Backcountry mobile device etiquette

Thoughts on possible etiquette for mobile devices in the backcountry.


Stolen long ago via GIS

Mobile devices in the backcountry aren’t going away. People want connectivity. And the connectivity is only getting easier and more prevalent.

At this point, the debate isn’t if interactive electronics should be used in the backcountry or not… They are here.  And they are staying.

Being connected, esp in more populous areas is an expectation now.

Even National Parks are promoting increased connectivity.

But many people, myself included, don’t want to necessarily share in this connectivity. It is a personal choice.

Likewise, the many people who do wish to be connected are making a personal choice as well. And that’s fine.

However, sometimes this personal choice is perhaps more of an impact than people think.

Making phone calls at a communal campsite in more populated areas on East Coast hiking trails, taking a conference call at a backcountry area, etc.  aren’t something conducive to the spirit of wildness for some people.

I am not talking about emergency calls, but everyday-run-of-the-mill phone calls often along the lines of “GUESS WHERE I AM?!?!?!

Again, not the most desirable situation in some environments and situations.

I humbly propose an etiquette idea I am calling the bathroom rule:

As with going to the bathroom in the backcountry, try to be discrete, try to be quiet about it and try to do it in such a way that people won’t notice your presence.

Want to make a phone call to check in with the significant other? Excuse yourself like you are going to the bathroom.

Even in a campground setting, try to be a bit more discrete and perhaps walk to an area out of sight.

You get the idea.

Simple. To the point. And a nice compromise.

Connectivity and the expectation of connectivity is here in the backcountry.

Hopefully, some common sense etiquette can be put in place as well.

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Gene Curp
Gene Curp
9 years ago

You nailed it. Great suggestion, and an accommodation both sides should be able to live with. We gotta share the backcountry. We might as well play nice.

Bob Lacourse
Bob Lacourse
9 years ago

I agree 100% Paul.
your in a group conversation, all of a sudden you have to go potty. You don’t drop your draws on the spot and do it. No… you go in a private spot.
I hate when your conversing with a group, someone’s phone rings and they stand their and overpower the groups conversation.
how rude

Chenago (Peter Passalacqua)
Chenago (Peter Passalacqua)
9 years ago

Great simple message!

BJ Clark
BJ Clark
9 years ago

Even better, text, don’t talk.