5 Powerful Apps For Exploring the Backcountry

5 Powerful Apps For Exploring the Backcountry

We like to hike in the backcountry so we can escape the crowds. But planning that escape doesn’t mean we have to get lost. Compasses are great to keep us on the right path, but there are additional resources that can help us feel even better prepared while exploring unchartered territory. Here is a list of apps that can help keep you safe while having fun in the mountains:



1. Cairn

iOS, Free

When running off to explore the backcountry, it’s easy for your loved ones to worry about your whereabouts, especially when you don’t have service. Before you start out on an adventure, Cairn enables you to appoint an emergency contact, alert them of where you are going, and your expected return time. If you do not return by your expected time, the app will automatically alert your contact. Cairn also helps you find cell phone coverage, in case of an emergency on the trail.    



2. PeakFinder Earth

iOS + Android, $4.99

For those backcountry hikers that like to geek out on peaks and mountain ranges, this app boasts more than 350,000 peaks in its system. Hold up your phone to the wilderness and this app will label all surrounding peaks. The app works offline and will even show you views from the top of peaks before you get there.



iOS + Android, Free

This community-based app crowdsources information from its users in the backcountry on current conditions including: trails, weather, wildlife and more. You can also download topographic and aerial maps to get to know the area you’re exploring. There is also a premium and professional version of the app, which offers more access to the app’s features at a price.



4. Gaia GPS

$19.99, iOS + Android

Yes, it’s on the pricer side, but this app is all about the maps, which are clutch when you’re navigating the backcountry. Gaia offers offline topographic maps and satellite maps. You can also plan your excursions and track your hikes so you know where you’re headed.


5. SAS Survival Guide

$5.99, iOS + Android

Even with the best tools and resources, you can still get stuck in the backcountry. This app is based on the best-selling book, and gives its users offline access. SAS Survival Guide includes survival techniques, first-aid tips, plant identification, and Morse Code signalling.

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