From saving your life to expanding your mind, these five hiking apps deserve a spot on your phone.
It's hard to get a lot out of a hike if you don't start with the right trail. AllTrails is a great hiking app to find exactly what you want.
With filter options based on length, difficulty, features (waterfalls, climbing areas, etc.), and accessibility, you can find exactly what you're looking for in minutes. Furthermore, you can save hikes for later, and even download the trail maps so when your cell service goes out in a canyon you won't be out of luck.
Map My Hike is part of a series of fitness tracking apps that uses GPS to map out where you've been and the elevation you've climbed.
It does a good job of tracking calories, links with most wearable fitness devices, can auto-associate photos with your recorded path, and saves all the information for convenient reference/sharing with other app users.
But what really makes this one stand out from the other hiking apps for me is how many times it's saved my butt.
I have a bad habit of getting way off trail in areas with no cell service. This apps real time GPS tracking is so good that when I decide I need to find a shortcut back to the trail, I simply take out my phone and turn around until the arrow showing the direction I'm facing on the map points the way I want to go. Boom! Fool-proof compass.
You never know what could happen when you're out in the backwoods. Sometimes it's something simple like taking a bad fall, and other times a blizzard comes in out of nowhere.
For a little peace of mind, check out this Offline Survival Manual. Since it's completely downloaded beforehand, as long as you have battery life, the information will be just a few taps away.
The material is presented with easy to understand photos, and sorted in a way that is quick to locate. It's so complete that it's even recommended for refugees, and covers everything from the open sea to the desert.
If you've never gone geocaching, you're really missing out! Geocaching is the practice of hiding small boxes (or "caches") with trinkets inside for others to find through GPS, like a treasure hunt.
This can be a great way to get your teenagers interested in getting back outside, and Geocaching is the app that's been in the business the longest with the largest treasure hunting community out there.
Experienced users will tell you that the best geocaches take people somewhere that they never would have found otherwise.
It's all about sharing experiences and exploring, so give it a shot!
Mushrooms can be a common sight along the trail. Depending on where you're at, you may even be allowed to collect them to take home for dinner.
It's important to know what you're picking up though so you don't get sick! Book of Mushrooms features a beautiful interface with over 254 different species with full photos.
Also, it features information on growing locations, seasons, and how safe to eat they are. But even if you're not a big fan of putting fungus on your plate, the names of a lot of mushrooms (Wolf's Milk, Crab Brittlegill, White Knight...really whose naming these?!) will have your kids interested in new ways.
Hiking Apps images are courtesy of the Google Play Store