Backpacking is a best way to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature. With the advancements in technology, using your phone as a GPS device has become a popular option for backpackers. It allows for easy navigation, tracking your progress, and finding your way back to your starting point. In this article, we’ll go over how to use your phone as a GPS device for backpacking, including the necessary apps, hardware, and tips to make your backpacking trip successful.
What is GPS?
Before we dive into how to use your phone as a GPS device, it’s important to understand what GPS is and how it works. Global Positioning System, or GPS, is a system of satellites that orbit the Earth. Your phone and other GPS receivers receive signals from these satellites and can use them to determine your precise location.
Before using your phone as a GPS device for backpacking, you need to ensure that you have the necessary hardware. These are the essentials you must have:
Smartphone: A smartphone with GPS capabilities is required to use as a GPS device. The phone should have enough battery life to last throughout your backpacking trip, so it is recommended to carry a power bank or an extra battery.
GPS App: There are several GPS apps available, and you can choose one based on your needs. Some popular options include Gaia GPS, AllTrails, and ViewRanger.
Mounting device: To use your phone as a GPS device, you need to mount it on your backpack or body. There are several mounting options available, such as a phone holder, armband, or chest mount. Pick one that will make you feel comfy and convenient.
Maps: To use your phone as a GPS device, you need to download the maps for the areas you will be backpacking in. You can download the maps through the GPS app you choose.
GPS App Setup
Once you have the necessary hardware, you need to set up your GPS app to use your phone as a GPS device. Here are the steps:
Download the GPS app of your choice from the app store.
Open the app, create an account, or sign in if you already have one.
Allow the app to access your location and other necessary permissions.
Download the maps for the areas you will be backpacking in. You can usually find this option under the app’s settings.
Set up the app to track your progress, such as distance, time, and elevation.
Customize the settings to suit your needs, such as setting waypoints, tracking your progress, and displaying information on the map.
Using Your Phone as a GPS Device
Now that you have set up your GPS app, it’s time to use your phone as a GPS device. Here are a few pointers to get started:
Fix your phone
Mount your phone on your backpack or body using your chosen mounting device.
Turn on GPS
Make sure your phone’s GPS is turned on. This will allow your phone to determine your location using satellite signals.
Open Your GPS App
Open your GPS app and wait for it to locate your position. This may take a few minutes, especially if you’re in an area with poor cell reception.
Follow the Trail
Use the GPS app to follow the trail. Your exact location on a map will be displayed via the app, along with the trail’s location. Reach your objective by following the trail.
You can save waypoints in your GPS app if you want to remember certain locations, such as a campsite or a scenic viewpoint. This will allow you to navigate back to these locations later.
Share Your Location
If you’re backpacking with others, you can share your location with them using your GPS app. This will allow them to see where you are on the map and vice versa.
Bring backup power
Using your phone as a GPS device can drain your battery quickly, especially if you’re using offline maps and GPS tracking. Consider bringing a backup power source, such as a portable charger or extra battery, to ensure your phone stays charged.
Download maps for offline use
Make sure to download the maps for the areas you will be backpacking in before you leave, as you may not have internet connectivity in remote areas.
Tips for Using Your Phone as a GPS Device
Here are few tips to help you get the most out of your phone as a GPS device for backpacking:
Keep Your Phone Dry: Make sure your phone stays dry. If your phone gets wet, it could malfunction or become damaged.
Use Airplane Mode: Turn on airplane mode to conserve battery life. This will stop your phone from constantly looking for a cell signal.
Bring a Paper Map: While your phone is a great tool, it’s always a good idea to bring a paper map as a backup.
Learn the Basics: Learn how to use your GPS app before you head out on your backpacking trip. This will help you avoid getting lost or making mistakes.
Use a Phone Mount: Consider using a phone mount to keep your phone in a convenient location. This will make it easier to access your phone when you need it.
Using your phone as a GPS device for backpacking is a great way to navigate through unfamiliar terrain. By preparing your phone, using the right apps and settings, and following some simple tips, you can make the most out of your phone as a GPS device. Remember always to stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors!