The summer weather is warm and beautiful, and pretty soon autumn will be bringing stunning fall foliage to our national parks and nature trails. What better activity to enjoy this beautiful scenery through than hiking? To help ensure trekkers are prepared before venturing off into the wilderness, here are 10 must-have smartphone apps for hikers.
Looking to find a new hiking trail in your area? EveryTrail is the perfect app for you. This community-driven tool allows users to “share tips, connect with other travelers and find new great things to do.” It features over 400,000 trails around the world, including points of interest, reviews, useful information, audio and video for each. Additionally, EveryTrail provides directions to, from and along the trails. For example, after looking at “Half Dome Hike” in Yosemite National Park in the app, I now know a wealth of information, such as the hike is a difficult 15.7-mile trek that takes you to the signature landmark of the park. Furthermore, there is a set of included interviews with veteran hikers, a preparation list, inspirational messages, photographs and a video taken via a head-mounted camera.
Available on Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Free. U.S. Army Survival Guide
This app, which is called “Army Survival for iPad/iPhone” in the iTunes store, is something you should download before any outdoor adventure. There is information on how to find food and water, how to create a shelter, information on plant and animal identification and more. The tool has over 1,400 pages of information adapted from an actual military survival manual, so you know you’re in knowledgeable hands.
Available on Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Free on Android, $1.99 for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
MapMyHike is a smartphone app that allows hikers to log their treks, get elevation information, create a hiking journal and share details via Facebook and Twitter. The tool uses GPS to note your location, then shows an interactive map that marks out your route while measuring duration, pace, heart rate, calories burned, elevation and speed. If you’re looking to increase your fitness, MapMyHike saves all your treks and tracks improvements.
Available on Blackberry, Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Free.
Point de Vue
Are you the type of person who likes to hike high peaks, and wants to know more about the surrounding mountains? Point de Vue was created with you in mind. No matter where you are in the world, this smartphone app will supply you information for mountains that are within a 125-mile range of your current location. Unlike with similar apps, you won’t need to hold your phone in the air, and it even works in bad weather and indoors. Moreover, you’ll be able to download maps for any location in the world and search for summits, sorting them by elevation or distance. Point de Vue works both online and offline.
Available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. $3.99.
Looking to take some high-quality iphoneography pictures? While you could stick with the free and popular Instagram, a more professional nature photography app is ProCamera. This user-friendly tool allows you to set the focus, exposure and white balance points when taking photos. Likewise, hikers can edit their photos afterward to adjust exposure, brightness, saturation, contrast and color temperature, as well as crop, filter and rotate pictures. What’s also great about ProCamera is you’re not just limited to still pictures, but can create superior videos, as well.
Available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. $2.99.
You never know what could happen when you’re exploring the great outdoors. Even if you’re hiking an easier trail, sprained ankles, sunburn and choking on your mixed nuts are still possible. GotoAID tries to help prepare hikers for these unfortunate incidents with a smartphone app they can always have on hand. The app has three different tabs to separate treatments for humans, cat or dogs. Furthermore, a wide range of topics are covered, including respiratory, poisons, heat, cold, cuts/wounds, bites/stings, burns, breaks/sprains and serious emergencies. The app is created for the “non-professional responder,” meaning the app takes you through exactly how to respond in an emergency step-by-step.
Available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. $4.99.
If you’re in the market for some new hiking gear, Simply Hike is a great app. You can shop for outdoor gear right on your phone and have it delivered to your door. Search by department or just browse for the item, and you’ll be given product descriptions and photos for the merchandise. So, why would you use the app and not the website? Simply Hike gives special discounts and offers to app users.
Available on Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Free.
MyNature Animal Tracks
MyNature Animal Tracks is a handy app for identifying animal scat and footprints when hiking in North America. Images are extremely clear, with illustrations of both fore and hind feet, and detailed descriptions of track measurements, animal life cycles, gait patterns and even sounds clips. Moreover, the app includes a journal, and works both online and offline.
Available on Android, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. $6.99.
Developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian institute, Leafsnap makes use of visual recognition software to help hikers “identify tree species from photographs of their leaves.” How it works is every leaf photograph is matched to images in the app’s library using shape measurements and the leaf’s outline. From there, the best matches are returned to the user. Additionally, simply browsing the library can be an interesting virtual trip into nature.
Available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Free.
If you’re like me and get eaten alive no matter where or when you’re hiking, Mosquito Device is an excellent tool to have. The app emits a high-pitched sound that is harmless to humans, plants and animals but keeps mosquitos away. Just be careful if you have small children, as it can hurt the ears of youngsters.
Available on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Free.