I have been trying desperately to lose weight, and — until recently — have failed miserably. Then, I discovered hiking. Despite only minimally watching my weight, I have lost four pounds in one week. I have been taking a steep path to the top of the mountains at Verdugo Mountain Park in Glendale, CA.
I’ll stop with the exercise talk here since this isn’t a health and fitness blog. But what is relevant here is the use of your electronics while hiking. Smartphones, headphones, tablets, etc. can be either a blessing or a hindrance. And when I say hindrance, I mean you can get hurt or — at worst — killed. Here is some advice from a relatively new hiker who has learned by mistakes over the past week.
Get an LTE or 4G smartwatch.
A smartphone can be a distraction. It’s also extra weight. Some may say they need to take their smartphones with just in case something happens. However, this is where a smartwatch that has cellular service comes in. You can track your exercise, get directions (if you really need them), and make an emergency call if you need to.
My Apple Watch has come in handy for the past seven months, but never as much as it has the past week. Leaving my iPhone X in my car has been more of an asset than a disability. However, I do admit taking the iPhone up the hike with me once to take some pictures.
If you do take smartphone with you, put it in backpack and use minimally.
This is very important. I never thought I’d be one of the foolish ones to fall when answering a call, but it happened. To make things worse, I was going downhill. I had some minor scrapes and slightly hurt my wrist, but it could have been a lot worse.
Even yesterday, I was walking up, and saw a girl’s nose glued to her smartphone as she was walking down. It wasn’t steep, but steep enough for her to have a potential accident like I did. Or even worse.
Avoid wearing headphones, especially ones with noise cancellation.
It’s dangerous enough taking a regular walk with headphones since it makes it easier to get in an accident. But it can be a lot more dangerous when hiking. Even if the headphones don’t have noise isolation or noise cancellation, they are a distraction.
Not having your ears fully open to sound is dangerous in some areas, especially ones where there is a possibility of being chased by a wild animal or even a snake. Many hikers invest in Bluetooth speakers to attach or put in their backpacks, and (usually) play their music quietly. Doing this can actually save lives.
Hiking is a very rewarding, and it keeps us mentally and physically fit. But technology products, if not used correctly, take away from the experience and make it dangerous. The less technology you walk up with, the better. But if you are going to use technology while hiking, use common sense.