If you follow us on facebook or twitter you know that last Saturday we taught a class on Smartphone Navigation at the Fort Collins Sierra Trading Post.
It was a risky move, we knew we’d encounter resistance.
A lot of outdoor purists scoff at the notion that a smartphone could even be remotely useful in the wilderness. The manager of the Fort Collins Sierra Trading Post confirmed that with us when he mentioned that his customers were skeptical about the class.
But here’s the deal.
Your smartphone is just another tool in your daypack. It’s nestled between other tools: a knife, a first-aid kit, a fire starting device, a water purifier, a map, a compass, a GPS and so on.
To rely solely upon any one of these tools without a backup or knowing how to properly use them isn’t such a good idea.
A smartphone is the same way.
Sure there are limitations, it relies on a battery after all and nothing zaps a battery like using the GPS on a mobile device. It’s fragile, it’s expensive, it can be hard to read a cell phone screen in sunlight, you’ll need an app (we recommend Avenza pdf maps) and apps can get buggy, it can be hard to get a GPS signal and so on.
But, smartphones also are lightweight and portable. They take up minimal room in a pack and you can pack a ton of information on your device. Chances are that you’re probably hiking with one anyway.
Maybe you won’t be in a area where your mobile phone can use its internal GPS to track your route but you can still download USGS maps onto your mobile phone using Avenza and then use them as a map.
If we can convince you of one thing it’s to download a map on your cell phone and tuck it away when you’re hiking just in case your paper map gets wet or blows away and the batteries on your GPS unit bite the dust.
And we’d love to show you how!
Join us this Saturday at noon at the Cheyenne Sierra Trading Post for a class on Smartphone Navigation. Bring your full charged mobile phone and be prepared to head outside.
We hope you can make it–even if you think we’re crazy for thinking that mobile phones are useful in the backcountry!