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Why I'm taking my iPhone and a Solar Charger

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  • Darryl
    In a previous discussion Letting go of old ideas http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/message/29738 several people recommended against taking a solar
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 28 1:11 PM
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      In a previous discussion "Letting go of old ideas" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/message/29738 several people recommended against taking a solar charger that weighs one pound. One purist declared "No charger or electronics". Another person said "Reduce the electronics and you won't need that much power."

      The most popular opinion was to go with disposable lithium batteries, and Roleigh suggested that I pick up new batteries at Red's and Muir Trail Ranch. "Carolsteveyoung" said I don't need a camera. "An iPhone is great, just turn off the phone. Only power up the iPhone for photo ops."

      Comment: I have used my iPhone previously as a camera, and have been quite satisfied with the results. Therefore, in order to reduce weight, I plan on getting the latest iPhone if it is released before I leave for the JMT in mid-August, and not taking my camera. I realize that I risk not capturing the full glory and majesty of the JMT with my iPhone compared, to my Canon ELPH 100.

      Here are other reasons why I want to take my iPhone and solar charger. Because I am a first time JMT hiker I would like to have access to Elizebeth Wenk's guide so I can check distances and campsites. The Kindle edition of her book is available which I can carry on my iPhone. I can also download information like first aid, emergency procedures and contact information with my iPhone. I would also use it for Paul Bodenar's new JMT app for iPhone. Therefore, by replacing paper and documents with my iPhone, there may be additional weight savings.
      I plan to use my iPhone to listen to audio books and music. I would need to charge it frequently, which is why I think I can justify carrying the PowerMonkey Extreme solar charger.

      My wife wants me to take a satellite phone which, if I did, I would recharge with the solar charger.
    • staehpj1
      Too bad the iPhone doesn t have a replaceable battery. With my Samsung Galaxy Note II I can just carry a couple extra batteries or a spare battery and a
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 29 4:38 AM
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        Too bad the iPhone doesn't have a replaceable battery. With my Samsung Galaxy Note II I can just carry a couple extra batteries or a spare battery and a charger. They were cheap and are quite light. I plan to take a spare and an aftermarket charger that can charge one battery in the phone and one out of the phone at the same time. I think the weight of battery and charger was about 2 ounces. With judicious use of the power I expect it to work out fine.

        My wife would like me to carry a sat phone or a Spot. I told her to get over it and expect to not hear from me much. I do usually promise to check my texts and send a text message when I have a signal. I find that using texts has a few advantages... First it works with a very poor signal that wouldn't be good enough for a voice call. Second, it uses way less battery. Third, we do not have to be both available at the same time.

        I might check emails and or make a voice call home where I have power and a signal, but I tell her to not count on that. I think it is wise to set expectations low and then exceed them rather than promise and not deliver. I made the mistake of promising to call every day on a bicycle tour and was in the dog house when she didn't hear from me for a week.

        If I had to take a pound of charger I think I'd just skip the phone myself.

        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Darryl" <dabrahms@...> wrote:
        >
        > In a previous discussion "Letting go of old ideas" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/message/29738 several people recommended against taking a solar charger that weighs one pound. One purist declared "No charger or electronics". Another person said "Reduce the electronics and you won't need that much power."
        >
        > The most popular opinion was to go with disposable lithium batteries, and Roleigh suggested that I pick up new batteries at Red's and Muir Trail Ranch. "Carolsteveyoung" said I don't need a camera. "An iPhone is great, just turn off the phone. Only power up the iPhone for photo ops."
        >
        > Comment: I have used my iPhone previously as a camera, and have been quite satisfied with the results. Therefore, in order to reduce weight, I plan on getting the latest iPhone if it is released before I leave for the JMT in mid-August, and not taking my camera. I realize that I risk not capturing the full glory and majesty of the JMT with my iPhone compared, to my Canon ELPH 100.
        >
        > Here are other reasons why I want to take my iPhone and solar charger. Because I am a first time JMT hiker I would like to have access to Elizebeth Wenk's guide so I can check distances and campsites. The Kindle edition of her book is available which I can carry on my iPhone. I can also download information like first aid, emergency procedures and contact information with my iPhone. I would also use it for Paul Bodenar's new JMT app for iPhone. Therefore, by replacing paper and documents with my iPhone, there may be additional weight savings.
        > I plan to use my iPhone to listen to audio books and music. I would need to charge it frequently, which is why I think I can justify carrying the PowerMonkey Extreme solar charger.
        >
        > My wife wants me to take a satellite phone which, if I did, I would recharge with the solar charger.
        >
      • ravi_jmt2013
        ... I agree regarding setting expectations low in terms of communication. I ve probably been making the mistake of calling family on local trips where I can
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 29 5:49 AM
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          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" <Pete.Staehling@...> wrote:
          >I think it is wise to set expectations low and then exceed them rather than promise and not deliver.
          >

          I agree regarding setting expectations low in terms of communication. I've probably been making the mistake of calling family on local trips where I can often get a cell signal. Now that's somewhat of an expectation. The new InReach device with two way text capability and delivery confirmation (and no need to pair with a smart phone) seems promising but $300 plus $160 for the minimum usable plan is pretty steep and could be on par with renting a satellite phone.
        • Wendy Shugar
          I NEVER had service on our trip. That being said I had my phone and a spot. Take a SPot though cant tell you how many people I talked to that were happy just
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 29 9:48 AM
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            I NEVER had service on our trip.  That being said I had my phone and a spot.  Take a SPot though cant tell you how many people I talked to that were happy just knowing they had one!!!
             
            Wendy Shugar
            Articulate Interpreters, Inc.
            6520 Platt Avenue, Suite 218 West Hills, CA 91307
            Telephone: 800/388-3099 818/704-4895 Fax: 818/704-7982



            From: staehpj1 <Pete.Staehling@...>
            To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Mon, April 29, 2013 4:38:15 AM
            Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Why I'm taking my iPhone and a Solar Charger

             

            Too bad the iPhone doesn't have a replaceable battery. With my Samsung Galaxy Note II I can just carry a couple extra batteries or a spare battery and a charger. They were cheap and are quite light. I plan to take a spare and an aftermarket charger that can charge one battery in the phone and one out of the phone at the same time. I think the weight of battery and charger was about 2 ounces. With judicious use of the power I expect it to work out fine.

            My wife would like me to carry a sat phone or a Spot. I told her to get over it and expect to not hear from me much. I do usually promise to check my texts and send a text message when I have a signal. I find that using texts has a few advantages... First it works with a very poor signal that wouldn't be good enough for a voice call. Second, it uses way less battery. Third, we do not have to be both available at the same time.

            I might check emails and or make a voice call home where I have power and a signal, but I tell her to not count on that. I think it is wise to set expectations low and then exceed them rather than promise and not deliver. I made the mistake of promising to call every day on a bicycle tour and was in the dog house when she didn't hear from me for a week.

            If I had to take a pound of charger I think I'd just skip the phone myself.

            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Darryl" <dabrahms@...> wrote:
            >
            > In a previous discussion "Letting go of old ideas" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/message/29738 several people recommended against taking a solar charger that weighs one pound. One purist declared "No charger or electronics". Another person said "Reduce the electronics and you won't need that much power."
            >
            > The most popular opinion was to go with disposable lithium batteries, and Roleigh suggested that I pick up new batteries at Red's and Muir Trail Ranch. "Carolsteveyoung" said I don't need a camera. "An iPhone is great, just turn off the phone. Only power up the iPhone for photo ops."
            >
            > Comment: I have used my iPhone previously as a camera, and have been quite satisfied with the results. Therefore, in order to reduce weight, I plan on getting the latest iPhone if it is released before I leave for the JMT in mid-August, and not taking my camera. I realize that I risk not capturing the full glory and majesty of the JMT with my iPhone compared, to my Canon ELPH 100.
            >
            > Here are other reasons why I want to take my iPhone and solar charger. Because I am a first time JMT hiker I would like to have access to Elizebeth Wenk's guide so I can check distances and campsites. The Kindle edition of her book is available which I can carry on my iPhone. I can also download information like first aid, emergency procedures and contact information with my iPhone. I would also use it for Paul Bodenar's new JMT app for iPhone. Therefore, by replacing paper and documents with my iPhone, there may be additional weight savings.
            > I plan to use my iPhone to listen to audio books and music. I would need to charge it frequently, which is why I think I can justify carrying the PowerMonkey Extreme solar charger.
            >
            > My wife wants me to take a satellite phone which, if I did, I would recharge with the solar charger.
            >

          • staehpj1
            I am not willing to pay another monthly fee for a device (Spot or Sat Phone). I really do not feel the need to always able to be in contact. While I love my
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 29 10:51 AM
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              I am not willing to pay another monthly fee for a device (Spot or Sat Phone). I really do not feel the need to always able to be in contact. While I love my smart phone, I am old enough to have backpacked long before any of these devices existed.

              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Wendy Shugar <articulate@...> wrote:
              >
              > I NEVER had service on our trip. That being said I had my phone and a spot.
              > Take a SPot though cant tell you how many people I talked to that were happy
              > just knowing they had one!!!
              >
              > Wendy Shugar
              > Articulate Interpreters, Inc.
              > 6520 Platt Avenue, Suite 218 West Hills, CA 91307
              > Telephone: 800/388-3099 818/704-4895 Fax: 818/704-7982
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ________________________________
              > From: staehpj1 <Pete.Staehling@...>
              > To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Mon, April 29, 2013 4:38:15 AM
              > Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Why I'm taking my iPhone and a Solar Charger
              >
              >
              > Too bad the iPhone doesn't have a replaceable battery. With my Samsung Galaxy
              > Note II I can just carry a couple extra batteries or a spare battery and a
              > charger. They were cheap and are quite light. I plan to take a spare and an
              > aftermarket charger that can charge one battery in the phone and one out of the
              > phone at the same time. I think the weight of battery and charger was about 2
              > ounces. With judicious use of the power I expect it to work out fine.
              >
              > My wife would like me to carry a sat phone or a Spot. I told her to get over it
              > and expect to not hear from me much. I do usually promise to check my texts and
              > send a text message when I have a signal. I find that using texts has a few
              > advantages... First it works with a very poor signal that wouldn't be good
              > enough for a voice call. Second, it uses way less battery. Third, we do not
              > have to be both available at the same time.
              >
              > I might check emails and or make a voice call home where I have power and a
              > signal, but I tell her to not count on that. I think it is wise to set
              > expectations low and then exceed them rather than promise and not deliver. I
              > made the mistake of promising to call every day on a bicycle tour and was in the
              > dog house when she didn't hear from me for a week.
              >
              > If I had to take a pound of charger I think I'd just skip the phone myself.
              >
              > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Darryl" <dabrahms@> wrote:
              > >
              > > In a previous discussion "Letting go of old ideas"
              > >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/message/29738 several people
              > >recommended against taking a solar charger that weighs one pound. One purist
              > >declared "No charger or electronics". Another person said "Reduce the
              > >electronics and you won't need that much power."
              > >
              > >
              > > The most popular opinion was to go with disposable lithium batteries, and
              > >Roleigh suggested that I pick up new batteries at Red's and Muir Trail Ranch.
              > >"Carolsteveyoung" said I don't need a camera. "An iPhone is great, just turn off
              > >the phone. Only power up the iPhone for photo ops."
              > >
              > > Comment: I have used my iPhone previously as a camera, and have been quite
              > >satisfied with the results. Therefore, in order to reduce weight, I plan on
              > >getting the latest iPhone if it is released before I leave for the JMT in
              > >mid-August, and not taking my camera. I realize that I risk not capturing the
              > >full glory and majesty of the JMT with my iPhone compared, to my Canon ELPH 100.
              > >
              > >
              > > Here are other reasons why I want to take my iPhone and solar charger. Because
              > >I am a first time JMT hiker I would like to have access to Elizebeth Wenk's
              > >guide so I can check distances and campsites. The Kindle edition of her book is
              > >available which I can carry on my iPhone. I can also download information like
              > >first aid, emergency procedures and contact information with my iPhone. I would
              > >also use it for Paul Bodenar's new JMT app for iPhone. Therefore, by replacing
              > >paper and documents with my iPhone, there may be additional weight savings.
              > > I plan to use my iPhone to listen to audio books and music. I would need to
              > >charge it frequently, which is why I think I can justify carrying the
              > >PowerMonkey Extreme solar charger.
              > >
              > >
              > > My wife wants me to take a satellite phone which, if I did, I would recharge
              > >with the solar charger.
              > >
              >
            • Chris
              Hi Darryl: I like your idea of using an iPhone to fill so many roles: camera, GPS, MP3 player, eBook reader, phone, text, etc. Great idea. I will do the
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 29 10:52 PM
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                Hi Darryl:

                I like your idea of using an iPhone to fill so many roles: camera, GPS, MP3 player, eBook reader, phone, text, etc. Great idea. I will do the same thing on my trip.

                I'm no expert, but it seems like there is a lighter solar charger out there. I have been looking into the PowerFilm USB&AA Solar Charger. Only about 7 ounces. Did you look into that?

                Cheers,

                Chris.

                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" <Pete.Staehling@...> wrote:
                >
                > I am not willing to pay another monthly fee for a device (Spot or Sat Phone). I really do not feel the need to always able to be in contact. While I love my smart phone, I am old enough to have backpacked long before any of these devices existed.
                >
                > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Wendy Shugar <articulate@> wrote:
                > >
                > > I NEVER had service on our trip. That being said I had my phone and a spot.
                > > Take a SPot though cant tell you how many people I talked to that were happy
                > > just knowing they had one!!!
                > >
                > > Wendy Shugar
                > > Articulate Interpreters, Inc.
                > > 6520 Platt Avenue, Suite 218 West Hills, CA 91307
                > > Telephone: 800/388-3099 818/704-4895 Fax: 818/704-7982
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ________________________________
                > > From: staehpj1 <Pete.Staehling@>
                > > To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                > > Sent: Mon, April 29, 2013 4:38:15 AM
                > > Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: Why I'm taking my iPhone and a Solar Charger
                > >
                > >
                > > Too bad the iPhone doesn't have a replaceable battery. With my Samsung Galaxy
                > > Note II I can just carry a couple extra batteries or a spare battery and a
                > > charger. They were cheap and are quite light. I plan to take a spare and an
                > > aftermarket charger that can charge one battery in the phone and one out of the
                > > phone at the same time. I think the weight of battery and charger was about 2
                > > ounces. With judicious use of the power I expect it to work out fine.
                > >
                > > My wife would like me to carry a sat phone or a Spot. I told her to get over it
                > > and expect to not hear from me much. I do usually promise to check my texts and
                > > send a text message when I have a signal. I find that using texts has a few
                > > advantages... First it works with a very poor signal that wouldn't be good
                > > enough for a voice call. Second, it uses way less battery. Third, we do not
                > > have to be both available at the same time.
                > >
                > > I might check emails and or make a voice call home where I have power and a
                > > signal, but I tell her to not count on that. I think it is wise to set
                > > expectations low and then exceed them rather than promise and not deliver. I
                > > made the mistake of promising to call every day on a bicycle tour and was in the
                > > dog house when she didn't hear from me for a week.
                > >
                > > If I had to take a pound of charger I think I'd just skip the phone myself.
                > >
                > > --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Darryl" <dabrahms@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > > In a previous discussion "Letting go of old ideas"
                > > >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/message/29738 several people
                > > >recommended against taking a solar charger that weighs one pound. One purist
                > > >declared "No charger or electronics". Another person said "Reduce the
                > > >electronics and you won't need that much power."
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > The most popular opinion was to go with disposable lithium batteries, and
                > > >Roleigh suggested that I pick up new batteries at Red's and Muir Trail Ranch.
                > > >"Carolsteveyoung" said I don't need a camera. "An iPhone is great, just turn off
                > > >the phone. Only power up the iPhone for photo ops."
                > > >
                > > > Comment: I have used my iPhone previously as a camera, and have been quite
                > > >satisfied with the results. Therefore, in order to reduce weight, I plan on
                > > >getting the latest iPhone if it is released before I leave for the JMT in
                > > >mid-August, and not taking my camera. I realize that I risk not capturing the
                > > >full glory and majesty of the JMT with my iPhone compared, to my Canon ELPH 100.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Here are other reasons why I want to take my iPhone and solar charger. Because
                > > >I am a first time JMT hiker I would like to have access to Elizebeth Wenk's
                > > >guide so I can check distances and campsites. The Kindle edition of her book is
                > > >available which I can carry on my iPhone. I can also download information like
                > > >first aid, emergency procedures and contact information with my iPhone. I would
                > > >also use it for Paul Bodenar's new JMT app for iPhone. Therefore, by replacing
                > > >paper and documents with my iPhone, there may be additional weight savings.
                > > > I plan to use my iPhone to listen to audio books and music. I would need to
                > > >charge it frequently, which is why I think I can justify carrying the
                > > >PowerMonkey Extreme solar charger.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > My wife wants me to take a satellite phone which, if I did, I would recharge
                > > >with the solar charger.
                > > >
                > >
                >
              • Darryl
                Chris, I chose the PowerMonkey Extreme based on reviews that I read on Amazon and a few other online sites. I can t remember if I saw the PowerFilm USB&AA
                Message 7 of 11 , Apr 30 9:39 AM
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                  Chris,

                  I chose the PowerMonkey Extreme based on reviews that I read on Amazon and a few other online sites. I can't remember if I saw the PowerFilm USB&AA Solar Charger, there are so many.

                  As frequently happens, it is a trade-off between weight and performance. A lot of the lighter model solar chargers did not seem to perform that well, and several customers seemed dissatisfied with their purchase. It goes back to that "fear" thing. Did you know that statistically more people make buying choices based on fear of a bad product than benefits?

                  Thanks for the recommendation.

                  Darryl

                  --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Chris" <cehauser1@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi Darryl:
                  >
                  > I like your idea of using an iPhone to fill so many roles: camera, GPS, MP3 player, eBook reader, phone, text, etc. Great idea. I will do the same thing on my trip.
                  >
                  > I'm no expert, but it seems like there is a lighter solar charger out there. I have been looking into the PowerFilm USB&AA Solar Charger. Only about 7 ounces. Did you look into that?
                  >
                  > Cheers,
                  >
                  > Chris.
                • Chris
                  Darryl: Yes, after looking more into those lighter-weight solar panels, there are mixed reviews. I m not sure what to go with. I ll look more into the one
                  Message 8 of 11 , May 1, 2013
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                    Darryl:

                    Yes, after looking more into those lighter-weight solar panels, there are mixed reviews. I'm not sure what to go with. I'll look more into the one you are choosing, or else just use my phone/camera VERY sparingly.

                    Yes, I have seen that trade-off factor into my purchasing choices. I think of it as an "insurance" factor... choosing something because it is more reliable, as opposed to something that has more features.

                    Best,

                    Chris.

                    --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Darryl" <dabrahms@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Chris,
                    >
                    > I chose the PowerMonkey Extreme based on reviews that I read on Amazon and a few other online sites. I can't remember if I saw the PowerFilm USB&AA Solar Charger, there are so many.
                    >
                    > As frequently happens, it is a trade-off between weight and performance. A lot of the lighter model solar chargers did not seem to perform that well, and several customers seemed dissatisfied with their purchase. It goes back to that "fear" thing. Did you know that statistically more people make buying choices based on fear of a bad product than benefits?
                    >
                    > Thanks for the recommendation.
                    >
                    > Darryl
                    >
                  • Stephen Kundell
                    I have had good results with the SunTactics solar charger that outputs to a USB port. Much better than Solio. Use it to charge my phone and camera plus a
                    Message 9 of 11 , May 2, 2013
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                      I have had good results with the SunTactics solar charger that outputs
                      to a USB port. Much better than Solio. Use it to charge my phone and
                      camera plus a backup battery.Only downside is weight of 8 ounces. I
                      drilled some holes around the edges and secure it to the top of my ULA
                      circuit.
                    • Darryl
                      Chris, One of the factors to consider is how much you are going to use your iPhone for audio listening. Apparently the iPhone is not that efficient with audio
                      Message 10 of 11 , May 2, 2013
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                        Chris,

                        One of the factors to consider is how much you are going to use your iPhone for audio listening. Apparently the iPhone is not that efficient with audio playback, even in airplane mode. If listening to music or audiobooks is not that important to you, a friend in this group, if I understand him correctly, suggests the Freeloader Pico might suffice:http://www.amazon.com/Pico-5060043531096-FreeLoader-Solar-Charger/dp/B002YNU5GU

                        Darryl

                        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Chris" <cehauser1@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Darryl:
                        >
                        > Yes, after looking more into those lighter-weight solar panels, there are mixed reviews. I'm not sure what to go with. I'll look more into the one you are choosing, or else just use my phone/camera VERY sparingly.
                        >
                        > Yes, I have seen that trade-off factor into my purchasing choices. I think of it as an "insurance" factor... choosing something because it is more reliable, as opposed to something that has more features.
                        >
                        > Best,
                        >
                        > Chris.
                      • judy
                        Hi - I ve posted about this before (message 29700), but I ve used a similar charging device for several 10-14 day trips very successfully. I use the iPhone as
                        Message 11 of 11 , May 3, 2013
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                          Hi - I've posted about this before (message 29700), but I've used a similar charging device for several 10-14 day trips very successfully. I use the iPhone as a camera, video recorder, and e-reader, and rarely for phone or email (never have done audio books). I also make pdf files of maps, guides, contact info etc. The solar device I use weighs 3.2 oz and has a 1500 mAh battery. It charges at about 120 milliamps per hour in full sun. Interestingly the iPhone 4 seems to use about 125-175 milliamps per hour no matter what you are using it for and has a 1420 mAh battery. I have been able to keep both the charger battery and the iPhone battery pretty much fully charged even on two week trips with many cloudy/rainy days. I have found this to be a consider weigh savings over having a camera and/or video recorder and book(s) to read.
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