7 Best Hiking Apps for backpackers in 2021

by Sigita B | Last Updated: September 17, 2021

Advancements in technology have potentially empowered people to expand their horizons without having to worry about issues like poor navigation, advanced and heavy equipment etc. 

The tiny little device that you have in your pocket is more capable than you think it is. Armed with various sensors and tracking algorithms, your device can turn out to be your best companion while on a long trail. 

In this article, we will showcase some of the best applications that will help you navigate through the wilderness while keeping track of your progress and coordinates. 

To do this, we tested out a bunch of apps and found the AllTrails App to be the best hiking companion you can have in 2021. Their intuitive UI along with offline support turned out to be really helpful. 

Aside from this, some apps also offer identifications, 3D maps, camera mapping etc. 

Keep on reading to find out which app will be the best for your needs. 

Woman relaxing in hammock with her phone

AllTrails

Available for – Both iOS and Android

Offering an assortment of features, this app is highly popular among all the tech savvy hiking junkies. It offers support for all kinds of nature-bound activities ranging from cycling/running to hiking, 

They have two memberships which come with features like road,satellite and topographic maps. It has more than 60,000 trails along with plenty of filtering options related to distance, trip duration, suitability, etc. 

Their basic plan allows you to search for trails using location specific keywords, access many maps online, create custom maps and activity tracking. You can also add photos to the app and add reviews to different routes. 

They have a pro membership which will cost you $29..99 per year and will offer benefits such as :

You can easily navigate through the menus and customize your maps whenever you need. AllTrails also has an evolving and active community which you can connect with to share your experiences. 

The only downside to this app is the lack of information and hard to import GPS tracks. 

GAIA GPS

Available for – Both iOS and Android

This app can even outgrow handheld GPS units when it comes to navigation. Their maps are trusted by thousands of guides and hikers all over the world. The app features a full line of National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps which offer extreme precision. 

You can also download maps at a fast rate, thanks to the small map file sizes. Some of the intuitive features include:

PeakVisor

Available for – Both iOS and Android

PeakVisor brings you 3D mapping with the power of augmented reality. You can also snap a picture and mark different peaks and trails in it. Advanced mapping techniques will allow you to analyze the terrain easily. 

This app covers almost all the major summits throughout the world which can also be downloaded offline with a single tap. Travelers also get the perk of being able to map castles, waterfalls, view points etc. 

Using the in-built 3D compass and altimeter, you can precisely measure the elevation of different mountain peaks in your way. 

Hiking – Guthook Guides

Available for – Both iOS and Android

This app is the best when it comes to long hiking sessions and day trails. These maps make use of your phone’s internal GPS to show you the way. They even work without any signal and include useful information like useful waypoints, social feed, detailed trails etc. Here are some key features that you may like : 

On top of all this, the smart AI keeps track of your location and updates the interface in accordance to your position to help you navigate faster.

PeakFinder

Available for – Both iOS and Android

This app gives you a 360 degree panoramic view of the landscapes around. It works with offline GPS and makes use of your camera to name different peaks, show sunrise and sunset timings. 

Their Skyline view ranger gives you precise information about the scene. The easy go follow button themed menu can quickly locate you within seconds of opening the app and comes loaded with 18450 peak names, which take up 24MB of disk space. Some other impressive features of this app are as follows :

Hiking Project

Available for – Both iOS and Android

With detailed descriptions and precise mapping, this app is the best comprehensive guide for hiking. Interactive features such as location tracking, shareability, trail data and detailed topographical maps make this a wholesome package. 

You can also sync this app with your to-do list and get info about check-ins on their website. Furthermore, they constantly add more and more paths and keep their database upto date. The Hiking Project community lets you create and mark your personal favourites and provides a platform to share experiences and learn from others. 

Recreation.gov

Available for – Both iOS and Android

This is your go-to app for planning all kinds of getaways. This app features planning functions to build a trip with just a few clicks. Some more prominent features are given below :

Features to look out for

Wrong readings may cause you to hover over wrong foothills. An app which takes full advantage of the sensors in your mobile and gives you accurate readings will save you a lot of time on your hiking journey. Offline support is also a feature worth taking note of when purchasing a membership to any of thermal applications. 

Many apps have in-built guides which help the user to know more about the place they are at. These learning features can also tell you about upcoming trails and preliminary terrain data for easier route mapping. 

Many apps can be paired with write bands and smartwatches to give you a good measure of things such as heart rate, distance travelled, calories burned etc. 

Aside from these factors, you should ensure that the app you are using is properly optimised for your OS, as poor optimisation may cause rapid battery drainage.

Conclusion

The AllTrails app is one of the best hiking companions due to its beginner friendly interface and fast performance. These apps have significantly changed the way we see hiking and have reduced the probability of people losing track. 

Pairing a smart watch or a fitness tracker with your mobile device can also be of great help. Now that you know all about the best apps that make your hiking journey easier, it is time to step out and begin your journey of a thousand miles with confident steps.