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The Best Outdoors Apps for the iPhone

The Best Outdoors Apps for the iPhone

With summer officially here, many of us want to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors while we can. However, as is tradition nowadays in 2017, many people don’t go anywhere without their trusty smartphone in their pocket or bag. This should go double for when you are going hiking, camping or exploring outdoors. While there is something to be said for going hiking or exploring without any technology, it definitely has value and without it, you risk getting into some trouble.

Of course, the main reasons are to have a way to contact people if things go wrong or a means with which people can contact you. However, your iPhone can also help you out in a ton of other different ways when you are camping, hiking or doing any other kind of outdoor exploration. The App Store is full of great apps that can really add to your outdoor adventures in a positive way.

Whether you want to pre-plan your hikes, make sure you don’t get lost, be able to identify wildlife or do a wide variety of other things, there is definitely an app out there for you. But with so many options, how do you know which ones are great and which will just waste your time? Well, that is why we have crafted this article. This article will take a close look at some of the best outdoors apps for you to enjoy this summer and every summer going forward.

 

Winner - Komoot
Winner - Komoot

Compatible With

IOS

As mentioned in the introduction to this article, there is something to be said for going camping or hiking without any technology to truly be able to enjoy the nature. However, technology and smartphones exist to make our lives easier and better, so why not take advantage of them. Our phone is not only our lifeline to the outside world when in the outdoors, but it also has a wide variety of different apps that can help us in our adventures.

But with so many helpful outdoors apps out there for the iPhone, choosing a winner for this article wasn’t easy. Each and every app on this list is pretty great and can help you in one way or another on your journey. However, after much consideration, we have decided to name Komoot the winner in this battle of the outdoors apps.

Komoot is an app that helps you experience more adventure in your life. Even when you are offline or in an area with bad service or reception, this app can help you plan hikes, get directions, explore, and do a variety of other things. So now that you know a bit about the app and what it can do, let’s take a look at how it can enhance your outdoor activities and adventures.

The biggest and best feature within this app is its ability to help you plan out your next adventure to make sure it is the best time it can be. Whether you want to hike, bike, walk, run, or climb, this app will be able to help you plan that adventure. The app can help you find the perfect route for whatever you want to do. It can find you a smooth surface to bike, a rocky terrain to hike or climb and anything in between. The app also provides a ton of different details about the route such as elevation, difficulty, distance and even surface.

Another feature that is of value within Komoot is the turn by turn voice navigation of whatever trail or route you are on, which can really help you make sure you never get lose or anything. The directions are also voiced, so you never have to take your eyes off the trail. Whether your trail is large or small, this app will make sure you stay on the right path. This app also includes offline maps, which is a great feature for when you are out in the wilderness where the internet can often be spotty. With a single tap, you can download and save topographic maps to this app.

The community within the app is also pretty special as well. This app allows you to build your own activity log and share it with other users of this app., or you can keep them private as well. The log will contain things like photos, highlights, routes and more. The Komoot community can then view your activity log, like the log, and even post comments and ask you questions. Viewing the logs of other users can also be a great way to get adventure inspiration and you can even follower users if you want to keep up with their journey.

The app automatically syncs across all devices so you will always have your up-to-date information and routes with you wherever you are. The app also works with Apple Watch and Apple Health. With the Apple Watch connectivity, you can get all information, directions, and data right on your wrist. And the Apple Health partnership makes sure your information is always up to date, and your activity from Komoot is automatically shared with the Health app if you use it for tracking your activity and health.

The way the app is laid out and designed is also pretty great and it is simple to find and use all of the apps many features. But in addition to the interface and app itself being easy to use, it also looks good too. Everything is easy and snappy to use, which is quite important for an app like this.

While the app can be used and downloaded for free, the entire app itself isn’t free, per se. When you download this app, you get to try it out for free. By that, I mean that you get your first region for free, and from then on you have to pay to unlock other regions that you may want to have Komoot be able to help you with. There are also a few different ways that you can unlock other regions. You can decide to purchase a single region, a bundle of regions or you can go all out and go for the Complete Package, which will unlock the entire planet for you to explore.

So whether you just want to use this app for a single region without paying, or unlock the entire world for your exploration, it is a good option to have a spot on your device. It can do so many different things for you before you go outdoors and of course, while you are out there. If you love to hike, cycle or just like having some reconnaissance on an area before you go there, this app is for you.

Winner - Komoot

Runner-up - Cairn
Runner-up - Cairn

Compatible With

IOS

Whenever anyone ventures out into the great outdoors, one of their biggest concerns should be to make sure they are safe and to make sure that someone knows where they are. While hiking without a phone or other electronic device may seem exciting and “pure” to some, it is generally not a good idea. What fun is a thrilling hike or adventure if you get lost, hurt or simply can’t find your way home.

With all of that in mind, we have decided to name Cairn as the runner-up app in this article. Cairn is an app all about helping you get home safe on your trip, while also having a few different features to help you while you are on your little adventure. It is a free app, so there is no reason not to have this app on your device, as it could potentially save your life. Even if you have another outdoors app that you trust, the safety features of this one make it an amazing choice.

As you could imagine, the main and most useful features of this app are the ones that revolve around keeping you safe and sound throughout your adventures. To use the safety features of the app, you need to designate people as safety contacts. These are the people you can share your location and plans with. Also, if you go missing or don’t check in when you are supposed to, they will get an overdue notification and also some rescue advice about the best course of action to take. You can even share your plans and location with others, even if they don’t have or use the app. Sending status updates within the app is also incredibly easy. While many of you reading this may be thinking that all these features are a tad overkill, they are not. It is much better to have these features included and never have to use them than it is to not have them and find yourself in some serious trouble.

However, the app can do more than just make sure you are safe.  The app can let you download topographical maps, and even shows you stats of the route you are currently taking. The app will show you the elevation of your trail, how long the route is likely going to take you to travel through, without killing your battery like many apps do. The app even has a handy little map that will show you areas where cell signal is strong in case you lose yours and need to make a call or be in contact with someone.

Cairn is also extremely flexible and customizable. You can choose exactly how often you want the app to collect your GPS location and just how much battery the app can use. Also, the app can behave differently depending on the sport or activity that you want to do. The app is also incredibly simple to use and get started with so even if you are an amateur hiker or explorer, the app won’t be too intimidating or anything like that. All in all, this is one of the best outdoor maps on the market, especially if remaining safe is one of your most important goals.

Runner-up - Cairn

AllTrails
AllTrails

Compatible With

IOS

If you love to hike and see the great outdoors, this is a fantastic option for you to download. This app is home to more than 50,000 trails from around the world, in a ton of different countries. These trails are often accompanied by photos and reviews from a ton of different users that have explored the trails in the past. This will make sure you always know what you are getting into before you go out there!

The app shows you the length of the trail, how difficult it is and it’s rating. Browsing trails or searching them by type of activity is easy, and you can easily save trails you love for the future or to share with others. But in addition to showing you the trails, the app can also record your pace, distance, elevation and even track your GPS.

Even driving directions are included within the app, so it does a ton of different things for you. The app is available for free, but there is also a Pro version that can be downloaded for $29.99 a year, and it gets you the ability to download maps for offline use, can let you create custom maps and much more.

Map My Hike
Map My Hike

Compatible With

IOS

You have likely heard of Map My Fitness and Map My Run, but now let us introduce you to Map My Hike. This app is all about tracking and mapping all of your hikes. The app keeps all your stats over time and can help you see your hiking progress over time. Tens of millions of people use this app and it is one of the most popular on this list.

The app doesn’t only track your movement, hiking, and exercise, but it also analyzes your performance every single step of the way. The app keeps stats such as pace, distance, duration, calories burnt and more. Setting personal goals is also extremely easy within this app. Basically, Map My Hike can do almost everything you need out of an outdoors app.

The community is also one of the best parts of this app and it is easy to stay up-to-date with friends and other users within the app. You can share your progress and results with others, and you can join challenges to compete with and motivate others. One of the best things about this app is also that it can be downloaded and used for free.

Map My Hike

MSW Surf Forecast
MSW Surf Forecast

Compatible With

IOS

If your preferred outdoors activity is surfing, then this app definitely deserves a spot on your iPhone. The MSW app provides you with long range surf forecasts for thousands and thousands of beaches from all across the globe. The forecast gives you a ton of different information such as surf size, swell height and direction, wind strength, direction and more.

The app gives you a full 7-day forecast, spot by spot conditions and even live data so you can always know if a beach is good to be surfed or not. The way that the app is designed is also very good as it provides all the information you need, in a simple and clear fashion.

The app can be downloaded for free, but there is also a Pro version that gets you a few different extra features that give you more information and a better forecast. Basically, if you love to surf, there are few apps out there better than this one. Whatever the surf is doing at your favorite beach, this app will make sure that you know and have ample time to plan for it.

MSW Surf Forecast

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Ramblr
Ramblr

Compatible With

IOS

This app is all about having you go out on an amazing adventure, and then be able to share it with the world to show what you have done. Ramblr lets you easily track your route on a map, and shows you exactly where you are going, and where you have been. You can check the stats of your trip and can also add things like photos, videos, and tags throughout your journey.

Of course, another big part of this app is being able to share your journey with your friends and followers. You can easily combine your stats, photos, videos, journal entries of your journey into a story. This story will be a rundown of your entire journey, laid out in a way that people can see all the details of your hike, bike or walk. You can then easily upload and share memories from your journey without any hassle at all, even to social media.

The map also contains offline maps, GPS, and of course, you can view the stories of other people who use the app. This can be great for getting inspiration or motivating you to go out there and have your own adventure. The app is completely free to download and use.

UVLens
UVLens

Compatible With

IOS

Whatever type of adventure or activity you are planning to do out in the great outdoors, you need to make sure you prepare for the sun you will be going up against. If you don’t cover up or have some sunscreen on, you could be left with a pretty gnarly sunburn. But instead of just guessing whether it will be sunny out, you can download the app, UVLens.

UVLens is an app that will let you know how the sun is acting on any given day to make sure you know what to do to prepare for it! The app will show you a UV index of the day, will educate about how sunscreen affects you and even help you find out how long you can stay out in the sun before you get burnt.

The app is free to use, and while it can’t do a ton of different things for you, it is perfect for what it intends to be. If you are ever concerned about how long you can be outside without sunscreen or want to know the UV index, this app is a quick and easy way to figure it out.

Audubon Bird Guide
Audubon Bird Guide

Compatible With

IOS

One great thing about the outdoors is seeing all the great wildlife that the world has to offer. And one of the most likely types of wildlife you will see on your adventures are birds. While some of us likely know a few types of birds we may run into, most of us don’t know many. However, with the help of the Audubon Bird Guide app, you can know nearly them all.

This app can help you identify more than 800 different species of North American birds and gives you a ton of information on the bird including size, appearance, habitat, behavior, diet and more. The app also has thousands of high-quality images so that you can see and know which birds you are encountering in the wild.

Eight hours of bird sounds are included into the app and various different maps as well. You can also easily browse species based on your location so you can try get a better understanding of the things you might see. You can even post and share sightings with other users. All in all, this app is one of the best bird guides for the iPhone, and is available for free.

Audubon Bird Guide

First Aid by American Red Cross
First Aid by American Red Cross

Compatible With

IOS

When you are outdoors on an adventure, one thing that is bound to happen to some people from time to time is being injured. Getting hurt is never fun or easy to deal with, but having this app on your device can really save you. First Aid by American Red Cross is an app that puts expert advice for a variety of accidents right in your pocket.

The app will guide you through a wide array of different possible injury scenarios, in a simple way. The app is also full of photos and videos that can help you learn how to better deal with a variety of first aid situations. And because the content of the app is pre-loaded, you don’t even need an internet connection for it to work.

Accidents happen, and it is better to have the help you need and not need to use it, than to not have the help, but injure yourself. Also, with the app being completely free to download and use, there is no reason not to have this app on your device before you go on an outdoor adventure.

First Aid by American Red Cross

Recreation.gov camping
Recreation.gov camping

Compatible With

IOS

One of the best outdoor activities to do is go camping. However, unless you plan on just camping out in your backyard, you will often need to reserve a campsite and find a campground. But with so many options out there which do you choose and where are they? Well, this app can help you find a campground near you, while also letting you find sites that are available.

The main use of this app is to be able to find a campground and find out if that campground has any available spots. You can search for campgrounds near your address, near a certain city and even near a certain site. You can even search for campgrounds by name or by the amenities it has.

The app is also used to see what sites are available at the campgrounds and even reserve your site right from the app! The app also provides you a plethora of details about each and every campground so you are never left in the dark. Also, with the app being able to be downloaded for free, it is one of the best ways to figure out where you should go camping.

Recreation.gov camping

Accuweather
Accuweather

Compatible With

IOS

Obviously, before you go outside on an adventure or even just for a walk, you want to make sure the weather is good. And while it is pretty easy to see what the weather is currently doing, it is a bit more difficult to know what it is going to do in the future, without an app. There are many different weather apps out there, but we believe that AccuWeather is the best of the bunch.

Of course, the app gives you observations on the current conditions out there, but it also offers you a detailed and solid summary of the upcoming forecasts. If you prefer to look at a map or satellite and see what is coming up in terms of the weather, you can do that too. The app also includes some weather news and videos as well.

It has a unique format, but it is fair easy to get a hold of. With all the options that come with this app, and the fact that it is completely free, making this one of the best options for a weather app. While it doesn’t really do anything, in particular, to help you out in the outdoors (like most of the apps on this list do), it can definitely help you plan out your trips to make sure you don’t end up in a ton of rain or wind.

Accuweather

Geocaching
Geocaching

Compatible With

IOS

If you want to go out into the great outdoors, while also having some fun and doing some treasure hunting at the same time, this is the app for you. For those unfamiliar with geocaching, it is an outdoor recreational activity in which people use GPS to hide and seek containers at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.

So how do you participate in this game and join the millions of people all over the world who play it? Well, you download this app. There are millions and millions of different “caches” (the fancy name for the containers) in over 100 different countries. There is a good chance you can find some right by you as well.  This app can search live for these caches as you walk, and you can also message other players for tips and tricks.

This app can also educate you all about the world or geocaching. While the app can be downloaded and enjoyed for free, there is also a premium membership that you can get. It will cost you $5.99 a month but has a number of different benefits. There is a search tool, new and improved tools, offline maps, find exclusive caches, and more!

Geocaching

SAS Survival Guide
SAS Survival Guide

Compatible With

IOS

With the SAS Survival Guide already being a best-selling book on surviving in any situation, it is not surprising that it has been brought to the iPhone. This app brings you elite survival skills right to your device. Now, most of us may never have to use many of the skills and practices talked about in this app, but it’s better to know them to not know them.

The app contains over 400 pages of helpful text, over a dozen videos, and a ton of questions in a quiz to make sure you know your stuff. The app also contains specific survival information in extreme climates of all kinds. No matter where you live or where you are traveling to, this app will ensure you are prepared.

Unlike most of the different apps on this list, this is not a free app. It will cost you $5.99 to download from the App Store. But for the tons and tons of people that use the app, that is a small price to pay. There are very few apps out there better at making sure you are prepared and can survive anywhere you go.

SAS Survival Guide

Kale Havervold

Apr 20, 2018

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