Best Android and iOS Apps for Exploring the Outdoors

10/28/2019     Author: Billy Gray

Sometimes when we obsess over tech too much, we forget to go outdoors and get some sunshine. Here are some apps that you can use to do just that. Ah, sweet irony.


We write a lot about tech. The best phones, the best gaming devices, the best speakers, it’s all so much fun – especially when you’re taking it out of the box. The thing is, sometimes we sort of forget to take a step outside and get some vitamin D. It’s important to make sure that we’re getting our fill of the outdoors, but some of us have spent so much time playing with technology that, well… we’ve sort of forgotten how to.

But fear not, 21st century human, for there are a bunch of apps that you can download right now that will help you to figure out how to get your ass in gear, out the door, and into the wild like a Supertramp. Strap in for the ride, tech-heads, we’re going on an adventure!

Best apps for exploring the outdoors

When it comes to exploring the wilderness, it’s best to do it with a map. There’s a lot out there that we’ve collectively forgotten how to deal with and, to be honest, depending on where you live you might actually get attacked by a mountain lion, so keep things on the path to begin with.

First thing is first, you need to decide what it is that you want to do outside. If you’re reading this, then we’re assuming you’re not a pro kayaker or something, otherwise you’d probably already be outside doing stuff. So, let’s assume that to begin with we’re just going to be hiking some trails. Nice and easy to begin with.


If you’re looking for a hiking trail in your local area, then this is the app for you. You’d be surprised how many there are – even if you live in the city. AllTrails gives you detailed information about the route, as well as the route itself and GPS to make sure that you stick to it. It tells you important information like the elevation, the difficulty, and user ‘reviews’ of the trail, which sometimes point out important details or possible side-trails to look out for.

With AllTrails, you’ll feel very much prepared to meet the outdoors like a total savage. You’ll be keep to start ticking off trails on the app and gaining points as you go. You can get more actively involved in the community and take things to the next level by posting pictures of you hiking all over social media, because let’s be fair, you’re going to do that.


If you want to get outside, but haven’t quite summoned up the will to leave the confines of your city or town, then Geocaching is actually one of the most fun things that you can do. It’s essentially a giant treasure hunt, where you locate ‘caches’ which have been stashed by other users. There are thousands of them all around the world and people are always adding new ones. Who knows what you’ll find in them.

It’s a great excuse to get out exploring and find some parts of town that you’d never usually go to. Geocaching has a really active community and sometimes the app launches mysteries that you can solve by finding specific caches all around the city over a matter of weeks. It’s also in the wilderness and this is a great way to explore with a goal in mind.

SAS Survival

If you’re going to do the outdoors, then you might as well do it right. This SAS Survival Guide was written by a former SAS soldier and covers all the essentials out outdoor survival. You can download the whole thing to read offline with this app. It’s a little boyish, but when you think about it, this app could actually save your life if you did end up getting stuck in the wilderness. It covers first aid, shelter, finding water, food, and keeping warm and preserving energy. It also covers how to get found. It’s worth having this just in case… plus, it sort of makes you feel like you’re in Scouts again.

Maps 3D Pro

Having a map is one thing, having a full 3D representation of the terrain with your trail leading through it is quite another. Maps 3D Pro gives you a much clearer understanding of the hike you’re about to embark on than a regular map would. This is really useful for anyone who struggles to understand what those little circles on the map mean and then ends up wondering why their standing at the foot of a mountain halfway through their hike.


By the time you’re a full on outdoors enthusiast, you’ll want to be able to see all the trails, share your hikes, and network with other people who share your newfound passion. This is a great way to find new trails, as well as follow other hikers to see where they’re going and possibly even meet up with them along the way.


This is an app for people going on serious hikes. It’s more of a safety app and could end up saving your life. The first function of the app is that it crowd sources information to show you where you can and cannot get mobile reception along a trail. The second function is that you can leave your trip route with your friends and then they’ll get a notification if you’re overdue, prompting them that something might have gone wrong. This is essential for anyone who is about to undertake a serious and dangerous trail.

The wrap-up

Make sure that you use some of these apps the next time you’re about to embark on a journey into the wilderness. They’re great when used together and even just having them on your phone will prompt you to go on more adventurous outdoor hikes. Enjoy!

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