The 6 Best Apps to Spruce Up Your Hiking Adventures – MUO – MakeUseOf

The next time you lace up your hiking boots, make sure you install one (or more) of these apps to make the most of your outdoor adventures.
Most hikers already know about the many navigation apps available (such as AllTrails), but there are plenty more downloads that can make your next excursion that much better.
Below, we'll list some of the best apps for hikers and outdoorsy explorers you can install on your smartphone.
An app for mountaineering and hiking experiences, Summitlynx acts as a sort of digital tour book. It includes over 400,000 destinations worldwide, including glaciers, lakes, and summits.
Use GPS to record your presence at these locations, then add your own photos and notes. Share your experiences with friends from the app.
In addition, many locations offer badges that you can collect to commemorate your experiences. Badge locations include Adlerweg in Tyrol and Hochkönig in Salzburg, in addition to many more options.
The app includes safety features as well. Under the mySOS tab, you'll find GPS coordinates with your latitude, longitude, height, and a timestamp. You can send these to an emergency number or contacts of your choice. If you're out on these adventures often, it may be worth looking into a rugged phone for outdoorsy people that can withstand your journeys.
With its many regions and a helpful map function, the Summitlynx app is a solid choice for anyone who wants to keep track of their outdoor adventures all in one place.
Download: Summitlynx for iOS | Android (Free)
Browse thousands of potential campsites with the Campendium app. Filter for features such as cell service, cost (many locations are free), RV parking, and full or partial hookups.
In addition, you can sort by top-rated spots, as well as the number of reviews on the app.
Simply enter the area you want to visit into the search bar to populate a map with nearby camping locations. Either browse icons on the map or tap View in List to scroll through the options.
If you're a regular camper, you can consider some smart gadgets for camping that improve your experience. A smart lantern, for instance, can brighten up your tent in the evenings.
With its comprehensive list of available spots, the Campendium app is an invaluable resource. Chances are, you'll find plenty of spots in just about any area you choose to roam.
Download: Campendium – RV & Tent Camping for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)
What is that plant, anyway? The Seek app helps you identify plants, fungi, animals, and more in the world around you. Simply snap a photo and let the app identify it.
On the Home screen, you can view species of animals, plants, and fungi located nearby, as well as join in any challenges taking place. Tap on any of the animals or plants to learn more about their habitats, seasonal locations, and even their taxonomy. It's an easy way to learn more about the wildlife in your area and any place you visit.
The standout feature of Seek is the app's ability to identify species from the photos you upload. You can also pull up the app and snap a photo of any interesting plants and animals for immediate feedback. Whenever a clear photograph positively identifies a plant or animal, you get a badge.
Once you've submitted a few identifiable photos, you can review them on the My Observations screen. In time, you can rack up a whole collection of plants, fungi, insects, amphibians, fish, reptiles, mammals, and more. Even an otherwise simple hike can become more interesting when you turn it into a scavenger hunt to spot as much flora and fauna as you can.
Download: Seek by iNaturalist for iOS | Android (Free)
When you're out on the trail, it's easier to tune in to the local songbirds. Identify your favorite feathered singers with this app, which can use photos or recordings to help you identify birds. It's also totally free.
Whenever you hear a bird sound to identify, tap Sound ID and press the Microphone button. The app will start its audio recording. Later, you can scrub through the recording to pinpoint individual bird songs. Your recordings get saved so you can review them again later on.
Along the same lines, you can upload a photo of your bird to let Merlin identify it visually. Tap the Photo ID screen to pull from your phone's photograph collection. In this case, the app correctly identified the photo of a penguin we took at an aquarium.
If you didn't happen to get a recording or snapshot of your bird, tap the Start Bird ID button on the Home screen. Answer questions about the location and date of your sighting, as well as the bird's size, coloration, and behavior. The Merlin app will generate a list of possible candidates for your avian sighting. If you find a match, tap the This is my bird! button to confirm your sighting.
Lastly, the Explore Birds button lets you scroll through the list of birds you might see nearby, as well as learn more about their appearance, habitat, and calls. For the most part, anyone with even a slight interest in learning more about birds and their calls will love this in-depth bird-watching app.
Download: Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab for iOS | Android (Free)
An activity tracking app, Ramblr maps out your route and offers information about your speed, elevation, duration, and more. Along the way, you can upload photos, videos, and text to add more context to your experience.
Once your adventure is complete, you can upload your trip details to share with other app users. Integration with Facebook and Twitter makes it easy to share with a wider audience as well.
For keeping detailed information about your hike to help you remember every moment, the Ramblr app is a wonderful choice.
Download: Ramblr for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)
Pack strategically with this app that accounts for weight and inventory. Never forget your headlamp or extra socks again.
To start, tap the Gear Inventory button to add your things. Give your item a name, note its weight, and select its category from the drop-down list. Categories include tools, shelter, survival, navigation, lighting, and more.
Once your gear is all set, tap the Create Packing List button to generate a list for this particular trip. Select the desired gear from the master list, then view your checklist. You'll get an item total and a weight total in a helpful list you can easily export via text or email.
There's even a breakdown of the types of items that take up the most weight in your gear. For the most part, this simple, straightforward app is an excellent way to keep track of everything you want to bring along (or leave at home) for your hikes.
Download: PackLight for Backpacking for iOS (Free)
Whether you want help with the planning process, keeping a record of your journeys, or identifying the plants and animals you meet along the way, these hiking apps can enhance your next outing.
So, feel free to give one (or more) of them a try the next time you lace up your hiking boots for another adventure.
Lindsay E. Mack writes about the intersection of technology and health at MakeUseOf. She has over seven years of professional blogging experience. She also loves audiobooks, podcasts, and painting.