As spring arrives and the weather is (slowly) getting better, the possibilities to explore the outdoors grow ever more enticing.
However, it’s safe to say that these days no one’s leaving home without their smartphone.
The technological advances over the last few years present countless opportunities to the outdoor enthusiast that will enhance your outdoor experience and give you even more to be excited about.
Along with your pocket knife, flashlight and matches, make sure to download these incredible apps that will make your travels all that more exciting, enjoyable and most importantly safer.
However, don’t forget, a smartphone isn’t a substitute for the good old-fashioned skills of map reading and survival skills – so make sure to use these apps to enhance your adventures, and do don’t forget that solar charger to ensure your phone keeps on giving.
#1 GAIA GPS
Though some may say nothing can replace a printed topographic map and compass, the world’s leading smartphone apps are getting close.
The GAIA GPS App is the perfect app to get lost in an adventure, without the worry of actually getting lost.
GAIA GPS provides great outdoor navigation tools that include easy-to-read up to date maps, the ability to record tracks, way-points and even take geo-tagged photos.
It is the perfect app for any backpacking, hunting trip or even cross-country skiing.
The app itself is free for download. However free users will be limited to the default map source, and won’t be able to download maps for offline use.
As a member, GAIA GPS allows users to plot a trail with access to topographic maps. The quality and variety of maps are worth the extra cost.
The maps also showcase the newest trails, backcountry routes and even National Park visitor maps. Depending on the membership level paid. Users are also free to download unlimited route maps for off-line use when out of cellular reach.
If you are planning an adventure and need a reliable navigation app, GAIA GPS is for you.
#2 FIRST AID BY BRITISH RED CROSS
When making plans to head out on your next adventure, make sure you put safety ahead of anything.
Despite our technological advances, emergencies such as burns, head injuries and broken bones are still a common occurrence when exploring outdoors.
With the use of our smartphones, we can have all the information we need at our fingertips to handle any number of emergency situations.
A bonus is that all the information is held within the app, so no internet connection is needed.
All the better for saving lives!
Download the free First Aid app designed by the British Red Cross, and you will know what to do in an emergency. The app contains videos, quizzes and simple advice for the complete novice.
The app is designed to be easy to navigate, so in the event of an emergency time can be saved (as well as lives). There is also an emergency section with step-by-step instructions.
Even if you’re not planning to head on your adventure tomorrow, this app is a great free resource to learn first aid and test your knowledge.
For the winter sports enthusiasts, a day on the slopes will never be the same again!
Connectivity and access to data through a specially designed app creates a wonderful opportunity for ski and snowboarders to make the most out of their time during the winter season.
Ranked by Snowboard Magazine, Wired Magazine and SKI Magazine as the #1 snowsports app, SNOCRU offers an all in one service specially designed to give skiers and snowboarders a fully connected day on the mountains.
Encouraging social sharing by connecting athletes nearby, the app allows skiers and snowboarders to compete. It tracks your route and performance and will enable you to experience a fully connected day of fun on the slopes.
Access to SNOCRU’s tracking technology is free and does not necessarily need an internet connection. There is also the opportunity to measure stats like speed, altitude and vertical drop in addition to the resort weather conditions and ski reports from around the world.
If you like a little competition, an in-app leaderboard will show where you rank amongst fellow friends and skiers, with the ability to chat and share photos with your ‘CRU’ through the SNOCRU messenger feature.
Compatibility with an Apple watch makes access to this app even more pleasurable. An upgrade to the SNOCRU Season Pass will give users access to premium features such as special challenges and promotions.
#4 SKYGUIDE (for IOS) and SKYVIEW (for Android Users)
There is nothing more breath-taking than witnessing the night sky after a day on the trail.
For many, star gazing is a major part of any outdoor adventure and having the ability to navigate the night sky or identify stars and planets is essential.
Once again, technology has come to the rescue. No more confusing star charts, compasses or flashlights when using the all-in-one app, Sky Guide.
Created specifically for Apple, Sky Guide allows users to find constellations, planets and satellites with or without any Wi-Fi, cellular service, or GPS signal.
So this means this app can be used anywhere to view the night sky, whether you are camping, hiking or even overseas.
By placing the smartphone overhead and pointing it into the night sky, the app will automatically adjust your viewing position and reveal wonderful mysteries of the night sky.
This intuitive app even allows time travel features so users can plan for perfectly composed photos of the Moon, or travel back in time to witness history’s greatest comets.
There are a variety of apps related to star gazing. However, this app has so many wonderful options it had to be top of the list.
#5 MOUNTAIN WEATHER UK
If you’re looking to spend your next weekend in the hills or mountains of the UK, better make sure the weather is nothing but perfect.
There are a plethora of apps for weather forecasts; however, if you are looking for something a little more tailored to the mountainous countryside, Mountain Weather UK is the ideal app.
Providing extremely detailed information at your fingertips, this app will ensure your next adventure in the Scottish Highlands is a blast.
Dedicated to providing weather forecasts, observations and maps for all UK mountain regions, this app is an excellent companion in the outdoors.
Users can get 5-day weather forecasts, freezing levels, high and low temperatures, wind speed and directions, visibility, hill fog and mountain hazards.
This app will provide all the information you need at your fingertips to make an informed decision before you head out.
#6 GOOGLE STREET VIEW
Photography and digital recording have come a long way since the days of film.
These days, the opportunity to capture our adventures has become ever easier and ever more connected.
There is nothing more enjoyable than spending the days in the wilderness and having the chance to capture these moments and share them with the world.
This has been made wonderfully simple with the Google Street View App.
Google Street View turns your smartphone into a 360-degree camera, allowing you to capture the world around you like an immersive photosphere.
There is even the opportunity to connect to a spherical camera to capture the moment in one tap.
The app gets even more interesting, allowing users to share your photo spheres to the world with your own Street View experiences.
This creates a world of endless exploration within the app where you can browse Google’s newest collections, including contributions from others, and even earn a ‘trusted photographer’ badge.
Be sure to try this app on your next adventure and let your loved ones and friends experience your journey by sharing as 360 or as flat photos.
#7 FOOTPATH ROUTE PLANNER
There is nothing better than taking the day off to go for a hike or run on a countryside trail.
However, planning your route can sometimes be a challenge.
This experience has been vastly improved with smartphones, and more specifically the use of the app Footpath Route Planner.
With the ability to plan a route in seconds, users can calculate paths to take, distances between points and even share their routes on social media.
This app will make the task of route planning so much more accurate and efficient, that the next time you are going for a hike, you can enjoy the scenery instead of worrying about the route.
Although it sounds that this app is specifically for walking or hiking, the application of this app is universal to the outdoors and offers a range of options.
Designed for hikers, walkers and cyclists, this app can also be used for adventure sports such as kayaking, or even planning the next family road trip.
The simple, intuitive design allows users to plan routes using a variety of maps and street views, with a ‘snap to path’ option to automatically map out the route.
There are also options to display the elevation through the route, and share routes via email or Facebook.
By purchasing the Footpath Elite option, users can save unlimited routes, receive access to premium topographic maps and enjoy an utterly streamlined experience between Apple devices.
Lastly, remember to get your devices fully CHARGED before you head away from a power source, so you can actually use all these cool outdoor tools as long as you need them.
Or, get yourself a solar charger or powerpack as a backup to ensure your adventure doesn’t stop when your phone does!