Best Apps For Outdoor Enthusiasts

Though using a smartphone when exploring the outdoors can be a controversial topic, there’s no doubt that for everything from packing gear to mapping out trails, your phone can make your life a lot easier. There’s an app for almost anything to make your trips more efficient and safe. We’ve put together a list of the best apps to use for your next adventure.

Hiking and Backpacking

AllTrails (Free)

AllTrails has over 50,000 trail guides for hiking and biking.  You can browse through trails near you, search a specific trail, write and read trail reviews, view topographic maps, photos, and much more. The app is available for Android and iOS, and allows you to save a trail for when you go off the grid if you upgrade to Pro.


National Parks by Chimani (Free)

Chimani National Parks gives you up to date information and photos on all of the National Parks in the United States. In addition to a general overview of each location, the app allows you to plan a trip, read up on how to protect the parks, and can give you some helpful tips on camping in the parks.

Ramblr (Free)

If you like to document your hiking/mountaineering trips, Ramblr is the perfect App for you. You can record information such as average speed on the trail, distance, a mapped GPS route, and ascent. You can personalize your experience at any point on the trail with audio, video, pictures and text.

Backpack Optimizer ($1.99)

Backpack Optimizer helps make packing for your next trip easier. You can “pack” a virtual backpack, which calculates the weight of all the items you select to put in. You can add or subtract these items from you backpack until you get the ideal weight. Once you get your ideal weight, grab your gear and throw it in your pack!

Rock Climbing and BikingMountain Project

Mountain Project (Free)

The Mountain Project gives you maps of the best places to climb in your area. They provide directions up the mountain, as well as vivid descriptions of the routes. You can download these maps for later use offline. If there is an access issue with one of the routes, the app will notify you live while you’re looking at it.

MTB Project MTB Project (Free)

MTB Project is an app that maps trails all over the country for mountain bike enthusiasts. Once you put in your location, you can access trail maps specifically in your area. MTB Project provides you with the distance, descent, and elevation points of each trail. There are also select trails with reviews from the MTB project team.


OnThe Snow (Free)

OnTheSnow is the best app for up-to-date snow and ski condition reports. This app has over 2,000 ski areas in their database. You can compare locations, look at pictures, and see live webcams of the area. One of the coolest features of this app, is the “powder alert” feature, where you can receive a notification when your favorite place hits that certain amount of snow.

FatMapFATMAP (Free)

FATMAP is your go-to for 3D maps. The app allows you to navigate any of the maps on the app before your trip. Check out the terrain and trail information for hundreds of different locations, plan out your ski line, and check out potential avalanche risks in advance.


Surfline (Free)

Surfline provides real-time surf updates that include weather forecasts and long range swell reports. The app has more than 300 beach cameras so you can view your favorite spot before heading out. In addition to this, you can also read surf and ocean news stories, watch videos and browse through pictures on the app.

Magic Seaweed (Free)

Magic Seaweed allows you to view long range surf forecasts for thousands of different beaches. You can view the surf size, swell height, swell period, swell direction, wind strength, wind direction, and temperature for each location. The app allows you to see the conditions up to 7 days in advance for free, or 14 days for members.


CairnCairn (Free)

Cairn is one of the best safety apps for outdoor adventures with many helpful features. The app crowdsources information on where you can receive cell phone service and logs your location in real time. It also allows you to send contacts of your choice all of your trip information, from when you’re leaving to when you expect to return. It gets as specific as sending your friends a map that tracks where you’re hiking and alerts them if you haven’t returned on time.

First Aid – American Red Cross (Free)

The First Aid App by The American Red Cross provides information on all of your first aid needs. From small injuries like cuts to larger ones like medical emergencies, the app gives in depth information on how to treat each problem. You can read up on the injury, look at photos and diagrams, and even view videos. There is also a button which makes it easy to call 911 in the case of a serious emergency.

Fresh Air (Free)

Fresh Air uses a U.S. NOAA Weather radar map so you can get an accurate picture of what it’s going to look like outside. A minute-by-minute graph shows you the temperature, wind speeds, precipitation, and much more. The app allows you to get information for up to 7 days in advance of your trip.  Not to mention, the interface is extremely aesthetically pleasing!

Get Social

RageLife (Free)

RageLife allows you to connect with all of the outdoor enthusiasts in your area. You can put in a location radius to discover adventures and events happening near you. To connect with people near you with the same outdoor interests, you can view their profiles, and start a conversation with them. This app is specifically set up to connect you to the coolest people and events in your area.

Gociety (Free)
Gociety is another app that’s great for meeting people who share a love for the outdoors like you do. Once you create a profile, you can browse different “adventure plans” in your area, request to join, and start exploring with others in your community. There’s also the option for you to post a plan and round up people to join you on your next bike ride or weekend climb.

Katherine Machia
Katherine Machia
Katie Machia is a freelance writer who recently moved to New York City. She writes about everything from the outdoors to fashion. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the Adirondacks and searching through racks of clothes at thrift stores around the city.

New on the Blog