Keeping Your Smartphone Powered Up While Backpacking & Camping

Once upon a time, going backpacking, camping, and hiking meant that you would be getting away from modern life. Nowadays, you’re probably bringing a smartphone along for the adventure. It can be a helpful tool, allowing you to quickly take photos, navigate unfamiliar terrain, and a whole lot more.

While we don’t endorse being glued to your phone’s screen the entire time you’re out enjoying the backcountry, we do understand that smartphones can be a pretty helpful tool. You don’t want your phone going dead, so here's how to preserve that battery life so you can stay out in the backcountry longer.

Switch your phone to airplane mode

When you have a low signal or no coverage, your battery quickly gets drained searching for a signal. Airplane mode means you won’t be able to make or receive calls, but as far as we’re concerned, that’s an ideal situation.

Dim your screen

Dimming your screen will also help preserve battery. If your screen is super dim while taking photos, looking at them after a backcountry trip will have you feeling like you’re discovering these beautiful and remote places all over again.

Put your phone into power saving mode

All smartphones have a battery saving low power mode, which optimizes the performance of your phone’s operating system. This feature will also reduce screen brightness and stop apps from updating in the background.

Snooze all push notifications

If your phone lights up, vibrates, or rings every time a new notification comes in, it’s probably draining your battery. Go into your settings, turn app notifications off, then enjoy some peace and quiet (and enhanced battery life.)

Close down apps you aren’t using

Some apps will continue to run in the background, even when you aren’t actively using them. Before you venture into the backcountry make sure the only apps open are the ones you need to access.

Watch out for extreme temperatures

If it’s frigid or blistering outside, your phone’s battery will likely drain much faster. Keep your phone out of direct sunlight during hot adventures, and keep it close to your body during cold expeditions.

Invest in an external battery pack

If you’re embarking on a longer adventure, bringing a battery pack will ensure you’re never battling a dying battery. There are tons of different models available, which can be confusing. This rundown from Backpacker will help you find the perfect one.

Consider powering your phone off

If you don’t need to use your phone, this final tip is our favorite: Turn your phone completely off. You won’t be distracted by technology, and being unreachable is an extremely freeing feeling when you’re trying to enjoy the backcountry.

For more on the do’s and don'ts of cell phone use outside, check out our guide to Cell Phone Etiquette in the Great Outdoors for tips on appropriate cell phone usage on the trails.

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