Although you should never rely on just your phone while in the backcountry, it's the way of the modern world to have your phone strapped to your side at all times. Modern smart phones offer many apps to help along your travels, provide entertainment while in the tent or while taking a rest trail side and just make you feel more comfortable having it with you. But alas, these devices are not designed for the perils of the backcountry. So today, let's take a look at how you can protect your fragile device.
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.
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 App (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.
NAC NOTE: A phone is not a replacement for a GPS Unit, a Flashlight, A Map and Compass, a Satellite Communicator, etc. Make sure you pack your 10 essentials on all trips and any other gear or devices you may need to keep safe. Make sure your devices and gear are functioning properly and you know how to use them properly. Smart Phones are for entertainment purposes only on the trail and should never be relied upon for any reason.
Written by St. Elias Alpine Guides and posted April 10, 2019
(Sunday, May 29, 2022)
Last night 16 brave and adventurous participants took part in our final Defy Gravity: Learn to Climb event. Everyone challenged themselves, pushed past their comfort zones and truly enjoyed themselves while learning new skills and making new friends and activity partners. I would like to thank everyone who attended for being prepared and making sure this event went off very smoothly. I am sad to say that I will not be able to do that particular type of event any longer, but I am looking into some alternatives for other rock climbing events. The last spot for our 2022 Expedition to Manitoulin Island and the Heaven's Gate Trail has been filled. This will be a Seven Day trip that will include the Cup and Saucer Trail, a beautiful AirBnB stay, and 4 days on the Heaven's Gate Trail where we will camp under the stars and the Northern Lights. Don't forget to put your name on the wait list just in case we have some cancellations. A new hike is in the events list below for this coming Sunday. Registration closes in 5 days, so be sure to register quickly! We will be hiking through Beamsville in Lincoln, Ontario, following The Bruce Trail for 13kms. I will be posting more hikes for the months of June and July very shortly. I hope to get back to the Beaver Valley hikes during the months of August and September and plan to finish the Beaver Valley section before we head off for our Adventure at the end of September.
That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club