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I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

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I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby nyker » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:05 pm

ok, all jokes aside, :-D it took a while.. ... I finally upgraded my little flip phone.

I installed the 14er app. (Its an Android).

What else can I do/add/download to maximize this thing for the outdoors??

I assume I'll need some backup battery power...

Any suggestions are appreciated!

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby oldschoolczar » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:10 pm

Honestly, I don't mean to ruin your excitement, but the battery power on most smartphones is so bad it makes them useless for backcountry trips. Mine remains in my pack charged up but powered off in case I need it for an emergency.

The 14ers app has awesome route descriptions, but if I feel routefinding will be an issue I just print the route off along with pictures from the site.

I guess I did use the "MyTracks" app for awhile and it's a fairly respectable GPS app. However, when I upgraded my phone to a larger power-hog I couldn't even make it through a 6-8 hour day without the phone dying ](*,)

Maybe you will have better luck :)
"Tonight I'll shave the mountain
I'll cut the hearts from pharoahs"
-Tom Waits

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby nyker » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:29 pm

I hear you! I am not expecting much with regard to battery life, I've managed my expectations on that front.

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby oldschoolczar » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:34 pm

LOL, well here are two app ideas that I'll break out once in awhile in the back country:

PeakAR - Basically it is an app that will tell you what peaks are nearby (or beyond the range of your topo). I have found that it is hit or miss as to how well it works, but a cool idea nonetheless.

GPS Status - I use this one primarily to estimate the grade of a slope. If you set your smartphone down on the slope it'll give you a grade (in degrees I believe). I think this one is kinda cool just because it's hard to eyeball that kinda stuff.

Anyway, enjoy your new smartphone! You may find yourself staring at the damn thing a lot more than you planned!
"Tonight I'll shave the mountain
I'll cut the hearts from pharoahs"
-Tom Waits

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby Shasta Locales » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:52 pm

The best thing you can do while hiking/climbing is when you are not using the phone, either turn it off, or put it on "Airplane mode".


If its looking for a signal, your battery will drain with the Quickness.

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby Kent McLemore » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:37 pm

I like Trimble Outdoors.

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby itsallgood » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:09 pm

oldschoolczar wrote:Honestly, I don't mean to ruin your excitement, but the battery power on most smartphones is so bad it makes them useless for backcountry trips. Mine remains in my pack charged up but powered off in case I need it for an emergency.

The 14ers app has awesome route descriptions, but if I feel routefinding will be an issue I just print the route off along with pictures from the site.

I guess I did use the "MyTracks" app for awhile and it's a fairly respectable GPS app. However, when I upgraded my phone to a larger power-hog I couldn't even make it through a 6-8 hour day without the phone dying ](*,)

Maybe you will have better luck :)


Depending on the phone you can get a case made by Mophie. The Juicepack Pro is a rugged case with awesome protection plus an extended battery that gives you 5-6 hours of extra life. Most of their stuff is geared towards the iPhones but I know we carry Mophie cases for a couple of Android phones. There are many relatively light weight extra battery options if you can't find a case with an integrated one. I would deffinitely recommend picking up some sort of rugged case for it if you plan on carrying it when hiking. There is also a company that makes "Lifeproof" cases. Again, most of their stuff is geared towards Apple but it might be worth checking their website. The Lifeproof cases are the best protection you can get....even waterpoof to 6.6 feet and has a headphone adapter so you can listen to music while under water....if you can find a reason too. I'm not much of a case person but I put on on my phone when I'm carrrying it in the mountains.

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby ewaag23 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:55 pm

oldschoolczar wrote:LOL, well here are two app ideas that I'll break out once in awhile in the back country:

PeakAR - Basically it is an app that will tell you what peaks are nearby (or beyond the range of your topo). I have found that it is hit or miss as to how well it works, but a cool idea nonetheless.

GPS Status - I use this one primarily to estimate the grade of a slope. If you set your smartphone down on the slope it'll give you a grade (in degrees I believe). I think this one is kinda cool just because it's hard to eyeball that kinda stuff.

Anyway, enjoy your new smartphone! You may find yourself staring at the damn thing a lot more than you planned!



I love PeakAR, though i agree it's a bit unreliable sometimes. Here's one more - PeakFinder - it's similar to PeakAR, but it doesn't require the camera and gps - i.e. you can use it to estimate visibility of peaks before a hike, or to identify them during or after a hike. It gives a labeled 360-degree panorama from your vantage peak of choice - a bit like those available here on 14ers.com for some of the 14ers. I'm digging it so far:
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.peakfinder.area.usawest
iPhone: http://itunes.apple.com/app/peakfinder-usa-west/id387214656

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby Taillon75 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:02 pm

I got a Mophie JuicePack for my Iphone. Days of Battery Power. It comes in a bombproof case. Awesome.
Catchy saying from someone famous.

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby JDip » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:48 pm

Smart phones are constantly communicating with the cell site and that too depletes battery life. There's a great app called JuiceDefender that basiclly puts your phone into airplane mode when your not using it except it allows calls and text. What it does is shut down the tramsmitting radios within the mobile. That would greatly improve battery life. Cheers

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby SikYou » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:41 pm

There are a ton of good apps for back country use. First things first; as others have stated, the phone will constantly be searching for a signal and will drain your battery in a matter of just a couple of hours if you're not near a cell tower. The solution...Airplane mode! There is no need to turn off the phone or use an app to control your signal (those apps are constantly running and drain your battery faster). The reason you want the phone ON but the cell signal OFF is because you can still use many apps without cell signal and more importantly you can use GPS without a cell signal. This GPS should NOT be used as a navigation guide in the back country but has many uses. Some apps that are great to consider...

14ers.com-for ya know...14ers stuff

Alltrails-for info on hikes in your area

Digital altimeter-somewhat accurate

GPS status-Gives GPS coordinates, elevation, direction (digital compass), pitch, roll, acceleration. Pretty cool

Backpacker GPS trails PRO-I use this for every trip I take. You can cache topo maps of the area you intend to hike and then you can look at those maps when you are in the outback (not for navigation, but for reference). You can track your route via GPS and then look at stats when you return like travel distance, elevation gain, etc... Very useful, I use it for EVERY trip

If you learn to not use a bunch of battery draining apps then you can maximize battery life. I have a pretty heavy hitter smartphone and on an average 14er (say 8 miles), I listen to music for an entire RT, run GPS apps, make summit calls, and return to the trailhead with 70% battery life left. I always carry an extra battery in my pack for emergencies but have never used it.

You can really use the heck out of an Android (iphone not really useful ever!!) in the back country if you want to.

Enjoy!!
"Is it an up hill hike all the way to the summit?" Brian L.

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Re: I finally got a smartphone! Now what?

Postby nyker » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:58 am

This is all handy, thanks all!

Looks like Lifeproof is only for Iphones now? Anyone use Otterboxes?

Stupid question, how do you cache a route/map to use it offline?

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