Contributors to this thread:
Phone, GPS, Compass, all 3??
Doing lots of research recently and seeing that a lot of guys have converted to their phones with mapping apps whether it be OnX, GAIA, as opposed to handheld GPS. Guess technology is the same in phone/Garmin. If you have converted to phone solely, what are you all doing for charging and keeping phone charged throughout the hunt? Just looking for feedback prior to buying new GPS or just relaying on my Iphone and a backtrack device?
You'll want to try to see what works for you. I've found that I don't need a GPS very often for hunting elk because I simply go where they go. Then, I use the GPS to get back to camp and the end of the day in most cases.
I've previously used OnX and will be using GAIA this year instead on my phone for all of my GPS needs. I also carry a printed paper map in a Ziploc bag. I feel that for something as important as navigation there should always be a backup so I use my InReach as my backup GPS in the case that my phone were to fail. This means that I need to turn on both the GAIA and InReach to mark the important waypoints such as camp or the truck.
But primarily I'm using the cell phone intermittently and always in Airplane mode with the screen dimmed so it doesn't use much battery. I've found that I'll use about 25% of the phone's battery in a day but my phone's screen is also small so yours may use more battery.
For recharging the phone I'm using the Zendure A3 (link attached). I haven't come close to draining it yet but I think it would be plenty for 10-12 days straight if needed.
If you have a larger screen, don't dim it, or use your phone/GPS more often you will need to charge more often. This year, for the first time, I think I'll quit carrying the compass.
I take my phone and my gps. My New gps has never lost signal. The phone has . You are ok when your phone looses its signal as long as you have the area your in PRE downloaded in your onx app. I’m going to try GIAI phone app this year so I can compare it to onx first hand then just keep the one I feel is better.
I truck camp so charging isn’t an issue but I bought a 24000 mAh battery power bank that will charge my phone a handful of times in case I decide to spike out. I think you can get 2-3 days on a charge and with several charges you should be fine. If your counting ounces it isn’t light.
With the phone in Airplane Mode, and just using GAIA to plot waypoints, and navigate the "tough spots", my phone battery lasts a long time. I use a solar charger when needed, or just do a quick charge in the truck.
Just make sure to have all your maps downloaded beforehand, as mentioned above.
iPhone 7 with the GAIA app for nav, a 60 yr old Marbles brass compass for backup are my tools. I charge the iPhone and inReach SE (no GPS on my model) with a Walmart $20 charge pack that easily can get me 10 days to 2 weeks of power for the phone. the inReach will last 2 weeks without charging the way I use it.
I am currently in Alaska and have my InReach in combo with phone. The maps, texting, plus gps has worked great! There is a start up fee plus $19/month for InReach. It's possible to get a plan for just one month for $19 which is pretty darn good! I also have OnXMaps for land status but not sure if you would need a separate gps for that?
Just remember, a gps is much more resilient then your phone. Yes it is nice to have the bigger screens and such as found in the phone. But, your phone isn’t nearly as hardy as your gps is. Something to ponder. With lithium batteries, the gps will last for days staying on constantly. You just have to decide whether you want to carry a charger and your phone. Or your gps. God Bless
most of the places I hunt where I need a GPS....phone based GPS don't work worth crap.
I disagree a Garmin GPS is tougher than an iPhone. I've carried an iPhone since 2011...virtually everyday of the year and never broken one...including using it in the backcountry.
My luck with Garmin GPS's is poor...I've had 2 yellow Garmin Etrex 10's give it up...my wife one. Also my Geko mini lasted a year. The last one was an expensive Oregon 450 with the BC backcountry map ($450 Canadian or so). When it broke I switched to GAIA on the phone and have never and will never look back. I carry the phone in a pint freezer ziplock in my pocket if it is wet, and it has a thin black plastic cover on it with a screen protector.
So...in my experience I get about 150 days out of a Garmin GPS prior to failure across the five GPS units at our house, and have not had an iPhone failure, across three phones in 2500 days of use. That makes it very easy to see which is tougher...to say nothing of the 100X better screen, maps, aerial photos, quick save of waypoints, easier use, multiple use....camera, alarm, texting on inReach, notes, etc.
All 3. Always have the compass. Never fails or runs out of power. I like the GPS for some things and I like my phone for OnX and other mapping apps for other things. Mostly I already know where I am and where I am going and only need to make a quick confirmation reference from time to time. Sometimes I get turned around (dark) and really rely on my track to get me back and oriented.
I run both the OnX app and gps. Also, I like to get a 25k topo of the area I plan to hunt.
In dark timber and a heavy snow storm your GPS and quite possibly cell phone won't work well. Have a compass and a map.
Phone, GPS, Compass, Digital Camera, InReach
I will carry a battery pack when on extended trips for the phone, inReach
I hunted last year with Gaia and never had cell signal. GPS worked great. Like others have said, pre download your area and you’re good.
Kurt, I've carried i-phones since about then and have had to replace 3 of them. I just break stuff. Not on purpose. But cruising timber a lot sees me spend more time in the woods falling, tripping, slipping, etc.... and falling on my phone more then the average guy. Dropping them on rocks doesn't do them much good either. Not the phones fault at all. I just have to plan on me doing what I do. :^) The screens are the weak spot
Compass has stayed home for many years, gps was left home last year.
I just like having a compass on me. I keep a basic gps in my pack turned off but with a waypoint of the camp location. I wouldn't trust my POS iPhone to guide me across the street.
I always have a compass...the batteries never die. Haha Plan for the worst and hope for the best.
I don't know how it compares to an actual compass, but one area I hunt you absolutely can't rely on the phone compass, only way you can tell what direction you are going is to record a track and watch the progress, it's a highly mineralized area!
I carry my phone and a compass for backup, some areas I also bring a paper map if unsure of best exit direction before going in. I also carry a small backup battery pack with charging cable to keep the phone going if necessary.
I carry my phone only in airplane mode using Onx. Works great and also eliminates the need for a camera.
Phone, GPS , Compass(es).. and a little note book for notes and description of those waypoints too.
Sold my GPS.
My iphone 6 went 5 days using only the GAIA and taking pictures on my Alaskan Drop camp last year.... then I just recharge with one of those small Anker chargers to get a full 10 days out of it . It uses very little battery when on Airplane mode. That GAIA is awesome.
Old goat I’ve found the same with my phone compass. I would not trust it for a second. I relied on Gaia for over a week and never had one error. It saved me lots of miles through deadfall.
If I'm using a float plane to get there it's that far away I carry all three. If all it takes is 5-10 miles of walking to reach safety I will carry my phone and a battery cell.
I use ONX in airplane mode, have a small Jackary portable battery pack charger ($28 on Amazon). I can recharge my iPhone 2X and it is very small. I can go about 5 days using the map and gps on the iPhone. It replaces my old solar pad charger that was unreliable in wet weather. I carry my Garmen GPS as a backup.
All 3 plus satellite phone
Right now all three. I'll never not carry a compass and map of some kind. IMO the phone is a bit slower, harder to acquire in timber and bottoms and not as pinpoint as the gps. Phone has a much better screen though. I like that the rino has a walkie talkie..... it's pretty cool when your partner has one too as you can see their location. Yeah Bruce..... I finally figured it out..... main thing is watch what you're doing when screwing around with it on a lunch break under a tree.... =D
I'm thinking at some point my rino is going to be replaced with the inreach. Just have to talk my partner into one. =D As another plus I understand the inreach uses mini usb and you can use the same battery bank for charging as your phone.
All 3, every time, unless I’m hunting small woodlots. They don’t weigh inch for some insurance.
I’m sitting here grinning and shaking my head. Two years ago I mentioned Gaia and cell phones on this forum based on an article I had read. It raised such a ruckus I thought I must have poked a hornets nest.
Now I see a bunch of folk using it with no problems. It never ceases to amaze me the negativity that blows up in these forums when someone brings up something new and untried.
I hunted Alaska last year for moose and brown bear. Gaia maps served me very well on my iPhone 6plus set on airplane mode.
I carried an EasyAcc 26000mah recharging device that kept my phone, the guides phone and his in reach device going for ten days and still had 25% charge.
I returned from NWT Tuesday of this week. Same scenario. I kept three folks devices charged for 5 days and had 50% remaining when returning to base camp. My guide was so impressed, I gave him the unit as part of his tip and ordered me a new one when I got home.
Amazon Prime is amazing, I got my replacement in the mail today. BTW you can charge 4 devices at one time. It weighs 1 pound, but an incredible piece of equipment.
I also bring a 18000mAh booster pack to charge all my devices with the added bonus it has some 8" jumper cables attached that will start up a car or similar sized engine.
I'll have to remember the airplane mode for longer iPhone use when a charger isn't available....great suggestion! I have mine in an Otterbox and often place my iPhone in a Ziploc bag in Alaska and other trips to keep it dry and clean of dirt. Another suggestion for iPhone is a remote and small ghorilla-pod for taking photos (if hunting alone).
I got the free GAIA gps app. It uses not only the US gps satellites, but french, russian, and whomever else has them. Regularly locks onto 20+ satellites, position error is like 3 feet! Doesn't need cell service
Gaia GPS is a great app. I don't use a regular GPS anymore because of the poor battery life and small screen on most. With my ancient Samsung Note 3 I have plenty of screen space. But I also have a custom waterproof map and compass and many times I'll pull out that shaded topo map for reference. I expect my phone to fail.
Galaxy 9 with OnX as my primary. I get about 5 days on airplane mode. Worked fine even in the Gila wilderness. Picked up a solar panel charger to extend longer. Use my inreach as backup.
Portable iPhone charger, it’s compact and reasonably light. Works very well.
I like the phone with GPS app. But also think a GPS as a backup isn’t a bad idea.
Anyone got suggestions on a good gps that works and has good battery pack
The Delorme inreach can be used as a GPS and the battery lasts a long time especially when you bring a battery pack to charge it.
Those Rinos were cool when hunting with another guy that had one.
I sold mine a couple years ago after using the GAIA on my iPhone. That ping feature of the Rino's would be nice to incorporate into their software if possible.
I always have a compass in my pocket on a hunt along with a headlamp [afternoon], knife, lighter and chapstick. I always try to establish some bearings with the compass...it just feels better having a general idea what's going on. I used to bring Topo paper maps...no need to now.
What the heck am I going to do with the thousands of dollars of maps I have accumulated over the years?
GAIA has been far superior to my GPS units- primarily due to the map quality and larger screen.
All three plus map if remote area. My last phone crashed in a friendly environment and NOTHING was retrievable, PITA.
If you have an Inreach, use the "earth mate " app provided by garmin, sync your in reach to your cell phone (using bluetooth). Turn cell phone to airplane mode. You can navigate using cell phone screen, save waypoints etc... Relies on satellite service instead of cell service. I don't need a gps anymore. Still carry a compass though, fire starter. ( Have to download maps of area you're hunting ahead of time through the earth mate app).
I’ve used my phone with preloaded map apps exclusively on about a dozen back country hunts now over 5-6 yrs and on another dozen or so hunts where reception was poor. I always take along a keychain compass as backup though. Weighs like an oz and if you lose/break your phone and it’s foggy or dark, you can be in trouble for what amounts to negligible weight.
Been doing it that way since 2011 I think, been doing it backpacking since 2014 or 15. Now that I'm backpacking I like the Dark Energy Poseidon for recharging. 2017 I bought a popular gps with touch screen to see if I liked them now that a touchscreen was available, sent it back, battery life wasn't near as good as on my phone and it weighed more, also my phone has a great camera on it so I don't have to carry a separate camera and that helps with weight. All pros and no cons if you have a top end smart phone, not so sure about the budget modeled smart phones!
Have to add though, the compass on the phone can be a little funky in highly mineralized areas but never compared it to regular compass to see if it was reading off too, I just start a track when I don't feel like the compass is working and watch my progress on the screen to make sure I'm moving in the right direction, this is mainly applicable at night when I'm really seriously using the GPS to navigate.
For charging, I started taking a spare car or mower battery and keeping it in the tent. A clip on 12V plug allows us to connect multiple chargers and easily lasts a couple weeks. We plug in our phones at night just like we do at home.
I don’t see anyone saying they using their phone for a flashlight very much. :@)
I have cnelk, especially to change batteries on the headlamp and the energy pack I have has a light on it too. And in response to Darrell, I always carry one of those jump starter power units in the truck, that way I have a way to charge phones, air up the tires etc, and jump the truck if need be, but it doesn't get used backpacking but it's in the truck if I need it!
I haven't tried a phone gps out of concern for battery usage.
But I'll advocate for always, always carrying a backup compass. Stuff happens! Be prepared.
GAIA with my phone in Airplane Mode, when I'm trying to navigate to a certain spot I've looked at on the map. I mark waypoints on it when I find active wallows, feeding areas, heavy game trails, etc. (or where I have elk encounters).
I also carry a small compass as backup, and my InReach to keep in touch with those at home, and my Buddies who might be inbound if I'm out solo.
I've tried ONYX, and I'm much happier with GAIA.
I’m too cheap to buy a GPS app - I use Avenza. USGS quads are free to download in advance, and it works in airplane mode!
Last year was my 1st year with a mini inreach blue toothed to my Iphone with garmins earthmate downloaded on phone. Incredible for sure! I leave Iphone in airplane mode, no reception for phone anyway. Incredible piece of equipment!