In today’s world, planning a hiking adventure is easier than ever. A plethora of great hiking gadgets and apps make setting off on a route simple and safe. The following are some of the best hiking apps and hiking gadgets that are sure to make adventuring as easy as clicking “download.”
A compass is a classic for a reason, and it’s one of the most important of all hiking gadgets. While today’s smartphones boast compasses, it’s always a good idea to bring a physical one in case you can’t use your phone.
Backroads Pro Tip
If you plan on using your phone while hiking, opt for a shockproof, waterproof phone case to help keep it safe from the elements.
While today’s cell phones all boast GPS and other map-oriented apps, nothing beats a paper map when reception’s impossible to find or your batteries have died. Always keep a paper map with you—no matter how reliable you think reception might be.
Backroads Pro Tip
When it comes to maps, you get what you pay for. Spending a little extra money to get a waterproof, tear-resistant topographical map is well worth the investment. Inclement weather or an unexpected fall during a stream crossing is all it takes to render a cheap map useless.
Cairn is an app that acts much like a traditional map. Using this app, you can download a slew of maps to use offline in case you don’t have access to Wi-Fi. It also allows you to check the elevation and how long it’ll take to complete individual routes. Cairn can also send live updates to your friends and family so they can track your whereabouts.
MapMyHike GPS Tracking
One of the best hiking apps for those looking to improve their hiking skills is MapMyHike GPS Tracking. It’ll track your progress and give you tips on improving your overall pace. You can also set goals for each hike, find local trails, save your favorites and do plenty more with this versatile app.
Use the app AllTrails to pick out your next hike. It contains over 50,000 detailed trail maps, and you can filter by ratings, including, among other factors, how dog or kid friendly the path is. It can also record your time and track where you’re going so you don’t get lost. Many hikers consider this one of the best hiking apps.
Maps 3D Pro
There are plenty of location-oriented apps, but, when it comes to maps, this is one of the best hiking apps available. Instead of a flat map, it shows 3-D terrain. This way, you can see every hill and canyon on the path you’re about to tackle. You can also use it without data service. Like other apps, it’ll track your progress and can share trails via social media.
SteriPEN Water Purification
Backroads leaders love this little gadget and have used it loyally for years everywhere from Patagonia to Nepal to the Grand Canyon and beyond. Whether you’re backpacking in the wilderness or purifying water in a remote village in Bhutan, the SteriPEN is a lightweight solution that’ll keep you healthy and safe. It’s truly hard to beat in terms of simplicity or size. (It uses UV light to purify a liter of water in just 90 seconds!) Just don’t forget to be vigilant about keeping the batteries charged. We recommend the SteriPEN Ultra, which is rechargeable via USB and has an LCD screen to easily keep track of battery life and purification time.
If you’re looking to take your next hike to a new level, consider some (or all) of these apps and gadgets. They’re sure to increase your fun—and safety!