In Tech Tips

Too bad he’s too busy texting to enjoy that beautiful scenery, huh?phone in the wilderness

While it used to be that we didn’t carry cell phones everywhere, times have certainly changed. These days more and more people are carrying their phones on hiking, rafting, and even mountaineering trips. They can be used in the case of an emergency, as a navigation aid, and (most commonly) as a camera. We polled the guides (who also often carry their phones on their adventures) for some tips and tricks for protecting your phone in the outdoors. Here goes!

  • Use a case! Damage from impact (cracked screen, scratched camera lens, etc.) are much more likely on backcountry trips, so make sure you’ve got some type of protective case on your phone. Lifeproof cases are great (but often more expensive), so a regular case works fine too.
  • Keep it in a zipped pocket! Too many times phones get lost or damaged, from falling out of a pocket. Keep those zippers zipped, whether it’s the brain of your pack or the pocket on your jacket. This is a great habit for anyone in the wilderness, as it also reduces the chances of littering.
  • Waterproof it! This is especially critical in Alaska’s notoriously unpredictable weather, or on any type of rafting trip. This can be as cheap/simple as using two freezer-strength quart ziploc bags, or as fancy as a waterproof phone pocket. Always test the case or ziploc bags in your sink with a paper towel inside (not your phone) to make sure it’s functioning properly

Reasons to bring a phone in the backcountry?

  • Instead of a book, borrow or buy e-books for a more portable option while backpacking
  • A GPS feature (such as Gaia GPS) is great for a navigation aid, or also for tracking routes and keeping stats on your adventure!
  • With the recent advances in phone camera technology, phones now take great pictures (and VERY easy panoramas), so it’s nice to bring along.
  • Crossword puzzles, to take a break from reading, or right before bed.

So with these ideas in mind, if you bring your phone, be sure to protect it! And if not, rest easy knowing your phone is safe back at home, while you enjoy the solitude that we all long for in the outdoors.

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