Tent site with electric hookup to the tent

5:06 a.m. on September 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Those motorhomes with their noisy generators have nuthin' on me :D

If you look closely you can see the power line running into the tent :)

(at Rae Lakes, Sierra Nevada)

image.jpg

1:19 p.m. on September 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Nice!

I need to get me one of those.

Mike G.

5:29 p.m. on September 16, 2012 (EDT)
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you bring your playststion backpacking?!

6:21 p.m. on September 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Playstation?  Umm, no :P

I used the solar panel to charge my iPhone and Nikon batteries.

The iPhone was/is a true multi-use device:

- Daily journaling in Evernote

- flashlight when I needed to replace my headlamp batteries after dark

- two-way messaging via DeLorme inReach satellite messenger

- trail map viewing - via GPS signal from inReach, using Gaia GPS app

- 3G Text Messaging at destination trailhead, when I found a spot with an intermittent signal :)

- Book reading using Kindle Reader during my zero days

- "Book" reading (PDFs) to review my trip planning documents

It's getting difficult to imagine not having the iPhone with me on my trips now.  In fact my current thinking is that when I'm in a position to upgrade to the iPhone 5, I'll keep the iPhone 4 just for use on the trail, so I'm not risking damage to the expensive new one out there.  The main downside is the battery drain, and since it's not replaceable, I can't carry spares & need to be able to charge it while on my trips.

I'm on the verge of deciding to sell my DeLorme PN-60w with SPOT messenger too...

6:02 p.m. on September 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I didn't know the GPS in phones was that good that you could actually map with it...The iphone 5 is out late this month...drool...

6:37 p.m. on September 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Actually I didn't rely on the GPS in the phone.  I used the iPhone in conjunction with the DeLorme inReach, relying on the inReach GPS signal.

8:22 p.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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guess you really need that solar panel to charge all those batteries...I just use my garmin etrex in conjunction with a map and compass.

2:31 p.m. on October 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm pretty sure I go hiking to get away from all that stuff, but I can see the value. I do after all bring a camera, and if your iPhone is that multi-purpose, it only makes sense to bring it, too.

3:11 p.m. on October 4, 2012 (EDT)
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anything to get rid of the generator noise and exhaust is good

7:04 p.m. on October 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Callahan said:

anything to get rid of the generator noise and exhaust is good

 Where the heck are you guys backpacking, Baxter NP with 40 foot RV's?  It's hard to believe the head honchos would set up a car-campground and then allow generators but I know sadly it's allowed.  RV types call what they do Camping so I guess hauling out a noisy hateful generator for their Grid Fix is just part of the allure.  They call it recreational vehicle camping, I call it gas huffing.

None of this has anything to do with the original post but whenever the generator subject comes up in relation to camping I get crazy.

10:53 a.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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I went to a campground I'd never been to before, and booked a lovely site right by the river. I got there early and it didn't look too bad, but within a couple of hours, all the other sites had filled up with the aforementioned 40 ft. RVs.

Then the generators fired up. Most were turned off by around midnight, but it still meant a night sleeping with earplugs in.

12:09 p.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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As a kid, we went family camping at roadside campgrounds, some of which included spaces that accommodated large trailers and motor homes.  They often used generators.  

More recently I can think of a couple specific examples:

- in 2011, I camped with my brother at the Big Trees Campground along the Bishop Creek Road in the eastern Sierra.  The party at the site next to us fired up a generator early in the morning.  My brother was disturbed by the noise (it was early enough that we were still sleeping) so he went to speak to them about it.  They were apologetic, but said they needed the generator to power their coffee maker.  It was a very large generator too.  All I can say is they must have been pretty serious coffee drinkers...  I found this so noteworthy that I even took a couple pictures of said generator & coffee maker :).


image.jpg


image.jpg

- This summer, I spent one night of my JMT trip at a roadside campground at Reds Meadow near Devils Postpile National Monument.  The people in a motor home a few sites away used a generator well into the evening.  I didn't take any pix though :).

Generator use seems to be quite common at roadside campgrounds, maybe even more so than in the past.

12:27 p.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:


Generator use seems to be quite common at roadside campgrounds, maybe even more so than in the past.

 It's called the Electrified Lobotomy.  Suckling off the energy teat when indoors is bad enough, as I am doing right now on a computer.  To do so when "camping" or being outdoors is an attempt I suppose to cling tightly to the American standard of living.  Why the National Park service with their 40 foot RV campgrounds allow such crap is beyond me.

12:53 p.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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I can understand why the NPS allows the RVs, and think they should (it enables people to enjoy the outdoors even if they don't enjoy sleeping on the ground) ... but I do feel they should designate specific areas and not allow intermingling of them in with other campsites.  Some areas do have designated RV sections.  But others, like the two I mentioned above, allow RV parking in any site large enough to accommodate them.

But in the other example I gave, the offending party wasn't in an RV.  As shown in the pictures, they used tents.  They "needed" the generator to power their coffee maker...

It kind of comes back to something akin to the saying, "dislike the action, not the person".  In this case I guess it's "dislike the action, not the mode of shelter".  :)

5:22 p.m. on October 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Any battery operated tent heaters that run off those solar batteries? :D

4:46 p.m. on October 6, 2012 (EDT)
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@second gear, Haha, I doubt any heater that would run off a 26 watt solar panel would generate enough heat to be useful :).

11:29 p.m. on October 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Which solar panel is that?

1:07 a.m. on October 7, 2012 (EDT)
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@JimDoss, it's the Brunton Solaris 26.  It works great for charging my Nikon  DSLR batteries and iPhone 4.  The street price is considerably less than the MSRP shown on the Brunton site.

9:21 p.m. on October 7, 2012 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

@JimDoss, it's the Brunton Solaris 26.  It works great for charging my Nikon  DSLR batteries and iPhone 4.  The street price is considerably less than the MSRP shown on the Brunton site.

 Thanks!  :-)

2:09 a.m. on December 15, 2012 (EST)
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r u sure that "inreach?" shares its coordinates?.... no! not per techs @ delorme! you are using your cell gps coordinates.... at least on the android side of the blue unit. love my solar panels and AA rechargables!

did you have any troubles with bluetooth connectivity... ie  paired but not connected? if not I may have to bite the apple!

did love the unit in THEORY...

 however I returned it to REI....

after multiple rude conversations with delormes tech support!

11:09 a.m. on December 15, 2012 (EST)
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There are many right ways to recreate in the outdoors.

I have been very traditional in my outdoor pursuits, but now that I am 62 with some busted body parts parts from horse and mule wrecks, I have a travel trailer.  My girl loves the thing.

This fall we were out in the high mountains of eastern Nevada where the weather is quite chilly.  We were in a quiet campground with no hookups. Everyone there was in an RV except for one person who was working during the day.  I use a portable generator to keep the batteries up for boondock camping.  Then we can run lights, water pump, maybe a radio, and kick on the furnace in the morning when temps are below freezing.  It is a very civilized way to extend the camping season and works well for conditions like deserts with blowing sand, blizzards, and high winds.

 

 

11:24 a.m. on December 15, 2012 (EST)
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mrgadget said:

r u sure that "inreach?" shares its coordinates?.... no! not per techs @ delorme! you are using your cell gps coordinates.... at least on the android side of the blue unit. love my solar panels and AA rechargables!

did you have any troubles with bluetooth connectivity... ie  paired but not connected? if not I may have to bite the apple!

did love the unit in THEORY...

 however I returned it to REI....

after multiple rude conversations with delormes tech support!

Mrgadget,

 The whole point to using the inReach with the iPhone is that the Earthmate (or Gaia GPS, or other) app on the phone uses the GPS signal from the inReach instead of the phone.  In fact I operated mine in Airplane mode so the phone's GPS receiver was disabled.

Maybe it works differently with the Android, but then I wonder, what is the point of connecting the inReach to the phone if you still use the phone's GPSR?

Regarding Bluetooth connectivity ... I did have various issues, but Bluetooth connectivity was not one of them...

2:53 p.m. on December 15, 2012 (EST)
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mrgadget (Leon?) -

As Bill Heiser points out, the inReach has a GPS chipset (a very good one, in fact, far better than any of the smartphones have) and provides location information to the smartphone (iOS or Android), iPad, iPod, and several other iThings and Android devices if you have the "Blue" (bluetooth) version, or to a PN60w if you have the "Green Zigbee" version (there is also a purely Android version). I have been using the Zigbee version with a PN-60w for several years now, as well as a SPOT Communicator, and the Blue version with my 2 iPads (iPad 1 and "new" iPad) and Samsung Galaxy SIII for about a year. The Zigbee (and SPOT Communicator) use their GPS chipsets to geotag the messages (1-way for the SPOT Communicator and 2-way for the Zigbee) and trackpoints. The Blue also provides the position information for iOS and Android devices for the Earthmate app, as well as other mapping apps on both operating systems.

I have checked the accuracy for many (literally hundreds) locations and tracks for both the inReach and internal GPS-derived locations. The inReach positions are consistently more accurate than the internal GPS chipsets. The trackpoints for the regular versions of the inReach are limited to 10-minute or longer trackpoint intervals (there is an aircraft version that does more frequent trackpoints). But I can check the accuracy by plotting the tracks on Google Maps and see that the points are consistently on the trail (many of the trails I hike are 3-5 feet wide).

Simply returning your inReach to REI does not cancel your subscription. You have to send an explicit cancellation notice, as I did recently with my SPOT Communicator (I find the inReaches to be more useful, both because of the 2-way communication capability and because inReach is better at getting the messages through in challenging environments - inReach uses the Iridium satphone digital service while SPOT uses the GlobalStar satphone digital service - GlobalStar is gradually improving its service through addition of more capable satellites and replacement of older satellites and may catch up with Iridium). GEOS handles the messaging billing for both SPOT and inReach, while Delorme deals with hardware. Did you deactivate your device through your account on explore.delorme.com?

I have not had any of the problems you mention in your review, even though I switch the pairing of my Blue inReach among the 2 iPads and the Samsung phone. When switching, you do have to re-pair, since as with most bluetooth connections, the devices remember only 1 or 2 pairings, both on the phone and inReach sides. What version of the Earthmate app were you using?

Have you gone on the Delorme forums? Most of the people there are not employees of Delorme, and truly try to be helpful. I am not a Delorme employee, either. I have used their mapping software for close to 20 years.

1:10 p.m. on December 16, 2012 (EST)
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as was my assumption .. but according to delorme coordinates are only sent  in messages.... not to phone.... also airplane mode does not shut down gps? only transmitting radios ie: wifi, cell, but not bluetooth, or gps?

I was quite disappointed in mapping quality and was the reason for the first tech calls. and then it snowballed from there. when he explained that coordinates were not sent from inreach but rather using the smartphones gps for mapping... except when using the canned message buttons....

wanted to use "my hardware signal{inreach}" with many other quality topo map software. to save battery life on phone..

I am still looking for an EMERGENCY MESSAGING LIFE SAVING TOOL! prefer two way communication!

sat phone? ham radio?spotty at best...own uhf, vhf, hf, frs, marine band, aircraft band, hand held radios....

bought a sat phone but need internet to see when satellites are overhead....

I want my own Dick Tracy or Star Trek communicator? 

7:04 p.m. on December 16, 2012 (EST)
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Somehow, you got some very wrong information, asked the wrong questions, or misunderstood the answers.

(1) Depending on your particular smartphone, "airplane mode" shuts down all radio communications for the phone - cell phone service, wifi, bluetooth. According to the Apple website:

Summary
Airplane mode disables the wireless features of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to comply with airline regulations.
Products Affected
iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
When you enable airplane mode from the Settings screen, an airplane icon () appears in the status bar at the top of the screen and the following wireless connections and services are turned off:
Cellular (voice and data)
Wi-Fi
Bluetooth
GPS
Location services

If allowed by the aircraft operator and applicable laws and regulations, you can re-enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while in airplane mode:
Wi-Fi: While airplane mode is on, tap Settings > Wi-Fi, then turn Wi-Fi on and choose a Wi-Fi network.
Bluetooth: While airplane mode is on, tap Settings > Bluetooth, then turn Bluetooth on.
For additional information on airplane mode, see the User Guide for your iOS device. Not all wireless features are available on all iOS devices.
Additional Information
When you use certain accessories with some iOS devices, you may see a prompt recommending the use of airplane mode. For more information, see About iPhone, iPad, and iPod Accessories.

Same is true on my Samsung (Android phone). You can turn the bluetooth back on and connect to the inReach. GPS receivers are receivers only and do not transmit radio signals (although there is some RF leakage, which is why you have to shut down your GPSR, laptop, etc during takeoff and landing of commercial aircraft).

(2) The GPS-derived coordinates are transmitted from the inReach via Bluetooth to your iThing or Android device at 2-second intervals. This is only between the inReach and your iThing or Android (or PN-60w if you have the Green Zigbee version of the inReach)

(3) The messages transmitted by the inReach to Iridium, which transfers the text messages to email and SMS addresses designated by you at the time of sending, include the coordinates. The messages can be pre-programmed messages (2 types - "quick" and "help"), "Here I am" (location messages), or freeform messages you enter from your iThing or Android, or "track" messages. These messages are also registered on your iThing or Android via Bluetooth. In addition the inReach can be triggered from your iThing or Android to send "911/SOS) messages, which go to GEOS, which will confirm with your registered contacts and potentially activate a SAR operation.

(4) The inReach can also transmit messages "autonomously", triggered by the buttons on the inReach - "Here I am" location messages, "quick" preprogrammed messages (3 different ones), and the "911/SOS" emergency messages. These are sent regardless of whether the iThing or Android is turned on through the Iridium satphone system as text or SMS messages to your pre-designated list of recipients (911/SOS messages go to GEOS).

(5) Messages sent to you are received from the Iridium satellites by the inReach. If your iThing or Android is turned on, the messages are sent via your Bluetooth connection to your Earthmate app and displayed in the message screen. If your iThing or Android is turned off, inReach stores them as long as it stays on, then relayed to your iThing/Android when you turn it on. If your inReach is turned off, the incoming messages are stored in your "Back Office" (the explore.delorme.com website). You can view them on your computer or when you turn your inReach back on, they are downloaded through Iridium to your inReach, which will then transfer them to your iThing/Android.

(6) I use NatGeo's and Delorme's topographic mapping programs as well as Google Earth and AllTrails with inReach. The data gathered and stored from inReach works just fine with those. Note that bheiser uses Gaia for mapping from his inReach. If you go on the Delorme Forums, you will find that a number of people use their inReaches with still other mapping software.

(7) What satphone did you get? You do not need to look up when the SVs are overhead to use Iridium, GlobalStar, or Inmarsat satphones, since you have one or more of the satellites in any of these constellations within range within 10-20 minutes (Inmarsat uses geosync satellites, so you have at least one of their sats always in view). I have never had to wait for Iridium SVs either. With the new launches for Globalstar, even their 10-20 minute waits will soon be a thing of the past. I have used all 3 from various parts of the US, South America, and Easter Island. There are some non-covered areas of the Earth for GlobalStar, but I have used Iridium from Antarctica, as well as Inmarsat and ham radio with no problems.

(8) I would suggest that if you would learn to use your inReach properly, you would find it does all you say you want with no problems. Satphone doesn't give your location, but as far as communication, none of the 3 main satphone systems are "spotty" if you know how to use them.

1:36 p.m. on December 17, 2012 (EST)
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1: sprint evo 4g "old now"... did all updates etc...

more documentation in the box would have diffused my issues.

online blog documents revealed issues particular to evo...after purchase and subscription ... or did I just not want to see... while in new toy mode?

2, 3, 4, and 5,  techy repeated "coordinates are not sent to device directly". but are sent to center and web server... breadcrumbs, canned or otherwise...

6, see above... from the web.... not from the device directly! 

7, global star 

8, really, REALLY, wanted it to work! AND I still want it to work!

in theory it is exactly what i want / need!

however it is no longer in the toy category, IT MUST WORK EVERY TIME!

3:18 p.m. on December 17, 2012 (EST)
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mrgadget said:

1: sprint evo 4g "old now"... did all updates etc...

....

 I am not familiar with the Evo, though it is true that different manufacturers implement Android differently.

2, 3, 4, and 5,  techy repeated "coordinates are not sent to device directly". but are sent to center and web server... breadcrumbs, canned or otherwise...

6, see above... from the web.... not from the device directly! 

.......

 That is definitely wrong. The coordinates are sent to the iThing and Android devices for the Bluetooth version. That's how the Earthmate gets the data to plot on the Map page. The iPads I have are both the Wifi-only versions (plus Bluetooth for the link to headsets and the inReach), hence do not have a GPS chipset. When I am off on a trail somewhere, I have no Wifi connection, so the Bluetooth link to the inReach is the only possible source of location information for either iPad.

This image is a screen capture from my iPad 1 from a "walk around the block" using the iPad to display the map as I walked and the Blue inReach to supply the position information. No built-in GPS chipset, so obviously the locations had to come from the inReach.


inReach15MaoTrack.jpg

Note that the coordinates are in the lower right.

Here is another screen capture, from an errand run up to Redwood City in the car, with the iPad rotated -


image5.jpg

And another one captured on Mission Peak, where I did the night hikes for my Petzl NAO and Black Diamond Icon Polar headlamp reviews -


MissionErthmat.jpg

To repeat, neither of my iPads have a GPS chipset in them. The information obviously came directly from the inReach via the Bluetooth connection.

7, global star

 The GlobalStar sats are in a more inclined orbit, hence do not have polar coverage for either pole. Also, since GlobalStar uses a "bent pipe" architecture, their phones (and SPOT, which is a GlobalStar subsidiary) do not have coverage in the southern parts of South America and South Africa, plus some other regions that do not have the ground relay stations. Also, GlobalStar does not have coverage for a major part of the ocean areas. Currently, you can have up to 20 minute outages with GlobalStar, but they are in the process of launching more SVs to get more complete coverage.

Inmarsat, being geosynch satellites, covers the whole planet except for a small part of the North and South polar regions.

Iridium satellites are in close-to-polar orbits, hence have complete coverage of the planet.

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