Trekking: The Beartooth Radio is the answer to your cellular woes

Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a quick surf session or seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons. One day we may highlight an ultra-light stove and the next a set of handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace, so get outside and live it.

The wilderness is the perfect place for many things — fishing, hiking, camping, etc. — but cellphone reception surely isn’t one of them. Many of us often use the outdoors as sanctuary or sorts, a spot where we feel no qualms about ditching our reliance on high-res displays and text messaging in favor of something less, well, connected. However, there will always be a place for off-the-grid gadgets like the Beartooth Radio.

Beartooth InterfaceThe unique device isn’t so much a standalone peripheral as it is a wraparound accessory. The convenient, aluminum cover quickly attaches to your smartphone — whether it be the latest iPhone or Galaxy offering — thus providing you with both a 2,000mAh battery and a VHF/UHF radio, the latter component of which helps create a peer-to-peer communication network between two devices even in the unfortunate absence of a cell tower. Once connected, you’ll be able make calls and send individual or group texts featuring 128-bit encryption, as well as geotag your location and broadcast your position at user defined intervals. Moreover, it even operates on traditional walkie-talkie frequencies when in a pinch and relays SOS broadcasts to any device within a several-mile range.

Despite its resourcefulness in the backwoods, though, one of the best parts about the Beartooth Radio is its practical application elsewhere. It’s designed to create a network in the absence of cell towers, sure, but it also works when you’re within range of a tower and unable to latch onto a reliable signal. Perhaps you’re keen on binge watching your favorite bands at Bonnaroo, or participating in a massive protest or demonstration that leaves networks slammed. The Beartooth Radio will connect you with others within a few miles — even if a sea of drunken festival goers or alpine trees stand in your way.

Check out the Beartooth Radio online to make a reservation. No word on pricing or availability quite yet, but if the first batch of cases are any indication, you can likely expect each Beartooth to run an upwards of $250 when they launch in 2015.

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