With summer in full swing, people are prepping for vacations, holidays, and hiking and camping trips that take advantage of the warm weather. But don't leave home without your trusty smartphone. It's an essential piece of survival gear, if you know what apps to preload. Without them you could get lost or hurt and be unable to call for help. Check out our top picks for awesome outdoor navigation, first aid and survival guide apps. (Credit: Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)
Out for a hike? The AllTrails app (Android, iOS) has got you covered with more than 50,000 trail guides for hiking, biking and more. Browse through the trail list or search for trails near you, look up trail reviews and write your own. AllTrails allows you to view topographic maps, photos and reviews. From within the trail, you can upload pictures taken on the trail, and even create and upload your own tracks using your phone's GPS tracker. An AllTrails Pro subscription allows you to download offline maps, print maps from AllTrails.com, create custom maps, and access additional map layers.
MapMyFitness has an app for every outdoor activity under the sun, including hiking. MapMyHike (Android, iOS) uses your phone's sensors to track and log your hiking route, complete with information on pace, distance, calorie counting and route navigation. In addition to logging your own hikes, you can also search and download other nearby routes. A premium subscription, starting at $5.99 per month, unlocks other features such as customized audio training cues, and real-time location sharing to friends and family with Live Track.
Another excellent resource for offroad back country maps is BackCountry Navigator, an Android app that can take map data from a variety of free and paid sources for offline use. Users can add or import GPS waypoints, record a track, and display a variety of map layers and sources. The app can take maps from a variety of sources, such as from free maps like OpenStreetMap and Open Cycle Map, various official mapping agencies for selected regions worldwide, as well as premium sources.
Komoot (Android, iOS) is another excellent option for hikers, cyclists and mountain bikers. The app is able to help you plan routes that are perfect for you. Users can lay down routes, view surface conditions, difficulty, distance and elevation, and the app also provides turn-by-turn navigation, even on winding outdoor trails. Komoot comes with offline map support, and free users can download one detailed map region for free forever, with in-app purchases unlocking more maps and features.
Footpath Route Planner turns planning your next running route into simplicity itself. Users simply trace a rough outline of their intended jogging route, walking path, or hiking trail, and the app will intelligently snap the route to match nearby trails, paths and roads. You can also press and hold on the map to calculate routes between points, and you can look up details like elevation to gauge difficulty. Wilderness runners and hikers will want to spring for a $4.99 in-app purchase that unlocks additional features, such as premium topographic maps from a variety of sources, as well as unlimited save routes, device syncing, and route exporting to GPX or KML files.
If you're looking to get some waves rather than hit the trails, then you might want to check out Magicseaweed.com's Surf Forecast app (Android, iOS), which delivers long range surf forecasts for thousands of beaches globally. Forecasts include a quick star rating summary of conditions, surf size, swell size, period, wind conditions and temperature. Users have access to 7-day forecasts, wind and tide station data, and live webcams for select beaches, as well as related media. Premium subscribers get extended forecasts and reduced ads.
Outdoors types who like to document and journal everything about their trip should check out Ramblr (Android, iOS), a mobile journaling app designed for hikes and mountaineering trips. Ramblr allows users to record everything from their route, statistics such as average speed, distance traveled, and highest point, as well as record geotagged audio, video, pictures or text, allowing you to easily create a blow-by-blow account or relive the trip in the future. Additional features include built-in mapping, the ability to upload and share your trips, or check out where other Ramblr users have gone to.