As technology makes more and more of a presence in our daily lives, escaping the screens and spending time in the great outdoors is more important than ever. So then why are we recommended more apps??? Well, for starters, these three apps are actually useful and can enhance your time spent outdoors rather than distract from it. Check them out and let us know if you have any recommendations of your own!
You’ve maybe heard of this app for iPhone and Android devices. Thru-hikers, backcountry skiers, and even mountain guides are ditching their traditional GPS devices and opting for this powerful mapping application. Gaia utilizes free, open source topo maps and your phone’s offline satellite capabilities to provide fast and accurate orienteering capabilities. Not only do you save weight by carrying fewer devices, but Gaia is also substantially cheaper than purchasing the traditional GPS unit AND the downloadable maps. Retails for $19.99
Yet another brilliant way to carry less gear, or fewer books, in your backpack! The Merlin Bird ID by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a fantastic way to easily identify birds when you’re out hiking. Once you’ve downloaded a bird set for your region, you can either answer a short series of questions about the bird in question or upload a photo. Merlin Bird ID then helps you to identify likely candidates. Free.
This should be used as a reference, rather than an instructional guide to foraging. (We definitely recommend you take a course from a knowledgeable forager before trying it on your own.) The Edible Plant Guide is a fantastic resource if you do have experience with eating wild plants. It features over 950 different plants and 2,500 full color images, as well as detailed descriptions about the health benefits (or otherwise) of each plant. Retails for $2.99.