One of the challenges well-known to hikers when it comes to using cell phone apps is the lack of cellular service in remote areas. For this reason, plenty of hikers eschew apps for hiking altogether. After all, what good is an app you can’t actually use when you’re in a remote wilderness area? Gaia GPS, however, allows users to download maps from all over the world onto their iPhones so that the map and its related information will be available in the middle of the hike, even when you’re in the middle of nowhere. With or without a cell phone signal, you’ll still be able to use the GPS function, which means that as long as the map has been downloaded ahead of time, Gaia GPS will be able to tell you where you’re at. Additionally, Gaia GPS will note points of interest on the map with detailed information about each spot.
There’s a free version of this app that’s ad-supported, or you can make an investment of $19.99 for the full version of the app. The full version also gives users access to special trail maps within a given area. A lot of fans of this app say that the hefty price tag is worth it.
Point de Vue was made specifically with mountain lovers in mind. For those hikers who like to know where and how high up the surrounding mountains are, Point de Vue will help. It provides detailed information about the elevation, distance and summit of all the mountain peaks within a 125-mile radius from where the hiker is standing. The great part about Point de Vue is that it works great even in cloudy weather.
Reviewers of this app state that its $1.99 price is a real bargain for the amount of information it provides.
If you get caught in a bad storm during your hike, do you know how to make an emergency shelter? Do you know how to find water? Can you tell the difference between a poisonous wild berry and a friendly one? With this app, you’ll have access to all of that information and much more. This app contains more than 1,400 pages from an actual military survival guide. App Store reviews give this $1.99 app almost universally high ratings.
The U.S. Army Survival Guide is a well-rounded guide with information to cover almost every situation. GotoAID is more specific, focusing just on first-aid for pets and humans, but it contains detailed, step-by-step instructions for nearly every emergency, complete with illustrations. GotoAID is especially useful for hikers who travel with their dogs as a large section of this first aid guide is devoted to animals. Furthermore, this is an app that might come in handy during a hike, but it’s also just as much use at home. It’s an all-purpose first-aid guide for humans, dogs and cats.
Start with the free version of this app. If you like what you see, you can upgrade to the full, award-winning version for $4.99.
Did you see that paw print in the mud? Was that a mountain lion or just somebody’s big dog? Keeping MyNature Animal Tracks on your phone will help you to identify the scat, prints, sounds and glimpses of the wildlife around you on your hike. Billed as a nature guide that fits in the palm of your hand, the Animal Tracks is the latest of several great apps for outdoors-types by MyNature. Once you’ve identified the animal that you’ve seen evidence of, Animal Tracks will give you range maps, lifecycle information and other interesting tidbits about the animal you see.
A lot of reviewers object to this app’s $6.99 price. However, hikers and nature lovers will be more than happy to pay the price for this thorough app that’s perfect for wildlife watchers.
These five apps are some of the very best on the market for hikers. However, there are many other great apps for hikers out there. Do you know of some? Share your favorites in the comments section below.