5 essential phone apps for wilderness trips

Nothing will ever replace the reliability of the good old map and compass, and it is essential to know how to use them before headingout into the wild. Nonetheless, phones and electronic devices have become an incredibly helpful resource and a safety net for adventurers. Given the highly unpredictable nature of the outdoors and the risk it entails, it is better to be safe than sorry. In somecases, setting your phone up properly can save lives, so give yourself some peace of mind and download these 5 apps before headingout into the backcountry. 

1 – Emergency + 

If there is just one app that you should absolutely have on your phone it’s this one. It’s free, works offline and has a low battery consumption. This app will provide you with a map of where you are as well as your latitude and longitude coordinates. It also offers a list of numbers to contact in case of an emergency.

2 – ICE: In Case of Emergency 

This free app creates a permanent lock screen on your phone that can be read without unlocking the device. It provides your emergency contact details, your identity, your blood type, and any allergies or medical conditions you may have. This is a really crucial one that could save your life in an accident by providing critical information to emergency services.

3 – AllTrails 

AllTrails is an inclusive outdoor trail guide for trails around the world. It’s a crowd-sourced app providing trail maps for hiking, running and mountain biking, including photos, elevation, technical ratings and reviews from previous users. Using only your phone’s geo-localisation, the app overlays your location onto the trail map and allows you to follow the route you’ve chosen, recording your location as you go. You can also add notes, trail changes and record new tracks as you explore. It’s a great resource for those with less confident with navigation and concerned with getting lost. The basic app is free and you can upgrade to Pro for a small fee for more features.

4 – Cairn

Being out in the bush doesn’t guarantee you cell service in case of an emergency. Cairn was created with this in mind, scanning the area you’re planning your trip in and recommending the spots with the best reception. As such, you can look ahead to where you can reach out for help or get in touch with home. Cairn also allows you to schedule your estimated arrival time and sends an alert to your contacts with your tracking location should you not be back by the expected time, which is vital should you be injured or stranded.

5 – Offline survival manual (android only)

This free app offers a thorough guide to wilderness survival including how to identify a safe water source, how to build a shelter, basic first aid, tips for starting a fire, how to recognise poisonous plants and more. In the off chance that you end up stranded or lost in the bush, it provides a very comprehensive overview of how to survive outdoors with limited equipment. We’d hope to never have to use it, but a great one to have just in case!

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