Author Topic: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app  (Read 800 times)

pegleglolita

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Linea_Norway

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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

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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.

accolay

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Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2019, 08:40:33 AM »
I'm for map and compass. I don't bring electronic devices with me on hikes. What if you run out of batteries, drop the device off a precipice, or drop it and break the screen?

FiveSigmas

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Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2019, 11:21:49 AM »
I'm for map and compass. I don't bring electronic devices with me on hikes. What if you run out of batteries, drop the device off a precipice, or drop it and break the screen?

I don’t mean to lessen you larger message, but gravity affects paper and steel, too (learned from personal experience), and some electronic gadgets are genuinely helpful.

accolay

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Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2019, 10:17:01 PM »
I'm for map and compass. I don't bring electronic devices with me on hikes. What if you run out of batteries, drop the device off a precipice, or drop it and break the screen?

I don’t mean to lessen you larger message, but gravity affects paper and steel, too (learned from personal experience), and some electronic gadgets are genuinely helpful.

Good point, but an endless argument. I'd rather lose a $10 map (the compass is on lanyard around neck) then a 200-1000 smart phone. Also, I think studying a map helps you know more about where you are, where you were and where you're going than an electronic device, IMHO.

Goldielocks

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Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2019, 11:44:27 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.

This is my plan -- I actually will buy the topo map that shows the trails (for backpacking), and I just bought a $65 watch with GPS... it will display the precise GPS coordinates, that I can then look at on the map, as needed.

There are more expensive watches that look much nicer and do a bit more, but for me, $65 was the right price.

My thought is to leave the phone at home and hike without it.

dang1

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Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2019, 12:44:03 AM »
maybe because it's the backup phone, that my bought used 2013 Moto X is still going strong. If your 4-year-old Android phone is absolutely on its last legs, I'd recommend the 2013 Moto X , seen in eBay for around $50. As for map apps, I like OSMAnd and Maps.Me

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2019, 05:58:40 PM »
Alltrails description on the Goolge Play store says "Download offline maps, get to the trailhead and start your outdoor adventure." (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alltrails.alltrails&hl=en_US)

The GPS function of a smart phone is separate from the cellular network connection. I would think the cheapest way is to keep your smartphone and download the trail maps, using wifi at home, in the Alltrails application and use your phone as your hiking GPS.

You can also download Google Maps maps for offline use.

scottish

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Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2019, 08:46:03 AM »
I'm with the old-school crowd - paper map and compass.    You can get some pretty nice plasticized maps now that last forever too.

It adds to the sense of adventure.     Do you really want your pocket computer to tell you exactly where you are all the time?


pegleglolita

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Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2019, 11:00:36 AM »
I'm with the old-school crowd - paper map and compass.    You can get some pretty nice plasticized maps now that last forever too.

It adds to the sense of adventure.     Do you really want your pocket computer to tell you exactly where you are all the time?

I do ALWAYS have a paper map and compass, just to be clear.  (Along with a Lifestraw, knife, paracord, and a whistle, and...seriously I don't take even day hikes lightly in terms of preparedness).  Alltrails has an emergency beacon app feature that I like knowing is there, and I must admit that the GPS feature has really helped me on some poorly blazed trails. 

scottish

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Re: Ditching the smartphone* but need hiking app
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2019, 11:16:15 AM »
Whatever works for you!    Where do you go hiking, if I may ask?

Hopefully not derailing your thread, but I haven't run into lifestraw's before.     I used to take a katadyn pocket filter backpacking though.  How to you like the lifestraw?   I'm just reading the users manual and it says:

Quote
... anytime the filter is dry, uncap both ends and stand it up in safe water for 20 seconds to allow water to prime the filter.

How does this work, do you just put it in your water bottle before use?