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  1. #21

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    I think your biggest issue will be with signal service while on the AT. You can generate docs all day anywhere - sending them will be the trick. There is a signal dead zone from the Smoky Mountains to Shenandoah pretty much, then the rest of the way it's hit or miss - usually a miss unless you're standing in a village. Service at the shelters and in the tops: ZERO. My partners and I have even had problems with SPOT signals out there. (Frantic parents, and partners not getting their nightly ping from the kid in the woods, who is definitely x-mitting, come a'runnin!) If you're bringing your work with you, that'll be the tip of the iceberg in terms of your troubles. If you're planning to join the "bubble" then you'll be competing for resources with 20-30+ knuckleheads nightly all who want to plug in, and none of whom give a hoot in Hell about work. In fact, they find it odious. (They're mostly plugging in for their music.) You'll be entering a place where deadlines and attitudes like "I have to...for work!" are unobserved, not respected, and are met with not-so-quiet disdain. I think you'll find that you can quickly become the irksome outsider who brought your work on others vacations, while your trip is defined by an endless quest for power, privacy, and signal. Let's not forget it pretty much rains from the Kick Off until Trail Days - like 90 days of spring showers. And, you'll be surprised that sunshine in the "green tunnel" for charging isn't really happening either. Unless you are your own boss and you sell customized bicycle hats, then one of two outcomes are possible: either your job ruins your hike or, your hike ruins your job! I'm hoping you get to Mountain Crossings and mail your job home. You'll be able to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and everyone around you will too!

  2. #22
    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
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    I thru hiked the AT this summer and had service (Verizon) almost every day. You may have to hunt for a signal at times but many/most of the mountain tops had service. The South was much better than the North. Once we got to NH signal got less and less. Maine had very little outside of town but, quite frankly, we were in no shape to concentrate on much of anything but putting one step in front of the other at that point.

    Charging - I had a battery that would charge my phone three times. I didn't have any problem keeping my phone charged the whole way. My phone plus battery was about 18 ounces.

    Staying Dry - The battery was no problem keeping dry. It was only used in situations that were completely sheltered from rain and the humidity didn't seem to be a problem for it. I started out with a phone that wasn't waterproof (no waterproof cases available for it) and it crapped out half-way through. Not sure why but definitely seemed moisture related. I used it many times with damp or sweaty hands so that was the likely culprit. I wen't all out on a new phone and got a completely waterproof case. That phone lasted the rest of the way and had no problems with water. When the phone is wet, however, the touchscreen pretty much doesn't work. Your hands have to be dry and you need to be able to dry the screen completely to get it going again.

    I did see somebody on the trail who had a laptop with them. They were doing some sort of fundraising for a hiker attempting a FKT. Didn't feel the need to contribute so didn't talk to them much. I don't think there are many laptop options below three pounds. Keep in mind that the given weight for a laptop doesn't include the power brick or any accessories so you'll have to think about this as well.

    One last note: Before I hit the trail I thought that I would blog and do Spanish lessons on the trail. Ended up doing neither. Just couldn't concentrate on that stuff on the trail. Lots of folks did blog constantly but most did not. You might try a few practice trips to see if you can stay focused on work and RL when on the trail.

  3. #23
    Clueless Weekender
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Ah, you are obviously serious about getting back to nature...
    Ever since I first set foot on the AT about fifty years ago. I've brought a notebook and pencil on almost every hike. and write down impressions, field notes, route cards. lists of species observed, all sorts of stuff, really. It's just one of the things I do out there, and I've certainly seen many other hikers with notebooks, or sketch books, or similar ways of recording what might otherwise be ephemeral memories.

    Does writing or sketching while on the trail disconnect me from nature? Does it change in some fundamental way if I write or sketch on a small electronic device, rather than a piece of paper?

    The two don't feel that different to me. They're both ways of writing it all down. Moreover, I think I feel more connected with the nature around me, rather than less, when I'm observing actively and thinking about what to write, draw or record. Can anyone read my final trail journal entry from the Northville-Placid and tell me that making the notes for that essay, part in notebook and part on smartphone, disconnected me from what I was seeing or hearing (or indeed, tasting, smelling, feeling, and wallowing in)? Arrant nonsense! Writing down my impressions forces me to think about where I am. It anchors me in the place. I makes me see what I am looking at, experience what I am experiencing, take more home with me than, "12 miles today, wow, that was a wet trail."
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  4. #24
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    I used a plus-sized phone to do my blogging during my 45 days along the Bruce Trail in Ontario this past Spring. Http://brucetraillium.wordpress.com
    I carried two 10,000mA backup batteries, but I don't think I ever started using the second battery. I used the usual power-saving approaches. I also used the phone to take photos and to do some nightly texting with my wife and with friends. I also used a GPS app several times each day.
    I did my blogging after I slumped into my hammock. Sometimes I'd fall asleep in the middle of writing, but wake up a few hours later to finish.
    I had a few nights where I was without signal, almost always buried in valleys.
    A keyboard wouldn't have worked for me. I am sumwot adapt at thummin the virtuous keybored

  5. #25

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    I will be running a couple of businesses while I thru hike next year. No choice if I want to do it. I will be using a pad, pen, iPhone 6s and an iPad mini, along with an Anaker 10000 charger. So far, on my shakedown hikes, this setup has worked well for me.

  6. #26
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    I looked into a kindle for inputting text, not sure of I found what I needed, but I wanted to be able to make reports on the trail for a week. The long battery life was a plus, not sure if I found a keyboard for the basic model (the monochrome type), but the latter fire ones can take a bluetooth keyboard.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilgrimskywheel View Post
    I think your biggest issue will be with signal service while on the AT. You can generate docs all day anywhere - sending them will be the trick. There is a signal dead zone from the Smoky Mountains to Shenandoah pretty much, then the rest of the way it's hit or miss - usually a miss unless you're standing in a village. Service at the shelters and in the tops: ZERO.....

    I got cell service in the Smokies, I knew the spots and not all shelters had it, but many did if you knew where to stand, and when to pull out your phone while on trail (northern end is better than the southern end). Sometimes there would be notes in the shelter log as to where.

    I also got spotty cell service all throughout my AT thru, in that I could get a signal at several places in a day's hike. After a while you get a feel for where to try and come up with methods to make it not frustrating (such as seting a 10 minute timer, let it try, then turn off to reply for the next attempt.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    I got cell service in the Smokies, I knew the spots and not all shelters had it, but many did if you knew where to stand, and when to pull out your phone while on trail (northern end is better than the southern end). Sometimes there would be notes in the shelter log as to where.

    I also got spotty cell service all throughout my AT thru, in that I could get a signal at several places in a day's hike. After a while you get a feel for where to try and come up with methods to make it not frustrating (such as seting a 10 minute timer, let it try, then turn off to reply for the next attempt.
    It is important to distinguish between "getting cell service" and making sure you have the data service you need. As someone who must carry a computer on hikes, I can tell you that many times you have service but may not realize you aren't getting it from the cell carrier you signed up with. As an example, I carry Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon data plans at all times but realized they were roaming (on US Cellular) in Grayson Highlands and my data service had a very small fixed limit per month. After just a couple of hours I had used the roaming bandwidth allocation for the month. Sprint asked for $2,500 per month to get the same bandwidth while roaming, which is clearly insane. Buying US Cellular service was the only option in that area and I ended up carrying four data cards for a short time.

    So make sure you are aware of your bandwidth needs and exactly how much bandwidth you are buying when you are roaming on a network other than the one you signed up with. For people using cell phones this doesn't seem to present an issue.

  9. #29

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    Thanks for all the great responses. There's a lot of great information here and I appreciate it!

  10. #30
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    Look for 10" laptops. Many come with 10/12 hours of battery life and weigh around 2.5lbs. I have one I took on a short hike last spring just to try it out in the field. I hot spoted it with my Verizon phone when I could get a single. also brought one of those little lipstick looking recharges with, but did not need it.

    Don't stress, you will work something out.

    V8
    ______
    /l ,[____],
    l---L -OlllllllO-
    ()_) ()_)--o-)_)


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