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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

iPhone vs. Stick

In a survival situation, what comes out on top—Apple's must-have gadget or a caveman's tried-and-true tool?

Raise your hand if you're one of those obnoxious folks who ostentatiously pull out your iPhone in a darkened setting, just so you can feel other people's seething jealousy when they see the pale blue glow of the Jesus phone reflecting off of your face. (It's OK to admit it—you're among friends. Plenty of BP staffers are guilty of all charges.)

Lots of people have joined the iPhone club, but how many people still use a stick as a wilderness survival tool? That caveman standard might've fallen by the wayside, but it still has plenty of uses: Hunting implement, navigation aid, and even bathroom helper. But how does it stack up to an iPhone, what with the addition of GPS and a boatload of outdoor-centric apps?

The goofballs at Backcountry.com decided to pit the two against each other in a no-holds-barred wilderness challenge. The results might surprise you:
Shelter:
Any Girl Scout worth her cookies can build a lean-to out of some deadfall, but it takes a true iDouche to trust a trendy Apple product to shelter him from anything but the inability to Twitter right up until hypothermia sets in. Score: iPhone 1, Stick 3
In six out of ten categories, Grog's wooden stick trumps the iPhone when it comes to wilderness survival. But we're not so sure. An iPhone's considerable weight might make for quite the hunting projectile, and don't tell me I can't mesmerize a bear (or any other wilderness menace) with a quick demonstration of its simple, intuitive interface. Bears love that.

(Do you have an iPhone? What outdoors applications do you use it for? Tell us, yo.)

—Ted Alvarez

Backcountry Tool Showdown: iPhone vs. Stick (backcountry.com)

Thanks, Patrick

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CindyK
Oct 05, 2010

It's really sad to see you guys so hung up on the iPhone when the Android gives you so much more options.

FYI to Rich. with an Android, you can carry a spare battery and replace it yourself.

Rich Allcorn
Oct 05, 2010

If I am going to carry a $600 dollar item in my pocket into the wilderness, I'd prefer to have a real ... I mean a "REAL" live GPS to an iPhone. Hey, the iPhone GPS app is great, but it sucks down battery life (and you can't replace your battery in the field) and if you've got no cell service, you're screwed!

A real GPS on the other hand can do anything that an iPhone app can, and can also take regular AA batteries in-the-field!

For communications? Take walkie-talkies!

Joe
Oct 05, 2010

I am really sick of Backerpacker doing every 5th story (online emails and facebook) about some app for the iphone. Not everyone has one (or wants one). While I believe that technology is part of backpacking, it isn't all about it. You would think that this was a magazine about the iphone with a little backpacking on the side.

Stephen
Sep 16, 2009

I love my iPhone tho I am a little weary of having $600 in my pocket in the woods, I usually pop my SIM in my old standby phone for such trips. There are some cool apps geared towards the outdoors. Need to tie a knot, theres an app for that, identify a plant or bird, theres an app for that, need to find where to buy the cheapest iPhone replacement because you dropped your in the lake, theres an app for that.

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