5 Outdoor Apps Every Adventurer Should Have on Their Phone

A smartphone is one of the handiest tools you can have with you when traveling or exploring the backcountry. As long as you can keep your phone charged, it is an indispensable tool for staying in communication, checking weather reports, listening to music, and snapping photos. But add a few third-party apps to your device, and you can extend its functionality even further. With that in mind, here are five outdoor apps that every adventurer should be using.

outdoor apps

Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is essentially Google Maps for the trail. This app takes over where other mapping programs stop being useful, helping backpackers, day hikers, and overlanders find their way while off the grid. The service offers downloadable topo and satellite maps from around the world and uses your phone’s built-in GPS functionality to help you find your way. Additional features include integrated NOAA weather forecasts, historical wildfire locations, backroads maps for Canada, and layers that display where hunting is allowed. Users can sign up for free and get limited downloadable content. A premium membership grants unlimited access to the Gaia maps database. (Download for iOS and Android)



Another maps app, AllTrails, is an excellent resource for day hikers looking for options wherever they go. The beauty of this app is that it has a very active community that constantly provides insights, updates, and ratings for trekking routes of various lengths from across the globe. In fact, AllTrails has more than 200,000 trails logged in its database, allowing users to search for hikes based on location, quality, length, and other criteria. And if you have a question about a particular trail, you can ask the community to get more information. Other features include the ability to record GPS tracks on the map, save your favorite hikes, share them online. The app is free to use with limited functionality. A paid AllTrails Pro account provides offline maps, turn-by-turn navigation, and other handy features. (Download for iOS and Android)

outdoor apps


A great app for climbers, hikers, and mountaineers, PeakVisor uses GPS and augmented reality to locate and name nearby mountains. Users simply fire up the app, point it at a mountain, and the peak’s name—along with its altitude—is displayed on the screen. The service works worldwide, and an internet connection is not needed as all data can be downloaded and stored on your device. The software is reportedly capable of identifying more than 1 million mountains and can also name huts, castles, and other structures as well. A 3D compass and altimeter are also part of the package, assisting with navigation duties while on an adventure. As with other outdoor apps, PeakVisor offers a free tier that limits functionality, with a “pro” option that unlocks more features. (Download for iOS and Android)

outdoor apps

The Dyrt Camping App

Need to find a place to pitch your tent or park your RV? The Dyrt has you covered. This app provides the location of more than 1 million campsites across the U.S., with user ratings, photos, and handy filters to make searching easier. Users will find helpful information on nearly every national and state park in the country, with helpful navigation to find specific campgrounds near your current location. A premium tier offers additional functionality, including a trip planner, free camping maps, and offline access to the Dyrt’s database. (Download for iOS and Android)

outdoor apps


Another community-driven outdoor app, MTN Hub, is a place for outdoor adventurers to share their experiences. The app includes integrated maps on which users can drop pins to indicate poor weather conditions, wildlife encounters, forest fires, and other important information. The software also allows the user to track their GPS coordinates and record their backcountry experiences, then create a 3D map of their entire journey to share with others. There is even a feature that shares climate data with researchers to collect more information on temperature and snow conditions in the mountains. (Download for iOS and Android)

Kraig Becker