Will it last on a hiking trail?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by mkeith813, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. mkeith813 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2014
    #1
    I am going on a long (80 miles) hike in a couple of weeks and don't expect to receive my watch until next week. The hike will take approximately 4-1/2 days and I know that i'll REALLY want to wear my new watch but am wondering if its worth it. I'll have a battery pack so I can use and recharge my 6 plus for GPS.

    I won't have time to test the battery and apps extensively before I ship out so I am asking you guys that have owned yours for a little while. If my phone stays on airplane mode most of the time, do you think it's even worth worrying about the extra juice I would have to carry to wear it on the trail?
     
  2. Randman macrumors 65816

    Randman

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Fla
    #2
    Take the cord and an external charger. It doesn't take long to charge it up. Don't use the HR tracking as activity to save time.
     
  3. mkeith813 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 4, 2014
    #3
    I could definitely take it and keep it charged but if I wear it, it would be replacing my Highgear which tracks the my elevation and barometric pressure. It would require that I carry extra gear though (charger and a larger battery pack) and on trips like this one, every ounce matters. Would it's features (GPS, Activity tracking) merit trading it out for my Highgear and carrying the extra gear?
     
  4. pooleman Suspended

    pooleman

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Eastern CT
    #4
    The Apple Watch doesn't have GPS, it uses the iPhone GPS and just relays the information. Also, I am not sure where you are going to hike but when I do hikes that take several days up near our New Hampshire house I am often out of cell signal range so the functionality of the Watch would also be limited.

    Personally I wouldn't take it. We have a dedicated GPS that we use only in case of emergencies. I have a BIOLITE camp stove that I take that burn wood to produce heat and will charge a device so I do not need to take an extra battery pack. I have brought my iPhone on the long trips to track our progress but once you are out of signal range the results get messed up and unreliable. I don't take the iPhone with me anymore on hikes. I have a cheap throw away phone in case we get stuck or for the end of a long hike to call for a ride if our cars aren't staged at the trail head.

    Also, a lot can happen on the trail. Slips and falls, climbs, trips through bogs and water and mud. I wouldn't want to damage my new Apple Watch in the outdoors like that. Take your other trail watch and play with your Apple Watch when you get back. I am a watch whore myself. I asked my wife for a simple $50 water-proof G-Shock for Christmas so that I can hike and not have to worry about my nicer timepieces. She ended up buying me a $200 G-Shock, but you get my meaning.
     
  5. echo4sierra macrumors member

    echo4sierra

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    May 4, 2015
    Location:
    Gnarnia
    #5
    I'd think you'd be safer with your Highgear. The watch can alert provide weather alerts-along with the phone-but not when the phone is in airplane mode.
     
  6. iamasmith macrumors regular

    iamasmith

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    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    #6
    I'd be taking my Garmin eTrex 30 along as well. Not too expensive ~18 hours run time on a pair of AA cells so you can swap them whenever needed and you can leave it tracking the whole route to a GPX file. It's going to be much more reliable in a remote location than the iPhone for GPS and it's waterproof too.

    I'd keep the iPhone off tracking to conserve battery life and then just charge the phone and the watch from the charger. I've got a great little unit with 2 USB ports, plug the phone into the 2A port and the watch into the 1A port and I would be set.

    All I'd need then was 8 AA batteries for the Garmin :)

    Have a great trip btw!
     
  7. GrumpyJarhead macrumors newbie

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    Oct 12, 2014
    Location:
    North East Ohio
    #7
    I wouldn't. Too much risk of damage over that period of time under trail conditions. Of course, I'd also not take an iPhone without a really good waterproof, shockproof case.
     
  8. mkeith813 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 4, 2014
    #8
    Thanks. I knew the watch itself doesn't have a GPS but didn't know about pushing the GPS information from my phone to it for that long. We definitely don't have cell signal in the mountians of NC and SC where going but I usually download the maps offline and GPS without using data has a surprisingly long battery life.

    How do you like your BIOLITE!? I have toyed with the idea of buying one for no other reason than they're awesome but it is considerably larger and heavier than a battery pack and like I said earlier, every ounce counts.
     
  9. mkeith813 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 4, 2014
    #9
    I know I would miss the weather alerts but if I don't have to pull out my phone to check my speed and distance to waypoints, I think that would be worth it.
     
  10. nheilweil macrumors 6502a

    nheilweil

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    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    #10
    Are you kidding? OF COURSE you should take your watch hiking! So epic are you kidding me? Wear it and report back!

    You said your backpacking 80 miles right? You didn't say you're doing class 5 scrambles or rock climbing and even if you were, you can always take your watch off for a couple hours!

    Not sure if you're using GaiaGPS but it's the best hiking app out there at the moment and there's a watch companion app, multiple map layers, such as OpenStreet Map's "Open Hiking Map" topo among others, which can be downloaded for offline use.

    Did you know that as of iOS 8.3, GPS now works in Airplane mode? This is fantastic news because it used to drain your phone quickly having cellular on to have GPS but being out of cellular range. No more!
     
  11. Dukecitydawg macrumors newbie

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    May 22, 2015
    #11
    I do a lot of hiking in Northern NM/Southern CO, and took my watch on a rigorous 4-day hike. Probably would not do it again, as the Watch had no real added benefit during the hike and ended up being an unnecessary drain (albeit a small drain) on my portable charger, which I like to reserve for my phone. I have a hiking watch that shows temp and pressure; use Gaia on my iPhone to mark my track; and have a Garmin GPS and a coated paper map for reliable navigation. While I love my watch for around town, I do not prefer it for extended outdoor activities like overnight hiking, trekking, or camping.
     
  12. pooleman Suspended

    pooleman

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    Jan 11, 2012
    Location:
    Eastern CT
    #12
    I like the BIOLITE a lot. It is a little bulky but since you don't need to carry fuel or external battery power bricks it kind of evens out. There is always twigs and small wood around whatever camp site we chose so we always have fire. It is solidly built and has lasted a while now. It isn't a great heat source in cold weather because it is relatively small and burns through the small wood pieces you feed it pretty quickly. But it's plenty of heat to cook on and light up the campsite.

    Where do you download your offline maps from? Which app(s) do you use?
     
  13. ibwb macrumors regular

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    Mar 7, 2006
    #13
    Although recharging the watch itself won't drain much from your battery pack, in my experience the drain on the phone battery (due to communications with the watch) can be significant. Something to keep in mind.
     
  14. mkeith813 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 4, 2014
    #14
    I've seen GaiaGPS but it's difficult to pay $20 for an app when Motion-X was $2 and provides everything I need with a watch app too. I've not really been too concerned about the safety of watch. If it cant survive me on the trail, it's probably not going to do too well in my everyday. I'm active but careful with my toys.

    I appreciate the input. Did you use the Gaia app for the watch?
     
  15. Dukecitydawg macrumors newbie

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    May 22, 2015
    #15
    I had it installed but I believe it was hitting my Watch battery pretty hard, so I have uninstalled it. Did not use it on the hike, but it would be interesting to hear how it does.
     
  16. Nodger macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    #16
    Anybody any idea how long the Apple Watch battery will last if I went on a day hike and started an 'Outdoor Walk' Workout - would it last 6-8 hours with heart-rate updates every 5 secs??

    Without using the Workout app yesterday the watch really didn't recognise/reward what was a pretty strenuous 5 hour uphill and ridge walk. In fact it registered the same amount of Move calories when driving back for three hours sat on my ass!

    So until Apple sorts out its software looks like I'll have to start a Workout but not sure whether the battery will last for 6-18 hours. Anyone any experience??
     
  17. bhferguson macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #17
    I've elected not to take my watch on my weekend hiking trips. Between the additional power needed and the fact that I have another watch that was made for hiking, I just don't see the point in risking any damage or having to deal with the hassle of charging.
     
  18. mkeith813 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 4, 2014
    #18
    Fair enough. I was recently able to upgrade some of my gear to shed a few pounds so i'm still on the fence of whether or not to take it.
     
  19. bhferguson macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #19
    I might be more inclined later on after the shine of this new gadget wears off, but the reality is, I already take a GPS that does what I need it to out on the trail. And I rotate between a Suunto Core and an old Timex expedition that both offer additional tools - mainly altitude, barometer, and compass. I do carry a battery back-up to keep the phone charged, which I primarily use to take photos. Maybe an app will come out down the road that will convince me to take the watch on a trek. Until then, I feel better with it staying at home.
     
  20. T-Will macrumors 6502a

    T-Will

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    Sep 8, 2008
    #20
    We did a 4 hour hike yesterday where I used Outdoor Walk with the heart rate sensor on. My Watch was down to around 35% and my iPhone 6 was around mid-20% at the end of the hike around 6pm. The Watch and iPhone had already been partially drained since we started the hike later in the day.
     
  21. Nodger, Jun 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015

    Nodger macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    #21
    I normally use a Suunto Core as I find elevation to be handy as a navigational tool and indicator of progress when in the mountains.

    I also tend to record my tracks using the Viewranger app on my iPhone 6 - continuous GPS use doesnt seem to hit the battery.

    At the weekend I used my new Apple Watch and used the Viewranger app on my watch. The app info is fairly limited - time, distance etc. but it does show my current elevation at a glance, so it cover the primary benefit of my Suunto.

    I know it's another thing to charge but I carry a battery pack for my phone anyway, though it's another (overly long) charging lead to take. I'm hoping we'll shortly be able to buy shorter 3rd party charging leads.

    One other thought - I was relatively comfortable taking my sporty looking SGS Sport watch in the the mountains (as long as not actually climbing) but I've also just taken delivery of a SS BSB - and I'm not so sure I'd want to take this, it's feels too smart and precious!
     
  22. Karnicopia macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2015
    #22
    Wow that bio lite thing looks really cool! Thanks for the info I'll probably have to pick one of those up.
     
  23. Mobster1983 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    #23
    I just spent 10 days out in the field with the Army doing some pretty heavy training. I got a skin for it and had no issues at all. Does need to be recharged once a day (or more if you are using it to track your progress). I had the white sport band, but after washing it with soap it looks good as new.

    I would recommend getting a solar charger if you are going to be camping out. I used that to charge a battery pack, which then charged my phone and watch.
     
  24. Newtons Apple Suspended

    Newtons Apple

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    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #24
    A wise choice indeed. I would be much more happy with a good Garmin GPS that will last a good day on a couple of disposable batteries. It can be a life saver.
     

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