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  1. #1
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    Default A Question About Hiking Shelters

    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

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    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.

  3. #3
    Captain Caveman paradoxb3's Avatar
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    What would you recommend to improve traditional hiking shelters?
    Tell'em Wolf... LOL
    "...Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation." -Blind Seer, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    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.

  5. #5

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    It's only a matter of time. I blame "trail magic".

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    .....How do you feel about bringing a social networking environment into the hiking world via "Smart Shelters"?
    ......
    Thank You
    Quote Originally Posted by gruntledpainter View Post
    .....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.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by paradoxb3 View Post
    Tell'em Wolf... LOL
    i ain't gonna go there

  8. #8

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    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.
    Drab as a Fool, as aloof as a Bard!

    http://www.wizardsofthepct.com

  9. #9

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    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.
    Love people and use things; never the reverse.

    Mt. Katahdin would be a lot quicker to climb if its darn access trail didn't start all the way down in Georgia.

  10. #10

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    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'.
    www.postholer.com/Turtle Feet
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    Life is an adventure or nothing at all ~ Hellen Keller

  11. #11
    Captain Caveman paradoxb3's Avatar
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    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?
    "...Though the road may wind, yea, your hearts grow weary, still shall ye follow them, even unto your salvation." -Blind Seer, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

  12. #12
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    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 .
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnybgood View Post
    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?

  14. #14
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Every shelter should have a resident cat and black snake.

  15. #15
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    No ! Not on the trail.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnybgood View Post
    No ! Not on the trail.
    good man. i don't even own one

  17. #17

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    ***? This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

  18. #18
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    I wrote the initial version of this essay almost two years ago:
    http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.ph...nectivity.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.
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

  19. #19
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    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.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  20. #20

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    Down pillow and satin sheets. But I want a piece of chocolate on my pillow or no deal.

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