From backcountry navigation to packing a change of socks, these apps will make everything about hiking feel like a walk in the park.
The warm weather makes it the perfect time to give in to your wanderlust and hit the hiking trails. But even while losing yourself in the great outdoors, your smartphone can come in handy. We’ve compiled a list of apps to make sure even an amateur hiker feels as prepared as Bear Grylls.
Calling All Hikers!
With over 50,000 trails listed, AllTrails is a great place to start if you’re looking to crowdsource your next hiking trip. With photos, reviews, and tips from other users, it’s like a Yelp for hiking, making it easy to check if the view will be worth the climb, or if that waterfall will live up to expectations.
You can also record your tracks with a GPS — the app lets you save them as a favorite or share them with fellow hikers.
Finding Your Way
While Google Maps may serve you well in the urban jungle, once you’re off the beaten track, you’ll need something that better suits the Great Outdoors. Backcountry Navigator can transform your phone into an off-road GPS.
It displays topographic maps that visualize the terrain with color and contours, making it perfect for experienced hikers. You can also download maps before setting out, so you won’t need cell coverage to find your way home.
If you’re hunting for somewhere to pitch a tent, enter your location into Oh Ranger! Parkfinder, and it’ll display all public parklands within 250 miles. You can also take a look at activities and facilities in the park that spark your interest, such as a RV facilities, bird-watching, fishing, or dog runs.
The app provides the most comprehensive database of public lands in America, prompting the New York Times to write that, “even if it weren’t free, Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder would be well worth downloading.”
While some might be hiking just to commune with nature, others may want to know what effect their hard work will have on their waistlines. MapMyHike GPS Hiking will not only track your route, distance covered, and pace, but also the calories you’ve burned.It sets up a user profile that logs detailed stats about your workouts and connects you with friends so that you can motivate each other — or compete!
This handy tool provides a complete reference guide on army survival, based on the U.S. Army’s field manual. The Army Survival app is invaluable in an emergency, with information and diagrams showing how to handle anything from a broken bone to a particularly nasty blister. For the rugged adventurers out there, there’s also advice on mountaineering, making shelters, navigations, tying ropes and knots, and identifying edible and medicinal plants.
If you’re the type to remember halfway into a weekend trek that you’ve forgotten to pack a fresh pair of socks, PackPoint is the app for you. It will make sure you’re never again caught in a downpour without a weatherbeater, or sprawled on the beach without sunblock.
PackPoint asks you where you’re going and for how long, then generates a packing list accordingly, taking into account the weather at your destination and the activities you’ve got planned.
You can share your packing list with fellow hikers or save it for your next trip. As the New York Times points out, “though the app seems simple, it’s really useful.”
A New Frontier in App Making
Apps can be as vital to a hiker’s toolkit as a Swiss Army knife, but have the apps on this list covered all your bases? If you have other ideas for how to improve the way that people explore the outdoors, you can create your own app with the help of user-friendly service provided by Infinite Monkeys!
In just twenty minutes, you can develop a mobile guide that any hiker would want by their side — or rather, in their pockets.