There’s something about powering off our smartphones and unplugging from our online realities to get lost in pure wilderness. The solitude that comes from disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of our ‘everyday’ and getting back to primitive living is something us outdoor enthusiasts are constantly seeking. Die-hard outdoorsmen will argue that heading back to the basics means ditching the smartphones, however, the mentality is shifting. Wilderness apps are increasingly making it possible for individuals to reach new heights and explore further in the outdoors, cautiously, while remaining safe and informed.
These wifi-free apps are useful for every adventurer looking to get off the grid and explore new ground:
1. Peak Finder
Peak Finder is the solution to all of your mountain questions and is an absolute game-changer for your next outing in the mountains. How many times have you seen a gnarly peak and have wondered what its’ name is, or how high it stands? If the peak is climbable? Not only does Peak Finder know over 350 000 peaks, it also knows the elevation of the peaks and provides 360 degree panoramic views of the peaks from your current location, all while requiring zero wifi or data usage. The app will show you the names of all of the surrounding peaks and will actually let you click on the name of a peak to reveal additional information about it. These are only a few of the app’s functions.
Cairn is the perfect app for those who enjoy getting lost in the wilderness and want to give family and friends peace of mind while off the grid. Cairn allows individuals to stay connected by pinpointing areas on their map with cell coverage. The app will also send check-in updates to emergency contacts and alert them if you’re overdue.
AllTrails is the most useful app for discovering new trails to explore in any area. With over 50 000 trail maps, the app categorizes trails by difficulty, length, popularity, proximity, and several others. The app also has features that tell you if it’s suitable for dogs, kids, and wheelchair. AllTrails is not just for hiking trails either, the app works perfectly for snowshoeing, horseback riding trails, x-country skiing trails, paddling activities, etc. This app is a MUST download for your next wilderness adventure!
4. Sky Guide
Sky Guide brings the Milky Way galaxy right to your fingertips. Whether you’re backcountry camping, planning an astro shoot, or watching the night sky from your dock, the app makes stargazing in any location easier than ever. Literally hold your smartphone overhead, point it towards the sky, and the app will show you the night sky from your viewing direction. The app reveals what is invisible to the naked eye, e.g. black holes, and allows you to identify constellations, planets, and tons more. This is an amazing app for finding out where the moon will be at a certain time, or knowing when the sun will rise and set (great for photography).
iNaturalist connects you to over 750 000 scientists and naturalists who are passionate about nature. The app allows you to take a photo of any plant or animal that you encounter in the wilderness (or anywhere for that matter) and share it with the community who will identify it for you. Not only will you learn more about your observation, you will be contributing to science by collecting quality data for the purposes of protecting nature and wildlife.