Outdoor recreation and digital technology might seem like opposing ideas – but in the age of the smartphone, there are no boundaries when it comes to app functionality. Here are five outdoor apps you won’t want to miss.
The Goods: This app is a must-have for hikers, bikers and anyone else who utilizes recreational trails. EveryTrail Pro allows users to generate interactive maps of their own excursions, share their routes via Facebook, Twitter, or the EveryTrail website, and access more than 400,000 other submissions from fellow smartphone users. The standard app is free, while Pro costs $3.99. Our two cents: do yourself a favor and buy the upgraded version.
What the Experts Say: “For those who want the features and convenience this app offers, EveryTrail blazes a path that will be hard for the competition to follow” – National Geographic
The Goods: Crowd-sourced apps may have their naysayers, but it’s hard to complain about an app that features user-generated information about more than 75,000 rock climbing routes worldwide. Better yet, the database is saved in your phone, so you’ll be able to access the info if there isn’t an Internet connection nearby. The app itself is free, but access to the entire database costs $5 per month – which, when you think about it, is still a bargain.
What the Experts Say: “It has an incredible range of data… as more people use it, the gaps can get filled in, meaning it will only get better as time goes on” – Metro Rock
National Park Maps HD
The Goods: This free app from National Geographic features beautifully detailed maps of 20 of the country’s most popular national parks (from Acadia to Zion). The maps cost $1.99 apiece, but don’t gripe – they include all the features and points of interest as their physical counterparts, but at a fraction of the regular price. And while 20 parks might not seem like a lot, the developers plan to add more maps in the coming year.
What the Experts Say: “Nat Geo’s app is a great example of how technology and outdoor adventure can come together quite nicely” – The Adventure Blog
Ski & Snow Report
The Goods: Snow report apps are a dime a dozen, but this one from OnTheSnow.com features a database of more than 2,000 ski and snowboard areas worldwide, including all the major stateside resorts. S&SR allows you to access live webcams, review weather forecasts and “Powder Point” snowfall reports, and post photos to social media sites. Best of all, the app is free – and while iPhone 5 users have lodged some complaints about its functionality, other versions have received glowing reviews.
What the Experts Say: “We’ve found this particular app to be simple, reliable and easy to use” — ESPN
Ultimate Fly Fishing Guide
The Goods: Seasoned fly fishermen and women may not get much use out of this app from Orvis, but just about everyone else will. UFFG is a compendium of information, from knot-tying guides and casting demonstrations to up-to-date fishing reports for rivers and streams throughout the United States.
What the Experts Say: “The Ultimate Fly Fishing Guide basically collates a bunch of things that one could put together or find on the Internet or in fishing how-to books. But its utility is that you have all of these things in one spot, and Orvis has done a bang-up job of presenting them in a graphically-pleasing manner” — Forbes