Using Technology to Stay Safe in theWild
es, technology makes spending time
outdoors more convenient. More
importantly, it can also help you stay
safe. Here are a few ways technology
can help keep your wilderness adventure
from turning into a wilderness disaster.
Cell phone service in the backcountry is
inconsistent, so you might want to con-
sider using a satellite phone. Like a cell
phone, it’s portable, but you can get
service virtually anywhere. You can use
a satellite phone to make calls or send
text messages in an emergency situation.
Getting lost in the wilderness is less of a
concern with a global positioning system
(GPS), which can be used to chart your
course, track your miles, and determine
how much altitude you’ve gained or lost.
If you lose your way, it can help you get
back on your intended route and find your
way back. To make the most of a GPS,
learn how to use it before you set out.
Pocket-sized personal locator beacons
(PLBs) allow you to notify rescue per-
sonnel of an emergency. It works by
emitting a distress signal to satellites
that send the information to government
stations (though they can’t communicate
back). Because you have to register the
device in advance, personnel will know
who you are. As with a GPS, learn how
the PLB works before you embark on
Just remember that
no amount of
technology can guarantee your safety
Know and understand the dangers you’ll
face when you camp, hike, bike, ski,
surf, or embark on any other activity in
the great outdoors. Always have backup
methods (such as bear spray, a map and
compass, or extra food) ready in case
your technology fails.
Yellowstone National Park, the
chances of being injured by a
bear are about 1 in 2.1 million.
Caring for Your Devices Outside
When you bring technology into outdoor environments, anything can happen:
• Leave your tablet out on the picnic table at your campsite, and it could get rained on.
• Drop your cell phone while on a trail, and it could fall down a mountainside.
• Put your GPS in a loosely zippered backpack pocket, and it could fall into a stream.
To prevent these mishaps, take special precautions when using your technology outdoors.
Use protective coverings, wrist loops, and waterproof cases. Each evening, take an inven-
tory of all your devices to make sure they’re safe from the elements.