Mobile Apps

Time in the outdoors is time to unplug. We've all said it. Yet, we've all brought our phones along even if there isn't a bar of service within 50 miles. Despite my occasional desire to throw my phone in the river, there are some things that it can be useful for on an outing. Here are some of my favorite apps that help make my phone more than just a useless brick in the woods:

Probably my most frequently used app while backpacking is the phone's built in movie app. Nothing special there, but it has made a tent-bound evening with the kids much more enjoyable. A little planning is required to make sure there is actually a movie on the phone since streaming is not available in places I typically camp. An external battery backup can be handy too.

#2 Trimble Outdoors Navigator
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love maps. Navigator provides access to a variety of maps including satellite imagery and USGS topo maps. Simply download the area of interest before leaving the land of WiFi and you are good to go. Paper maps still make a good backup and you'd be wise to not rely completely on an electronic device in the backcountry.

#3: River App
A must for river paddlers. I don't actually use this one one the river, but it is indispensable for planning a river trip. River App makes it easy to check flows around the world. I can create a list of my favorites to quickly check what's hot and what's not.