When a beautiful Sunday afternoon comes around, there’s nothing better than being outside and enjoying everything nature has to offer. But sipping wine on the patio or going for a bike-ride through your urban habitat may not be the fulfillment you’re looking for. If you’re one of those people who would rather hit up the nearby forest or mountain and go for a hike, there are several apps that can help you. Whether on a vacation hiking on some classic trails or exploring your area, these top apps for hikers will make planning and preparing that much easier, as well as act as a coach and eye in the sky when you’re out there.
REI National Park Guide & Maps
Maybe you’re content with trails and locales in your area. Perhaps you have an expansive forest that has scenery hard to match anywhere else. But if you want to travel and explore the national parks, this app is a must-have. It has over 30 detailed maps and markers indicating various hiking trails, with reviews from those who came and conquered before. You can check out tips and difficulty levels, as well as stats like elevation, type of terrain and the types of plants and wildlife to expect. A great feature of this app is you can use without a cell signal or data. It can keep track of your movements through GPS so if you run into an emergency and get stranded, your location can be easily recorded. You’ll also be able to find things like accommodations, eateries and supply retailers in the nearby area to build a detailed vacation plan.
Recreational Equipment Inc created this beautiful app that acts as the ultimate virtual hiking guide. You can search through over 75,00 miles of different routes depending on your location, and browse through their topographic directions, reviews and photos. The app will track you out in the field and show you in real-time on your phone via GPS, and you can use it to check-in and review your next route or adventure you had planned.
ViewRanger – Trails & Maps
Viewranger boasts of a community of experts who’ve lent their knowledge to some of the most extensive and rich trail guides on the market. Relying on your GPS, gyro sensor, camera and compass to give you real-time directions, easter eggs and other neat things such as rivers or scenic views to go find. Access routes designed by fellow users or create your own to follow and upload into the app for others to do so as well. Through an intuitive tracking feature, your friends and family can access your location, and you can record your hike’s time-line and route all with just a GPS connection. This is one of the top apps for hikers because it is right beside you every step of the way on your treks.
Offline Survival Manual
Whether you’re exploring new scenic environments for the first time or deep-diving into wilderness favorites, this app is essential for emergency situations. It’s thorough and detailed on various topics concerning those desperate situations where you’re stuck outdoors and in need of survival 101 skills. It covers everything from identifying plants you can eat and those you need to stay away from, navigating your way using nature as your compass, how to hunt for and find food, not letting stress take over, creating different shelters and utilizing what your surroundings are to make fire, tend to medical issues and finding uses for other things you’ve never thought of. The best part, as the name implies, you don’t need a WiFi connection to use. Download it to your phone and you can use it whenever you need, even if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
AllTrails – Hiking & Biking
This app is similar to REI’s, but it covers more than just national parks. In fact, there’s 50,000 different trails for hikers and bikers alike. Users can filter results to find appropriate trails for children and dogs, look at photos from fellow hikers as well as reading reviews and advice from those who have conquered them. With your phone’s GPS, you can track things such as your elevation, length of hike, speed and the particular route you took. It also keeps you focused on where you’re going in case you end up getting lost or off the beaten path. Take your own photos and write your own reviews of the trails and help the community grow, perhaps having your words and pics helping someone else. A paid version of the app lets users create their own custom maps, print out ones of the trails they are taking on as well as download them to your device. Another great feature is knowing where the trails start and end by seeing detailed driving instructions.
Map My Hike GPS Hiking
This community-based app is entrenched with more than just hiking activities. Choices of fun range from bike rides, runs, walks, and work outs. The advantage is that it records your activity and things such as steps taken, distance covered, and calories burned. It puts you in touch with others who are participating in the same challenges and compares your results against their, which can be used as a motivation tool. As measured and monitored by over 400 compatible devices, the app is GPS-reliant and your statistics can be both imported and exported to a range of Android Wear products and other modern exercise programs.
There’s a few new things that hikers/campers/cyclists/climbers etc should now make sure are essentials to pack. For one, a cell phone with even battery life is crucial, and especially some of these apps. Whether you have internet or not, your GSP can be greatly utilized to keep you on track no matter how deep or lost you may get. If you’re in an accident or run into unexpected problems, you can take advantage of these top apps for hikers that are designed with people like yourself specifically in mind.