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 decided to pit the two against each other in a no-holds-barred wilderness challenge. The results might surprise you:

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 (

Thanks, Patrick