Get out there

Here are 7 apps to download before your next outdoor adventure

From mapping to planning to first aid, these apps will help you get outside and stay safe doing what you love.

Young caucasian man using a smart phone in the nature.  Using technology in the nature concept.
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It’s getting warmer

And depending on where you live, you might be allowed to go out and do things soon.

That means planning, and for outdoors people, it also means a ton of mapping. So we’ve put together some of the best apps for getting out there and having a great time doing it.

Cory Gunther

National Park Service

In early 2021 the National Park Service released its own app covering all 423 parks in the US. Providing us outdoorsy folks with maps, hiking trails, food recommendations, and more, plus it’s free.

Download: iOS - Android


The dedicated NPS app has interactive maps, stunning photos of top destinations, guides, recommendations, search by state, offline maps, and much more.



It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Cairn is an outdoor app designed to keep you safe by sharing interactive maps with friends and family.

Download: iOS - Android


Cairn offers live tracking, so you can share your adventure plan with loved ones, track or find spots with cell coverage for emergencies, and even download maps for offline use.

However, our favorite feature is that it’ll notify ‘safety contacts’ if you’re not to a specific destination in time or back from a hike. Cairn is a must-have app for any adventurists.


onX Maps

The onX Maps are perfect for those that hunt, hike, or overland. However, all three are different apps with slightly different features, so you’ll have to choose which one is best for you.

Download: onX Maps


I have a love/hate relationship with onX, for a few reasons. I use onX Offroad the most which costs $30 per year, and I love everything it has to offer.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t give me access to the hunting and fishing app. It’s a separate yearly subscription, as each app has different features and limitations.

onX has free versions, but you’ll greatly benefit from paying for a subscription.

The hunting app has topographical maps with GPS nav, waypoints, and over 400 overlays for public/private land markings. It’s extremely useful, but if you want to offroad or go backpacking, you’ll need their other app.

🎥: onX


One of the most popular outdoor apps overall is AllTrails. And while its primary focus is on trails, it’s full of useful features to help you with planning, prep, enjoying a trail, and much more. It costs $29.99 per year.

Download: iOS - Android


The AllTrails maps, difficulty ratings, and community reviews are great for planning the perfect trip. You can get driving directions, save the location of that epic trail you just ran, or record an entire bike session all inside the app.


Gaia GPS

If you love everything outdoors Gaia GPS is a good alternative to onX. It’s great for GPS, hiking, offroading, and planning. This option does cost a little more than the competition, but Gaia has so many features that it’s worth considering.

Download: iOS - Android



• National database of trails and maps, route planning, waypoints

• Satellite Imagery, weather forecasts, topographical maps

• Private land borders, BLM info, recent fire alerts, hunting layers

• Offroad (Overland) trails, maps, GPS and more

• France IGN, Canada backroads

• 50+ maps and overlays for trails, angles, hills, land management, safe zones, etc.

The free version is quite limited, but for $39.99 a year, you get access to one of the best outdoor apps available.

🎥: Gaia GPS

First Aid

Before any adventure, big or small, being prepared with a first aid app is highly recommended.

Download this before you start in case you don’t have cell service. The American Red Cross has an official app that can and will save lives. While it might not tell you what berries are safe to eat in the great Alaskan frontier, it’s full of critical life-saving information.

Download: iOS - Android

Red Cross

You might want a good first aid kit, too.

Peter Dazeley/Photodisc/Getty Images

Whether you prefer dispersed camping or a dedicated campsite, knowing what’s available is important.

As we all know, a lot of campsites and other popular destinations closed in 2020 due to COVID-19. Additionally, forests and federal land often temporarily close for fire risks or maintenance. Stay up-to-date with the official app.

Download: iOS - Android

Apps like AllTrails or onX are super helpful, but to get the most up-to-date information directly from the source you’ll want the app.


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