While some people like to spend outdoors to get away from their computer, phone, and whatever else distracts them, others want to take full advantage of all the features technology like backpacking apps offer them. If you’re someone who likes to bring their smartphone on backpacking trips, there is no shortage of apps to make preparing for and taking a backpacking trip. These backpacking apps might not qualify as the 7 Essentials, but they’re pretty sweet to have on the trail nonetheless DON’T MISS: 25 Hiking Apps That Will Turn Your Smartphone Into a Multifunctional Godsend
7 backpacking apps that will make your next trip a little safer
Gear List/Packing Making sure you have all your gear before heading out is one of the most important pieces of planning for a backpacking trip. There are 2 simple and easy to use options for both Android and iOS to make sure you don’t leave home without an important piece of gear.
- On Android, Backpack Planner comes pre-populated with over 105 items, allows you to add new items, copy old lists for new trips, and has alarms to remind you of certain items before leaving. The app costs $0.99.
- For iOS, the Backpacker checklist has many of the same features as its Android counterpart. This app allows you to enter the weight of items, group gear by function, plan where to buy any outstanding items, and mark what’s packed, what’s left to buy and what will be left. The iOS app is $0.99
These two backpacking apps are my first go-to places when it comes to prep for any hiking trip.
Weather Weather Underground: Free on Android & iOS. By relying upon a network of over 30,000 personal and amateur weather stations, Weather Underground is able to give accurate, local weather forecasts for your hikes. You’ll be able to see the weather up to 10 days out as well as hourly updates. The severe weather notifications also come in handy so you have a little extra time to prepare for an unexpected storm. Trails & Navigation
- For Android, BackCountry Navigator PRO GPS provides a wide selection of topo maps and supports offline GPS navigation. You can also add and import your own GPS waypoints and use in-app purchases to provide additional information about your route. While the app is a little pricey at $12, it’s a worthwhile expense.
- On iOS, MotionX GPS offers both a wide selection of topo maps and marine charts. MotionX also provides offline GPS navigation but to really make the most out of this app you’ll need to take advantage of the in-app purchases, such as downloading maps and other route data. The app is $1.00.
- GoToAid on Android is a simple and easy to understand app for many of the medical emergencies you’ll experience out in the woods. It also includes first-aid instructions for dogs for those of you who like to bring your best friend along. GoToAid has 2 versions, a lite version for Free or a more robust app for $4.99.
- Army First Aid for iOS provides information on wildlife bites, how to check for shock, stop bleeding, treating heat and cold injuries and basic first aid. Army First aid is $1.99.
- Sky Map for Android, which was created by Google, lets you find the positions of the stars and planets by holding your phone up to the sky and the internal GPS determines the position of your phone and places the correct constellations, stars, and planets within view. The app has not been updated in awhile, but it’s still great to use, plus it’s free.
- GoSkyWatch on iOS was designed for stargazing outdoors. The app allows for quick and easy identification of stars, planets, comets, constellations, galaxies and more by simply pointing your phone to the sky. GoSkyWatch costs $3.99.
Knots Animated Knots by Grog: While knowing a few basic knots can get you by most of the time, this is a great app to help you easily learn some of those knots you might not use as often. Also, if you’re stuck in a storm, this is a great way to pass the time. Both the Android & iOS apps are $4.99. RELATED: Hiking Poles: Why Successful Hikers Never Hike Without Them All in One App If you’re look for an outdoor app that comes has all the features you need, from first aid to fire starting tips, look no further than the SAS Survival Guide. The guide was written by a former SAS soldier and instructor, John “Lofty” Wiseman, so you know the material is going to be thorough. The app includes 16 videos, photo galleries of animal tracks, knots, morse code, survival checklist, sun compass and a comprehensive first aid section, and much much more. Both Android and iOS have paid and free options. $6.00 for this app is definitely worth it:
Now, having all these fancy backpacking apps on your phone can make backpacking a little easier and safer, but they do you no good if your batteries dies. Remember to bring an extra battery or solar charger with you so your phone doesn’t become an unnecessary weight to carry around. DON’T MISS: The Ultralight Backpacking Checklist: How To Balance Comfort, Weight and Joy What’s more? With more than 250,000 downloadable applications out there—many of them tailored to backpacking and hiking—you can add an endless assortment of bells and whistles. But since separating the iWheat from the iChaff can be a challenge, we did it for you, testing dozens of apps and whittling them down to these 7. Any suggestions for great hiking & backpacking apps that should be added to the list are welcome.