Best Outdoor Apps 2022
Whether you chose to hike to relax or for exercise one thing is for certain: nothing makes you feel more connected to the universe than surrounding yourself in nature. In fact, studies have shown that those who spend time in nature feel more mindful and centered. If you are an avid outdoor adventurer or someone just getting into hiking, you probably have checked out some of the different free hiking and outdoor apps on iTunes or the Google Play store. With so many options to choose from with apps for adventure seekers, our GPS experts decided to test some of the higher-rated free hiking apps. Here is our list of the 10 best free hiking apps for 2020!
Top 10 Hiking Apps That Can Be Downloaded For Free
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- Gaia. When it comes to map and navigation apps, Gaia is one of the best, including topographical, satellite, road, and NatGeo Trails Illustrated maps. It can also track your location, pace, distance, and elevation, and if you’re worried about service in the area where you’ll be hiking, you can pre-download maps for off-grid access, just as you can print maps from the app in advance, too. While the app itself is free, some of the best features require membership.
- Cairn. Cairn has many of the map features of Gaia, but offers the added bonus of breaking down where previous hikers have found cell coverage, carrier by carrier. As a result, it’s great for when you need to update friends or families or make an emergency call. You can also set it up to send an “overdue” notification if you aren’t back to a predetermined location before a set time, so others know to look for you.
- Mountain Collector. While only available for Android, this is a great app for peak baggers, as not only does it offer a vast repository of peak information (including access points, statistics, and more), but also allows you to tick peaks off your list.
- MapMyHike. Think of it as MapMyRun, but for hikers. The best part here is the community, but it also offers features like calorie tracking that can come in handy for those looking to boost their fitness, too.
- AllTrails. One of the most popular map apps out there, AllTrails may lack the depth of Gaia or Cairn, but makes up for it in some ways in access, as it has information on more trails than most other free hiking apps. Like Gaia, it also offers better (paid) versions.
- ViewRanger. The best feature here is, well, the views. Not only can the app help you better visualize where you’re going, but you can also use it to share your photos from your adventure.
- National Parks by Chimani. Our favorite of the many National Parks-focused apps, the wealth of information available on each of the 400+ National Parks, Monuments, and more is simply astounding.
- First Aid by Red Cross. One of the most approachable first aid apps is also our favorites in how easy it makes it to determine what first aid you should be offering in nearly any emergency situation.
- Strava. While there are lots of ways to log your activity, Strava is one of our favorites simply for the breadth of top-level athletes using it for their hikes, runs, and bikes. If you’re competitive, you can try and work your way up the leaderboard for various segments; if not, it can still be fun to see how many other people have been in the same places and become part of the community.
- Relive. Relive helps take your GPS data and photos to create a video of your adventure. While used most often with other apps like Strava (including GarminConnect, MapMyHike, and more), it can work with any GPS data and photos to create a video memorializing your fun.
There are a lot of great free hiking apps for outdoor adventurers and as more become available for iPhone and Android we will take the time to review each one in real-world conditions. That way we can constantly provide you with the best outdoor apps for your explorations into nature!
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.