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Awesome apps for the active outdoorsman

  • Apr 10, 2015

Gadgets have completely changed the camping and hiking game. Tents have become lightweight, rugged and easy to set up, energy-harnessing panels and sensors can charge everything from smartphones to your solar powered watch, and even water bottles have been traded for easy-to-carry hydration pouches. 

It's not so surprising that trips across the trails have been completely changed by the app revolution, too. There are dozens of outdoor-friendly smartphone tools you can use to map trails, pick out the constellations and much more.

Here are some of the popular services you can download with just a few taps and swipes.

The National Geographic National Park App
One of the leading sources in nature news came out with an app specifically for the 20 most popular national parks not too long ago. The service provides users with quick tips, park secrets, a map and more to guide visitors on their next park visit. It's a must for any hiker planning a trip to Yellowstone.

For any outdoor lover that wants a wider selection, check the Chimani National Parks app as well. It covers even more park places and offers suggestions for other apps specific to particular parks.

AccuTerra Unlimited
Of course, not every pristine trail is in the heart of a national park. That's where AccuTerra Unlimited comes in. This app has over 5 million square miles of hiking terrain mapped, according to USA Today. Hikers can pinpoint locations, zoom into pictures of the surrounding area and even get elevation and travel stats with a little dabbling. 

This smartphone adventure isn't free, though. It costs around $30 to download, but the news source claimed it's well worth the price. 

For a free alternative, go for the EveryTrail app. It has over 400,000 different hikes with audio guides, stats and photos to go along with it. There are some in-app purchases, but users can dodge the advertisements and snag a few extras with the $4 EveryTrail Pro app.

SAS Survival Guide
Written by a former British Special Air Service soldier and instructor, SAS Survival Guide puts all of the skills you need to survive nearly any condition into one sleek and simple app. It contains over 400 pages from the best-selling SAS Survival Guide book, 16 survival tip videos, photos of dangerous creatures, poisonous plants and other outdoor threats, and several other nifty tools. 

For anyone wondering about the different methods of building a fire, learning how to survive in extreme climates or looking for a few comprehensive hiking item checklists, this is the real-deal app.

Audubon Birds Pro
Not every critter is dangerous. In fact, many hikers travel the woods just to search for some of nature's rarest birds. For bird-watching novices and experts alike, Audubon Birds Pro is a terrific resource for researching, identifying and learning about bird species in North America. It has over 800 species cataloged with pictures and even samples of bird calls. Instead of lugging around a book with bird info, this app is the cheap new-age alternative.

Technology is constantly improving, including our ProTrek watches, like the PRG270-4A. It's solar powered battery keeps your watch ticking throughout your outdoor adventures. It measures altitude, temperature and has a compass so you won't even need to look at your smartphone.