Five Great Outdoor Apps
Technology has come a long way in making the outdoors safer, more accessible, and easier to navigate and mitigate hazards. Our phones, beyond communication, are some of the most powerful tools that we have in our arsenal, and while it will never replace the traditional map and compass, it can help make better and more informed decisions about everything from major weather events, to hazardous terrain, to finding the way in and out of the trail. Here are some of our favorite outdoor apps that help make your adventure safer.
Avalanche Safety – CAIC (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) Mobile App
The CAIC app is the ultimate resource for understanding safe avalanche conditions before travelling in the backcountry. From weather to current condition advisories, the CAIC is the one app that every backcountry traveler, whether skier, snowshoer, hiker, or mountaineer checks before heading into the mountains. The CAIC app helps to make informed decisions in the backcountry, by giving up to date condition information including the day’s problem, expert forecasts posted every morning by the CAIC’s meteorologists, and historical information about specific areas. This is a great way to plan your route in the mountains and maintain safety.
Navigation – Gaia GPS
For helping to map specific areas, read slope steepness, plan routes, and track distance and waypoints, Gaia GPS is one of the ultimate ways to travel safely in the backcountry. Users can use the data on or offline, sync maps and tracks to multiple devices and share trips before they go and when they come back. The app helps to map popular trails across all the major national parks and help make informed decisions about routes, staying out of dangerous paths or steep snowy slide paths.
Photography – Snapseed
Snapseed by Google is a free powerful photography app that helps you get the best out of your photos with professional level editing tools that take photos to another level. Snapseed has a variety of filters, photo effects, text effects, and high quality editing tools that even the standard phone apps don’t provide, allowing users to touch up every small detail. Filters can be customized by the type of shot (portrait or landscape) and changed for different weather conditions. It’s a great way to feel like a professional.
Discovery – Colorado Trail Explorer
Want to discover exciting new trails in your backyard? The Colorado Trail Explorer helps discover hidden trails across all of Colorado’s wilderness areas, from the highest 14ers to some of Colorado’s lesser-known peaks, and find the trails that connect them so that you can turn your day adventure into something extraordinary. The trail helps find all the hidden ridges and paths that connect peaks and helps map out through hikes and connecting trails for long days of traverses and point-to-point hiking. The app gives specific coordinates, directions to the trailheads and information about distance, elevation gain, high points, and labels trails by difficulty.
Hiking / Climbing / Trail Running / Mountain Biking Backcountry Ski Guides – Adventure Project (Hiking Project, Powder Project, Trail Running Project, Mountain Project, Mountain Bike Project)
The ultimate adventure guide to trails not just in Colorado but across the world, with the option to download offline maps which sync with the phone’s GPS to provide the ultimate guide to climbing, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and trail running trails across the world. Each guide is user-updated with up-to-date trail condition information, weather, user fed reviews, and difficulty ratings. This is the ultimate guide for all outdoor enthusiasts and many who rely on keeping their way on the trail and tailored to their specific sport. It’s a great way to discover trails or areas that aren’t very well known.
Digital maps don’t replace a traditional map and compass, but are a great guide to understanding new areas. Using apps are an addition but not a replacement for typical means of navigation. With every map app that you’re using, have an adequate paper backup.