hiking – navigating – trail finding apps

Hah! A new category!

Inspired by my friend Rockin who just did a review of the PeakFinder app (which I’d been meaning to get).
Read her review and get the app!  You hold up the phone to the peak/s in question and it labels them!  Also of interest is the StarWalk app

Looking for a trail near you?  Free app AllTrails is for you. Search for it.

Also learned from Rockin’, the TopoMaps app (about $8) which lays out like a grid.  You must painstakingly download the sections you want.  But you’ll be SO glad you did.  It works off satellite, of course, you don’t need a “signal”.  PCT hikers can import, for free, the PCT waypoints marked every half mile (thanks to Half Mile!).  This is really great in a pinch when you’re a bit lost, off trail, buried in snow, or just plain frustrated.  A MUST-HAVE for all PCT hikers with a smartphone/iphone.

Ok, you’re hiking all day every day for weeks and months.  You’ve been humming that song.  What is that song?  What’s it called?  Just hum or sing it into the SoundHound app to find out!

Dragon Dictation.

GPS Tracker.  Let’s mom know you’re safe by showing where you are, with the date and time.  But YOU have to update it manually and you have to have a signal for it to upload to the website.  However, it’s free and if you’re not the type to carry a SPOT device, this is a nice thing to do for friends and family.

Flashlight, the app.  Might only work on iPhone 4 and 4S.  Darn handy. free.

Instagram or disposable Hipstamatic.  Free apps that instantly alter pics to be moody, 70s, faded, and just plain cool looking.

Put some audio books on your iTunes.  When it’s noisy/loud/rainy/scary I blissfully drifted to sleep listening to Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series.  Do not bother with a Kindle, unless you’re a section/day hiker.  Thru-hikers don’t have time.  Amuse yourself by putting a book or two on the kindle app for your phone.  But you won’t use except when waiting on your laundry!


About wanderingdot

Thru-hiking the PCT 2011, CT 2014, Ice Age Trail 2017 Artist/sculptor, professor, master fabricator
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4 Responses to hiking – navigating – trail finding apps

  1. Rockin' says:

    Hey thanks for the shout out. I am in the process of using All Trails app. Thanks for the tip. Yep, buried in snow and temporarily misplaced happened more than I would like to admit. Yey, Topo maps partnered with Halfmile’s waypoints. I can’t wait to get back on the trail again. Glad you are still posting.

  2. wanderingdot says:

    I saw on PCT-L that Halfmile updated his waypoints last year. Anyways, it was invaluable to have in case of… whatever. I am loving the Peak Finder! It’s so fun but it seems to see farther than I can. Holler if you head towards SF, lots of great stuff to see and do!

    I really enjoyed your “best of” this year (and last year) for super great stuff I overlooked!

  3. Whirlpool (john) says:

    After a lifetime of using the ol’ map and compass, I find I just don’t get lost anymore. Loosing a phone on my longer journeys, I find, frees me up to concentrate on where I am and where I want to go. I used to take my smart phone, ‘and’ a GPS. I’ve now left those, and the batteries, and/or the charger, behind and saved over a pound. But I understand the facination of electronics and various programs. They are handy, useful, and neat. Just not for me. I wish you the best though on using them. They seem like a great tool for those that enjoy their appliable functions.

    • wanderingdot says:

      Yes, lots of hikers dispense with the gizmos. I’m not the type to buy a SPOT or a GPS. Nor a camera actually.

      For me, the iPhone was a perfect compromise all-around. I could communicate with friends and family when in town, use TopoMaps to very simply get me back on track in the uber-snow of the Sierras, and I loved falling asleep listening to my favorite book on tape on loud, windy nights! Works ok as a camera, has google maps of towns to find the stupid laundromat. Carrying only one gizmo was good for me. I’d say 90% of hikers carried a cell or smartphone on trail in 2011. Additionally, most of them carried another camera, and often a GPS as well. Indeed, that’s a lot of crap.

      I know from experience that documenting my trip is much less important to me than enjoying it. And that includes getting lost and found, that’s hiking my hike. Some folks desire more control, so they bring the gizmos.

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