Bears in the Woods? There’s an App for That

, , | UltraRob | Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

One of the tips for staying safe while hiking in bear country is to wear bells. Unless they’re startled, protecting young or guarding food, most bears prefer to avoid humans. The bells give the bears time to move out of the way without feeling threatened. Fortunately every time I’ve seen a bear on the trail they’ve been in a hurry to get away from me.

Now there’s a high tech way to alert bears. The ScareBear Trail Companion iPhone app gives the option of bear bells, rocks in a tin can or hands clapping to alert bears that you’re coming. If you do encounter a bear, mountain lion or other wildlife you can tap to use an air horn sound to scare them. The app costs 99 cents.

I was curious about the app so I paid my 99 cents and downloaded it. I don’t know if the app really requires it but it won’t install without the 3.1.2 software update. I hadn’t updated from 3.1 so I had to do the update first.

The volume of the sound is determined by the iPhone’s volume control. With the volume all the way up, it is loud enough to be bothersome for bear bells, rocks in a tin can or hand clapping. The air horn doesn’t really sound much louder than the other sounds. My dog lying in my office didn’t even bother opening his eyes. My kids can certainly scream a lot louder.

The ScareBear Trail Companion iPhone app comes with a very long disclaimer list. It includes agreeing that the app is sold as a novelty item.

I have concerns about carrying my iPhone out where it could be heard in wet or dusty conditions. Although I didn’t test how long the battery lasts with it playing, the sound does keep playing when the screen is off so I would guess it is too big of a battery strain.

My recommendation is to stick to the low tech bear bell fastened to your pack or shoes. It’ll be more reliable and easier on the ears. I guess if you do forget your bear bell, you could use the app as a backup.

UltraRob

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2 responses to “Bears in the Woods? There’s an App for That”

  1. […] from a distance. The cowbell rings when you shake the iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s cool but sounds tinny like the bear bell app. You can choose which flag is shown on the cowbell and the labels on the tabs changes to that […]

  2. […] Bears in the Woods? There‚Äôs an App for That […]

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