We’re well into summer now, the best time of year to get out and experience the great outdoors.
However, just like many other aspects of our lives, camping, hiking and all things outdoors have been revolutionised by technology, and nowadays, your smartphone is almost as important as your torch, first aid kit or pocket knife.
Whether it’s for navigation, survival tips, or even maybe actually using it as a phone(!) your smartphone is a crucial piece of kit when you’re out and about, so here are just ten of our favourite apps.
GPS Essentials – Free
This free app is only available on Android and is an incredibly detailed navigation tool, showing values such as altitude, speed, bearing, climb, ETA, sunrise and sunset and much more.
With 45 widgets, it’s incredibly customisable, and lets you track your route data and set your own waypoints to follow.
One of the most impressive features is an augmented reality HUD display, allowing you to use your phone’s camera as a viewfinder to plot out your route and identify landmarks.
One for runners and mountain bikers, Strava is one of the best fitness trackers out there, with cool social features and leaderboards which add a bit of a competitive element.
The app tracks data such as your running speed, how far you’ve travelled, and tracks how you’re progressing alongside your friends, with challenges and achievements to try and unlock.
Best of all, it’s free, available on both Android and the Apple App Store, and it’s compatible with a number of wearable trackers such as the Apple Watch.
Another good app for walkers and mountain bikers, Komoot is excellent for route planning, allowing users to plot out their route, see the surface conditions and other information.
What’s really great though is the sat nav-style turn by turn navigation, which works on remote outdoor trails. You can also download maps to be used offline, even as a free user.
Geocaching® – Free
A modern day treasure hunt, Geocaching allows you to hunt small items and tokens which have been hidden around the world by other users who post the GPS coordinates online.
There are over 2 million users on the app worldwide, so there’s sure to be something hidden somewhere near you! The app also splits up the caches into categories depending on your ability level too.
Footpath Route Planner – £0.99
What really sets this route planner app apart is that you simply need to trace out the outline of your intended route, and the app will intelligently snap to nearby trails and paths. If the app can’t quite find a trail, you can simply zoom in and draw your own.
SAS Survival Guide – £5.99
Based on the bestselling book by former SAS soldier John “Lofty” Wiseman, this app includes not just the full book, which covers a host of survival topics, but also has extensive information on first aid and photo galleries of edible and medicinal plants so that you can easily identify them!
There’s also instructional videos, checklists and a Morse code signalling functional. All in all, not too bad for six quid!
Ramblr – Free
If you like to document your walks and adventures, then Ramblr might be the app for you.
It’s a mobile journaling app designed for hiking, and allows you to record everything from your route to speed, highest point to distance travelled, and even allows you to record geotagged audio and video, ready to show off on social media when you get home.
There’s also the ability to upload and share your trips, and of course, check out those of other users.
This app is an augmented reality star chart, which shows the stars and constellations above your head in the night sky and is great for a night camping under the stars.
It contains detailed information on the various cosmic bodies and offers coordinates for easy reference too.
There’s also a cool ‘Time Machine’ feature, which allows you to see how the sky looked in the past, and even into the future.
You never know when an emergency is going to strike, and this free app from the Red Cross means that you’ll always be prepared.
It covers any kind of injury or emergency, providing basic first aid solutions split into ‘Learn’ mode, for reading up in more detail, and an ‘Emergency’ mode which strips things back to the basics that you need to know. There’s also plenty of helpful diagrams and videos to help make things easier to understand.
UVLens – UV Index – Free
It’s always important to stay safe when you’re out in the sun and make sure to regularly apply sunscreen.
UVLens is a handy app which can help reduce the risk of sunburn with a number of features such as a UV index forecast and sunscreen calculator to accurately estimate the risk of sunburn for you and your children, giving an estimated time when you’ll start to get burned, and recommendations on what steps to take. It can even send you notifications to remind you!