Smartphones and the outdoors can sometimes mix beautifully, especially when apps are involved. With so many out there to choose from, we've narrowed the list of best outdoor apps down to the essentials, to help you get the most out of your next outdoor adventure.
Voted #1 by a slew of magazines, MotionX GPS is a must have for hiking. Not only does it work great offline, but it is the best bang for your buck (it’s only $.99) for a navigational tool. Along with a friendly, searchable database, and social media posting, this app is an easy choice for GPS.
What would any adventure in the backcountry be without a little stargazing? Pocket Universe is also award winning, with a built in compass that allows you to identify what’s going on in your night sky. Impress your friends with your constellation knowledge, or take a virtual tour of mars. This app will help you explore the wild and remote landscape of the stars.
Another noteworthy GPS app, ViewRanger is easy to use, with clear, understandable controls. It’s a little bit pricey, but you get your money’s worth, since you can plan your routes ahead of time. From mapping your way through the wilderness to finding your way down the street, this app can help you. Along with tracking your course and speed, it offers an array of data that you can share. Not to mention the Buddy Beacon feature, that allows you to track your position as well as your friend’s.
Peaks has been around awhile, and it is still an absolute favorite. Don’t know what mountain peak you’re looking at? Simply point your smartphone at the feature, and you’ll be able to identify it. Accuracy requires a good signal and keeping your phone steady for a quick minute, but it’s a worthy buy if you’re looking to get a better handle on your view.
There’s quite a few birding apps out there, but nothing beats one that is free and easy to use. iBird contains information about the full gamut of birds on your continent, along with vivid, colorful pictures, bird sounds and information about each species’ range. iBird.com features a ton of great products, but iBird lite is a great way to get started since it costs you nothing. Even if you’re not into birding, once you get into this app and identifying the flying critters in your world, it’s hard to put it down. What's your favorite outdoor app?