Stay Safe on Your Summer Hikes: GPS Trackers for Outdoor Enthusiasts

The summer weather means a lot of people head to national parks and other remote locations to get in touch with nature. Do you plan to go hiking this summer? Here’s how a GPS tracker can help you stay safe no matter where your adventure takes you.

Hiking Is Relatively Safe, But Accidents Happen

When it comes to outdoor activities, hiking is a relatively safe option. It doesn’t even make the list of The 20 Most Dangerous Sports — although you’re taking a much bigger risk when you add mountain climbing to your itinerary!

According to the National Park Service’s Public Risk Management Program, fewer than 250 people die per year within the park system. That’s about one person out of every million who visit national parks.

Some of those deaths happen because of medical emergencies, such as heart attacks caused by hikers pushing themselves beyond their limits and dehydration caused by overestimating the amount of drinkable water available in the wild.

Unintentional deaths without underlying health conditions most often involve drowning, motor vehicle crashes, and slips and falls.

Although considered a pretty safe activity, hiking accidents do happen. Inexperienced hikers might not know this but stepping just a few feet away from a trail can obscure the path, making it easy to get lost. Of course, trips, falls, and other misfortunes happen, too.

Protecting Yourself with a GPS Tracker

What happens if you go on a solo hike and end up taking a hard fall that breaks your ankle? You can’t always count on your smartphone to call for help. Mobile devices only work when they can connect to cellphone masts that broadcast signals to base stations. If you can’t connect to a mast, you can’t place an emergency call. Understandably, you don’t find many cellphone masts in the remote areas where people enjoy hiking.

GPS trackers don’t have this limitation. A GPS tracker uses satellites to find your location through a process called trilateration. Then, someone using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer can view your location from a place that has an internet connection.

The SilverCloud app makes it easy for someone to track your progress while you hike. If you remain stationary for a very long period, that might suggest you’ve gotten hurt. A friend or family member could alert park authorities and give them your precise coordinates so they can find you quickly.

This approach works great in all kinds of emergency situations, including floods and tornadoes.

Location-sharing is also helpful when you don’t come back from your trip on the date you planned. Maybe you want the challenge of a three-day thru-hike. If you don’t come home after three days, a loved one with access to your GPS account can find your current location and send it to a nearby search-and-rescue team.

Extra tip: Always tell people when you plan to go hiking and tell them when you should return. Otherwise, no one will know to use your GPS device to find you.

GPS Trackers Vs. Smartphone Apps: Which Is Better for Hiking?

Are you tempted to use your smartphone’s GPS app to stay safe during your summer hikes? A reliable smartphone app is probably better than nothing. Still, it can’t compete with the protection you get from a stand-alone GPS tracker and dedicated software. Why?

GPS Trackers Are More Accurate

Although precision varies from device to device, you should expect a stand-alone GPS tracker to give you more accurate location information than a smartphone app. Assuming the smartphone app even works in the area you visit, it won’t give you a precise location. Extraordinary precision doesn’t matter much when you just want driving directions. But every minute counts, and just a few feet of discrepancy can make a huge difference in a potential life-or-death situation.

Smartphones Might Not Work at All

Many smartphones have GPS technology that can help you track your location while you hike. If you can’t connect to the internet, though, you can’t share your location with others. In other words, the smart app doesn’t help when you face a true emergency and need assistance.

GPS trackers don’t rely on the internet or cell masts. They use a system of satellites orbiting the planet. That makes them much more useful when you get lost or hurt while hiking. As long as someone has access to your account, they can see where you are.

GPS Devices Typically Have Longer Battery Lives

An Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate can hold a charge for up to 18 hours and 32 minutes. A Motorola Edge Plus can last up to 15 hours and 47 minutes between charges.

Those are excellent battery lives from daily use. When you go on a long hike, though, you might need a device with a battery that can last days. Stand-alone GPS trackers can have much longer battery lives. Depending on the device you choose, you might not need to charge your GPS tracker for a week or longer.

The Top GPS Trackers for Outdoor Enthusiasts

You don’t want to trust your safety to GPS trackers that don’t have all the features you need during summer hikes. The following trackers from LandAirSea (LAS) stand out as some of your top options.

LAS 54

The LAS 54 has a rugged design that resists water and dust, making it an excellent GPS tracker for outdoor activities. Whether you carry it into the desert or a rainy forest, the LAS 54 can easily withstand the environment.

The compact body also makes the LAS 54 a convenient option for through-hiking. It’s only 2.25 inches deep and about an inch high, so you can easily stow it in your backpack or pocket.

The LAS 54 has a long battery life that makes it suitable for short hikes or multi-day excursions. When set to update its location every 3 seconds to 3 minutes, the battery should last at least one week. In low-power mode, you can go up to 6 months between recharges.

Importantly, the LAS 54’s ShareSpot feature lets you share tracking information with loved ones. Give access to someone you trust to monitor your progress. If you don’t return when expected, they can alert the authorities and give them your location. Emergency responders will know where to find you no matter how far you’ve traveled off the beaten path.

LAS Overdrive

The LAS Overdrive has the same features as the LAS 54, but you get a much longer battery life. Expect the battery to last three to four times longer than the 54’s battery and you can take it on longer hikes. You could even spend weeks hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) before recharging the Overdrive. Considering that the AT stretches over 2,000 miles, you definitely want to bring a GPS tracker for safety.

The longer battery life also makes the Overdrive great for last-minute excursions. You don’t need to plan ahead and charge the battery the day before you leave. You get the protection of a GPS unit for outdoor enthusiasts even when you travel on a whim.

The Overdrive has a slightly larger size to accommodate its battery. Still, at 2.8 inches deep and an inch tall, you won’t even notice it during your hike.

LAS SYNC

The LAS SYNC plugs directly into your vehicle’s OBD-II port, which means you never need to worry about replacing or recharging its batteries. Since LAS designed the SYNC to track vehicles, though, you wouldn’t want to carry it during a hike. It just wouldn’t work. So, why should outdoor enthusiasts consider getting an LAS SYNC vehicle tracker?

Because the LAS SYNC can help you find your vehicle quickly.

After a few hours on a trail, it’s easy to forget where you parked your vehicle. You might not remember which trailhead you used to start your journey. Adding the SYNC to your car, truck, or RV makes it easy for you to locate your vehicle so you don’t have to wander around looking for your ride home.

A vehicle tracker like the SYNC can also help when you get lost during an outdoor adventure. Let’s say you read your map incorrectly and get turned around in the forest. Old, faded trail markers don’t help much, and that assumes you can even find them.

A GPS tracker lets you reorient yourself and find the way back to your vehicle. In some cases, it’s literally a lifesaver that can get you out of dangerous situations before something bad happens to a member of your group.

Find the Right GPS Tracker for Outdoor Adventures

Not sure which GPS tracker you should choose for your next outdoor adventure? Visit the LAS camping and hiking page to learn more about your options.

You can also reach out to ian.conley@landairsea.com for personalized advice that will keep you and others safe during your summer hikes. We’re excited to help you choose the best GPS tracker for your unique summer plans.