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Integrating Technology Into a Long Trip? 89

xsalmon asks: "I am about to undergo a long trip around the continental United States, via hiking/cycling/walking and other self-propelled means of transportation, to raise money toward AIDS/HIV research. What kind of utilities/devices would you bring to increase safety/security? I'll be hauling enough in my backpack as-is, so any suggestions would have to be lightweight and portable enough. Any ideas?"
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Integrating Technology Into a Long Trip?

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  • I don't know what kind of illusions you have which electronic gadget might protect you from a mugging, but common sense dictates a mobile phone to call 911 and an Ipod so you can listen to podcasts until the cops arrive.

    The mugger of course might have already made off with those two.

    • I don't know what kind of illusions you have which electronic gadget might protect you from a mugging,

      Well... Its called a 400 volt TASER [].
      • These self-defence stunts often go wrong and you and up with an angry and vengeful mugger (and his friend, waiting around the corner).

        Rather give him the gear and save yourself.

    • How about taking along a 9mm? That would help insure your security quite a bit. much more then a cell phone....

      Sure, its illegal in some areas, but would you rather be dead or explaning to a judge? some areas of the country you dont get a second chance out there 'on the street'.
    • Oh no! A moderator's worst nightmare.

      I don't know wether to mod it as Informative or Funny.

      Where are you CmdrTaco when we need you?
    • The mugger of course might have already made off with those two.

      I have two phones in my pocket right now. An old, battered pay-as-you-go phone in such a state that no mugger would touch it - it's scarcely worth the time it would take to fence - and a new, flashy, expensive contract phone which they'd grab without a doubt.

      This isn't actually done out of paranoia, just because I haven't got around to transferring the number from the old phone to the new yet. Security through laziness, the new paradigm :-)

  • A few links (Score:3, Informative)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:47PM (#15061699) Homepage Journal
    I'd take a PocketPC or PalmOS PDA Phone [] and a Bluetooth GPS [] and a 4GB Microdrive [], combined with some nice Hiking maps []. And maybe some nice bright flashing toys from ThinkGeek. [] For Self-protection, I'd want a Taser []. Oh yeah, and a Sidewinder [] so that I don't have to find a power supply for any of this stuff.
    • Re:A few links (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As popular as they might be for cheap car navigation, PDAs are not a good choice for hiking/biking. Dedicated handheld GPS devices are waterproof, more robust, run longer on a single battery charge and are easier to use, maintain and recharge because they're just one device, not two. And they usually have better outdoor-suitable displays, which is probably a killer argument all by itself. The latest models use the same Sirf III chipset which makes the reception of the bluetooth GPS mice so great.
      • The key here is that you're going to have two devices regardless- having a PDA that doubles as a cell phone, or a GPS unit that doubles as a PDA, is a good thing either way. Of course, you can't play tetris at night in your tent on a GPS unit- remember he said a LONG trip.
    • "For Self-protection, I'd want a Taser."

      Taser screams "take this and use it on me." Much better to carry a S&W or Glock. However, in either case (Taser, gun) you won't be able to go into D.C. and other non-gun owner-friendly states.
      • Taser says take this and use it on me? The person holding it says take this and use it on me. It doesn't matter if it's a taser, a gun, or a switchblade. If you are holding it and the attacker can read that you aren't going to use it, the attacker has already won and the weapon will be used against you. That being said, I vote taser. It is non-lethal in virtually all circumstances, so people will be more likely to use it when push comes to shove.

        I think taking note of the Asperger's in the sig line wou
        • Taser says take this and use it on me? The person holding it says take this and use it on me. It doesn't matter if it's a taser, a gun, or a switchblade. If you are holding it and the attacker can read that you aren't going to use it, the attacker has already won and the weapon will be used against you. That being said, I vote taser. It is non-lethal in virtually all circumstances, so people will be more likely to use it when push comes to shove.

          Exactly my point- though there have been a few incidents rec
      • Taser screams "take this and use it on me."

        I know the concept of just about any weapon saying that- but here's my argument for the Taser. Unless the guy is high on PCP or Crack, it's non-leathal, thus I have NO ethical qualms whatsoever about "shock first, ask questions later".

        PCP/Crack of course means that their heart is already racing, and the shock will put them over the edge into a heart attack- but then again, they're so pain free at that point you could put a clip of rounds from your Glock or S
    • I'd take a PocketPC or PalmOS PDA Phone [] and a Bluetooth GPS [] and a 4GB Microdrive [], combined with some nice Hiking maps []. And maybe some nice bright flashing toys from ThinkGeek. [] For Self-protection, I'd want a Taser []. Oh yeah, and a Sidewinder [] so that I don't have to find a power supply for any of this stuff. Yeah, and some "second skin" catlis []
    • The Sanyo MM-7500 Cellphone has a real GPS built in and high speed data. You can get Navigation applications for it along with Google Local so I put that down as a great device to have.
      The built in camera even has the options to but the GPS data on the photos.
      Some kind of solar charger for it might be useful.
      For security I vote for mace.
  • /XD9810Large.jpg []
    and []
    Cell phone of your choice.

    These should keep you safe and keep you from getting lost. Of course, you will have to manage to keep fresh batteries in the GPS, but if you turn it on occasionally, you should get several days out of one set. Also, a solar panel can help keep the phone topped off.

    Of course, you also have the option of getting a higher-end cell phone with GPS built-in, and then
    • make sure the springfield is outfitted with Trijicon Night Sights (it will help substantially if you have a nighttime problem) although the one noted above does have rails to get a tactical light mounted below the barrel.
    • A cannister of bear spray is more practical. You don't need a permit to carry bear spray, and it's easier to get across the border -- it's the same stuff as regular pepper spray, in a much bigger can, but since it isn't labeled as being for defense against humans, it's not considered a weapon.
  • safety (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pvt_medic ( 715692 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:51PM (#15061731)
    I am one of those who beleives that personal safety starts with a 4 and ends with a 5. Of course this may not be the same sentiments of many here, and due to permit issues may not be practical for you.

    Other items though that I would say are critical would be: some form of flashing (strobe?) beacon if you are in distress that will make it easy for others to find your locaation, portable radio (ham radio 146.52 if you have a license), cell phone, GPS, and a PDA with appropriate maps. (some of these items can easily be combined (phone, gps and pda) if you have the funds. And the other big one is water purification system.

    PS dont forget something for power
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Since the trip is for AIDS/HIV "research", I'd bring condoms. Lots and lots of condoms. Some lube too.
    • All other social, moral, and legal issues aside, a heavy caliber handgun seems an impractical thing to carry along on a bike trip. And as for "security": I have to quote Heinlein, who once pointed out that a gun has a nasty way of making you feel safe when not feeling safe has more survival value.

      I don't see the point in a strobe beacon for a bicyclist. If you're lost in the middle of the woods, sure. (Get a whistle too.) But if you're in trouble on a road, being found is the least of your problems.

    • Uh, keep in mind he will be starting and ending in Canada and travelling across the U.S., and therefore subject to a bunch of different state and federal laws regarding guns (I assume that's what you meant by the 45?). I doubt bringing a firearm will help him very much. A 45oz, on the other hand...

      Also, he doesn't really make it clear what kinds of places he'll be travelling - out in the woods, or along urban areas, etc. If he keeps to the roads, I doubt he'll ever need a water purification kit.

      I would also
  • First, the obvious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slashdot@ g m> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @05:52PM (#15061737) Homepage Journal
    A good helmet and knee/elbow guards.

    Also, check out this site: tm []
    It's entitled "Bicycle Touring with a Solar Laptop".
  • Seriously... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Not trying to be cruel, just helpful -- if you're planning on raising money through that web page, get someone to proofread the spelling first.
    • Hahah, I understand. If you look at the timestamp on the original article I wrote, it was *very* late. I have since gone back and corrected it. Thank you for your observation though :) -Jeremy
  • safety/security (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    • GPS
    • Cellphone with spare battery and emergency charger
    • Travel First Aid Kit
    • ASP Baton (but only if you're properly trained and prepared to use it). The surprise psychological impact of seeing one of these sliding out to their full size is usually enough to prevent any need to actually use it.

    Plus make sure you also have these:

    • Paracord
    • SOG or Leatherman multi-tool, plus a *Good* knife
    • Tarp or other sheet.
    • Lots of strong plastic rubbish bags.
  • Tool: Victorinox Swisstool []
    Wristwatch Computer: Suunto x9i []
    Media Player: iRiver H10 []
    Cell phone: Sony Ericsson K800/K790 []
  • Take acidwarp.exe, zonerings, ? Oh wait...
  • I have a 13 pound laptop that does the job of a demo server. My the time I add an assortment of cables, power supply etc, it's too heavy to carry and ends up on a little wheeled cart. So I suggest that you ditch the laptop alltogether!

    Last Summer we went east for a few days. Shortly before the trip I got an HP4700. Bluetooth, WiFi, email, web browser, well under a pound and can easily fit in a shirt pocket. 640x480 resolution, I stuck a 1GB SD and a 2 GB CF in it. Panera Bread, and Fudruckers offer fr

  • "Technology," eh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mnemonic_ ( 164550 )
    I'm guessing you used that word get your submission accepted, this being slashdot and all. I recommend you bring an LED flashlight, swiss army knife or leatherman and cellphone at the least, as well as a good road atlas and some hiking maps. You don't need a Garmin or other GPS unit... I'm assuming you're sticking to most major roads and can usually ask someone for directions. If no one's around, then use your phone.

    I don't recommend bringing much in the way of gadgets because on a trip like that your es
  • I bet some enterprising guy could make you an internet conctrol unit which in response to commands on the webpage could force you to go faster or slower (by electric shock or other means)
    Speak to the xmas lights guy for technical hints ;)

    As an extra thing to take, you could mount several webcams and a robotic arm onto your bike, then when you rest for the evening we can investigate the surroundings.
    It would be like a cheapo geekified NASA experiment.

    All this will give more people reason to visit your webpag
  • A pocket .22 (Score:5, Informative)

    by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:16PM (#15061860) Homepage Journal
    and your "HIV/AIDS" T-shirt should both help to scare off muggers.

    Seriously, though, the handheld GPS > the PDA with GPS. My PDA with GPS could never handle the elements.

    When I've done long hikes, I actually carried an old car inflatable tube tire and a mini CO2 canister. You can inflate the tube in an instant (about 12 inflations per 6 pack of CO2 cartridges) and float down the river. I'm lazy.

    The CO2 cartridges also come in handy if you want to cool down, just remove the inflation adapter and am at your chest -- instant cool down.

    I always bring along an extra few pairs of socks, too, they can get pretty grotty if you forget extra sets. And lots of protein and fat packed bacon is my friend on long hikes.
    • Re:A pocket .22 (Score:3, Informative)

      by loraksus ( 171574 )
      Instead of a .22, something like a Kel-Tec P3AT [] can be carried. 6+1 rounds of .380 in a 7.2 oz package that is less than an inch thick and is very, very easily concealable.
      Here's a picture of mine beside my cell phone, pda, etc. []
      It also happens to be pretty cheap at ~$200.
      It isn't a revolver (which is nice because it can shoot out of a pocket without jamming up - something like a SW 342PD would be a good choice for a small revolver) but it is tiny.

      If you are going to carry, check out for informat
      • Awesome P3AT! I didn't realize it was that small or that cheap (0.341 gold ounces). Definitely something to look into.
      • I agree that it would be a good idea to carry a handgun. Make sure you check what the deal is with conceal and carry permits in each state. If you're gonna carry, make sure you go to some self defense classes and gun safety. Most experts agree that having a gun on you makes it more likely that it will be used against you instead of saving you, however, with the proper training it definitely can help you.

        Note that carrying a weapon is not only for warding off human attackers. If you're trekking across wi
  • by AEther141 ( 585834 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:25PM (#15061918)
    If you're even *considering* taking even something as puny as a PDA, you're in for a hell of a shock a few miles down the way. On the Appalachian Trail there's a sweet little racket going for the trailside equipment stores - the guys at the trailhead sell you all sorts of lightly used equipment that you absolutely can't be without at a great price. On discovering that the relatively trivial function of these gizmos isn't worth the immense pain your packweight is causing you, it gets sold for far less than it's worth to the guy in the store a couple of days down the trail (who doesn't have to go far to get a good price for it). I'm guessing this is your first long-distance trip, as the question from people who've done it before is always 'how can I carry less stuff?'. Once the blisters start to appear and your shoulders start chafing, you'll be throwing out anything isn't keeping you alive. Go read about Ray Jardine's methods, it'll save you a lot of time, money and pain.
  • For whatever other people suggest, I can heartily recommend the solio [] for powering them through thick and thin.
  • by mnemonic_ ( 164550 ) <> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @06:27PM (#15061934) Homepage Journal
    A CNN journalist cycled across America [] and it took him almost 12 weeks. You're hiking/walking part of a longer route, you'll probably need closer to 16 weeks. Another useful bit on gear:
    Be obsessive about leaving stuff home. You will feel every ounce. Expensive synthetic clothing pays off in light weight, quick cleaning and durability. Footwear is bulky; anything more than one good pair of biking shoes and a pair of sandals to stave off the campground-shower nasties is an indulgence.
    Travel light and don't underestimate the rigors of this journey, especially if you're going by foot part of the way. I'm hoping you'll drastically shorten your route, unless you're extremely well prepared.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    one of these? []

    Especially if you're planning on also carrying a small Japanese woman. [] (Which I might also reccommend.)

  • The best protection against the HIV virus is those extra-thick condoms. Good luck in your travels.
  • Read some journals (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TClevenger ( 252206 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:08PM (#15062193)
    Check out this site [] and read some of the online journals. A keyword search might help, as I've read about the devices that some people brought with them and how well the devices worked.

    I would recommend a Pocketmail [] device. You can compose email and upload it to a toll-free service from practically any phone with the built-in acoustical modem. (Just hold the device up to the handset.) Also, bring a good phone card; payphones can be a bitch, and collect calls [] are risky.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Last summer I hiked the Appalachian Trail and dealt with the same question in my planning. Know what I ended up taking? An LED headlamp (3xAAA).

    Everything else I could've wanted would have been a pain to maintain. Camera? Cellphone? MP3 player? PDA? GPS? The problem comes down to one word: batteries.

    Consider this: anything I take will get used enough that the batteries will lose charge. How will I replace or recharge them? Your cellphone -- and possibly your camera and mp3 player -- will require its
  • Let's see, you'll need a tricorder, of course. A personal communicator will be essential as well. A dermal regenerator will come in handy in case of any scrape-ups. Oh, and a hand phaser to deal with any trouble you might run into.
  • by Nethead ( 1563 )
    Get you ham license,a Kenwood TH-D7 Dualband HT and a GPS puck. Then anyone can find out where you are at []
  • Cheap.


    Scares away animals. Personally used by me to scare a bear in Alaska pre-bear spray, which by the way is completely ineffective on moose, who seem to be capsaicin resistant, again from personal experience. No, road flares do not cure prostate cancer. No goatse jokes please.

    Can be used for signaling.

    Can be used to start a fire even with wet wood.

    Likely will scare away even a persistent attacker.

    Police WILL stop when they see one.

    Absolutely will not go out when lit, even underwater.

    Will destroy ev
  • A: Bring an Ace Bandage. Ok, so it doesn't really count as technology, but you can fix everything from broken bike racks to ripping bags to actual (gasp!) cuts and bruises with an Ace bandage. More useful than Duct Tape, and easier to work with.

    B: A cheap candybar cellphone. It should be relatively new, so that it has good battery life, but it should be cheap because these days cheap=durable in a phone. Be sure to switch to a nationwide plan before leaving.

    C: Spare LED blinkers. Never run out of night-
    • I did some camping/touring by bike in Maine, Massachussetts, Washington/Vancouver and the Netherlands (separate trips) and while those are nowhere near the several thousand miles you intend to go through, the stuff listed in parent is the most accurate. Serious weaponry should not be a consideration, assuming you don't run into any bears. Bring more than 2 sets of clothes, especially socks and underwear. Consider buying bike shorts despite their lack of style and crotch breathing room. Dr. Bronner's soa

  • In a tiny box of electronics, with removable front panel for the dash
    (eg, ICOM IC-706 Mk.IIG, Kenwood TS-2000 or Yaesu FT-897D or similar) is: ...for the unlicenced:

    - monitor various VHF/UHF stations (emerg. services, etc.)

    - Shortwave receiver

    - AM [ & FM ] broadcast receiver ...if you become a licensed Amateur (a.k.a. Ham) Radio operator:

    - VHF/UHF comms with repeaters all over the country/world - US, Canada & beyond
    (each provides
  • A flint, steel, and a knife.
  • by mzs ( 595629 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @09:13AM (#15065537)
    Ditch the tech, bring two more people. Seriously I looked at your route map, it is very wrong. You should shoot for going west through Colorado or Wyoming for the least resistance. Do you honestly plan to cross desert and two mountain ranges alone and ON YOUR FIRST trip of this sort?

    Every gram matters when hiking, you will be able to spread the load better with three hikers. Plus should anything go wrong you will not be alone, not to mention how useful the company will be. The best measure of your hiking pace is to be able to walk and hold a conversation simultaneously, you'll look schitzo talking to yourself.

    Also I hate to be blunt about it but your site is pretty poor if you plan to use it for fund raising. Look at this example [] for ideas (about the site and about the trip itself).

  • In the interest of not getting too complex, I suggest the following:

    • Cell phone with looooooong-life battery
    • Radio with AM, FM, and weather
    • Means to charge the batteries in the above two items

    Other things you might consider:

    • GPS receiver
    • If (and only if) you have a ham radio licence, a small 2m/440 HT and roll-up antenna.

    If you do bring a GPS receiver, don't let it become a crutch. You should know how to read a map and how to dead-reckon, or you shouldn't be out wandering.

  • Lots of kids play the latest video games while on long acid trips.
    Same thing goes for 'shrooms.
  • Low-tech (Score:2, Informative)

    by jevring ( 618916 )
    What's wrong with some bike tools, a map and a compass?
    You WILL be travelling ON the roads I hope?
    Regarding safety, my best recommendation would be to bring a friend. Not only are you less likely to get mugged if there are two of you, but any medical situations that might arise are probably more easily taken care of if there are two of you.
    It's not like you're going to be able to stave off a band of highway bandits with a 9mm anyway...

    You do NOT need a laptop on a cross-country bike ride. The goal of which
  • If you're walking in Camden, New Jersey, bring a firearm and know how to use it. :-)

    Screw the PDA's and high-tech gadgets.

    How the HELL did this make it into a Slashdot story?

    News for idiots, people who don't know how to travel? Stuff that doesn't matter, especially if you don't care where this guy goes "walkabout" to.
  • Smartwool socks [] - I would pay $50 a pair for these socks, they are THAT good. Go for the Trekking style instead of the lighter-weight ones. I promise you you're feet won't get hot and sweaty enough to ever be uncomfortable with them on. (I hiked with a pair of Trekking socks on, with full leather hiking boots in the middle of 95+ degree, HUMID weather in Columbus, OH for about 2 miles downtown and back up to the OSU campus area once and didn't so much as get hot spots on my toes. These things are incredible

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.