The Best Outdoor Apps for Your Smartphone

woman using smartphone outdoor app

Use your smartphone to identity the names of trees using a photo of a leaf. Don’t just watch birds, listen to them sing. Show you kids the stars and constellations in the night sky on your next camping trip. Create your own hiking trail and share it with friends and family. Find the closest national or state park with the kinds of outdoor activities you enjoy. Outdoor smartphone apps have added new and exciting dimensions that make us more aware and more knowledgeable about the outdoor environment we all love. Here are seven apps that will enhance the enjoyment of your next outdoor adventure.


Yonder is a social network of outdoor lovers that allows you to share outdoor experiences with like minded individuals. Yonder has two primary features. One is an Instagram-like photo component that allows you to take a photo,  geotag it and provide a brief comment. Expand the information about the experience by picking a category like hiking, backpacking, or kayaking. Help others find your experience by adding tags. The other half of Yonder is a feature that allows you to see other users experiences by using GPS and a map. View shared photos. You can commend, share, or add to a favourites list. You can follow other Yonder users. Search a database of some 200,000 destinations.

Read more and download from the Yonder Website.

Oh, Ranger! Park Finder

Oh, Ranger is a directory of parks located in the United States that includes national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management sites, and state parks. Users can search the database typing in one of 20 different “things to do” such as Climbing, Caving, Fishing, Hiking, or Hunting. Browse a directory of parks by state. Information about each park includes a description, activities available, contact informations, and the parks website. Users who register can upload photos and leave comments.

Read more about the app on the Oh! Ranger! Park Finder website


One-and-a-half million users have found this app worthwhile. Find a trail near you for hiking, biking or fly fishing. Create your own trails using GPS tracking. Save them to your personal inventory of trails and share them with others. View topo maps, photos and reviews of other trails. The app includes more than 50,000 trails. The basic app is free. Users who pay a $30 annual membership fee can take advantage of the AllTrails association with National Geographic Maps which allows you to print and edit maps. Members also can participate in real time events as part of the World Elevation Challenge.

Read more about  the AllTrails App on the AllTrails website


Obsessive note takers, information recorders and journal keepers will love this app. Ramblr users can record  everything about their trip, including average speed, distance traveled, highest point reached. Geotag audio, video, images and text so that you can document your trip in detail. The app has a built in mapping feature so that you can see your trip on a map with geotagged photos. Upload and share your trips with others with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Read more on the Ramblr Website


Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution created a partnership to produce this app which allows you to identify a tree that a leaf is from by taking a photo of the leaf. The app has a supplementary feature that offers up high resolution photos of of tree bark, fruit and flowers that can assist you in your identification efforts.

Read more about LeafSnap on the LeafSnap website

Audubon Birds Pro

This Audubon Field Guide app contains photos and detailed descriptions of 821 species of North American birds. It includes their songs and calls for in-the-field identification.The app shows migratory maps and recent sightings produced in cooperation with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Using the app you can log your bird sightings, keep a personal checklist of sightings and share your sightings over social media.

Read more on the Audubon Website

Star Walk

Identify over 200,000 stars and constellations by holding your Android or iOS up to the night sky. View what the same skies looked like in the past or what they will look like in the future. Learn about the history and mythology of the constellations. The app also includes a calendar of upcoming celestial events. Between the time it was introduced in November of 2008 and January 2013 the app was downloaded over 5 million times. The website Mashable rated it number 1 in the “Top 5 Apps For Kids You Don’t Want to Miss.”

Read more on the Star Walk Website


Cairn is all about keeping family and friends informed about where you are during an outdoor adventure. Create a trip plan and make it available to those who will want to know where you are in the outdoors. If you are overdue, your contacts are alerted with your last available location  A unique feature of Cairn is that allows you know where others have found cell phone service so you can plan your calls in advance ensuring that you have an improved chance of getting through, You can also download maps that can be used offline. The best advice is to download the maps before you need them.

Dark Sky (iOS)

Dark Sky uses the latest weather forecasting technology to predict the weather – rain, or snow or extreme temperatures, down to the minute at your exact location. The weather is an important component of any outdoor experience and Dark Sky lets you make you plans with detailed weather plans available. Create a daily weather forecast to be delivered to your phone every morning. The app has a clean interface with no ads.

BackCountry Navigator (Android, Free)

BackCountry allows you to acquire map data from a variety of free and paid sources and save it for offline use. Add or import GPS locations and view a variety of map layers. BackCountry Navigator can acquire maps from a wide range of sources like OpenStreetMap and Open Cycle Map. This makes the app a valuable tool for backcountry gravel for specific locations worldwide.

MapMyHike (Android, iOS) (Free)

Track you hiking or biking experiences using MapMyHike. You get detailed feedback on the route including you average rate pace, distance covered and calories burned. Find local routes with other hikers and bikers and compare your times. Recommend routes and ask for recommendations from others,. A premium version allows you and your hiking friends to keep track of each other experiences in real time. The app is focused primarily on workout routines but has plenty of applications for outdoor adventures.

American Red Cross First Aid App

The American Red Cross First Aid app was created by the Red Cross to provide the general public with advice on how to deal with emergencies. Detailed step-by-step advice, along with videos and interactive quizzes impart to users that serious emergencies  do occur and can happen to anyone. The app contains a variety of features including:

  • Step-by-step directions for dealing with everyday emergencies.
  • Steps to take during a 911 emergency call along with a 911 call button
  • Badges that you can earn by taking interactive quizzes
  • Videos and animation that bring emergency situations to life
  • Specific tips and advice for dealing with natural emergencies including, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados and extreme winter weather.

Download the Red Cross App from The Apple App Store or Google Play

Use the First Aid in conjunction with one of the First Aid kits recently profiled on Savage Camper.

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