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Posted on March 18, 2010
We traverse through the backwoods in order to get away from it all — to leave all that technology and noise behind. So, exploring the wilderness with an iPhone in tow is kinda an oxymoron, right? Maybe. However, trekking completely bereft of simple technologies (like a compass, for instance) can be slightly dangerous depending on the distance of your journey.
But what if your iPhone could act as a compass, a map, a GPS tracker, a weather reporter and a survival guide? Would it then make the smart phone an integral part of your camping experience? There is, of course, the argument that if you rely solely on your phone, it can lose its signal in remote locations. Or even worse, it can lose its charge.
Nevertheless, paired with the proper supplies, it can benefit you in many ways. Here are 18 applications for iPhones that will not only enhance your adventure, but could prove to be even lifesaving at times. (Hat tip to The Adventure Life and Triple Blaze for some app-etizing ideas.)
1. Trails ($2.99) – This GPS app lets hikers record, import and export hiking or biking maps. Featured by both the New York Times and MacLife, Trails can map while you listen to music or answer a phone call.
2. Bug Repellent ($.99) – Keep pesky mosquitoes and other insects far away with five different high-pitch frequencies. The noise continues to play after you lock your device.
3. Mosquito Device ($1.29) – Just like No. 2, this app emits a high frequency that is harmless to humans, pets and plants. As advertised, it can be used while camping, hunting, fishing, farming and sleeping.
4. Flashlight (free) – Considering you can own this glowing app at no cost, it’s a no brainer when it comes to lighting your way in the dark. Perhaps not exactly the same as a full-powered flashlight, but it’s definitely better than nothing. And it’s totally free.
5. iTrailMap 3D ($4.99) – Designed for skiers and snowboarders, this application gives you 3-D tracking on mountains and trails. You can record your tracks and also upload them on the web. There is also a free version that doesn’t include the 3-D aspect.
6. iBird Pro ($29.99) – While there are plenty of other bird apps out there, iBird Pro includes the most species (924 to be exact) as well as photos, drawings and the highest iTunes Store rating. It’s also frequently updated to give you the latest bird info.
7. MyNature ($6.99) – This comprehensive guide to animal track identification contains a database of 43 animals — from weasels to the largest grizzly bears. It will help you identify tracks and animals by their appearance including color and gait.
8. Critter Trax ($.99) – The less expensive version of No. 7 focuses mainly on wild game tracking. It contains more than 40 images of tracks, scat and photos of animals such as turkeys, whitetail deer, weasels, minks and more.
9. Knot Time ($2.99) – When you see a customer review with a headline like “Even my wife likes it! LOL!,” you know you’ve got a good app on your hands. A learning tool and field guide for tying knots, Knot Time pulls together 33 knots including the alpine butterfly, arbor knot, double surgeon’s knot, the rolling hitch and many more.
10. The Snow Report from The North Face (free) – Don’t travel in the mountains without this free app that updates you on snow conditions including 24-, 48- and 72-hour snowfall totals as well as avalanche advisories, five-day forecasts, trail maps and more.
11. Compass Go ($.99) – Given a thumbs up by Macworld, this simple GPS compass allows you to set a certain location in its memory so you can find your way back with ease. It’s applicable in the wilderness as well as helpful in finding your car in a crowded parking lot.
12. RiverGuide for Kayakers ($4.99) – If you’re thinking about kayaking, rafting or canoeing in the near future, do consider this app. In moments, it gives you the cubic feet per second of most U.S. rivers.
13. Trailguru (free) – Much like app No. 1, Trailguru will track your movements on the trail giving you vital statistics such as distance traveled, duration, pace/speed, elevation, and latitude and longitude. You can also post your activity to the Trailguru website, where you can visualize the outing on Google Earth and Google Maps.
14. Army Survival ($1.99) – With more than 1,400 pages, Army Survival is a comprehensive guide pulled straight from the U.S. Army Field Manual 21-76, titled “Survival.” It includes psychology of survival, basic survival medicine, shelters, water procurement and more.
15. The Boy Scout Handbook ($9.99) – Written by the Boy Scouts of America, this handbook is meant for both inspiration and information. It combines a century of history, vintage artwork along with a reference guide for the modern scout.
16. Elevation Pro ($.99) – The most popular elevation application includes USGS elevation as well as Google Maps and Twitter sharing. To find elevation of any place on Earth, all you have to do is touch the location, and the elevation stats will magically appear.
17. Topo 3D ($3.99) – What’s nice about this app is that once a map is downloaded, it will work without cellular or Internet connection. These maps include high-resolution, 3-D displays with GPS tracking.
18. RunKeeper Pro ($9.99) – Chart your fitness activity with an all-in-one application that keeps track of distance, time, speed, calories and route.