10 Awesome Apps Every Hiker Must Try (No.8 Can Even Save Your Life)
Well, we all need a little nature doze every now and then. Besides, what can be more soothing and detoxicating than a lone hike to the mountain or a family trip to the woods? To be honest, hiking is one heck of an activity with multitudes of mental and physical benefits and if not for any other reason, perhaps you should take on a hiking adventure as a way to get in harmony with your existence and to experience solitude (believe me that’s an unbelievable experience if you haven’t experienced before).
Ok, so you really like to go hiking but are unsure if it’s wise to go to a remote place out of the safety net of society. If that’s the only reason that’s stopping you, then you can’t be more wrong. There are some pretty awesomely powerful apps that can help you with every nitty-gritty of hiking adventure.
Don’t believe us,
Guess you are in luck today!
Since we are hiking fanatics, we have gathered some high utility Android and iOS apps that have come handy for all sort of outdoor adventures including hiking, camping, hunting, and backpacking. And since we really want you to pack your backs and go out hiking up high in mountains or deep into the woods, we have grouped all these apps for you, so you can stay safe and on-track even when far away from the safety net of society.
Just make sure you have installed one or more apps from this list and you can be sure to do pretty great against all odds. So, let’s not waste any more time and move on to our top 10 best hiking apps that you should definitely check out before taking-on an adventurous hiking trip:
We haven’t placed this amazing app on top position for no reason. It’s a high utility app that doesn’t just track your hike, rather gives you a complete feedback for multiple health and fitness indicators including calories burned, distance covered, speed and a lot more metrics.
What we really love about MapMyHike is it’s fitness centered orientation that has at least helped me to keep a close track of my fitness levels during regular weekend hiking adventures. You can also easily record and share your hiking track and other metrics with friends. Whereas, it also helps you find the most popular hiking tracks and local routes to traverse and compete. It’s freely available for base models, while the premium features are reserved for the paid version that unlocks the real-time tracking feature along with a bunch of other amazing features.
To be precise, MapMyHike doesn’t overpromise for its capabilities. As said earlier, it’s a hiking app that’s centered on health and fitness metrics and it does that like no other app. You can record all your hikes, performance indicators and insights that let you keep a close check of your fitness. There’s even an option to set personal goals and milestones. Though not as solid as some of the other apps that we will be detailing in the post below, MapMyHike does let you find some great hiking routes nearby, while you can share your track with other members as well.
- Great for nearby hiking adventures
- Fitness centered app
- Doesn’t have any large databases like many other apps
- Limited utility in terms of adventurous hiking trips
If we just talk about aesthetics and appearance and forget every other aspect for a moment, I don’t think there is another app that can come anyway near to Spyglass. It’s simply one of the coolest, neatest and most visually impressive navigation app that you’ll find online.
Coming on to the features and functionalities, I don’t want to disregard traditional GPS systems at all, but I have to admit that this amazing hiking app comes with most complete GPS features suite that you’ll ever need on a hiking trip. The app comes with an awesome interface, an all-powerful augmented reality view, and tracking features. There’s a highly reliable built-in compass along with gyrocompass, altimeter, inclinometer, speedometer, angular calculator and bunch of other super cool features that you can think of.
It’s a paid app that will cost you around $10 (very nominal) in the US. However, given that it comes with complete GPS kit, it is certainly one of the best and high-utility app that can help you traverse anywhere across the world.
- The most complete GPS Toolkit you will find online
- A range of useful features
- Reliable navigation tools
- Augmented reality display
- Paid app
- The interface might not seem user-friendly to first-time users
Here’s the app that will save the day for you and your partner when you’re tussling over the peak name; yeah I am pointing to the tussle that we talked about at the starting of the blog.
So, Peakfinder is basically your day saver when you are looking to hike on to the adventurous mountainous terrain. It comes in two different flavors one for the Alps and another for the Western USA. You can purchase and download the flavor where you intend to travel. It was developed by Fabio Soldati; a Swiss national (yeah you can already feel where the love of mountains is coming from). The databases for mountains can easily be installed on your phone, which means you don’t need to worry the remoteness of the place or internet connection and you will still be able to trace the right peak.
The vector database has neatly rendered graphics with complete coordinates and height information for each peak. All you need to do is to point it towards the landscape and it will show all the peaks in surroundings with names. Tap a mountain peak and you’ll have the complete coordinates and height information. Moreover, it also offers a 360 panoramic view from the peak. So, while you might not have the strength to climb all the way up to the peak, you can still enjoy some breathtaking scenery and landscape from the peak of any mountain.
- Precise Accelerometer and Compass sensors
- The database is updated regularly
- Built-in binoculars to view hidden peaks
- There seem to be no cons of the app.
The previous app that we talked about was all about finding the right peak, but not everyone is interested in finding the mountain names. So, if you are just a curious backpacker who likes to hike to remote mountainous tracks without bothering about the names of mountains that AllTrail is all you need.
It’s a neatly designed app that offers a detailed library of tracks and trails for mountainous terrains. Apart from finding different trails in mountain surrounding, the app also rates your hike as compared to other hikers. To expand the database and keep it as useful as possible for passionate hikers, there’s a review and feedback system where you can submit your experience for other hikers to be better prepared before coming. Oh and AllTrails isn’t only for hikers or backpackers, but also offer complete database for rock climbers, bikers and other outdoor adventure enthusiasts.
Overall, the app is nicely built with organized database and precise navigation tools that comes handy for all sorts of outdoor activities including trail running, backpacking, rock climbing and all sorts of other outdoor activities.
- Easy to use clean interface
- Intuitive maps
- Great Navigation tools
- Limited database
- Depends on feedback from users to expand the database
Cairn is yet another great outdoor utility app with the downloadable database, which means you can use them at remotest places without signals of connection concerns. What makes it slightly more interesting than other hiking apps that we have talked about is the safety features. It offers real-time distance and GPS features, while also giving you safety information about the track you’re currently tracking. Even better, the app lets you keep your family and friends updated with your track, you can even inform them of last minute change in plans and stay confident that you won’t be lost in the remoteness of nature during hiking.
- Free of cost
- Easy to share your hiking plans with family and friends
- You can set starting and end goals
- Informs you of availability of signals from different carriers beforehand
- Not available for Android OS
6. Gaia GPS:
Gaia GPS is one of the more comprehensive and detailed navigation and hiking app that’s available in the market. The app was first released back in 2009 and over the decade the developers have been able to update new information into the database, thus today it has one of the most detailed and precise databases available in the market.
The app lets you explore some of the best and most precisely written adventure guides shared by experts and in the literal sense serves as your virtual guide to explore the world. Topographic maps of some of the most famous adventure around the globe are also added to the database. The database can be downloaded for offline view, while you can also explore new databases online. There are no restrictions on how many maps you wish to download with no additional cost.
- One of the most customizable apps (colors, sounds, coordinates etc.)
- Accurate topographic maps
- Feature to record tracks and routes
- Sharing on social media
- Monthly subscription required
- Internet connection required for real-time topographic map access
To sum it up, Viewranger is your personal GPS handheld system that can be used as fully functional GPS and let you wonder even the remotest places on earth. The best part about Viewranger is that it gives you all the functionality and features of a GPS at fraction of the cost and over the year of my experience with Viewranger, I haven’t found its preciseness anyway below par than those costly GPS systems. Even if you don’t have an internet connection, you can still continue to access the app just as any other GPS Unit.
- Free download
- Intuitive maps
- Access too topographical maps
- Route-tracking and navigation
- Topographic maps need to be purchased
- Lacks Ski-specific functions
- Battery extensive app
This is one heck of an app that comes handy at all safety and adventure trips. As can be taken from the name, the app is a complete survival guide with tons of useful tips, tricks, and features that will help you survive even the remotest of places and harshest environments. Not to forget, this isn’t any fluff app or an amateur effort, but an utterly professional tool.
If you aren’t familiar with the name “SAS survival guide”, that’s the name of the bestselling survival guide by Lofty Wiseman and this hiking app comes with the complete book. So, basically, you can rely on this app for any situation you might encounter out of the safety net of society.
To make things more interesting, the apps have converted the most useful topics of the bestselling book into videos and illustrative guides that help you stay away from poisonous plants, what to eat and how to locate animal tracks.
And before you think that’s all the app has to offer, it surprises you with the Morse Code – yup the ultimate survival checklist that you will ever need. Oh, did we mention that the latest version of the app comes even with an urban survival guide? Do you need more than that?
- Loaded with survival information
- Life-saving tips
- We seriously can’t think of any limitation
This is a free hiking app and offers tons of useful information to users. The app comes with 22 different activities with information of over 20k destination that you would love to hike around. You can always check out the reviews and feedbacks of users for specific routes to be better prepared for things you might encounter during the hiking trip.
The app lets users’ marks their favorite trails and tracks as well as keep a record of them. To encourage users for feedbacks, the app let them like or comment on posts and share the content on social media as well.
- Incredibly easy to use interface
- Different outdoor activities
- Socialize with other hiking enthusiasts
- Add and share your records
- The database isn’t as huge as some of the other apps
- Lack of robust navigation tools and features
10. Maps 3D Pro
Reading topographic maps and contours isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and well, for such people (that includes me) this app is sent from heaven. As can be taken by name, the app comes equipped with everything you’ll need to understand and traverse a mountainous terrain. It comes equipped with robust navigation tools that come handy for all outdoor activities.
The best part about the app is the way it projects the maps and let you view them in the 3D view, which make it so much easier for you to embrace the terrain and interpret the features like paths, trails, hills among others. You can plan, record, and share your routes and records as well as save as many maps as you want for offline navigation and viewing.
- Easy to use interface
- Great for 3D viewing of topographic maps
- Rich database
- Offline access
- Not available for Android platforms
There are tons of other exciting and high utility apps which you can download to make most of your hiking experience. One thing that all these apps share is to promote healthy lifestyle and encourage people to explore the untamed beauty of the nature.
Though many apps are freely available for most platforms, however, for apps that costs money, you can download their free versions for trials before actually purchasing the full version.
So, what are you waiting for? Lookout for the best hiking app for your OS and gets started for a healthy and pleasurable hiking adventure with friends or family.