Recently I stopped into my local Verizon Wireless store. My current phone is one step up from a flip phone; it has a keyboard for texting but nothing else. The reason I don’t have a phone with 3G is that I sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day and don’t feel the need to spend money for more access.
However, once I begin my trek, I will be mostly out of touch, so I see the value in having one. It’ll be a great way to keep in touch with family/friends, publish blog posts, and look up information on trail towns I am in or approaching. Maybe I can even use it to get directions every now and then…not that I’m terrible with directions or anything. (Hey! Why are you laughing?)
Luckily, I have a previously used iPhone in my possession. Right now I just use it for wifi when I don’t feel like starting up my laptop. Verizon told me that it would be simple to activate a data plan on it (sign here on the dotted line. pass over your credit card), and I wouldn’t be bound by a 2-year commitment. I’ll just need to pay for a data plan for the period of time that I’m on my trek. My cheap cheap self can deal with that.
The next step then was to figure out the battery situation. I ran a test to assess longevity (very scientific, I assure you. Double blind as a bat and everything). The first iteration I kept airplane mode OFF the entire time, during which I read emails, used my WordPress app, checked weather, and poked around a few websites. The battery lasted 2.5 days. The second iteration I used the phone lightly, keeping it in airplane mode about half the time. I took some photos, surfed the internet, used my WordPress app, checked the weather, etc. The charge lasted almost five days.
The second round of my experiment showed me that my iPhone could likely last for some of my shorter stretches in the woods, but I’d rather not cut it so close. As is, I’d hesitate to use the phone freely – for music, pictures, and the like – for fear that the battery would be dead when I really need it. Instead, I’ll concede that I need a backup battery supply.
But, see, this is where I get stuck. The Verizon Wireless store has several options, and Amazon reveals myriad possibilities more. As far as I can tell, the brand Mophie is more or less endorsed by both Apple and Verizon; Mophie products are available in both stores. Mophie makes both external battery packs of various charge capacities as well as protective phone cases with built-in batteries. The former seem to weigh 4 ounces and up, and the latter options weigh 2.5 ounces each.
My friend April has a Mophie case and gives it a positive review, but – let’s be real – she’s not away from a power source for that many days at a time. So, once again, here I am: stuck. Should I go with Mophie or look at other brands? If I go with a Mophie, which product would best suit my needs?
Often now, I look at the calendar and bite my nails at the dwindling days until commencement of my trek. And yet I continue to push decisions down the road. Why? Well, well, well, um, I work better under pressure of a deadline. Yeah. That.
Ultimately, as that pressure builds and as I tiptoe toward the starting line, I’ll find myself grabbing a battery off the shelf. And it will be the right product…because it will be the one I have in my pack when I need it.