cell phone-- bringin' it?
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Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: cell phone-- bringin' it? on 02/15/2012 00:07:40 MST Print View

Yes. So that if I get lost and come out of the wilderness in a different place than I came in, I can call for someone to help me out once I get somewhere more populated. Same reason I carry my i.d. and a little cash.
I don't agree that a campfire takes away from immersion in the wilderness. I think someone firing up a canister stove and turning on their headlamp every 5 seconds while dressed like a big marshmallow to keep the cold away is what kinda ruins it :)

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
I will now... on 02/15/2012 01:43:49 MST Print View

Interesting that both Nick and Tom have both posted some great pictures recently and I'm betting their cameras are heavier than their phone. Technology rules, right guys? I agree that each of us have to decide what to leave behind.

I actually find my camera the most distracting gadget that I take hiking. I feel it removes me from the natural surrounding and I appreciate the beauty less if I'm looking through a lens (or at a screen). I'm torn though, because I love having the pictures when I get home.

As for a cell phone, I have never carried mine but I will from now on because I've added a Spot Connect to my gear list. The Spot Connect works with an iPhone App for all but the SOS function and the ability to send custom notifications from the field is just too much to resist for this techno geek! I've rationalized away the weight of the phone by leaving my GPS behind. The irony is, I don't ever see myself making a phone call with my phone but will definitely use it with the Spot Connect.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Phone on 02/15/2012 08:04:16 MST Print View

I bring a phone if I'm going to need it. I'm only going to need it if I'll be calling for a ride at the end of the hike (on a short trip) or calling someone at home because I'm lonely (on a long, solo trip.)

Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
how safe is safe? on 02/15/2012 09:32:01 MST Print View

re: personal safety, yes, agreed, fitness and rationale are lofty indeed.
moreover, i've grown altogether disturbed and disheartened by having to hike/walk defensively. being outdoors should feel liberating, not restrictive...
particularly at night, i walk the logging roads on property and i'm definitely a candidate for who-knows-what, and well, what to do? i can't not live!
philo-speaking i see a disconnect with technology and outdoor endeavors
(be it front or back/country), though admittedly i DO feel more at ease when i tote my cell; whether it's a valid or invaild feeling, i suppose i should exercise better judgement.
a self-defense class-- yeah, i should get on it.
bottom line: guys are just plain lucky sometimes...urgh.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: how safe is safe? on 02/15/2012 09:56:07 MST Print View

Leslie: I was hiking out on a weekday on an Alaskan trail (no one else around) and a woman was hiking back. I made eye contact said "hi", but she was looking down, kind of turned away from me. I thought, "Oh, quite worried about her personal safety. That's too bad, but whatever.", I found it striking because I don't see it up here like nearer the big cities. I went to the far edge of the trail as we crossed.

Then I saw her wicker basket and smiled to myself. It wasn't personal safety. She was out mushrooming, probably for chantrelles, and didn't want anyone to know it and possibly backtrack to her patch.

______________________________

Whatever you do that gives you comfort is great. And whatever you do that increases your self confidence will help your personal safety a bit. No one of any gender is ever completely safe, but perps and abusers seem to gravitate towards those they think they can control.

We've had lots of young, single woman live with us as au pairs (many quite out of their element) and the advice I give each one is: A few men will, during an innocent conversation with you, start to spin out some scenerio in their heads which you don't share. If you get any hint of that, you don't need to be polite and you don't need to explain yourself. Have a simple declarative statement ready, "Gotta catch up with my friends now. Have a good hike." And leave.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
How Safe is Safe? on 02/15/2012 10:26:46 MST Print View

Couple of thoughts re. technology and our want for safety...

1. Twenty years ago, 99.9999% of hikers hiked without phones. And 99.999% returned safely, without issues.
2. Nothing wrong with taking advantage of new, cheaper, ever more useful technology that simply wasn't available in the past.

To me, it's a "balance" between using new technology / techniques on the one hand, but not letting it affect my 'psyche' on the other. What do I mean? I mean it's one thing to carry a phone, but NOT to the point point where I feel "naked and vulnerable" without one!

Used to be when kids got out of the house, they were totally out. And that was fine back then. Nowadays, some parents seemingly couldn't deal with their kids going anywhere without being "electronically tethered"!! And yet, newer technology continues -- for better and for worse. Shoes with GPS embedded? Many of us might scoff, but that's where we started with phones.

Nice sometimes when technology / marketing fill in wants that we didn't even know we have. But sometimes very troubling too. All the talk about living simply... hard for most people to do because of their constantly-stroked-and-expanding desires... for safety, fun, fulfillment, and so on endlessly...

Edited by ben2world on 02/15/2012 10:36:47 MST.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: Re: NO! on 02/15/2012 12:04:41 MST Print View

Art- very well put. Unless you re walking into the woods naked you are bringing some form of technology with you. Back in cave man days a sharp rock and animal skin clothing was their "high tech" gear, and it's just evolved ever since.

There's no difference between technology engineered by DuPont or Motorola. To think differently is just deluding yourself. And I would have to say that a cell phone turned off in my pocket is less of an impact on my communion with nature than a 7d down shirt, capilene base-layers, super high tech trail runners, etc...

BM

Edited by Ultra_Magnus on 02/15/2012 12:26:10 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: NO! on 02/15/2012 12:26:11 MST Print View

"There's no difference between technology engineered by DuPont or Motorola. To think differently is just deluding yourself."

I agree -- but only in part. There can well be a difference -- but much of that centers on the user himself (herself)! If someone hooked on whatever games is carrying a phone, and gravitates toward that game incessantly every break time and all through dinner, then I would say yes, that detracts from the trail experience (doesn't mean the guy is not enjoying himself... but he is that much less focused on the trail experience).

This goes right back to my first post -- you can't really look at any piece of gear/technology and say it's going to work for everyone or that it will detract from the trail experience for everyone. YMMV.

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Cell phones on 02/15/2012 12:33:22 MST Print View

I have taken it and not taken it, I have mixed feelings but the following thought has recently lead me to think it would be unfair to NOT bring one.

If you have friends family at home that would send search and rescue if you were overdue, it seems almost mandatory.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Cell phones on 02/15/2012 13:19:06 MST Print View

"If you have friends family at home that would send search and rescue if you were overdue, it seems almost mandatory."

I think so too. If I went out alone to a remote area where a phone or a Spot could get me out of a tricky situation, I think it would be the responsible thing to do toward my family.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: cell phone-- bringin' it? on 02/15/2012 13:25:52 MST Print View

Nope, don't bring a cell phone or a PLB on trips.

As a type 1 diabetic and a year round solo backpacker with trips on the SHT, Glacier and Yellowstone NP I've never seen the need for one truthfully.

Some people like to have one for peace of mind and that's just fine. I myself rely on my good judgement, experience, and knowledge to keep me out of trouble and have fun.

I certainly don't look down on those that bring a cell phone or PLB along. To each their own and have fun on the trip. That's all that matters.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: I will now... on 02/15/2012 18:01:37 MST Print View

"Interesting that both Nick and Tom have both posted some great pictures recently and I'm betting their cameras are heavier than their phone. Technology rules, right guys? I agree that each of us have to decide what to leave behind."

You're half right at best, Mike. I own neither a cell phone nor a camera. My partner was the photographer on the trip I posted pictures from. My part of the bargain was to provide trip planning and navigation, which weighs nothing. That is generally the barain I strike when someone comes with me. I call it the ultimate UL solution. ;0)

That is probably about to change, however, as I am seriously considering a camera purchase in the near future. It will probably be a Canon S100, which will add about 7 oz to my kit. The weight alone is enough to give me serious pause, but the bigger drawback, as Nick has noted on at least one occasion, is that it distracts from becoming one with your surroundings. I stopped taking pictures long ago for that very reason. Not sure why I'm considering starting up again, as I don't have any children to pass pictures on to.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: NO! on 02/15/2012 18:12:17 MST Print View

"Separation from human society and immersion in the wilderness is a state of mind, achievable anywhere. Whether you bring a phone or not doesn't dictate whether you use it for calling people and letting yourself be called by people."

Yes and no, Art, IMO. There is a difference between high tech gear that you use to function in the wilderness and high tech gear that you carry for its potential to stay connected to the world you left behind. If nothing else, it is a constant reminder of that world and a tether to it; a cue, if you will. I suppose some floks can completely ignore its presence, but I'll bet a lot of folks are always aware it's there. Not that it matters to me, one way or another. I just don't think it's absurd to feel that it makes a person less in touch with nature. For some, yes; for others, no.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
cell phone-- bringin' it? on 02/15/2012 18:20:38 MST Print View

>> My partner was the photographer on the trip I posted pictures from <<

I really like this idea Tom and my long time hiking partner packs some serious photographic equipment on our trips. His camera gear weighs more than my base weight. I often think about leaving my camera behind as his gear produces far better pictures (and he has a better eye). I've never had the nerve to leave mine behind and tell him he's the team photographer though... he'd probably ask me to help carry the photo equipment if I tried that one.

The same applies for a cell phone. If I am going out with a group, somebody else will have a phone (how many phones do you need for an emergency?). The few times I have taken one, there weren't any cell towers within range anyway, so it just seemed pointless.

As for your pictures (when you start using your new camera) leave them on this site for us to enjoy! :)

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: How Safe is Safe? on 02/15/2012 20:00:34 MST Print View

Ben 2 World wrote:
"1. Twenty years ago, 99.9999% of hikers hiked without phones. And 99.999% returned safely, without issues."

Citation needed!!!

Ultra Magnus wrote:
"Back in cave man days a sharp rock and animal skin clothing was their "high tech" gear, and it's just evolved ever since."

This is exactly the point I wanted to get at. Obviously I can't speak for what "cavemen" did any more than you can, but if we look at what people did in "the olden days," they simply DIDN'T engage in the same kind of pleasure hiking and pleasure camping like we do.

The most comparable example I can think of at the moment (for what we do) is the early French, and later American, trappers in Colonial America. These people traveled long distances into uncharted mountains in search of their game. They were minimalists by necessity, but still managed to carry quite a lot of gear we would consider "too technological," like rifles, beaver traps, and cash. They often needed horses to carry all of it, and what's worse, by engaging in the very activity of trapping, they were actively knitting themselves further and further into human capitalistic society, even though they might have traveled out into the middle of nowhere to do it.

You'll find similar false comparisons when looking at other examples of "hiking" back then and compare them with hiking today.

I'm not saying that someone should or shouldn't carry a cellphone into the woods. Obviously that's a personal decision that will be informed by one's own values and character. What I'm saying is that the modern concept of equating "connecting with nature" with "disconnecting from society" is entirely artificial. You can disconnect at any time, and furthermore you're never entirely disconnected until you've made the mental decision to forget about it. In the meantime, a cellphone doesn't have to affect your experience any more than a factory-processed energy bar wrapped in its space age mylar wrapper.

Tony lastname
(outsidetony) - F
skill, "doing it" and oneness with nature versus gadgets, lists and shopping on 02/15/2012 20:04:18 MST Print View

Skills, man alone in nature, no need for gadgets, eh?

A picture of your hands might give me a better idea of
Who is out "doing it" or writing about it.
Who I would rather be stuck with in the wild.
Who stands a better chance of climbing out of the ravine they fell into, since they need no stinking phone.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: cell phone-- bringin' it? on 02/15/2012 20:15:06 MST Print View

"I often think about leaving my camera behind as his gear produces far better pictures (and he has a better eye)."

My partner definitely has the better eye. He also loves to take pictures, so it's a win win situation. He's also a lot stronger and doesn't even notice the weight of his camera, as far as I can tell. Me, I'm counting ever single ounce these days.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: How Safe is Safe? on 02/16/2012 05:46:36 MST Print View

A big +1 to Art's post.

Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
"cell phone-- bringin' it?" bringing' what now? on 02/16/2012 06:23:08 MST Print View

i continue to appreciate the thought-provoking insights.
this shall be a revolving issue for (me/us)?
it seems part circumstancial and part individual choice.
a "right" or "wrong"?
until i've worn both shoes...
i've taken my share of chances, and i've been fortunate enough to never have been hurt (be it by accidental causes, or by another) to warrant needing a phone.
the pervading thought:
x # years ago...(and i wholeheartedly agree)...
however true, the harsh reality is that
(again from a personal safety/ offender context)
the world "ain't what it used to be."
the economic downturn has seemingly brought more kooks into the backcountry, and crime rates have since increased. people of all kinds have greater access to the backcountry, and the advent of technology (in it's myriad of forms) certainly invites those same people to act inappropriately in all ways imagineable.
what i know for sure is that i'll bring my head.
beyond that,...?

vanessa schiff
(michaeyk) - MLife

Locale: Argentina
Phone on 02/16/2012 08:30:57 MST Print View

Hi, I'm on my boyfriend's account drooling over gear right now. Anyway, we are planning a PCT thru next year and here are my phone thoughts.

When we were hiking the AT, journaling was such a hassle. Who wants to spend 2-4 precious hours of a town day in the library transcribing your journal online. Also, since we plan on more near-0 days that zero days, the time seems better spent. I could type the entry once a day at night and then it's done.

I am in recovery for alcohol and drug addiction and pretty much carry the AA Big Book and NA Basic Text everywhere. With the phone (which I do now in everyday life) I can carry both and a big collection of other books (I'm a pretty avid reader). Even if I'm too tired to read so much on the trail, it will be nice for town days and probably in the tent some nights. We used to carry a book and burn the pages as we went along. I still feel a little guilty for burning Alexandre Dumas. Probably I use my smartphone (android with Cyanogen Mod ;D ) more for reading than anything else in everyday life.

If we need to call a hotel/motel/for a ride, then it will be helpful.

Also nice to call friends/family in town or what not.

I will carry a separate camera because I am really into photography and don't use the phone's cameras much.

I plan on carrying a solar panel because what is the point of carrying a phone if it dies.

My pre-AT packweight was 8.5 lbs and his was 11.5. I am working on getting it down to 8 WITH the phone and solar panel. I think I should be able to do it. The only ridiculous thing I had on the AT at that weight was a Fallkniven F1 knife but that knife is so awesome I have to take it. Besides, what's better than a chick with a big knife. ;D

Edited by michaeyk on 02/16/2012 08:34:32 MST.