Now that it’s officially spring in the Pacific Northwest, it’s time to dust off those hiking boots and head out on the trails with your friends and family. We hike most weekends, frequenting the trials nearby and sometimes venturing a bit further to explore a new (to us) mountain or lake. Hence I was thrilled when Pearlie Davis, of Going Cellular, emailed me offering to write a guest post about smart phone apps for hikers! Thanks so much, Pearlie!
Nowadays we don’t leave home without our smart phones. It’s true; I go for a run with my T-Mobile Samsung Android, I walk to the corner store with it, and I even go for a hike with it. Our once unplugged activities are now made better thanks to smart phone technology—especially when it comes to hiking.
When you go for a hike nowadays you can plan ahead with a hiking checklist, view panoramic hiking vistas, check the weather forecast, and even navigate various terrains—such as mountains, deep woods, or foreign hiking trails. Here are my top picks for smart phone apps for the avid hiker…
1. Peak.ar (Free – for Android)
Have you ever glimpsed an intriguing panorama off in the distance and wondered I wonder if I can make it there? And when I do, I wonder if I can climb it? The Peak.ar app will let you know before you even get there. This app provides an instant augmented reality view of any surrounding peak, and using a compass and GPS receiver tool (embedded in your phone) it tells you the name of the peak, how high it is, and the distance you are from it.
2. myTracks ($15.99 – for iPhone)
The myTracks is the Swiss-Army Knife of GPS tracks for hikers. With this app users can record GPS tracks and view live statistics—including time, speed, distance, and elevation. Once recorded, you can store them in your personal library or share your tracks with other users when you upload them to Google Spreadsheets or Google MyMaps.
3. Hiking Checklist ($0.99 – for iPhone)
If you’re planning an upcoming hiking trip, The Hiking Checklist can help you do it in half the time with half the stress. Going on a hike always has me stressing about remembering everything I need to pack. Do I have enough food, water, clothes? However, this app comes pre-loaded with more than 250 hike-planning-related items in list format. The list is fully customizable so you can add, edit, delete, and rearrange items on the list to suit your hiking preferences. To add an item to your own hiking list, simply check the items you’d like to add. To remove an item, simply uncheck it and it will disappear from your list. You can reuse your list by saving it, and consulting it again on your next hiking or camping trip. Or you can create a new list or multiple lists for your trips. You can also share your list with fellow hikers just by emailing it to them.
4. AlpineQuest GPS Hiking (Free – for Android)
The AlpineQuest app is an ideal maps program for hikers, but what’s really unique about this app is that it’s completely accessible even if you’re out of network reach—on a mountain, in the woods, or in another country. The AlpineQuest app even lets you store maps on your SD card so you can access them later via your smart phone, or if you’re without network access, later from the AlpineQuest website.
5. Hi-HikerPro (Free – for Android)
The Hi-Hiker Pro app features every tool you’ll need for a successful hike—including a sessions pedometer, a stopwatch, a compass, a flashlight, GPS maps and tracking, an altimeter, access to weather forecasts, and an emergency call. It’s every hiker’s must-have tool kit!
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