By Browning Hemric
These days most of us have our phones handy at all times, in case of an emergency, or (more likely) messing around with a new app/game we’ve downloaded while we’re sitting in the dentist’s waiting room. When it’s finally the weekend and we’re ready for the great outdoors and to disconnect from it all, sometimes it can be a a little tricky to leave the phone and gadgetry behind we rely on so heavily during the week. There are tons of awesome applications that can be used to enhance your outdoor experience, so that you can use your device for good and not evil if it will be making the camping trip this weekend! The following is a list of our top 10 favorite apps for the outdoor enthusiast.
If you’re a big fan of our beautiful National Parks, (and honestly who isn’t?!) then you’ll want to test out Chimani. This app contains specific details about all 59 US National Parks including monuments, seashores, historic sites and more. You’ll find information about the park and its history, as well as a massive photo gallery to peruse. There are helpful maps, and a fun Badging System which helps you track each park that you visit. You can download maps while connected to the internet, then use while offline deep in the wilderness where there’s no service. With trail lists and trip planning features, this app is the go-to for any National Park lover.
2) Sky Guide
Stargazing is one of the best ways to reconnect with the natural world when we’re outdoors, and the Sky Guide app makes it even better. Star maps, compasses and charts can be used of course, but with Sky Guide you have all the tools you need right on your digital device. This app allows you to hold your device towards the heavens and it will actually show you what stars, constellations and planetary wonders you’re viewing. This app can function without Wi-Fi, using data or a GPS signal which makes it ideal for your next camping trip. There are different filters and brightness to help you view the cosmos more clearly. A must have for any outdoor galactic adventurer!
3) Motion X-GPS
If you don’t already own a fancy GPS device or system, consider downloading Motion X-GPS for your next hiking trip. This app can track your position anywhere in the world, and offers unique topographic as well as nautical maps to explore. Motion X-GPS can track your routes, and also email a specific location. Though this is a connected navigation app meaning it relies on the phone’s data to access it’s maps, it’s not useless without the internet. You have the option to pre-download any maps before going off the grid. You can record your speeds, and even track your heart rate with an additional heart sensor with this unique app. Go anywhere and know right where you are at all times!
If you’re an avid birdwatcher, or perhaps showing a budding interest in your local feathery friends then Larkwire is a great app to test out. This application can feel like you’re just playing a game, but it’s actually a comprehensive system that will teach you to hear and identify different bird sounds. First you start in a gallery game where you match the sounds with the images of the birds. As you get better, you can move onto the field game which is more like the real thing in the outdoors where you identify the birds just by hearing the sounds. This app is a fun and enjoyable way to start learning the language of birds so that you can eavesdrop on their conversations the next time you’re on a hike or paddling your K-Pak on the lake!
5) First Aid by American Red Cross
When you’re in the outdoors, we all know accidents can happen. Being exposed to the elements and mother nature can lead to emergency situations or times when you’ll need to utilize some first aid procedures. It’s always better to be prepared for any situation and the First Aid by American Red Cross app is a great tool to have available. This app offers step by step instructions for all kinds of first aid scenarios and emergency situations. It’s fully integrated with 9-1-1 so the app can connect you with EMS at anytime. There are videos and animation that make understanding the steps easy and interactive, and also fun quizzes to help you brush up on your first aid skills. Remember safety first!
Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram can be fun, but sometimes we need a break from these outlets to re-connect and get back outside. If you do enjoy the sharing and socializing aspect however, give Ramblr a test run! This app is a fun way to share your outdoor adventure and photos with other users. Write a quick story about your hiking, kayaking, fishing, climbing trail running or backpacking trip and you can pinpoint on a map where your story took place for others to enjoy. You can post statistics and videos and use the built in GPS system for directions and routes. Check out other awesome outdoor stories to maybe help inspire your next great adventure!
AllTrails is an awesome app that does exactly what the name suggests, finds you all the trails you’ve ever wanted! This application boasts a collection of over 50,000 trails including detailed maps, locations, reviews and photos all added by a community of outdoor enthusiasts just like you. You can use the built in GPS tracker for directions, and also record your trips and your favorite trails. This app allows you to pre-download maps to use while offline and out and about in the great outdoors. AllTrails is a perfect app to test out to find some new trails and adventures in your area if you’re getting tired with the same ones over and over.
9) Camp & RV
If you’ve finished a record breaking hike, and are looking for a place to set up camp for the night try the Camp & RV app to help for your home for the evening. This application features all sorts of camping and RV locations for tent camping, rest areas, RV resorts and other extras. If you don’t have a plan, and perhaps you’re traveling Route 66 this app will come in very handy. You can filter searches by amenities, and do not need Wi-Fi for the app to work. You’ll just need to load the maps into memory first. Home is where the tired and hungry heart is, and this app will allow you to find your next home away from home easily and quickly.
10) Useful Knots -Tying Guide
Knots can come in handy in all kinds of situations when we’re enjoying the great outdoors hiking, camping or kayaking. The Useful Knots - Tying Guide app gives you a breakdown on how to tie different knots that can be used for all kinds of situations. Each knot is categorized by type, and has a description and instructions on how to tie it. This app can come in really handy if you need to tie things securely to your roof rack, or rig a tarp or tent in harsh weather conditions. Most of us don’t realize how handy knowing how to tie a good knot is until we find ourselves in a situation where we can’t!
Consider downloading and test driving one of these cool apps geared for outdoor enthusiasts before your next big trip. You’ll be identifying bird songs, sharing stories where you saw the rare species, then finding a killer secret camp spot all in a days work!