By Katherine Gray
Whether you’re hitting the trails in search of the perfect photo op or just exercising Fido, hiking can be a wonderfully relaxing and invigorating activity. A quick visit to your local outdoor equipment store makes it obvious that there are a ton of gadgets out there for the outdoor enthusiast, but the most important accessory you can bring along might just be your iPhone.
With a good pair of hiking boots, a water bottle, and the right apps on your smartphone, you’re ready to hit the trails.
1. AccuTerra Unlimited
While AccuTerra is one of the most pricey hiking apps out there, it is well worth the cost. Over 5 million square miles of terrain and trail maps are included with the app (no extra in-app purchases necessary), all gorgeously rendered, zoomable, and optimized for the iPhone. You can take and geotag photos from the app, get real-time elevation and travel stats, and share your adventures through social media.
2. EveryTrail Pro
Price: Free for basic, $3.99 for Pro
EveryTrail Pro is a viable and cheaper alternative to AccuTerra Unlimited, but if you hike a lot of different trails, you might end up spending as much if not more in map and trail guide purchases. It’s a great app, though, with over 400,000 different hikes, audio guides for points of interest, travel stats, and the ability to plot the photos you take on the map of your hike. In addition to no ads, the pro version lets you download and manage your maps offline, record geotagged video, and sync your trips between the app and EveryTrail.com.
Price: Free for basic, $1.99 for Plus
iMapMyHike is part of a series of apps (including apps for biking, walking, running, and general fitness) that allow you to map your fitness activities. You can log your hikes, view elevation info, and keep track of where you’ve been in an online hike journal. With a free account at MapMyHike, you can search a database of millions of hikes and bookmark the ones you want to try, then pull up the information on your phone. You can also track companions on the trails nearby and post your hikes to Facebook and Twitter.
4. Camp Where
Going on an overnight hiking trip? This app contains detailed information about more than 10,000 campgrounds in the United States and Canada. GPS coordinates, contact information, elevation, weather forecasts, and whether or not camps accept reservations and have RV hookups can all be found through this app. Only public campgrounds are included, such as state, local, and national parks and forests, as well as county and city campgrounds.
5. Army Survival
With information pulled directly from the U.S. Army Field Manual, this app has just about all the information you need to survive in the wilderness. While it can’t substitute for real training and experience, there’s a wealth of information that can help out in a pinch. Covered subjects include basic survival medicine, building shelters, finding water, edible, poisonous, and medicinal plants, cold weather survival, signaling techniques, knot tying, and direction finding.
6. Gaia GPS
Like to go where the roads don’t go? Gaia GPS is an app designed specifically for backcountry hikers who like to travel off the beaten path. You can download unlimited topographic and road maps, search for and record tracks and waypoints, and keep track of all your off-grid adventures.
The world is your playground
With a good pair of hiking boots, a water bottle, and the right apps on your smartphone, you’re ready to hit the trails. It doesn’t matter if you’re a weekend warrior who’s just walking in the local park or a hard-core back country aficionado — hiking is an excellent way to get some exercise, see the world, and enjoy the fresh air of spring. So get out there and get moving!
This article originally appeared on Tecca.