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#201788 - 09/25/18 06:18 PM Phone Hiking Apps
SJS Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/26/18
Posts: 11
Loc: Low Country of SC
I suspect I am not the only old timer who is less than stellar with modern technology. Just wondering if anyone uses phone apps for hiking and which ones.

I have tried Strava and AllTrails so far. I only use them to record mileage and time. They do not match the mileage listed for the various trails but I have a feeling the trail signs are wrong and the phone is right. I do seem to inadvertently turn them off mid hike for some reason. I enjoy having the delusion that I know how far I have hiked.

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#201789 - 09/26/18 07:16 AM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: SJS]
PerryMK Online   content
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1180
Loc: Florida panhandle
I use the Florida Trail app when hiking the Florida Trail. It's been very helpful with planning, etc. More than once it found the trail for me when I couldn't see a trail or a blaze.

I've used various tracking apps over the years. My current go-to app is Map My Hike. It maps the hike, elevation, pace, etc. It's nice for training hikes.

While I almost always have my phone with me, sometimes I hike just to hike and don't use an app at all.


Edited by PerryMK (09/26/18 07:17 AM)

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#201790 - 09/26/18 09:36 AM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: SJS]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 765
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I don't use any regularly, but I do have Gaia GPS installed as a backup to a paper map, just in case. Before a hike, I'll download the map for the area, so I can use it offline. Occasionally, I briefly turn on the GPS and check my position on Gaia, just because it's easier to get to than my paper map (my pants pocket vs my pack). I've never used it because I was lost or bushwhacking, only to see how far I've gone, how much further to something (camp, car, water), etc. I think I've only had the tracking (recording) turned on once, not counting training hikes, and then I used it to check my pace as well.

EDIT: I just realized this was posted in the "Almost Over the Hill" forum. I generally try not to post here, since I'm just a young-un (pushing 40). But, you can feel free to ignore me if you like. laugh


Edited by 4evrplan (09/26/18 09:40 AM)
_________________________
Hiking is the ultimate realization that the journey is more important than the destination.

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#201793 - 09/26/18 03:28 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: SJS]
JustWalking Offline
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 203
Loc: PNW
I use Gaia on my iPhone and on my computer - to plan a hike on the computer. Works quite well. I also use Earthmate on my iPhone since I carry an inReach - easier to type on the phone than on the inReach. I've got two programs (I'm trying to decide which one to keep) called PeakFinder and Peakvisor. Pretty cool, download the data for the area you'll be hiking in, and then you can point the phone's camera at a mountain and the program will tell you what its name is. I'm often backpacking in areas I'm unfamiliar with, so they're enjoyable programs to use. And I've got Guthook's program for the Wonderland Trail which I hope to do within the next year.

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#201794 - 09/26/18 03:55 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: SJS]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1628
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I don't use any hiking apps for my phone. In fact, I try not to use my phone at all when I'm hiking; I put it on airplane mode and luxuriate in being unplugged. (If I'm backpacking alone, and have service, I'll let my wife know I'm in camp each night. It makes her feel better.)

I suppose a caveat is in order: I hike in Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana area, and am always on trails (no bushwhacking or open wilderness travel are needed.) It's also not easy to get lost around here - even if you get separated from the well-marked trails, there are lots of backstops (paved roads, mostly) that keep you from getting truly lost, at least for very long. So, the apps simply aren't necessary (in fact, since I'm already familiar with most places I hike after all these years, I really don't even need to get my map and compass out very often.

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#201795 - 09/26/18 05:11 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: Glenn Roberts]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6601
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Here in the Pacific NW, cell phone coverage outside of urban areas is so sparse that I often lose signal from 1/2 to 1 hour before even reaching the trailhead in my car. (That's true in most sparsely populated areas of the Western states.) I don't take the phone with me, just turn it off and hide it in the deepest recesses of my car. (I do carry a PLB, so I have a button to push in case of life-or-death emergency.)

I'm also somewhat of a luddite--paper map and compass have worked fine for me since I learned to use them at age 6, so why bother with electronics? It's not that I can't learn something new, (I'm getting really immersed in Civil War history, my latest hobby), it's just that I can't see any reason for doing so--no motivation.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#201797 - 09/26/18 06:56 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1628
Loc: Southwest Ohio
The Luddite appeal is there for me, too - my life is structured by technology enough as it is; I like escaping once in a while. And, like you, I learned map and compass way back when, and never felt the need to change. (I still remember, as a newly-commissioned second lieutenant, being asked what the two most dangerous things in the world were. The answer: “An ensign with an idea, and a second lieutenant with a map.”)

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#201798 - 09/26/18 07:20 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: OregonMouse]
JustWalking Offline
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 203
Loc: PNW
I also live in the PNW, and yes, no cell service where I hike/backpack. I don't need cell service to use the programs I mention above, all work without cell service. I can also use compass/map quite well, so I don't need electronics. But I do enjoy what some offer.

I know that luddite leanings are fairly prevalent among the geezer set (and I use that term fondly, as I'm a geezer myself :-), but, of course, only for those things we decide we have no use for. Not sure how many still mow their lawns with old, non-gas/electric push mowers, or how many don't have a microwave in the house...

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#201799 - 09/26/18 08:42 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Pika Online   content
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1777
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I became an NCO when in the Army. I don’t recall the ensign allusion but certainly recall the one about second lieutenants. I also recall the bromide: “The Lord must have loved second lieutenants, He sure made a lot of them”. It is hard to make general without passing through second lieutenant.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#201800 - 09/26/18 08:49 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: Pika]
SJS Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/26/18
Posts: 11
Loc: Low Country of SC
I was actually pretty good with a compass and map as a second lieutenant, but I never have got the hang of my IPhone.

I like getting an accurate reading of mileage but I had not yet tried any other feature of the hiking apps. Does not sound like it would be worth the effort to try and figure out how to use them.

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#201801 - 09/26/18 11:50 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: Pika]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1628
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Of course, the gold bars made it easy to tell second lieutenants apart from officers...

I was very lucky. The squadron I commanded had 295 senior non-coms (E-5 and above) and 7 other officers. I was smart enough to realize my real job was to keep other second lieutenants from messing with my non-coms, and to listen to what they tried to teach me. I learned a lot that way.

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#201802 - 09/27/18 07:17 AM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: Glenn Roberts]
PerryMK Online   content
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1180
Loc: Florida panhandle
I would like to add two points.

1. When I start using the Florida trail app, it was a standalone app. In my final year of section hiking the Florida Trail it became part of Guthook. Same app as far as I could tell.

2. Some of the comments lead me to believe there may be a misunderstanding about how hiking apps work. The apps I use do not use a phone signal, but rather just the phone's GPS. I often have my phone in airplane mode while using the app. If one chooses to share information, this may require a phone signal or at least wifi.

I'm not trying to argue or sell anyone on anything, just clarifying the point.

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#201803 - 09/27/18 08:46 AM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: SJS]
Pika Online   content
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1777
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Several years ago I loaded Gaia onto my phone. I thought that it would be a convenient way to have a GPS along. I quickly quit using it because it would burn through a full battery charge in a matter of hours. And, I found that I much preferred to navigate with map and compass, a skill set that had served me well for over 60 years.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#201804 - 09/27/18 09:09 AM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: Pika]
PerryMK Online   content
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1180
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By Pika
it because it would burn through a full battery charge in a matter of hours.


It's true that the GPS can use a fair amount of juice. For training hikes of a few hours I am OK with this as I like the info provided. Also, some of the tracking apps allow one to determine how often a point is tracked. Less tracking means less GPS so less battery usage but also less info provided.

When hiking the Florida Trail I only used the app to check where I was when needed (or simply wanted). I did not leave it on. A hike of several hours would usually have fewer than 10 minutes of app use.

That said, in addition to an app I always had a paper map and simple magnetic compass and knowledge of how to use them. I also had familiarized myself with the area I was hiking so I could find my way out without the map, compass, or app. I believe that in the continental US one is seldom more than a few miles from a road.

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#201805 - 09/27/18 10:09 AM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: Pika]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 765
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By Pika
Several years ago I loaded Gaia onto my phone. I thought that it would be a convenient way to have a GPS along. I quickly quit using it because it would burn through a full battery charge in a matter of hours. And, I found that I much preferred to navigate with map and compass, a skill set that had served me well for over 60 years.
See here and here.
_________________________
Hiking is the ultimate realization that the journey is more important than the destination.

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#201806 - 09/27/18 11:43 AM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: 4evrplan]
Pika Online   content
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1777
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Thanks for the references. I did try most of what was suggested but too often would forget to turn one thing or another off or would forget to power off the phone and there went the battery.

Mostly where I hike one looses cell connection on the drive to the trailhead so the phone part of the phone isn’t much use. I still carry my phone, almost always off, but only use it as a Bluetooth keyboard for my Inreach, as a backup camera, for a wee bit of evening music and as a voice recorder for on-the-trail notes.

If I need to know exactly where I am, my Inreach gives me map coordinates and elevation. But, I virtually never need that sort of precision if I have a good map and am paying attention. All things considered, I view the phone as a convenience, not a necessity. On the other hand, I see the map and compass as a necessity and my family insistently sees the Inreach as a necessity.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

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#201807 - 09/27/18 12:27 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: Pika]
Lonerock Offline
member

Registered: 12/10/15
Posts: 38
Loc: Southern Oregon
I ‘ve spent most of my hiking years using a map and compass but then in 2000 I started using a gps unit in my work as a biologist. I then progressed to using an Android phone for downloading hiking apps. Over the years I hated seeing clear cuts and decided to do my bit by giving up paper maps. Currently I use Backcountry Navigator (will also be available on iPhone soon). For offline use I like OsmPlus which allows me to download an OpenStreetMap with contour lines for the entire state. I also really like Avenza Maps with many pdf maps available, including Forest Service maps and topo maps that can be used with the phones gps . By using my phone judicially I can get a full days use plus I carry a power pack for recharge if necessary .
It would take a few armloads of paper maps to replace the ones I’ve downloaded on my Android. Electonics is not my preferred method but saving trees is my priority. I will always have fond memories of my cherished paper map collection.

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#201808 - 09/27/18 01:47 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: JustWalking]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1628
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I think all of us tend to temper our Luddite leanings with a dose of reality. I still have fond memories of using a typewriter - but no way am I giving up my laptop!

Also, most of us will change, when there’s no alternative. (We don’t have to like it, though, and after 65 I believe we are legally required to grouse about it as we drive in the left hand lane at 45mph with our left turn signals on.)

All in all, I tend to fall into Carly Simon’s camp: “These are the good old days.” However, when backpacking, I usually try to draw the line at smart devices that, if they fail or run out of power, could leave me looking pretty stupid. At some point, though, I may be forced to convert to app navigation - I think the USGS has already discontinued mass distribution of its topo series (at least, I haven’t seen them at REI or my local store - the National Geographic series seem to have replaced them, at least for now.)

Eventually, I’m sure paper maps will go away entirely. I think that’s usually known as progress - as someone else pointed out, it eliminates the eco-impact of manufacturing paper. It also means we don’t need to manufacture ink, and any water-resisting chemicals used to treat them (not to mention the impact of transporting them, displaying them, and of the bags REI defaults to giving you to carry them home. It might even save some of the gallon ziplocks we use as map cases.)

Until then, I’ll probably continue to indulge my map fetish. smile

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#201809 - 09/27/18 03:35 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: Glenn Roberts]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6601
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I am old enough not to have to worry about that day coming. I;ve seen enough technology failures that I don't want to have to rely on it! I've been prepping for the force 9 subduction zone earthquake that's coming, and that means no power for, probably, several months. No power, no technology!

I'm sitting here at my computer browsing away (although trying to avoid the news of the moment, dredging up painful memories), and I certainly have plenty of modern technology in my home. I just want to get away from it when out in the mountains! Like many seniors, I'm also on a very limited budget, so I really can't afford those pricey gadgets. My $25 flip phone is high-tech enough for me.



Edited by OregonMouse (09/27/18 03:36 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#201811 - 09/27/18 05:57 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: OregonMouse]
Lonerock Offline
member

Registered: 12/10/15
Posts: 38
Loc: Southern Oregon
I understand the point made by OregonMouse and others about the desire to hang onto paper maps because it wasn't an easy choice and I admit to hanging on to my one Forest Service Map just in case but I'm committed to saving as many trees as possible. I've been using either gps units or a smartphones for about 18 years without any tech failures and if power should fail then solar devices easily charge a phone plus I'm familiar enough with the mountain ranges for many miles around to find my way without a map or smartphone.

Make no mistake,I don't like giving up paper maps but it comes down to making sacrifices to save our forests.

By the way, I too am a senior on a budget but used smartphones can be purchased on Ebay cheap.

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#202028 - 10/24/18 10:52 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: SJS]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2825
Loc: California
I use the old TOPO software at home to plan trips and print maps. That is it.

I stupidly left my camera on a rock, in the middle of a huge gnarly bushwhack this summer, never found it. Since then I have been using my I-phone for photos until I figure out what new camera I will buy. I put it in airplane mode AND turn it off unless taking photos. If I know I have enough power left (usually last few days of trip) I will leave it on, but in airplane mode. It tracks my miles/steps, but I do not think it is all that accurate. Evidently, so I was told, the I-phone can use satellites for this function. Last week I had it on all day, and where I had measured 9.5 miles on the map, the phone said I did 11.5 miles. I suspect the truth was somewhere in between.

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#202186 - 11/28/18 06:26 PM Re: Phone Hiking Apps [Re: SJS]
HPD Offline
member

Registered: 12/22/16
Posts: 70
Loc: Colorado High Plains
Never thought I would, but I've been using ViewRanger for a couple years and I love it! Signed up for it for free then paid $16 for a lifetime subscription to be able to download maps to use in the backcountry, when there's no cell/internet coverage. It tracks me on the maps, tells me how far I walked, how much elevation gain and loss, has a peak identifier (not the best one I've ever seen) and lots of other features that I don't understand.

When off trail, the tracking shows were I am which especially helpful when I'm trying to find my way back or trying to get to a certain spot.

As far as keeping the phone charged, I recently acquired an Anker, PowerCore 13000 for recharging. On a recent Wind River trip of 7 nights, the charger kept my phone and my buddy's charged the whole time. I think that's saying a lot when you take into account that my phone is tracking most of the time and it is my only camera. I took a lot of photos and a number of videos.

It weighs 8oz and cost roughly $30, I think.

And no, I don't sell them or work for them, just think it's an amazing product.

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