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The 6 Best Apps for Outdoor Adventures

​As I embark on two months worth of backpacking adventures, I have been searching for ways to enhance the experience.

By: Chloe Donlan + Save to a List

Although I am not an avid proponent for the use of technology while enjoying the outdoors, I believe that these apps will help keep you happy, healthy, and eager to plan your next round of adventures. As a certified non-techy person, I can honestly say that these apps are easy to use at home or on the go!

1. Gaia 

Download offline maps for way finding on those peskier, hard to follow, bushwhacking trails. This app is great and has earned a seal of approval from all my outdoorsy friends who have tried it. Albeit includes a $19.99 price tag, this app saved me $200 on a GPS, precious space in my backpack, and precious time by preventing me from getting lost. 

2. PeakFinder

Impress your friends with your widespread knowledge of the names of nearby mountain peaks and hilly landscapes. Simply hold your phone up to the surrounding vista and prepare to be amazed! Super chill. Works anywhere. Huge fan.

3. SkyView

This is a crowd favorite on every trip I’ve been on. Nothing makes stargazing better than being able to identify the constellations and the mythology associated with them. Hold your phone up to the night sky and pick your new favorite constellation (mine is Cygnus the Swan, can you find him in the Milky Way?). 

4. First Aid (Red Cross)

For those who prefer to backpack ultralight, this app is a great way to ensure the wellness of your group without having to lug around a heavy wilderness medicine textbook. I used this app to diagnose one of my friends with post-concussive syndrome. Definitely necessary - and it’s free!

5. iTrack Wildlife

As an avid animal lover, I respect and honor the wildlife on our planet. However, it is mighty handy to be able to identify tracks and feces... I got this bad boy after a close call with a mountain lion. If you are lucky enough to see a majestic creature in the wild, always keep your distance and be respectful. 

6. The Outbound Collective

This one goes without saying. Want to backpack in Wyoming but not sure where? Camping permits fall through in Bryce Canyon? Looking to find a new surf spot? The Outbound Collective’s massive adventure database has you covered. Read stories from a large community of outdoors aficionados for your next camp stove recipe, find useful tips for ski season training, and tidbits on how to be more successful in the outdoors. ‘Nuff said.

If you have any app that has allowed you to be more prosperous in the outdoors, please share it! Happy trails.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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