Bicycle Travel > GPS & Digital Data Discussion

iPhone as only GPS device

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My wife and I are planning to do the GDMBR in 2021 and were wondering if anyone has used an iPhone as their only electronic GPS device.

I have done numerous shorter tours where we have followed a RideWithGPS route that I had downloaded and was available offline. This tour would be a much greater undertaking.

Our plan would be to use the Adventure Cycling paper maps as well as a GPS. I have also had success using Goal Zero charging blocks in the past. We would have enough juice for 4-6 complete charges.

It seems like there is ample availability of charging options along the route and as long as we're diligent in keeping the charge up, we'd be okay.


Thanks in advance!


John Nelson:
You can control how much charging capacity you have by the number of power banks you carry. Power banks are getting cheaper and with higher capacity all the time. Carry enough power banks and you can probably go for weeks between outlets. When you get to power again, charge them all.

Why not get something like a: Forumslader, Cinq Plug5, Cycle2charge and a test I know this is all in German but Google is you best friend here.

I have the Forumslader and it does a goed job at keeping my phone fully charged. And if you would like to it can also charge a small powerbank.

There are a number of issues in relation to using a phone as a GPS device apart from the charging.
A secure fixing attachment, especially on rough terrain
Visibility in bright light and/or rain - try using a touchscreen in the rain!
Advisability of charging on the go, especially on bumpy terrain - those sockets are very sensitive
Drawing attention of thieves (unlikely on the GDMBR)
And the big one - risk of damage in the event of a fall or crash.

The fact is that your phone is your emergency option in a case of last resort. Personally, I wouldn't be relying on a phone to do everything when I'm off grid on a route like that. Having said that, I'd imagine that your phone will be without a network signal a lot of the time anyway.

If you want to give it serious consideration then try it close to home in as close to the circumstances as you anticipate.

Having only read of the GDMBR I was under the impression that it might be reasonably straightforward to navigate without GPS.

Having ridden from Banff to Lincoln on the GDMBR, I can attest it is easily navigated. I use a phone and it is no problem at all. Gaia is the app I use. Go into airplane mode to save battery. Put it in my jersey pocket or a baggie to keep safe(ish) from crashes and water. Battery pack for spare power, but recharging almost daily is possible at towns.

Maps for backup and/or partner with phone as well.

Enjoy the route, it is a great one.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk


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