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Going hands-free with GPS while hiking or bushwhacking


wiiawiwb
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When bushwhacking, I'm always trying to keep my hands completely free to balance myself, push away branches, or grab a tree. I also want to have mapping software available to view my progress. That means using a hand to hold it. These past few years, I've fiddled around with a few methods for mounting my smartphone in a way that would allow me to view maps (GAIA, CalTopo, etc) without having to hold the phone. Several methods simply did not work. I recently tried using Snap Mounts, that use magnetic plates, and was optimistic. Ingenious, for sure, but I could not get it work to my satisfaction.

 

I finally tried using a GoPro swivel mount, a smartphone mount made by Snap Mounts, and my chest pack.  The  smartphone mount fits into a GoPro magnetic swivel mount which can then be clipped onto the top of a HPG chest pack. The level of the smartphone can be adjusted because the swivel moves 360 degrees. Any comparable pack, such as an Emerson Recon, works just as well. 

 

It worked and now I'm able to read the map while walking and have my hands free to do the things they need to do when bushwhacking or just hiking. When maps are no longer necessary to have in view, I can just unclip everything and put it in the chest pack. I took a picture or two from the GoPro mounted to my backpack shoulder strap using the same swivel clip.  The view I see is better then what the picture below portrays but it gives you an idea of what it looks like.  I'm very pleased with the outcome.

 

https://gopro.com/en/us/shop/mounts-accessories/magnetic-swivel-clip/ATCLP-001.html

 

https://snapmounts.com/product/snap-phone-adapter/

 

vlcsnap-2021-10-02-15h15m26s952.thumb.png.4cf8cd95d8fc483441636ac6d8f2cead.png

 

Note in the picture below: The shoulder mount was not level as I am still a rookie with it. Progress is being made.

 

vlcsnap-2021-10-02-15h22m53s450.thumb.png.787bc64501eba8da9b64ff6ca4df8835.png470868406_20211002_165351(002).thumb.jpg.fcdc059b72bd6a8044c2bfe444b575be.jpg

6365509_20211002_171355(002).thumb.jpg.0e9085652b7047d88c0f3586f6691803.jpg

Edited by wiiawiwb
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  • wiiawiwb changed the title to Going hands-free with GPS while hiking or bushwhacking

That's an awesome idea, @wiiawiwb It seems my hands are always full, and it gets mighty frustrating. My walking "staff" sometimes is a pain in the rear, but I really need it a lot of the time. Often times, the Garmin is in my other hand, and dropped into a cargo pocket on my shorts or pants when I need to. Then comes the Sionyx at night, and the FLIR which we use in the daytime too. Binoculars or my small folding telescope, too. I try to carry the staff in my right hand which is unnatural, as I am a leftie, but I want to have my left hand free to draw my 1911 in a hurry if I need to. The problem is that i just don't have enough hands. I couldn't find any on eBay or Amazon. I found a pair on a dating site, but they came attached to something that might cost more money in the long run. I'll pass on that option.

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Hats off for your wry humor, Northwind. Best to make careful choices for awhile.

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On 10/2/2021 at 8:12 PM, NorthWind said:

I found a pair on a dating site, but they came attached to something that might cost more money in the long run. I'll pass on that option.

 

Full resume and impeccable references required!

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On 10/2/2021 at 5:27 PM, wiiawiwb said:

When bushwhacking, I'm always trying to keep my hands completely free to balance myself, push away branches, or grab a tree. I also want to have mapping software available to view my progress. That means using a hand to hold it. These past few years, I've fiddled around with a few methods for mounting my smartphone in a way that would allow me to view maps (GAIA, CalTopo, etc) without having to hold the phone. Several methods simply did not work. I recently tried using Snap Mounts, that use magnetic plates, and was optimistic. Ingenious, for sure, but I could not get it work to my satisfaction.

 

I finally tried using a GoPro swivel mount, a smartphone mount made by Snap Mounts, and my chest pack.  The  smartphone mount fits into a GoPro magnetic swivel mount which can then be clipped onto the top of a HPG chest pack. The level of the smartphone can be adjusted because the swivel moves 360 degrees. Any comparable pack, such as an Emerson Recon, works just as well. 

 

It worked and now I'm able to read the map while walking and have my hands free to do the things they need to do when bushwhacking or just hiking. When maps are no longer necessary to have in view, I can just unclip everything and put it in the chest pack. I took a picture or two from the GoPro mounted to my backpack shoulder strap using the same swivel clip.  The view I see is better then what the picture below portrays but it gives you an idea of what it looks like.  I'm very pleased with the outcome.

 

https://gopro.com/en/us/shop/mounts-accessories/magnetic-swivel-clip/ATCLP-001.html

 

https://snapmounts.com/product/snap-phone-adapter/

 

vlcsnap-2021-10-02-15h15m26s952.thumb.png.4cf8cd95d8fc483441636ac6d8f2cead.png

 

Note in the picture below: The shoulder mount was not level as I am still a rookie with it. Progress is being made.

 

vlcsnap-2021-10-02-15h22m53s450.thumb.png.787bc64501eba8da9b64ff6ca4df8835.png470868406_20211002_165351(002).thumb.jpg.fcdc059b72bd6a8044c2bfe444b575be.jpg

6365509_20211002_171355(002).thumb.jpg.0e9085652b7047d88c0f3586f6691803.jpg

The clip attached securely to the MOLLE on the HPG?

 

This looks like a great idea.  Thanks!

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On 10/4/2021 at 12:43 PM, BlackRockBigfoot said:

The clip attached securely to the MOLLE on the HPG?

 

This looks like a great idea.  Thanks!

 

@BlackRockBigfoot  I was hoping that the swivel clip could slide through the molle attachments (3) but it was a hair too wide. Maybe it would work if I tried to file them down but I didn't want to go there. It does attach by squeezing the top of the HPG chest pack and clipping the GoPro swivel attachment to it.  The clip is very strong and has a rubber lining on the inside.  That protects whatever it clips to and helps to hold it as well. I think if you fill the chest pack to the brim it would not pinch closed and thus the clip would not work. If you need to access something from inside the chest pack, you can do so by plessing the clip open and then reclipping it on when done. Also, if I need to rapidly deploy something inside the chest pack, I'd pinch the clip open and toss the phone on the ground or in my backpack exterior pocket.

 

The phone attachment is only used when I bushwhack so when I'm on trail the smartphone GPS is in the exterior pocket of the chest pack.

 

I use another swivel clip to attach the GoPro to the shoulder pad. It stays put.

 

I'm very pleased with the setup.

 

@norseman  That looks like a nice setup. Never knew something like that existed. Good find. 

 

Edited by wiiawiwb
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  • 3 weeks later...

You can buy monopds that have a screw on top to mount a camera on.

You could add a camera mount to the top of your walking stick and use it to mount flir or sionix

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