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How much is too much?

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Okay, open forum on how much technology is too much?

 

I've camped 1860's style and I've done the Pace Arrow motorhome trips.  The Mrs. is looking into the hiking between B&B's too.  :)

 

So, is a smart phone for knots better than a book on knots... or should the boy just know his knots and leave both behind?

 

Just an opening to invite any GPS vs. compass discussions, books vs. cell phones, stump vs. camp chair, Bic vs. matches, camp stove vs. camp fire, etc.  Heck hike in vs. back the trailer in is okay here too.

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I don't think its a case of too much or too little technology, it's all about the right technology for what you're doing.

 

If you are going geocaching then GPS is the appropriate technology. If you are going on a wilderness trek with nowhere to recharge anything and want minimum weight then a compass is the right technology.

 

Smart phone v book - I think it's personal preference. Yes it's a good idea to know the knots you need but at the end of the day you have to learn them from somewhere in the first place, and why does it matter which you use?

 

I think there is often a tendancy for scouting circles to turn away from technology when it actual fact we should be embracing it. In embracing it though we should also be acknolwedging and training our scouts in its limitations (weight, battery life, reception etc) and also training them in appropriate use in terms of courtersy. I am quite happy for my scouts to have phones with them on camp and indeed on a normal scout night. They know though that I insist upon them being used only in appropriate circumstances.

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I have felt "future shock" the most in my outdoor activities. It will not be long when we will be required to carry and register a smartphone for a trek so that rangers become forest traffic controllers. :huh: 

 

Too much? When the weight and cost outweigh the benefit and with tech the weight and cost always grow. You need a memory upgrade, a solar recharger, new maps, new apps,...

 

My $0.02

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I personally think it only becomes "too much" at which point it becomes a distraction

 

I have never been a person that agreed with those that strictly and severely rationed and limited TV watching time back in the day.  I have argued that something good can be gained by watching even the non-educational fictional TV shows.  You put yourself into situations through them that you may not otherwise ever find yourself.  You can experience right and wrong ways to do things, etc....  This is of course the case with the old wholesome classics, but at least to some degree with trashier shows too.  and then there's the documentaries and such....

 

I have to believe the same might be said for at least some of the games out there too.

 

I have noticed though a tipping point in my kids, with screen time though.  Could be watching netflix or youtube on iPads, or playing games....

At some point after too much time the "addiction affects", perhaps fixation,  kicks in and they get grumpy or whinny, especially when they have to put them down....  that is a problem.  That time likely varies greatly from person to person I'd guess

 

So in terms of scouting, especially considering "at camp" I figure we don't want to flirt with that fixation... but I figure if the program is a good one they won't have so much time available for it anyway... once they start having fun outside with their friends.  But as a half an hour break after the last activity, or at bedtime..... I figure it this way, how is it any different than those new fangled printed paper books?

 

With regards to the question of old or new school tools for the job, I think @Camridgeskip put it well...

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When I backpack, I always take my phone and battery pack.  Phone is 5 ounces, and the battery pack is 8 ounces and can charge the phone 4 times.

 

The main use is obviously for emergency communication.  Cell phones operate by line-of-sight so you can usually get service from ridges.  Even if you don’t have strong enough service for a call, texts will go through.

 

Beyond just being emergency communication, it also works as a camera, flashlight, and watch.  The camera is probably the coolest part as I have my phone set to auto upload pictures to our troop's google drive.  If our webmaster isn't on the trip, my pictures are usually on the troop webpage before we even get home.  I also have on it:

 

PDF documents:

Guide to safe scouting

Scout handbook

Wilderness survival guide

BSA tour plan

Permission slips for all scouts

 

Apps:

Weather forecasts (includes sunrise and sunset times and tides if we are hiking near the ocean)

Wilderness first aid

GPS

Trail map (I still have a hard copy too - phone maps are much better an local navigation because you have your exact location on the map, but nothing beats a paper map for getting the big picture)

Plant and animal identification

Star chart

Any trip specific apps that I need

Edited by Tatung42
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Technology is helpful. A weather radio that doubles as a two-way is a great item to have. A phone as an emergency back up device is also good. I am a photographer by trade so I bring my camera gear (Nikon, GoPro). I usually have a personal locator beacon and a GPS device if in the back country. I try as much as possible to have multi-purpose gadgets so as to reduce my weight. I don't rely on my phone for GPS or compass or other such thing because it is not as accurate as a sole-function GPS or magnetic compass.

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Okay, open forum on how much technology is too much?

 

I've camped 1860's style and I've done the Pace Arrow motorhome trips.  The Mrs. is looking into the hiking between B&B's too.  :)

 

So, is a smart phone for knots better than a book on knots... or should the boy just know his knots and leave both behind?

 

Just an opening to invite any GPS vs. compass discussions, books vs. cell phones, stump vs. camp chair, Bic vs. matches, camp stove vs. camp fire, etc.  Heck hike in vs. back the trailer in is okay here too.

Smart phone is a good method to learn knots--better than books, because at least in my knot app, you can have video, rotate the knot, etc.  I do agree the best choice on knots is to know them.

 

Technology is good, but you have to be aware of it's limitations, just like anything else.

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I also love having the phone along to identify wildlife. I had a little bird book but it's at the bottom of the river after I dumped my kayak leaning over too far to pick up trash. My phone is still usable through it's waterproof pouch. Book... not so much! Plus I only need one little phone and I can look up birds, their eggs, animals, flowers, and fish and narrow searches down to my exact area. I can also listen to samples of bird calls. The more I go out on the river, the more curious I become about these things but forget exactly what I was seeing or hearing by the time I get home. 

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One other handy tip- if you have a Kindle, you can send PDFs to it and be able to read them offline. The basic unit (mine is a couple of years old) will hold a charge for a good long time, and is a great place to store reference materials like G2SS, etc. We make our own version of the guide that our summer camp distributes, since theirs is full of outdated info and errors (grammar and otherwise). Much easier to keep a copy of that handy on my kindle than to print it out.

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 I figure it this way, how is it any different than those new fangled printed paper books?

 

 

When the Smartphone has been around for six hundred years  I may agree with you.  :)

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There's another way of looking at this. We go to the outdoors to get away from ... wait for it ... the indoors. Every one of us has our own level of comfort. Does bringing your own food make you sissy city folk? Catch your own!

 

Anyway, maybe a better question is why do we go to the outdoors and what would make that experience better? Not only do I get away from the usual grind and have some fun, but it also allows me to get closer to God, nature, or whatever anyone else wants to call it. That perfectly serene moment when the universe just seems right. Cell phone coverage would absolutely ruin it.

 

Younger scouts are different. This idea of roughing it has to be brought on slowly. The idea of purposefully living without something requires some maturity, and it's getting that much harder because everyone is so used to being one button away from civilization. One thing we're trying to teach scouts is to take care of themselves so learning to do without that button is worth something. The next problem coming is virtual reality. How many scouts are addicted to video games? Virtual reality will be worse. I can hear it now. "I can fly to any galaxy in the universe with my VR goggles, why should I look up at the sky when it's cold out?"

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One other handy tip- if you have a Kindle, you can send PDFs to it and be able to read them offline. The basic unit (mine is a couple of years old) will hold a charge for a good long time, and is a great place to store reference materials like G2SS, etc. We make our own version of the guide that our summer camp distributes, since theirs is full of outdated info and errors (grammar and otherwise). Much easier to keep a copy of that handy on my kindle than to print it out.

 

Smart phones and tablets do this too.

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Yah, hmmm....

 

I like the not-a-distraction rule.   I reckon that's about where I'm at with it.  If yeh use it as a proper tool, bring the tech.  If you're texting your girlfriend all night, then no.

 

I personally never bring anything with batteries except my flashlight.  Even then I reckon I replace the batteries about every year and a half or so... averagin' at least 50 nights out a year in da Dark North.  GPS just annoys an old map-and-compass fellow like myself, and readin' a paper book while sittin' on a stump by da campfire is one of life's pleasures. 

 

Still, I try not to be a curmudgeon.  A modern cell phone ain't a phone, it's a pocket computer and library and multi-purpose tool.  It's less a phone than a Swiss Army Knife is a knife.

 

As for da other questions... stump over chair, campfire vs stove (but depends on where yeh are), and definitely hike in.   Leave da trailer at home and learn how to camp. :D

 

Beavah

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Bandages vs, red hot iron?

Water filter vs. prayer?

Cloth vs. hides?

Boots vs, calluses?

Steel vs. stone?

Aluminum vs. birch bark?

 

 

I'm with da' Beav .  "Too much?" seems like a question of whether a particular technology is fitting the methods and helping meet the goals or taking the Scouts away from Scouting.  

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In that case, a cell phone can be an encyclopedia of information for the scout to help him make his goal, but at the same time for a homesick boy it'll take the scout away from scouting in a heartbeat. 

 

So far in my tenure, the cell phone alone has cost me 8 scouts to homesickness, never to return to scouting and one Eagle candidate had to postpone his EBOR for 6 months because of it.  Other than that, I don't know if the boys brought them to camp or not.  I certainly didn't know about if if they did.  I just get to try and clean up messes after the fact.

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