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The five best hiking apps for the trail

February 25, 2014
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There can be no doubt that the smartphone apps have revolutionized the way we use our phones.  But if you’re pulling on your hiking boots or trail running shoes and heading outdoors anytime soon, here are five of the best hiking and running apps to take with you on the trail.

A word of caution though.  A few of these apps that use the GPS function of your phone will significantly reduce its battery life, so check out our guide to the Top 5 Best power packs for your phone

Map my Hike

by MapMyFitness

iPhone | Android Blackberry

From the creators of MapMyFitness, this is the one of the best running apps.  If you’re a fan of analysing your data afterwards, to see where you’ve been, how far you’ve hiked or run, the number of feet climbed or simply what pace you’ve averaged, this app will do it for you in real time, tracing it all onto an interactive map.  It’s social media friendly, so you can share your favourite hike or run with your mates on Twitter or Facebook.

Cost: $FREE

Strava Run or Strava Cycle

by Strava, Inc

Run: iPhone | Android  / Cycle: iPhone | Android

Ever since Strava hit the app stores, athletes from across the globe have become fixated on personal records - whether it’s cycling to work or running up and down their local hill.  You can use it to track your progress, but what’s really exciting is that you can also see a list of your friends currently out riding or running - meaning that your sunday ride or run could suddenly become a virtual sprint as you look for nearby ‘segment’ records.  But beware, it’s very addictive.

Cost: $FREE

AccuWeather

by AccuWeather, Inc

iPhone | Android | Windows Phone | Blackberry

If you’re not certain whether you should wear your Gore-Tex jacket or a t-shirt, this app will help you make the decision.  Indeed, there are plenty of weather apps out there, but AccuWeather is, in my opinion, one of the best - for the simple reason that it’s the one I’ve found has been most accurate in predicting what the weather is doing, even in it’s 15-day forecast. I’ve used it all over the world - from the sunny trails of South Africa to scorching Sahara Desert, and it hasn’t failed me once.  And one of the best features, and unique to those in the USA, is the ‘severe weather alerts’ that will pop up on your phone, regardless of whether the app is turned on or not.

Cost: $Free or $1.99 for the Premium edition.

Geocaching

by Groundspeak, Inc.

iPhone | Android | Windows Phone

What better way to go about discovering old and new trails than looking for one of the 2 million geocache containers hidden around the world?  With it’s location based GPS functionality, the Geocaching app by Groundspeak will transform an every day hike, trail run or camping trip into something truly exciting.  You can search for geocaches by difficulty, location, terrain, cache type and much more.  And it will even track your progress whilst you search for more caches.

Cost: $9.99

SkyView

by Terminal Eleven, LLC

iPhone

If you don’t know your stars from your satellites, then you’ll love this app.  Although it’s more of an educational app rather than a ‘must have’ trail app, or those moments when you’re sitting under a campfire or simply walking at night, this stargazing app will bring the universe alive.  Simply point the camera lens of your iPhone at the sky and it will identify constellations, galaxies, stars and much more.

Cost: $FREE or $1.99 for premium version

Photo: Maridav/Shutterstock.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tobias Mews

Activities
Trail Running, Ultramarathons, Triathlons, Mountain Biking, Adventure Racing
Favorite Gear
Mix Master Move, All Out Rush,
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