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Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Top 3 Hiking Apps

Three hiking-focused apps - for iPhone, iPad, or Android.

by: Kim Phillips & Andrew Matranga

National Geographic
National Park Maps HD
These interactive Trails Illustrated maps were a hit with our testers. “On a spur of the moment trip to Olympic National Park, I downloaded the map and picked out a dayhike­—from my car.” Use the search menu to find trails, campsites, and peaks; view your location on the map; mark waypoints; and measure distances using the scale bar. Note: This is not a full-featured navigation app. $5; National park enthusiasts who want easy-to-access information and detailed trail maps from 15 parks across the country—for half the price of a paper topo
iPhone &
This augmented-reality app uses the GPS in your smartphone to generate a simple sketch of the horizon, which updates in real-time as you pan around your location. The names of prominent peaks are shown at the top of the screen with leader lines that extend to their respective summits. Tap on a specific peak name to bring up its elevation—and to get a sneak peek of its 360-degree summit view. $2; Peakbaggers who want to identify and get basic info about surrounding highpoints on or off the trail; anyone who is curious about the landscape around them
GPS Trails
iPhone &
Shameless plug: Version 5.0 of our navigation app features a slew of updates. Big hits? Easier mapping, access to 5,000-editor approved hikes, and convenient content bundles of BACKPACKER’s favorite trips in select national parks and cities. Nav fiends will love faster maps powered by MyTopo and Microsoft Bing Maps for topo, street, terrain, and aerial imagery. $4 (lite version is free); Hikers who want a simple yet powerful GPS app to record multimedia adventures, share trips with friends, and find expert trail content to download and follow

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Lewis Otto
Feb 17, 2012

Oruxmaps for the Android is excellent. It allows downloaded of maps prior to the trip. I have used it map multiple peaks in the adirondack and I had no cell phone service on my droidx.

Lewis Otto
Feb 17, 2012

Oruxmaps for the Android is excellent. It allows downloaded of maps prior to the trip. I have used it map multiple peaks in the adirondack and I had no cell phone service on my droidx.

Dec 05, 2011

Has anyone looked at the GAIA GPS app. Both for Iphone and Droid. Predownload your maps and not cellular connect required

Dec 01, 2011

PeakFinder is a great idea, but I could never get a good 3G signal in the mountains for it to work. It really needs to pre-load the data, instead of getting just what it needs based upon where you are.

Nov 22, 2011

You left out the best app, Backcountry Navigator. I tried without success to use Backpacer GPS and never could get any customer service response to gain access. On the other hand, I used Backcountry Navigator to download a topo of the Olympic National Park and was able to locate myself within a few yards using my Motorola Droid while disconnected from the internet.

Ken Topliss
Nov 22, 2011

Is there any chance you will develop the application to work with the Blackberry Torch using the RIM software?


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