NJ Hiking: Connect

A Social Network for New Jersey Hiking Enthusiasts

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I'm going to come out of the closet and tell you guys (my internet hiking friends), first:  I still have a "dumb"phone. In 2013. I'm looking at it right now - it's next to my rebel t3i and iPad. 

Point is I'm not tech un-savy. I pay $50 a month to get photoshop and aftereffects for example (adobe creative cloud) and spend a lot of time on Apple products.  So with this background my question is:

Should I get an iPhone or go Android ( and if so,specifically which phone)? 

Hiking/backpacking use / practicality is a major consideration for me. I generally just use my cellphone to call my girlfriend and send the occasional sms text to buddies. I use and will continue to use Verizon which seems to be top notch in terms of reception and coverage (NJ mainly and elsewhere in US). So I want to know what phone  you guys use (not carrier b*tching) and are worth considering for:

GPS (this is issue in and of itself). Photo/video. Weather apps. Bird/tree/flower id apps. Topo maps. First aid. Astronomy charts.  But more so, do they work when you want/need them - when I want to identify a bird right next to the Waywayyanda AT shelter,  or more critically, when I just just got bit by a rattlesnake what do I do - sorta work. (I would obviously have a non satellite/whatever g version of the first aid app to reference, but you get my point).

I'd love to hear what you guys are using and find practical and useful - and if you're replying from your cellphone deep on the Batona trail (represent NJ here!) mention that in your thoughtful reply! Thanks -TJK

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We have an iPhone 5, we finally upgraded from 3GS when the 5 came out last fall. Not sure if there is really any advantage of one smartphone over the other at this point though - it all comes down to apps, and would think the major ones are both iOS and Android at this point.

When we got the iPhone originally we excitedly downloaded all the hiking/GPS/bird/first aid apps, but while we are really techy...  we found we seldom reach for apps while hiking. And we still prefer our Garmin over a phone app for GPS for how we use it. 

But that's just us. We prefer being disconnected while hiking: phone ringer is off and we don't answer emails/texts, usually the only time the phone is out is if we're using it as a camera if we decide not to lug the SLR.

However, we have used Weather Channel's app to check on weather that looked like it was rolling in ... to be on a trail and be able to check a radar map is still rather magical.

These are decent hike apps (on iOS, unsure on others):

  • MotionX-GPS is still probably one of the best GPS app of the lot
  • Avenza PDF is great for free topos as well as TC maps
  • NJ and PA Parks app by PocketRanger are not bad

And if you are into National Parks, you probably already have these on your iPad:

  • Individual park apps by Chimani can be good.
  • National Parks by National Geographic are good; nice touch: photo tips for iconic park features
  • National Geographic Park Maps - high res park maps w/trails. I could look at these for hours.

Interesting ones we never think to use:

  • iBird
  • pUniverse - stars
  • LeafPeepr - fall foliage

--Dawn

Thanks Dawn for your in depth reply. In all likelihood I will get an iPhone (yes I'm in the cult), just waiting to see if any android people chime in with opinions. My iPad is WiFi only so I don't really use it outside of home or commuting to work as ereader.


njHiking.com said:

We have an iPhone 5, we finally upgraded from 3GS when the 5 came out last fall. Not sure if there is really any advantage of one smartphone over the other at this point though - it all comes down to apps, and would think the major ones are both iOS and Android at this point.

When we got the iPhone originally we excitedly downloaded all the hiking/GPS/bird/first aid apps, but while we are really techy...  we found we seldom reach for apps while hiking. And we still prefer our Garmin over a phone app for GPS for how we use it. 

But that's just us. We prefer being disconnected while hiking: phone ringer is off and we don't answer emails/texts, usually the only time the phone is out is if we're using it as a camera if we decide not to lug the SLR.

However, we have used Weather Channel's app to check on weather that looked like it was rolling in ... to be on a trail and be able to check a radar map is still rather magical.

These are decent hike apps (on iOS, unsure on others):

  • MotionX-GPS is still probably one of the best GPS app of the lot
  • Avenza PDF is great for free topos as well as TC maps
  • NJ and PA Parks app by PocketRanger are not bad

And if you are into National Parks, you probably already have these on your iPad:

  • Individual park apps by Chimani can be good.
  • National Parks by National Geographic are good; nice touch: photo tips for iconic park features
  • National Geographic Park Maps - high res park maps w/trails. I could look at these for hours.

Interesting ones we never think to use:

  • iBird
  • pUniverse - stars
  • LeafPeepr - fall foliage

--Dawn

I just ditched my dumbphone at the end of May. And despite the fact that I spend more time on a mac than a PC, I decided to go with a Droid. My fat fingers demanded that I get a bigger screen than the iPhone offered. I am not fully assimilated to it yet, so i can't tell you about apps etc. In fact, i just copied down Dawn's list to see what I can use :-)

I do know that it depends more on the carrier than it does on the phone. I use Verizon and I have been able to get a signal most places in Stokes and Harriman. Head for the ridges if you plan on using your phone a lot. 

I can't see the point of using your phone's GPS unless you have an unlimited data plan. And then you need to worry about battery life.

Hope this helps -but you might already have a phone by now....

Paul

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