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The Apple Watch is a fantastic companion to the iPhone, but is also a great accessory for exploring the outdoors. When you're out camping in the middle of nowhere, the Apple Watch's safety features like Emergency SOS, Fall Detection, and Medical ID can come in handy if you're stranded or hurt. If you have an Apple Watch Ultra, you can even activate the siren to play high-intensity sounds and attract help.
If you enjoy hiking, you can take advantage of the new features added in watchOS 10 to make hiking safer. For example, the Compass app can automatically add waypoints for the last location with cellular service and emergency network service. In addition, Apple Maps can now display topographical maps.
If you plan on wearing your Apple Watch for your next camping trip, there are a few things you can do beforehand to prepare. This includes adding protective casing and a sport watch band, and making sure you have enough battery power for a few days.
Switch to a waterproof watch band
Apple sells a variety of watch bands for the Apple Watch, letting you change the strap depending on the occasion. For example, you might want to use a metal or leather watch band when you're at work, and opt for a sports band when you're working out. If you're taking the Apple Watch on a camping trip, swap your watch band for something that's waterproof and can survive rough handling.
A watch band made of silicone is your best bet: Apple's Sport Band and Solo Loop are both great outdoor options, and you can also use the Nike Sport Band that has cutouts for extra breathability. If you have an Apple Watch Ultra, both the Trail Loop and Alpine Loop are suitable for camping. While the former Apple band is meant for endurance athletes and runners, the latter is ideal for outdoor adventurers.
You can also get a waterproof Apple Watch band from a third-party brand like Nomad, but just make sure that the clasp fastens securely. The last thing you want is your Apple Watch slipping off your wrist when you're out in the woods.
Add a case for extra protection
The case and screen of an Apple Watch can get easily scratched out in the wilderness, and the glass could also crack if the watch is dropped or dashed against something. The best way to safeguard your Apple Watch while camping is to invest in a case, and there are two types of cases available for Apple Watch.
The first only covers the actual case, preventing damage to the sides and surrounding the screen with a raised bumper. If you buy this type of case, you might want to add a tempered glass screen protector for your Apple Watch. Just make sure to read user reviews before buying, as some screen protectors affect the touch responsiveness of the display. Apple Watch screen protectors also need to be carefully applied to prevent air bubbles from forming.
Alternatively, use a case that has a built-in tempered glass screen protector. This provides complete protection for your Apple Watch, and can be removed and reused as required. When choosing an Apple Watch case, look for rugged options made with flexible TPU, as these tend to be drop-proof and shock-proof.
Activate a cellular plan
If you have a cellular Apple Watch, make sure to activate a watch plan before going camping. With an Apple Watch cellular plan, you can make calls and send messages without having your iPhone nearby. This will ensure that you have a way to get in touch with friends, family, and emergency services in the event your iPhone is lost or damaged. Activating a watch plan is also a great if your child has an Apple Watch, allowing them to communicate if you get separated.
Most carriers, including T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, let you add a watch line to your existing plan for $10 per month. This includes unlimited talk, text, and data. If you have a Wi-Fi-only Apple Watch, however, this won't apply to your device. In this case, you'll need to make sure your Apple Watch is near your iPhone at all times so that you can access its data connection.
Pack a power bank
When you're out camping, you won't have access to electricity, which means you'll need to charge your devices using a portable battery. If you're carrying a portable power station for a long weekend of camping, you can use this to charge your Apple Watch. Alternatively, carry a power bank for your iPhone and plug in your Apple Watch charger.
Another option is to invest in a portable Apple Watch charger. This type of power bank comes with a magnetic Apple Watch charger, letting you charge your smartwatch wirelessly. Portable Apple Watch chargers like this one from LVFAN ($20 on Amazon) come with enough battery capacity for multiple charges, and are compact enough to fit inside your pocket or backpack.
If you don't want to carry chargers and power banks, put your Apple Watch in Low Power Mode to get the most out of the battery. Depending on your Apple Watch model, this will extend the battery life between 36 and 60 hours. Here's how to turn on Low Power Mode on your Apple Watch:
Open the Settings app.
Scroll down and turn on "Low Power Mode."
Download offline content
When you're out camping, you might not have access to a data connection, so it makes sense to download content beforehand. If you use Apple Music or Spotify, you can download playlists to your Apple Watch for offline listening.
This way you can stream music on Apple Watch without your iPhone by connecting it to Bluetooth headphones. The Apple Watch Series 5 and later come with 32GB of storage, while the Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 have 64GB, which is more than enough for several hours of music playback.
You might also want to download maps on your Apple Watch. Apple Maps lets you download a specific area to your iPhone, and then view it on your Apple Watch. You can then get turn-by-turn directions on your Apple Watch, provided your iPhone is on and within Bluetooth range. Alternatively, use an app like WorkOutDoors can work. While it's primarily an outdoor workout app for Apple Watch, it also has maps that can be downloaded for offline use and viewed without starting a workout.
With WorkOutDoors on Apple Watch, you can access topographic vector maps with contours and hill shading, and pan and zoom maps. If you're using the app while hiking, you'll be able to view waypoints and a breadcrumb trail of your route.