed away and turned completely off unless I really need it. It is a prepaid deal and has very limited minutes but is usable for the next year without any additional payment. I have no desire to call any shuttle, etc. for convenience. I will be taking an iPod Touch and a bluetooth GPS receiver as well, but the GPS receiver will likewise only ever get turned on in an emergency, and the iPod will just be used for reference materials and taking pictures. As both the GPS receiver and cell phone are simple dedicated devices, their batteries last a very long time and I do not expect to have to recharge either during the entire thru hike, although I will have the ability to since I am carrying a backup battery and small solar panel for the sake of the iPod and headlamp batteries that can charge the other devices if need be. I will not be carrying headphones. I have no desire to pollute my nature walk with technology, nor drown out the sounds of nature with music. The GPS receiver and cell phone are extra weight and something I am pretty much just taking because it makes me feel a little safer and because I am hiking with my wife and son. Were I going it alone I probably wouldn't bother.

  12. #12
    Registered User Cotton Terry's Avatar
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    I'll be taking my iPhone with me because it's more than a phone. I'll use it to post journal and blog entries, navigate (Guthook AT Hiker app with GPS), listen to tunes, Check in with family ("I'm OK"), and take pictures/video (128GB memory). With a LifeProof case, I don't have to worry much about the weather or dropping it.

    That said, I can see the attraction for no phone. But, I would at least want to carry a camera, which would likely weigh as much, or more, than the phone and my wife will appreciate the regular check-ins.

  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ronen.schatsky View Post
    I would like to thru-hike without my phone. I just like the freedom, plus don't want the extra pounds, and don't feel like worrying about keeping it dry and charged throughout my hike.
    I understand this course of action would mean a lot of hitch-hiking into town instead of calling a shuttle, but would that really be that bad?
    And is there any serious safety argument saying I should bring my phone?
    Is anyone else considering going phone-free?
    i did 5 thru-hikes plus 6000 other miles with no phone. but at least there were pay phones in towns

  14. #14

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    I'm not all that familiar with the relatively new procedures to get a permit for thru-hiking GSMNP, but I do recall a lot of people mentioning using their phones while on the trail to get a reservation and make payments.

    Maybe someone else can address the procedures for setting up a thru-hike of GSMNP without a personal phone...

  15. #15
    imscotty's Avatar
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    Ronan,

    Go for it. I think you will find the positives will outweigh the negatives. I do not own a phone, and although I sometimes wish I had one, sometimes ask someone else to make a call for me, and do rely on email to keep in touch with my family, most of the time I am just glad not to be tied to those things. There is a lot to be said for living in the here and now. Sometimes I feel like the last free man on Earth.

    Cell Phone free and loving it,
    Scott

  16. #16

    Default

    I am using my phone so I can have the maps downloaded to it. I am also going to send my wife text msg

  17. #17
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by slbirdnerd View Post
    People have been traveling by foot for thousands of years without cell phones. I personally wouldn't do it in this day and age without one (safety reasons), but surely it's not impossible. If you, or your family (I see you're 18), want you to have something for an emergency, grab a cheap TracPhone or something and stick it in your dry bag, just in case. Happy trails!

    so what about "this day and age" makes something that people have been doing fopr thousand of years unsafe, exactly?

    i dont own a cell phone at all (true story). ive never found it unsafe. every once in awhile ill take a burner on a hike with me for some specific logistic purpose that would otherwise be too big a hassle.

  18. #18
    Registered User michael rowlands's Avatar
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    I hiked the trail in 1981, no phones. In 2004- 2006 I did it again and wondered how things had changed. Many phones this time but I carried no phone on either trip. It would be easy to go without one. Emergency situations everyone else would let you use one. I used a loaded phone card in towns. I love hitching and only used cabs about 2 to 3 time total on both through hikes. Rowmin Goat.

  19. #19
    Garlic
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    I go hiking to get away from the freakin' phone.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  20. #20

    Default

    I love my litle hand held computer that also makes phone calls, nessasary? Nope, good thing to have along? For me it is (and to jack water rats post, which rings true, pun intended) it's your call.

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