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Phone Choice
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Nathan Stebner
(PeacePipe) - F

Locale: Northeast Ohio
Ultralight Phone Choice on 12/13/2009 15:46:06 MST Print View

I know this is a odd question but I am looking for a phone that will work on AT&T, I pretty much only use my phone for emergency while hiking so weight is the biggest issue, however I would like to find something that will work with the regular mini usb chargers [so I can carry a single charger] and also supports an external antenna, battery life would also be a consideration. If anyone has any ideas or could point me in the right direction for research that would be great

All the best, Nathan Stebner

Edited by PeacePipe on 12/13/2009 15:55:58 MST.

Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Ultralight Phone Choice on 12/13/2009 16:25:19 MST Print View

I don't have an answer for you but I would like to know as well. I have AT&T also but I could never get reception when I'm in a forested area or the mountains. Sometimes I can't even get reception at trailheads. I'm wondering if an external antenna would be enough to get reception in a wooded area.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Phone Choice on 12/13/2009 16:45:32 MST Print View

I have found there are 2 parts to getting good cell reception in hiking areas: strong service and a strong phone. That's why I switched to verizonwireless.

In the areas I haunt here in the Pacific Northwest, when several of us would test our phone reception in the back country, verizonwireless could get reception better than the other brands. When I get a new phone on the new every 2 program, I have to explain carefully to the salesreps I don't need keyboards or color or games or tricks, I want strength and light weight. I'm due for a new phone again, and I'll probably get the LG5500 which seems to meet my criteria better than the other phones.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Phone Choice on 12/13/2009 16:59:28 MST Print View

Out here in the west, most areas in which I hike have no reception at all. In fact, I often lose reception while in the car an hour or more before reaching the trailhead. The one exception is the lower elevations of the Columbia River Gorge, as long as I'm not way down in a canyon. Otherwise I don't bother taking the phone, since it's just dead weight.

A lot of backcountry areas used to have analog reception, but that's all gone now.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Phone Choice on 12/13/2009 17:08:25 MST Print View

As Mary pointed out, most of the time there is just plain ol' no reception and the phone is dead weight.

I still carry it, though, because on occasion in the recent past there were news articles of people who have become lost and couldn't get reception, but somehow the phone elves were still able to pick up the pings of the phone (is it all done with mirrors?) and help narrow down their location. But like a gps, I regard a phone as an auxiliary, and not something to rely on.

Nathan Stebner
(PeacePipe) - F

Locale: Northeast Ohio
Clarification on 12/13/2009 20:40:13 MST Print View

I guess I should clarify, I am not really depending on the phone for an emergency but more to keep in contact with people at home every once and a while while I am hiking the AT next summer, I don't intend to use the phone on a daily baises but I still need to have one and it seems like the options for a light weight phone that has a usb type charger are limited. I don't need nor want a smart phone type phone, I do know Verizon has better coverage in the areas I will be hiking but I am paying a minimal amount to try and cut back on bills and am using a line on my parents cingular account for now. If anyone has any ideas of other phones that might not be offered retail but could be purchased elsewhere it would be great.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Ultralight Phone Choice on 12/13/2009 22:00:47 MST Print View

Pretty much if you want reliable phone coverage, you need a sattelite phone. And they cost a lot more than your typical cell phone.

Also to save battery life, take the battery out of the phone, or keep the phone completely turned off.

>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
Re: Clarification on 12/13/2009 22:01:56 MST Print View

Nathan check out the Nokia 5310. I absolutely loved mine and it was hard to part even for a smart phone. Weight is only 2.57oz with battery and reception was great. You can either get one locked to ATT or get one unlocked so it will work on ATT or any with any other GSM sim card.

Check it out

FYI you can find a USB charging cable for many modern phones.

Edited by Bender on 12/13/2009 22:04:55 MST.