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#201310 - 07/01/18 03:41 AM Intrusive Technology?
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 102
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I posted this question years ago, but did a search and couldn't find it:

At what point if any (for you personally) does technology intrude on the backpacking experience?

I'm thinking of "modern" technology here, of course, as even a "Trapper Nelson" would be technology. We all use fairly hi-tech stuff, like nylon fabrics, Gore-Tex, titanium pots and DAC tent poles. But what about things like GPS, cell phones, drones, blogging from the trail, etc., but not necessarily just electronics.

And if you don't think they detract at all from the experience, what would? How about an anti-gravity pack, or a GPS-enabled tour guide of the trail? Where would you draw the line?
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There are two kinds of people: people who think there are two kinds of people and people who don't.

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#201312 - 07/01/18 02:32 PM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: Bill Kennedy]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2956
Loc: Portland, OR
The technology I accept best is that which serves basic functions. I need to have clothes, a pack, a sleeping bag, a light source, food and water, whether or not these are enhanced by a higher level of technology. So, for example, I love the advent of LED lights, sturdy lightweight synthetic fabrics, improved ultra-light tents and so on.

Where I least desire or accept technology is when it serves mostly to distract me from my surroundings. A digital camera doesn't detract from my engagement with whatever I am photographing, but an MP3 player just fills my head with sounds that mask the sounds of wind, water, birds, or other wildlife. A GPS is marginally more useful than a paper map, but can easily become a distraction, too, by continuously updating my hiking statistics. It takes discipline not to become fixated on those stats.

A drone is little more than a noisy toy and an annoyance to everyone but their owner. I hate them.

As for the theoretical anti-gravity pack, it would make wilderness access so easy that the either the wilderness we have set aside would be too small and need to be greatly expanded, or else it would cause overcrowding or invite draconian restrictions and quotas, so nice as it sounds, I think the Law of Unintended Consequences would make them the worst technology, yet.

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#201318 - 07/01/18 08:02 PM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: aimless]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1785
Loc: Napa, CA
A beautiful answer, aimless.
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check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#201320 - 07/02/18 05:05 AM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: balzaccom]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 102
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Originally Posted By balzaccom
A beautiful answer, aimless.


I agree.
_________________________
There are two kinds of people: people who think there are two kinds of people and people who don't.

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#201333 - 07/03/18 11:06 PM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: Bill Kennedy]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2796
Loc: California
Having a fighter jet come out of nowhere and nearly take your head off is very intrusive, LOL. This has happened a few times in the southern Sierra where an air base is nearby.

To me it boils down to wanting to get away from civilization and all its trappings/distractions. There is so much technology now, that we have to make conscious decisions what to take and what not to take on each trip. Unfortunately many young people do not even know what it is like to be without all their gadgets.

I often choose to leave my technology at home. I even leave my watch at home some trips,so I can be on natural time vs. man-made time. I also go without any kind of illumination sometimes, just to see what that is like. Sometimes even the "good" technology can distract. A stove is much easier to use for cooking, but you then do not experience the totally different aspect of cooking on a fire. Technology that enhances efficiency will let you walk farther, but that may not be what you always want to do. It is always a trade-off. When I do not take a camera, I tend to study the scenery more because I will not have a photo to look at when I get home.

Blogging while on the trail is most intrusive. The last thing I want to do is talk to someone on a cell phone at the top of a pass.

Those LED lights are very intrusive if you are camped next to anyone else.

I am not a fan of either loud music or loud clothing or gear that makes every backpacker within a mile visible.

When I am in my tent trying to fall asleep, then a half hour of mellow music on my I-pod is not intrusive. I would never listen to music on the trail or during daylight hours (unless stuck in the tent during a long storm).

Initially many backpackers get bored. There now is all sorts of technology to distract you with sounds and sights of civilization. Without these gadgets, you are forced to begin to listen, see, and feel the more subtle aspects of wilderness. Kids are a good example. When I take kids out, I do not allow their electronic "toys". And they eventually learn to entertain themselves with what nature provides. Often they see and discover things I never noticed!

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#201336 - 07/04/18 04:28 AM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: wandering_daisy]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 102
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Another great answer. It seems there are so many things to distract and "entertain" us, we get used to being constantly distracted and entertained. I've been asked a number of times, "What do you do out there?" About the only answer I can come up with is that I just like being there.

I confess I enjoy the blogs, or rather, vlogs of some of the thru-hikers, Dixie in particular, and I notice that she (and her editor) have used a drone for aerial views pretty tastefully.

I'm apparently the last man on earth without a cell phone. I'll probably change that, but I wonder if having it along, even turned off, will make a difference.
_________________________
There are two kinds of people: people who think there are two kinds of people and people who don't.

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#201338 - 07/04/18 07:26 AM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: Bill Kennedy]
PerryMK Online   content
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1171
Loc: Florida panhandle
The only bad technology is the technology imposed on me. That is, other people's technology. I may choose different tech at different times, but that's my choice.

I'm pretty easy going about keeping to myself and moving on if someone wants to listen to their music or use their phone whatever, but don't force me to participate. I usually don't even like having my photo taken, and certainly not without permission.

True story. When I was getting out of the army and turning in my military ID I told the guy I didn't have any photos of myself so could I have my military ID photo. He cut it out and gave it to me. So even the army doesn't know what I look like (smile).

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#201341 - 07/04/18 12:27 PM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: PerryMK]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1520
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Yeah, I understand that logic. I still carry my draft card, just in case. I’m a long time out, but I don’t trust them. (Of course, if they re-activate me at 68, it will only be to lead the morning calisthenics: “bend over, tuck your head between your knees, and kiss your a— goodbye...”) smile

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#201343 - 07/05/18 02:51 PM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6534
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Quote:
Having a fighter jet come out of nowhere and nearly take your head off is very intrusive, LOL.


Ah yes, this happens frequently in the North Cascades, thanks to the Whidby Island Naval Air Station. The planes roar through river valleys and over passes at treetop level. I've heard of at least one horseback rider being injured. No self-respecting horse will stay calm with a fighter jet 50 feet above him!

It is kind of interesting to be on a mountain and see a formation of fighter jets a thousand feet below you!

In addition to the air traffic, there are the increasing numbers of "plugged in" folk whose volume is loud enough to be heard even when they're wearing earphones. I suspect that as they get deafer from the too-loud volume, they turn it up even louder.
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#201347 - 07/05/18 04:35 PM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: OregonMouse]
4evrplan Online   content
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 720
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Ironically, this would be a plus to me, as I love fighter jets! It's even more ironic since I'm a bit of a pacifist. I hate that they are tools of death, but everything else about them (their speed and power, agility, sleek looks, sound) is awesome!

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#201348 - 07/05/18 05:08 PM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: 4evrplan]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6534
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I get that feeling, too, just not when they're ignoring the statutory altitude (3,000 ft. above ground) over designated wilderness areas. The F-15 National Guard Unit at the Portland, OR airport (the only air defense we have in the Pacific Northwest) flies over my house several times daily on their takeoff/landing practice. It's during the day, so it doesn't bother me. When they do night practice, they schedule it when the days are short, let us know in advance, and do it in early evening. They have been called out on several occasions when someone violated closed airspace during Presidential visits or unidentified planes approach our coast.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#201472 - 07/31/18 12:11 PM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: Bill Kennedy]
HPD Online   content
member

Registered: 12/22/16
Posts: 61
Loc: Colorado High Plains
Originally Posted By Bill Kennedy
I posted this question years ago, but did a search and couldn't find it:

At what point if any (for you personally) does technology intrude on the backpacking experience?

I'm thinking of "modern" technology here, of course, as even a "Trapper Nelson" would be technology. We all use fairly hi-tech stuff, like nylon fabrics, Gore-Tex, titanium pots and DAC tent poles. But what about things like GPS, cell phones, drones, blogging from the trail, etc., but not necessarily just electronics.

And if you don't think they detract at all from the experience, what would? How about an anti-gravity pack, or a GPS-enabled tour guide of the trail? Where would you draw the line?


I draw the line when it intrudes on my experience-If I can hear it and/or see it.
That would include music being played, drones being flown and the occasional loud talker on a cell phone.

I must admit that I now have a "smart phone" and carry it on hikes and backpacking trips. It is my camera, GPS map assist and on rare occasions a phone. It has become essential equipment for me now.
Because I take a phone I will also carry a phone charger that I just purchased to insure that the phone works as long as I'm in the backcountry.
Used to carry a SPOT device to stay somewhat in touch with loved ones and, in case of emergency, to seek help.

Don't think I'll be around to see any anti-gravity packs or GPS tour guides and that's a good thing.

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#201473 - 07/31/18 12:40 PM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: HPD]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6534
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I don't know about Colorado, but out here in the Pacific NW, there are many, many areas--not just designated wilderness--with no cell phone reception. They will probably stay that way because there is insufficient population to support a cell tower. Last August, during the solar eclipse, my whole family camped together along the Metolius River near Sisters, OR. That area has lots of resorts, summer homes, year-around homes, and almost continuous campgrounds that are open year-around, so it's definitely not wilderness! There is no cell phone reception at all in that area. The few of us who needed daily access to phone messages had to drive out to the main highway to get reception.

I would never, ever count on a cell phone for emergency communication in a wilderness area! You may be able to get some reception by climbing a mountain, but you won't be able to do that in an emergency.

I always take a Personal Locator beacon for emergencies.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#201483 - 08/02/18 10:00 AM Re: Intrusive Technology? [Re: OregonMouse]
HPD Online   content
member

Registered: 12/22/16
Posts: 61
Loc: Colorado High Plains
Originally Posted By OregonMouse


I would never, ever count on a cell phone for emergency communication in a wilderness area! You may be able to get some reception by climbing a mountain, but you won't be able to do that in an emergency.

I always take a Personal Locator beacon for emergencies.


Of course not! Don't believe I said that I would.

Going into the Winds next week, 2 day hike to get to our destination. I'll have my phone, primary use as my camera, secondary as a GPS tracker (I'll also have maps) and lastly, in case I find service on some pass (which happens occasionally), I'll call my wife and tell her I'm fine and that I love her.

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