Staying Connected in the Outdoors July 17 2013

It’s embarrassing to admit, but we’re all attached to our smartphones and get agitated when we haven’t checked in for a while. Staying connected is important. We check email, peruse Facebook and see if there are any new text messages. Most places have cell phone service, but when you’re out hiking, hunting or fishing you might find yourself off the cell phone grid. What can you do to stay connected while enjoying the great outdoors?

Take Your Phone

Don’t leave your cell phone home when you head to the outdoors. Cell phone service is currently available in many areas with coverage zones constantly expanding. In fact, a new pilot program from the National Parks Service hopes to expand cell phone and Wi-Fi coverage in several national parks in the coming months. Maybe your favorite national park is next on the list.

Even when you don’t have cellular coverage phones can still be useful. You can download apps to your smartphone before leaving on a trip to access hiking maps, area information, first aid, basic survival, knot tying, field guides and more while you’re out of the coverage area.

Keep Devices Charged

Keeping your smartphone, tablet and other devices charged in the outdoors can be a little difficult, but you do have options.

  • Get a Car Outlet- When I travel I use a portable power inverter to charge devices. One end plugs into my car’s 12-volt outlet and the other end features a couple of plugs for my devices. This is a great way to keep everything charged while on the go.
  • Use a Portable Charger- If you need a quick, one-time charge, a portable charger is the way to go. These battery powered chargers are small enough to fit easily in a hiking backpack and can provide a quick charge if your device runs out. Stick a portable charger alongside your smartphone in your ProCase for an easy, backup power source.

Utilize Wi-Fi

A quick email check can be done from a smartphone, but if you’re planning on spending time online you’ll probably want a laptop or tablet. Finding Internet when you’re away from home is surprisingly easy. Search for a Wi-Fi hotspot near you (preferably a free one) and connect to the Internet without using up your entire cell phone data plan.

Keep Everyone in the Loop

You might not have much time to check-in individually with family and friends as you explore, so take advantage of social media to keep everyone updated. Upload pictures and updates on social networking sites so everyone can share in your fun. A GPS tracking app can allow family and friends to check in on your progress and see where you are on your journey.