[pct-l] WAS: device advice NOW: The Devices We Carry

Mike Saenz msaenz at mve-architects.com
Tue Mar 6 15:58:51 CST 2007

Re: the GPS thing- without a map and the knowledge of how to read it, a
GPS can only give you info on your location that can be passed along to
others via radio/sat phone/cell phone for SAR. This could be (and has
already been proved to be) valuable information in itself. But if you're
using it for navigation IN ADDITION to map/compass, it can be convenient
but not necessary. Optimally, you should know how to navigate XC with
just a map & compass. These skills aren't difficult to learn and once
learned are actually a lot of fun to practice while hiking (at least to
us map-geeks). I use my GPS for information on my daily hike progress-
time stopped/ time moving, current elevation, average MPH, etc. For me,
this info helps me regulate my pace throughout the day. If I see I'm
ahead of schedule, I either recalculate/rethink my destination, or slow
down to enjoy the sights more.

Re: Devices-

I just purchased a Solio solar charger! I'm hoping the unit is capable
of powering my devices while in use. I also hope it stores enough charge
to fully re-charge my device's batteries. The unit itself is pretty
lightweight (I haven't confirmed the weight yet), but all the cables I
need (particularly for my satellite radio receiver) weigh just as much
as the Solio unit. I need to find someone who can splice an adapter and
shorten cords...

I carry the following electronics on the trail:

Sirius Stilleto satellite radio receiver
Garmin "Foretrex" GPS
Olympus "Stylus" camera
Cell phone
iRiver MP3 player (now replaced by the Stiletto)
and now- a Solio charger

My GPS is powered by two, AAA batteries. If I keep my GPS on the entire
day, it uses two batteries per day. I'm thinking about getting
rechargeable batteries now that I have a solar charger.

My camera has a separate "cradle" charger for it's rechargeable battery.
I've gone over a week on the trail with one charge, so I probably won't
be packing it's charger.

My cell phone is part of my safety net. I don't leave without it. But
it's one of those Motorola "Razr" phones and it's about as light as they

I carried my MP3 player on my last hike because I didn't have way to
recharge my Stiletto. But now that I think I have a viable solar
charger, I'll probably leave it at home.

I've heard of camcorders packed into the field. I've also heard of
palmtops and the pocket mail gizmos. What else are we packing?
Without getting into a whole "get back to nature / leave civilization
behind" debate, I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts about just why we
pack these things. A couple days ago, I thought this was a great way to
use technology on the trail. Now that I look at the list of electronics
I have, I'm asking myself some interesting questions...

Michael  Saenz
Associate Partner

MVE & Partners, Inc. | Architecture + Planning + Interiors 
Irvine + Oakland + Honolulu

1900 Main Street, Suite 800 | Irvine, California 92614-7318 | T
949.809.3388 | www.mve-architects.com

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