6 ways to safely return home from the forest, hiking trail or mountain top.
Being lost in the city is easily solved — simply ask for directions or jump in a taxi. But getting lost when you’re out roaming the countryside or on a mountain is something else. So, could you find your way using your smartwatch?
Many people still take physical maps when traveling to an unfamiliar location. However, more people are choosing to go fully digital and rely only on their smartphone or smartwatch to navigate.
There are pros and cons to both methods. But what do you do if you’re lost with only your smartwatch to guide you back to safety? We’ll look at six ways to find your way using your smartwatch
1. GPS navigation
If you get lost, the first thing you should do is turn to your smartwatch’s GPS. This global positioning system doesn’t require an Internet connection or even cellular data. It communicates directly with satellites.
Whether you’re using Google Maps, Apple Maps, or a third-party app, your GPS is capable of showing you exactly where you are. Once the screen displays your location, gradually zoom out until you get your bearings. You should see the nearest community, road, or even where you’ve parked your car.
Take note of any landmarks nearby, such as a body of water, and then head in that direction. From there, you will be in a better position to seek help.
2. Make a phone call
If you have a smartwatch with a data plan and a SIM card, you could call your friends or family and tell them that you’re lost.
Give them your approximate location, and change your outgoing voicemail message to include your location in case your battery fails. That means if you can’t make a call, anyone calling you will know the approximate region to begin the search.
Of course, after your closest friends and family, the next most important call you’ll make is to the emergency services. Depending on your situation, they’ll possibly deploy search and rescue teams. They can search with helicopters and more human resources using your precise location.
3. Send a text
Send out a text message with your closest approximate location to friends and family. They can forward that information to local authorities on your behalf. Sending a text is easy on a smartwatch, as most models automatically send a message once you dictate it.
This is especially useful if you’re cold or in another situation that makes typing difficult. There are even specific apps that send out a mass text to chosen people if you want to inform everyone at once.
4. Use a compass
If you have a compass app on your smartwatch and know your approximate location, open it up and head in the direction shown. Be aware that the safest possible route may not be in a straight line, especially if you’re out in a mountainous area with sheer drops.
Always pay attention to where you’re walking, especially at night. And don’t get too fixated on your watch. You may even need to remove it from your wrist and place it on a flat surface for the compass to be accurate.
5. Tracking apps
Many tracking style apps are available for smartwatches intended for those who like to map their routes when out running, walking, cycling, or hiking. If you’re tracking your route, you should be able to look at the path taken and trace it back to your starting point.
You can also get a good idea of your position and even your altitude using built-in smartwatch tools, like an altimeter. Some watches even allow you to set waypoints, which are like markers to places you’ve been.
Set them to any location, such as your campsite, a significant landmark along your route, or even the exact location you parked your car. The smartwatch will then be able to guide you back to any of these places and even provide an ETA.
Thankfully, many smartwatches have a GPS mode where you can shut down most functions and use the power only for GPS – giving you many hours to use the location apps that guide you back to safety.
6. Use an SOS app
SOS apps, or incident detection apps, are probably the best download for hikers who love exploring new trails. Use it to set all of your information before you go. If you get lost, then hit the dedicated button on the app.
It will alert emergency services with your name and your exact location in longitude and latitude.
We’ve created guides to using Incident Detection for the following brands:
The first rule to remember when you’re lost is don’t panic — it can make the situation worse. And if you have a smartwatch with many hours of battery life, your chances of being found safe and sound are enormously increased thanks to this clever wrist technology.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these top tips to find your way using your smartwatch. Now, check out our selection of outdoor-friendly smartwatches to find the features that best suit your active lifestyle.
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Last Updated on February 3, 2022
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