The 7 Best Free Apps for Hikers
Make sure to download these apps before your next hiking or backpacking trip! These apps will do everything from guide you to entertain you during your hike. Perfect for the avid hiker, this is a curated list of apps that I have tried and recommend!
1. REI Co Op National Parks
Trying to find information for your next National Park visit can be daunting. There is so much information, so many map versions, so many doctored Instagram pics that make you second guess where they’re at. A lot of people suggest Chimani National Park app but i find it to be too cluttered and difficult to find the information you need. The REI version is very easy to use and includes very detailed trail,campground, flora/fauna, and topographic information.
All Trails is one of the most well known hiking apps out there! It has guides to every trail you can imagine in the US. The guides include pictures and reviews, other user’s recorded versions of the trail, as well as driving directions to the trail head. Use this app to find the closest hikes near you, it lists the review rating of each hike and the difficulty level. It also allows you to download trail maps so that you can view them offline. If you sign up for a free account, you can also save your favorite trails, record your own tracks, and follow friends.
3. First Aid by American Red Cross
Even if you are not a hiker, please download this! It is so user friendly and easy to use. It has a list of injuries and a quick step by step guide on how to help the person with the ailment. At the bottom of each guide, it has an FAQ with additional information like when to call 911 and symptoms and next steps. The have an entirely different section for just emergency situations with a quick 911 speed dial on the screen for you and videos. They also have a search for the hospital nearest you. This may not be practical for when you are in the back country and have no service but the plethora of information that is available offline is still very useful in a pinch.
4. Pet First Aid by American Red Cross
Yes! Thank goodness there is a Pet Version! I know a lot of people love to take their dog with them on hikes which is great, but sometimes it is very difficult to know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and other ailments. This app works exactly like the human version without the 911 speed dial. There is a cat version too within the same app if your cat is strange and likes to be outdoors with you.
The idea is AMAZING but this app needs a little bit of improvement. I included this on the list because it depends on your location. The only regions it recognizes and has plants for is the New York area, Washington D.C., Northeast area of US, and Canada. The app has a database of all different types of leaves with the name and taxonomy. From there you would need to google the species to get more information on the plant. It also has a photo portion where you are able to take a picture of the leaf in question (must be on a white background) and then it pulls a list of possibly matches. It needs a little improvement in order to be practical but I really like the premise and it is a little fun since it saves a picture and location of where you snapped the leaf.
This app has a myriad of interests from dancing, gaming, camping, to book clubs. You pick your interests ( in this case, hiking or camping) and then find a group NEAR YOU to join. Once you join a group, or many groups, it will list organized events in your area that you are able to participate in. This app is a great way to meet new people that share the same interests as you.
7. Map My Hike
This app is geared towards the fitness hiker! It not only maps your hike but also provides the following information: distance, duration, average pace (mi/min), elevation gain, steps, and calories burned. You can also pair it with your fitbit or other device.