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50 Smartphone Apps for Outdoor Lovers

Jill Spencer has been an online writer for over ten years. Her articles often focus on gardening and the outdoors.

Find the best smartphone apps with services and safety information for hikers, bikers, and all those who love the great outdoors!

Find the best smartphone apps with services and safety information for hikers, bikers, and all those who love the great outdoors!

Best Outdoor Apps

Backpacking, camping, cycling, fishing, foraging, geocaching, skiing—no matter what outdoor activity you're into, these apps can make the experience a little bit better. Read on to find apps in a variety of categories:

  • Maps, Compasses, and Trip Planners
  • Weather Trackers
  • First Aid and Emergency
  • Packing, Picnics, Menus, and More
  • Nature
  • Fishing
A mountain hiker's view of the Gauley River in WV.

A mountain hiker's view of the Gauley River in WV.

Maps, Compasses, and Trip Planners

Nobody wants to get lost in the wilderness. Find trails, track your location, and use maps while navigating the backcountry. Get on track and stay there with these handy apps!

1. BackCountry Navigator PRO

  • Price: $9.99
  • Device: Android

The BackCountry Navigator PRO app functions as a compass and trip planner. It allows you to access free maps online, download them, and view them both offline and on an SD card. You can also search locales anywhere in the world, mark waypoints, save and share trips, and calculate the length of a journey.

2. Backpacker GPS Trails Lite

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: iPhone, Android

Backpacker GPS Trails, designed specifically with backcountry hikers in mind, is a database of over 3,500 wilderness adventures in the U.S., courtesy of Backpacker magazine. The lite version of the app has several cool features—a digital compass, calorie counter, and multiple ways to record trips. The pro version, which offers even more features, costs $9.99.

3. Camp and RV

  • Price: $5.99
  • Device: Android

The Camp and RV app provides information (including amenities, rates, and discounts) for over 24,000 campgrounds and RV parks.

4. Campwhere

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: iPhone

Campwhere provides details on 9,500 local, state, and national North American campgrounds that are car-accessible. Listings include driving directions via Google Maps, reservation information, the number of campground sites available, and details on the types of facilities available.

5. Digital Altimeter

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Android

If you're in an area with good cell phone reception, the Digital Altimeter app will provide a digital reading of your altitude.

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6. Elevation Pro

  • Price: $0.99
  • Device: iPhone

Using GPS technology and U.S. Geological Survey data, Elevation Pro tells you how far you are above sea level. It also allows you to share information on Twitter.

7. EveryTrail

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: iPhone, Android

EveryTrail is a database of more than 400,000 trails throughout the world. Besides getting GPS-enabled directions to (and along) the trail, EveryTrail includes commentary on must-see points of interest, complete with photos and audio.

A commercial-free, the pro version is also available for $3.99. It features video guides, downloadable maps, and additional extras not found in the free version.

8. Gaia GPS

  • Price: $12.99
  • Device: iPhone, Android

Like Backpacker GPS Trails, Gaia GPS is for those who hike in the wilderness. Gaia GPS works with the maps you've downloaded to your mobile device, allowing you to navigate new terrain, save your routes and track your progress in real-time—with or without cell phone service and/or access to the internet.

9. GPS Cycle Computer Pro

  • Price: $1.99
  • Device: Android

With the GPS Cycle Computer Pro app, you can record your cycling routes as well as the distance, speed, and elevation of your ride. You can even keep track of the calories you burned. Organize your data into graphs if you like. You can also share info about your cycling trips via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

A free version of GPS Cycle Computer is also available.

10. MapMyHIKE

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: iPhone, Android, Blackberry

This free app allows you to save your favorite trails electronically and keep track of your hiking buddies. MapMyHIKE also allows users to track their hike in real-time, monitoring speed, distance, elevation—even heart rate—and share the details on Twitter.

11. MyTopo Maps

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Android

With the MyTopo Maps app, you can view more than 60,000 aerial, hybrid, street, terrain, and topo maps of the U.S. and Canada. Search through My Topo Maps' 10 million+ trails, lakes, rivers, and other locales as you plan and save trips.

How to Download Maps Offline

12. Outdoor Compass

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Android

The Outdoor Compass app helps users stay on course and find landmarks.

13. Pedometer

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Blackberry

This app counts your steps. Great for fitness enthusiasts, it allows you to approximately measure distance and speed.

14. Trip Journal

  • Price: $2.99
  • Device: iPhone, Android

With the Trip Journal app, you can geo-tag all of your destinations to include photos, videos, commentary, and blogs. Trip Journal works with Open Maps as well as Google Maps, allowing you to display your current position and your itinerary. Plus, you can share Trip Journal data through Facebook, Flickr, Picassa, and YouTube.

A free version, Trip Journal Lite, is also available.

Make sure to check the weather so you won't get caught in the rain like this guy!

Make sure to check the weather so you won't get caught in the rain like this guy!

Weather Trackers

Don't get caught in an unexpected storm! No matter where you roam, these apps can help you keep abreast of the weather conditions.

15. AccuWeather

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: iPhone, Android, Blackberry

Using GPS technology and Google Maps, the AccuWeather app provides up-to-the-hour local weather reports anywhere on the planet.

Cool features include the ability to store 15 forecast locations at a time, 24-hour and 15-day forecasts, and information about the potential for sunburn, allergy attacks, and insect bites at any location.

For $2.99, the AccuWeather Platinum app has even more bells and whistles.

16. GO Weather

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Android

GO Weather is a very basic weather app. Although it doesn't offer radar and live updates, it does provide a weekly forecast as well as weather updates approximately every half hour.

17. 1Weather

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Android

1Weather can provide weather data from multiple locations. Find the high and low temperatures of a given location, the weekly forecast, the chance of precipitation, radar, and severe weather alerts—all are attractively displayed, as are the times for the sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset.

18. WeatherBug

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: iPhone, Android

WeatherBug provides day-to-day weather info. It can also track severe weather and send you alerts when dangerous conditions are imminent in and around your region. Another cool feature? Playable radar maps.

19. The Weather Channel

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: iPhone, Android

The Weather Channel app tells the temperature, humidity, and UV index. It also provides hourly, 36-hour, and 10-day forecasts as well as severe weather alerts. Includes radar maps, videos, and more.

It's always a good idea to be prepared.

It's always a good idea to be prepared.

First Aid and Emergency

When it comes to outdoor adventure, choose safety first! Preparation is key. These apps are good companions for first aid kits as well as tool kits.

20. Bike Repair

  • Price: $3.99
  • Device: iPhone, Android

If you have this app and a well-stocked tool kit, you'll be well prepared to face most of the common mechanical problems mountain bikers face. The Bike Repair app includes step-by-step video instructions on how to fix a derailleur, change a multi-gear bike's rear tire, and over fifty other common bike problems.

21. First Aid Reference

  • Price: $0.99
  • Device: Blackberry

The First Aid Reference app provides procedures and tips for treating burns, strains/sprains, fractures, fainting, and other common ailments.

22. Go to Aid

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: iPhone

From minor scrapes to serious injuries, when accidents happen in the great outdoors, they usually require immediate action. Go to Aid provides accurate information on dealing with all sorts of medical problems, including respiratory trauma, bites and stings, cuts and wounds, breaks and sprains, poisons, and more. It also comes in a premium version for $4.99.

23. PetTech Petsaver

  • Price: $4.99
  • Device: iPhone, Android

The Petsaver app provides first aid info that will help you care for ill or injured dogs and cats, including methods of CPR.

24. U.S. Army Survival Guide PRO

  • Price: $0.99
  • Device: iPhone, Android

Have a question about how to survive in the wilderness? You can probably find the answer using U.S. Army Survival Guide, a 1,400-page app adapted from a real U.S. military survival manual.

Picnickers relax by the water on St. Clement's Island, MD.

Picnickers relax by the water on St. Clement's Island, MD.

Packing, Picnics, Menus, and More

From a stroll in the woods to a lakeside barbecue, every outdoor event requires good planning. Help your outings go off without a hitch using these awesome outdoor apps.

30. Backpacking Planner Checklist

  • Price: $1.99
  • Device: iPhone, Android

Designed to help backpackers create to-do lists before setting out, the Backpacking Planner Checklist app is pre-populated with 100+ items. You can add, save, and delete items, tasks, and lists to customize your trip.

31. Camp & Hike

  • Price: $0.99
  • Device: iPhone

Don't leave home without everything you need for your next outdoor adventure. Make a list—with the Camp & Hike app.

Camp & Hike allows you to prioritize items on your list. It will even track the weight of each item as it's added to your list. You can even share your lists with others. The app provides pre-made checklists, too.

32. Campfire

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Android

With the Campfire app, you can (virtually) enjoy the cozy warmth of a campfire via your smartphone. That's right! Campfire lets you load a fire into your phone so that you can get that outdoor feeling any place, any time—even while you're stuck inside, planning your next big outdoor adventure.

33. Camping Planner Checklist

  • Price: $0.99
  • Device: Android

Specifically for campers, the Camping Planner Checklist app comes with 225 tasks and items which you can add to. Make your own lists and save them or delete them. You can event set Camping Planner Checklist to remind you of unfinished tasks.

34. 101 Camping & Outdoor Recipes

  • Price: $0.99
  • Device: iPhone

The 101 Camping & Outdoor Recipes app offers easy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes for outdoor cooking. This app is great for new cooks.

35. Picnic Recipes

  • Price: $1.99
  • Device: iPhone

The Picnic Recipes app has 5,000+ recipes made from readily available ingredients.

Tour of the uPackingList App

36. uPackingList

  • Price: $0.99
  • Device: iPhone, Android

The uPackingList app lets you create packing lists for all sorts of trips, from picnics to sightseeing tours. It includes a catalog of 300 items and tasks. It even tracks your packing progress!

37. Picnic Recipes

  • Price: $0.99
  • Device: iPhone

The Picnic Recipes app is a recipe database of easy, portable foods. It has a shopping list function that makes organizing any outing easier. You can even email recipes to friends.

38. Sole Survival

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Blackberry

Never sure when to throw those old hiking boots or tennis shoes away? Then you need Sole Survival. Just enter the shoe type, date first used, and other details, and Sole Survival will tell you when it's time for a new pair.

An evening walk along the river in Pipestem Resort State Park, WV

An evening walk along the river in Pipestem Resort State Park, WV

Nature

Explore the natural world with a little help from technology. Find apps for stargazing, birdwatching, foraging, and generally appreciating nature.

39. Wild Mushrooms of North America and Europe

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: iPhone, Android

Don't go mushroom picking without this app! It provides detailed pictures and descriptions of over 1,500 mushrooms native to North America and Europe.

40. National Parks: Tracks, Trees, and Wildflowers

  • Price: $4.99
  • Device: iPhone

This app helps you identify animal tracks, trees, and wildflowers with apps for these national parks: Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite. The app includes info on the most common native trees and wildflowers as well as the tracks, signs, and scat of large mammals.

41. MyNature: Tree Guide

  • Price: $6.99
  • Device: iPhone

This tree identification app lets you determine a tree's identity through a series of questions and answers. Browse the extensive database of MyNature: Tree Guide, which includes more than 500 color images of trees as well as detailed descriptions of each.

42. iBird Pro 2

  • Price: $4.99
  • Device: Android

Identify birds quickly—either by sight or by song—with iBird Pro. The iBird Pro app features written descriptions and pics as well as song and call recordings. A free iBirdlite app is also available.

43. Google Sky Map

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Android

With the GoogleSky Map app, you can identify planets, stars, and constellations using your smartphone.

44. MyNature: Animal Tracks

  • Price: $6.99
  • Device: iPhone, Android

Search the Animal Tracks app database by track size or shape. The app contains pics of 46 North American animals and their actual tracks, as well as illustrations of their gait patterns and maps that show the ranges in which they live. The app also includes audio recordings of animal calls.

45. Scats and Tracks of North America

  • Price: $6.99
  • Device: iPhone, Android

The Scats and Tracks app includes pics of the scats, tracks, and signs of just about every North American animal you can think of. The app enables you to visually compare evidence to determine the species. It also includes maps, descriptions, a built-in ruler, a glossary of terms, a ton of color photos, and a "Sightings Log" that you can share online.

46. Star Chart

  • Price: $0.99
  • Device: Android

Night or day, Star Chart calculates the current location of every star and planet visible from Earth. It also identifies sky objects. Star Chart accurately depicts more than 5,000 stars—the sun, the moon, and all the planets of the solar system plus all 88 constellations. The app features the artwork of 15th-century astronomer Johannes Hevelius.

47. Star Walk

  • Price: $2.99
  • Device: iPhone

Point your cell phone at the sky, and Star Walk will give you a gorgeous lesson in astronomy. It's that simple—and very beautiful.

Fishing

What's the catch of the day? Fishing takes patience and a bit of luck. Thankfully, these apps will help you reel 'em in and cook 'em up!

48. Fish Recipes

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Blackberry

Not sure what to do with your catch? The Fish Recipes app can help. It includes a lot of recipes, including broiled mackerel, broiled salmon, and baked halibut.

49. Mobile Fishing Tracker

  • Price: Free*
  • Device: Android

The Mobile Fishing Tracker app records your location using Google Maps and GPS tracking, so you can save your favorite fishing locations. You can also record other data—including details about your catches—and send pictures via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

50. My Fishing Companion Pro

  • Price: $2.49
  • Device: Android

With the My Fishing Companion Pro app, you can record, save, and share everything about your fishing trip, including details about your catches, your location, and even the weather. You can also lookup the forecast for your location, as long as it's in the U.S.

Happy apping!

Happy apping!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Jill Spencer

Comments

Andrea on July 28, 2014:

I use Altimeter GPS... it's free and works very well for me! try it!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/altimeter-gps-elev...

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on May 05, 2014:

Thanks, Mary! It was a lot of work, but the apps were interesting to research. I was only going to write about 25 of them at first, but there were so many good ones, I included 50. Thanks for the share & votes! --Jill

Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 04, 2014:

Wow! You really put a lot of time and effort into obtaining all this great info. One of these apps could save a life!

Voted UP, etc.etc. and shared.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 16, 2012:

Thanks for the vote, Pavlo! (:

Pavlo Badovskyi from Kyiv, Ukraine on September 16, 2012:

most of these apps can be useful . Voted up.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 16, 2012:

Hi GoodLady! Thanks for commenting. The mushroom app above does ID common mushrooms in Europe, but I haven't seen an app that's specific just to Italy. Maybe someday! Take care--and thanks so much for sharing the hub. Jill

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on September 16, 2012:

Super resources here. Just great, love it. Pinning and bookmarking and voting. Wonder if there's a mushroom identifying app for Italy?!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 15, 2012:

Hey Glimmer Twin Fan! Restaurants? How come you're not cooking over a campfire or foraging for food? lol Thanks for commenting!

@GoldenThreadPress -- Apps are sort of addictive, aren't they? Nice to hear from you! --Jill

GoldenThreadPress on September 15, 2012:

Love them apps! Didn't know what we did without them. Great Hub!

Claudia Mitchell on September 15, 2012:

What a useful hub! Love the campwhere app. Of course, we use Yelp to to help us find restaurants in the are...I know, not very outdoorsy, but it helps.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on September 15, 2012:

Hey Faith Reaper. Next time, you'll have to get a smartphone! They really are amazing. Glad you stopped by. (: Jill

Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 14, 2012:

Very interesting, informative and well-written. Loved the photos! The only problem is I still have a "dumb" phone. Have not switched yet. But I will file this away for future reference. Voted Up In His Love, Faith Reaper

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