We live in a digital age, so I’ve always thought that trips outdoors should be the perfect time to free myself from the tech I use every day. But I decided to put that rule to the test on a recent outing, and the experience of bringing my iOS devices along for the hike showed that it’s time to think again. By picking a few choice apps and accessories, I made sure my outdoor experiences were a little more Bear Grylls than Chevy Chase.
There's a lot more to camping than just a tent and a sleeping bag; Camp & Hike Checklist gets you prepared.
I started my pre-trip planning on Camp & Hike Checklist ($0.99). I have enough to-do apps on my iPhone, Mac, and iPad to last a lifetime, but this one comes preloaded with all the camping stuff I can never seem to remember when I’m running out the door. It’s a breeze to delete or add items, so I can quickly swap out “Shaving Gear” for “Totally Awesome Beard” if I’m so inclined. If I’m going somewhere sunny, the Novothink Surge solar charger case ($79.95) has earned a place at the top of that list by letting me charge my battery by sunlight.
The next step is getting to the camp-ground, and while camping might be one of the cheaper ways to have a weekend adventure, I like to explore new places rather than revisit places I’ve been. This tendency can make for some pretty long drives. Luckily, Gas Cubby ($4.99) helps me sort my travel expenses and, more importantly, make sure I remember my oil changes and vehicle maintenance before long trips.
Once I’m actually at the campground, my phone doesn’t become a useless lump. In fact, when I take a hike or two, my phone is one of my most important possessions. On the trail, the MotionX GPS app ($2.99) tracks my position and helps me find my way out of thickets when (not if) I get lost. It also tracks my pace and direction, logging the Google Maps route of my trail so I can send it to my friends.
MotionX GPS is a perfect app for hikers who want to share their favorite hikes with friends.
No matter how many hikes I go on, I’m always surprised by all the wildlife I encounter. I’m no Survivor Man, so it’s nice to have a reference manual at my side. When it’s first launched, Outdoor Guide ($0.99) lets me know it wasn’t compiled by specialists, so I’m using it at my own risk. I’ve never crossed a snake’s path and had time to check an app to verify if it was dangerous or not, so that doesn’t strike me as much of a problem. Though the tips section is mostly ridiculous and unhelpful (see: things stuck in ear), the picture guide to dangerous animals, plants, and snakes is beneficial on almost every trip.
Extreme hikes require extreme measures, and you never know when you’re going to be solo-repelling Mount Vesuvius, so I keep Knots, Splices, and Rope Work ($0.99) loaded up and ready to go. This app uses simple-enough-for-me diagrams and detailed instructions to teach me how to tie badass knots and impress girls…which, to be honest, is what I’ve used it for most.
"Yes, Lindsey, I know you've been wondering about shortenings, grommets, and selvagees. Let me just fire up this app here."
Finally, downloading the free Flashlight app might seem like a gratuitous after-thought, but the first time I was in the dark trying to start a fire, the luminescent screen from my iPhone was an absolute godsend. Since then, it’s helped me out countless times on countless trips.
Even as the fall rolls in, my thirst for exploration is still unquenched. Thankfully, my next successful camping trip is just a few hours--and a few apps--away.
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