25 Dec GPS and Headlamps: the golden rules
Some golden rules on the use of the headlamp and GPS.
We remind you that all S1 races, except Ipertrail are marked and do not need GPS.
How to ensure that tools that could save our lives or simply simplify them do not become our worst enemies.
- In cold weather, the batteries run out faster, so it is good to always have an additional supply compared to the warm season. It is a good rule to always keep the batteries warm to preserve their charge, possibly in an internal jacket pocket or in the backpack right in contact with the back in order to be exposed to the body heat.
The batteries must be charged well before the race and kept at temperatures possibly above 10 degrees even before the race
- Always start with low light intensity, as fatigue increases, if you need it, increase also the light intensity. Never start with the light at its maximum intensity. Disable the WIFI and Bluetooth connection of the headlamp (if provided), to improve performance and if possible use it in adaptive mode.
Keep the beam of light at medium distance, you don’t need to illuminate far. If you use the adaptive mode and point the lamp far you will consume more energy.
GPS Watches and Navigators
- Each device must be used several times before one in order to test its functions and know how to use it automatically, even if tired or bad weather conditions.
- Keeping many screens active, often changing the views (pages on watches, zooms, and maps on handheld devices) has a negative impact on battery life. Find a screen with the data you need and try to keep it.
- Disable the sensors that are not needed: the cardio sensor, the temperature and all the connections that are not useful for the race, such as Bluetooth or WiFI link with the mobile phone or other devices.
- Select WAAS or GPS mode. The WAAS mode is the one that currently offers the best coverage in our areas, the GPS mode is the one that consumes less battery but could lose the signal more often, therefore consuming more battery to search it again. Ultimately WAAS mode is always the best choice. GALILEO mode will be appreciated from 2023 onwards.
- Plan to charge the device, with a cable and power bank or with extra batteries.
- Tips for using the navigation mode for Ipertrail:
- Navigating with a watch requires a lot of experience and does not always offer precision. In some areas, the error is guaranteed, especially when there are multiple parallel paths or if you do not use detailed cartography on the watch device. Navigating with a watch also involves a greater consumption of battery with the almost absolute certainty of needing a charge to complete the race. This system is strongly discouraged and should only be used by those who are very familiar with this instrument.
- Choose cartographic navigators, simple and portable. Garmin’s ETREX series is excellent. No huge screens are needed, touch screens are not recommended, which are difficult to use with gloves and adverse weather conditions. The best navigation mode in the device interface is with Joystick of the Etrex series.
- Equally not recommended cell phones for the same reason: the use with the touch is suitable for a bike or simple routes. Prolonged use in the cold and in adverse conditions is not compatible with these devices. Likewise, charging them during use, in adverse weather conditions, maybe impossible. If you decide anyway to use a mobile phone: disable all connections and applications other than navigating and have a backup mobile phone for communications
- Always prefer devices with external and standard batteries, also here the Gramin’s Etrex series is an excellent compromise. AA batteries are found everywhere and are very easy to change or to change. Avoid navigators that force you to have specific batteries or that have an integrated battery. Attention: always check in the GPS settings menu that the type of battery used corresponds to the one inserted. If you don’t, it will download quickly. Choose LITHIUM batteries, they cost twice as much but they last three times, and they resist very well to the cold! it’s worth spending those 10 euros more. You can find them on Amazon or in specialized photography stores.
- GPX tracks. The more detailed the track, the more the device has difficulty managing it, but the more precise is the navigation. Watches, even the most modern, do not manage well complex GPXes such as handheld devices, and very often when transferring a track to the watch the Garmin Basecamp or Suunto software simplifies it, making it less complex and therefore more manageable by the device, but also less precise. Ultimately at the lack of precision of the watch, you are adding the fact that the manageable traces are less detailed, resulting in even more inaccuracy.
A good rule is to always use shorter tracks in terms of km but with more points and more detail, so as not to require major simplifications and to be more manageable while maintaining detail.
- Use the tracks stage by stage, do not use the whole track of the race, however, upload it to your device for backup.
PS: The gps tracks for Ipertrail2020 are online… we say it here, not in the article title.
In the Ipertrail section, you will also find the complete Open Street Map cartography of the Trieste, Slovenia and Croatia area that can be used for free on your computer or on a navigator.
The tracks of the S1 races are available for download from the GPS section. If, on the other hand, you are interested in other routes in the Trieste area and in Slovenia, read the section “S1 Uscite” to discover rings and tracks to be done independently or by following our program.