Author Topic: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app  (Read 353 times)

pegleglolita

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« on: February 09, 2019, 09:59:27 AM »
*sort of

Soooo, I've recently been pining for a life without a smart phone tugging at my attention all the time from my pocket.  I love the idea of the new Nokia 8110 phone (the "banana" one, of course, because I have the sense of humor of a 9-year-old).  It does get Google maps, but of course very few other apps.  I use AllTrails quite a bit when hiking, and I'm wondering if I ditch my smartphone, what's the cheapest way to get GPS maps for hiking?  I have a small Garmin for the car...does anyone have experience getting hiking maps for car Garmins?

Just Joe

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2420
Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 11:06:50 AM »
Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS

That one is $350. There are other brands and other price points.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7851
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 11:14:32 AM »
Or, you could just get the new non-smart phone and keep any old smartphone unactivated, with no data plan.  The trail maps would still work just fine without a data connection, so it would be free.  Consider it like an ipod touch, smartphone functionality when on wifi, but no calling.

On the bright side, such a device would preserve the ability to call 911 in an emergency, because that always works even if your device isn't activated and has no plan.  On the down side, you might be tempted to download twitter or IG or whatever else you're trying to get away from.

These days, I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to think you can isolate yourself from technology just by trading in your smartphone for a dumbphone.  Are you also going to avoid tablets and laptops?  These devices also do all of the same things, though I think a tiny deactivated smartphone is the ideal device for hikers who want trail maps.

I also like the old LCD etrex GPS units, which are not much heavier and have much longer battery life, but the screens are terrible and it will take you forever to learn how to use it efficiently.

galliver

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1815
Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2019, 12:02:52 PM »
Does it have to be GPS? You can print maps from AT with subscription...you might also be able to  buy a high quality topo map of your local hiking area(s) that will last many years, I think they're usually around $12?

For short/local hikes we usually find the free brochures adequate.

FiveSigmas

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 462
Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2019, 12:09:59 PM »
Or, you could just get the new non-smart phone and keep any old smartphone unactivated, with no data plan.  The trail maps would still work just fine without a data connection, so it would be free.  Consider it like an ipod touch, smartphone functionality when on wifi, but no calling.

This is my setup (in general — not just hiking), and it works pretty well. Dedicated GPSs might have better weatherproofing and perhaps a better antenna (?), but the software on dedicated devices never seems to be as good and the prices seem to be very high for what you get (economies of scale and greater price elasticity probably apply here) *.

BTW +1 on the 911 calling feature. Even if you expect to be out of cell range, it’s a good idea to carry a cell — imagine you are in an emergency and need help: even if you have to run a few hours out to the nearest logging road to get signal, that may be much shorter than running to find a physical ranger or other official that can help. Around here in the NW we’ve started getting the annual news reports of avalanches, and the emergency responders they’ve had on the radio continually say they wish more people would carry cells.

* On a personal note: Hiking in particular seems to be an area where I continually have the urge to overspend for nice-to-have or just-in-case items (I in fact purchased a dedicated GPS maybe 10 years ago — back before I had a cellphone). The costs really add up, though, and really I can get by with a lot less (especially for the sorts of vanilla hiking I do).

pegleglolita

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 76
Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2019, 03:31:51 PM »

These days, I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to think you can isolate yourself from technology just by trading in your smartphone for a dumbphone.  Are you also going to avoid tablets and laptops?  These devices also do all of the same things, though I think a tiny deactivated smartphone is the ideal device for hikers who want trail maps.

I know, I know.  The solution is more self control.  I will have to experiment with AllTrails on a SIM-free phone.  I don't have the most awesome sense of direction but do love hiking so I want something that will tell me when I've wandered from the trail (like bushwhacking up a very well-marked national forest property line for 2 miles LOL.  Hypothetically.)  I thought that app was using some data for the real-time tracking, but maybe it's just GPS if the map's been downloaded.  Note to self: read about how tech works.

Really I just want a banana phone to replace my 4-year-old Android phone that's on its last legs.  Facepunch me.

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4142
Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2019, 07:24:58 AM »
The other alternative to overbuying is to buy stuff used and save 50% or more. You can buy most hiking stuff used, tents, backpacks, sleeping bags (wash them), GPS.

CRG

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 41
Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2019, 10:51:18 AM »
I've been using the Gaia app for several years as my sole source GPS and it's worked great. The app is about $25, but it's very easy to use and the display (my phone) is nice and large. Maps can be downloaded on WiFi and then used without data.