If you’re frequently hiking mountains or nearby trails, you know that you need an arsenal of tools at your disposal. While seasoned hikers may be accustomed to bringing paper maps, physical survival tools, and helpful info books, there are a lot of apps that can be these things and more in a smaller package.
Check out these apps that will make your next hiking experience one of your best.
AllTrails is a must for any outdoor adventurer. In the app, you can find tons of hiking trails in areas all over the world. There are over 100,000 trail maps in the app to search from.
When you search for a trail, you can use filters to find your perfect hike. You can filter by hike difficulty, trail length, elevation gain, route type, whether it’s dog friendly, and so much more. It’s incredibly easy to find the best hike possible in almost every location.
When you find a trail that looks interesting, it’ll show you a map of the area, a description of the trail, tips for getting there, and even reviews from others who have hiked the trail. If you’re new to an area or vacationing, this is the best way to find quality hiking trails near you.
2. Avenza Maps
Avenza Maps gives you access to offline maps all across the world. Some maps are free and others you have to pay for. Even for the ones you have to pay for though, they’re well worth it when you’re stranded somewhere with no signal and no map.
And having your offline map downloaded on your phone instead of printed out will preserve it better than a paper map. There are two annual paid subscriptions available: Plus and Pro. If you’re a recreational user, Plus will be what you need, but it’s only worth it if you’re a really invested hiker.
Spyglass is an amazing compass app for your hikes. It’ll show you your exact location, where you are relative to the moon, sun, and Polaris star, your altitude, and more. And it works offline, so you won’t have to worry about finding service for this gyrocompass to work.
If you hike a lot and want to boost the features of this app, there’s a pro version you can unlock for a one-time fee of $ 5.99.
4. Accurate Altimeter
Accurate Altimeter is an Android app does exactly what you think it does. It gives you the most accurate guess of your current altitude based on three different methods.
There’s a GPS altimeter, location based altimeter, and a barometric altimeter all built into the app to give you the most accurate estimate of your altitude. And you don’t need to be connected to internet to see your altitude!
There’s a Pro version you can purchase for a one-time fee of $ 2.49 that will get rid of ads and give you a few extra features, like recording your altitude without opening the app, and being able to download more of the global elevation map.
Download: Accurate Altimeter for Android (Free, premium version available)
Seek uses image recognition technology to help you identify all sorts of plants, birds, bugs, and more along your hiking trail. Whatever you’re interested in identifying, you just snap a picture of it in the app and it’ll identify it for you instantly.
One of the useful things about the app is that it’ll tell you what the most common wildlife and plants are based on your location. Of course, this will require service, but for a lot of hiking trails, this won’t be an issue. Plus, you can participate in community challenges and earn badges to make identifying new species more fun.
If you’ll be hiking in a dangerous area or you just want to be extra safe on your trip, you need Cairn. This app helps keep you safe in a few different ways, making sure all your bases are covered in case of an emergency.
You can add contacts to your safety circle. If you’re overdue for a check-in, your safety contacts will be notified. Then, if you’re down on a trail and unresponsive, when your safety contacts are notified, they can see your GPS location to make finding you even easier.
The app is also very useful in helping you find cell coverage to get in contact with people and let them know you’re okay.
7. SAS Survival Guide Lite
The SAS Survival Guide Lite app is based on the bestselling book by John Wiseman. While the full, Pro version of the app gives you access to a lot more useful information, the free Lite version still gives you plenty.
You can find a few different survival kit lists to help you prepare your own emergency survival kit prior to your hike. Then, there’s also basic survival information in the app like how to build a fire and create emergency signals. There are even various quizzes you can do in the app to test your knowledge.
8. First Aid: American Red Cross
The First Aid app by American Red Cross is a fantastic app to have on hand if you’re a frequent hiker. There’s so much useful information in here that can help you, a friend, or another random stranger in need you may come across on your hike.
You can check out the info in here prior to hikes to help teach yourself what to do in certain emergencies. Or, if you find yourself in a situation where you need basic medical information, you can use the app as a sort of encyclopedia. For each topic, you can find a ton of detailed info as well as the most frequently asked questions.
9. SkyView Lite
Finally, SkyView Lite is just a super fun app for hikers or anyone who just enjoys looking up at the night sky full of stars. Anywhere you are, if you point your phone up towards the sky, it’ll tell you which constellations and stars are above you. It even draws them out and labels them for you as well so you can more clearly see which stars are involved.
Enjoy Your Upgraded Hiking Experience
With these mobile apps, your next hike will certainly be a better experience. Trying to unfold paper maps, find a physical compass in your bag, or identify a plant along the trail by flipping through an info book is cumbersome.
When you have all of these things easily accessible on your smartphone, on a single device, all you have to worry about is keeping it charged. And you can easily do that by taking along a power bank with you.
And while you’re walking so many miles and burning calories on your hikes, why not try out a mobile app that will reward you?