I can’t even remember how I used to survive without my cell phone as a kid, teenager, and college student! ESPECIALLY since my family spends a LOT of time outdoors. We also like road trips, hiking, and seeking out unique things to do which usually means looking for pretty obscure places. I am rather directionally challenged so I heavily rely on my smartphone (I have a Samsung Galaxy S5) to keep me from getting lost! I feel a lot safer and it has saved me from hours of wandering! Not to mention that it comes in handy when encountering bugs, plants or animals we aren’t familiar with. We drove from Iowa through Canada to the East coast and down to Florida and my U.S. Cellular coverage worked great no matter whether I was in a big city or out in the middle of nowhere (like where I live!)!
You can use your smartphone as a planner, trail map, wildlife guidebook, survival guide, and of course for emergencies just to name a few. My cell phone also has our geocaching app on it, a compass, and a flashlight for when it gets dark which I couldn’t live without and use quite frequently. If you do very extreme hiking and outdoor adventures you might want to consider the military spec 4G LTE Duraforce Smartphone which is built specifically to last in extreme elements. Here are some GOOD apps (free or low cost) that are very handy to have when traveling outdoors:
Apps for Hiking/Boating
Army Survival Guide – for both Android and iPhone; everything from survival planning, shelters, food/water procurement, firecraft & so much more
AllTrails– a guide to 50,000+ trails in the USA with photos, reviews, various adventure tracks, GPS & more
Gaia GPS– backcountry GPS (free!), add waypoints, record tracks
National Parks Field Guide – I use this one with my kids when we travel. Covers pretty much everything you need plus animal and plant field guides for the national parks, hours, directions, fees, etc.
United States Coast Guard – good app for boaters; navigation rules, safety checklist, weather reports, etc.
Geocaching – If you love geocaching this app is a must have! Includes a compass plus database.
TIP – if you are going boating or hiking by yourself make sure that someone knows where you will be at all times in case of emergency!
Apps for Summer Festivals & Fairs
TIP – Before you go make sure your phone is charged and bring along a portable charger! Turn off bluetooth and location services (and dim screen brightness) to maximize your battery life!
There are SO many good apps that are good to have to not only document your fun memories but also that just might come in handy when an injury happens. I love trying out new apps to see what’s out there so I’d love to hear about some of your favorite apps that are helpful when you’re celebrating or adventuring outdoors!