.. don’t leave home without your trusty smartphone. It’s essential if you know what apps to preload. Check out our top picks.
Out for a hike? The AllTrails app (Android, iOS) has got you covered with more than 50,000 trail guides for hiking, biking and more. Browse through the trail list or search for trails near you, look up trail reviews and write your own. AllTrails allows you to view topographic maps, photos and reviews, and lets you save a trail for offline use so you can take your trail guide to the field. From within the trail, you can upload pictures taken on the trail, and even create and upload your own tracks using your phone’s GPS tracker.
MapMyFitness has an app for every outdoor activity under the sun, including hiking. MapMyHike (Android, iOS) uses your phone’s sensors to track and log your hiking route, complete with information on pace, distance, calorie counting and route navigation. In addition to logging your own hikes, you can also search and download other nearby routes. A premium subscription, starting at $5.99 per month, unlocks other features such as customized audio training cues, and real-time location sharing to friends and family with Live Track.
Not everyone has the skill or training to properly read a topographic map, so Maps 3D Pro is a helpful navigation tool for those planning an outdoor hike in rugged terrain. Maps 3D Pro, as its name suggests, projects maps on a 3D view, allowing users to much more easily interpret terrain features such as hills, ridges, trails, paths, and more. Users can plan, save, and share routes, pre-load maps for offline viewing and navigation, and record their trip complete with coordinates and elevation data. If you are planning to use your iPhone as a navigation tool though, make sure you’re well supplied with power (and a battery pack) and/or have a good backup.
Outdoors types who like to document and journal everything about their trip should check out Ramblr (Android, iOS), a mobile journaling app designed for hikes and mountaineering trips. Ramblr allows users to record everything from their route, statistics such as average speed, distance traveled, and highest point, as well as record geotagged audio, video, pictures or text, allowing you to easily create a blow-by-blow account or relive the trip in the future. Additional features include built-in mapping, the ability to upload and share your trips, or check out where other Ramblr users have gone to.