Friday, September 18, 2009

Keeping the Smartphone going while Camping.

As more and more people transition from regular cell phones to the new line of internet enabled smart phones, battery life away from the home and vehicle can become a concern. Take my example, before my trip to Bass Lake in July 2009 I purchased a new IPhone 3GS. One thing that I quickly realized was the limited battery life this unit had. While I am not new to smartphones, the rate at which the unit used the battery was a surprise to me. I have listed a few tips that will help keep your phone going on those longer dry camping trips.
  • If there is no signal, go ahead and turn the phone off.
    • Some phone can use a lot of power trying to pick up a signal, if you’re in a remote area it is better just to turn the phone off or place it in flight mode.
  • Adjust your power options to turn the screen or backlight off sooner.
  • Turn down the brightness
  • Disable push e-mail and have the phone fetch e-mail once every hour or not at all (hey you’re camping you deserver a break).
  • Bring the phone car charger.
    • You would be surprised how a quick run to the camp store can add a few hours' worth of use to your phone.
  • Consider purchasing an extra spare battery or external battery-charging device.
    • I always carried a spare battery for my old Treo. Since the IPhone has a non-removable battery, you will have to purchase a charging case or battery. While these items are expensive, they can be life saving in an outdoor emergency. Here is a list of couple of external charging devices.
With some of the tips listed above, you should be able to make it to the end of your camping trip.

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  1. Some really good tips. I only bought a car charger so that I can use while car camping. I always have to change the email fetch schedule to every couple hours. And I put it on airplane mode at night to conserve battery, but then I can still use the phones alarm to wake me up in the morning if need be.

  2. Yes a car charger is a must have. When I was at Bass Lake, everything was so self-contained I drove very little and did not get a chance to charge up the phone. Funny thing, when I rented the pontoon boat it had a accessory charger on the steering console. Didn't help me as I forgot the charger back in the truck.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Great tips here for outdoor geeks, thanks!

    Two items I've found to be a must have when car camping. First is a portable jump starter. Get one that has a DC port and plug your car charger into that instead of your dashboard jack. It will work with any DC powered device and is very portable. Plus, if you have enough juice left and your own vehicle's battery dies it's available to jump it without relying on a neighbor or passerby. Price on those is $40-100 (some come with extras like air compressors, emergency lights, etc.)

    Also, my little Solio solar charger has saved me on multiple occasions. I top it off from the wall before I leave the house, and plug my iPhone in at night to play tunes free of the worry it'll run out of juice. Next day I keep the Solio in the sun during my trips to soak up the juice. The Magnesium edition comes with a number of tips so you can charge not only your battery but other mobile devices as well.