One of the best things about heading outside to explore is closing all those tabs, turning off your notifications, and putting your phone away so you can just enjoy yourself in the moment.
But now that there are so many handy apps that can make your outdoor expeditions safer, easier, not to mention more interactive and enjoyable – it can be a bit of a double-edged sword to leave your phone switched off in your pack.
With thousands of apps out there, there are quite a few that you’re just not going to get a lot of use out of. I mean, do you need an app to tell you how many pairs of undies and socks you should bring on a hike? Probably not.
Let’s have a look at which Snowys approved outdoor apps are going to actually be useful for your next adventure.
1. WikiCamps Australia
If you find yourself rocking up at a campsite only to find it costs a lot more than you would have thought, the WikiCamps app allows you to get the info you need in advance.
This app is basically a database updated by fellow campers and adventurers that provides information on campgrounds, backpacker hostels, caravan parks, public dump points and information centres. It’s got thousands of sites on there that you can browse, so you can find that perfect secluded spot for your next trip.
If you’re touring in a caravan, WikiCamps also has a satellite finder function which will help you get TV reception – which is pretty handy when you just want to watch the news or tune in to your favourite show.
Finding the perfect campsite is as easy as scrolling through your phone with Wikicamps.
2. Sun Surveyor
Sun Surveyor allows you to plan your trip around the sun and moon. Not only is it great for hikers and campers it’s a great app for amateur and professional photographers and videographers. It’s not the cheapest app around, but it is super handy for those who work in the outdoor industry.
This app allows you to predict golden hour, blue hour, sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset which means you can adjust your adventure to the weather conditions.
Knowing exactly when the sun will set makes it easier to know when to stop to camp.
3. First Aid by Australian Red Cross
For up to date first aid information, the Australian Red Cross First Aid App is the one you can trust. This one gives you the details on how to handle common first aid emergencies that you might encounter. Each step is laid out for you, and it provides interactive advice.
Even though you should always carry a PLB with you to alert the authorities in emergencies, having this knowledge will give you the peace of mind in the event you get into a sticky situation.
You can refresh your knowledge and get first aid instructions if you need them with this app.
SunSmart is a great app to use every time you head out on a sunny day. It was developed by the Cancer Council to help you monitor your sun exposure, which is pretty genius really. You can set up reminders that notify you when to re-apply sunscreen and when the UV levels are high.
This clever app also tells you the current UV levels for your location and tracks how much UV exposure you will actually need to get your recommended daily dose of vitamin D.
Monitor your UV exposure, and get handy sunscreen reminders with the SunSmart app.
5. Avenza Maps
You’re not always going to have Wi-Fi access when you’re off the grid, which is why an offline map viewer such as Avenza Maps, is a must.
This app is free for recreational use. Some of the maps are free but others will set you back at a small cost. There are topographic, tourist, recreation maps available in the store. Once your maps are downloaded, you can use them anytime you like as they don’t require the internet.
The GPS that’s already on your phone will allow you to locate yourself on any map, and you can record where you are with placemarks.
Navigate when you’re out of range with the Avenza Maps app.
6. Strava Running and Cycling GPS
Strava is basically a bit like a social network for outdoorsy people. But instead of sharing memes and snaps of your dog, you can record your runs or rides while sharing the highlights with your mates.
You can track your activities while seeing all of your stats like your speed and distance. You can see how you went on different sub-sections as well. This app is compatible with a lot of GPS watches and other activity trackers which is a bonus. If you’ve got a Suunto watch, they’ve got a similar app called Suunto Movescount which might be a good choice for you instead.
Strava also has a really easy to use interface, so you can get the hang of it pretty quickly without any dramas.
Track your progress and see how your mates fared on their ride with the Strava app.
7. WillyWeather or BOM
There are so many weather apps to choose from, but all of them use the same information provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. We’ve come up with two options here to choose from, which are both free to download.
WillyWeather comes out on top because according to the tech heads in the Snowys Team, it displays information in a way that’s functional and easy to use. WillyWeather offers a little more detail such as BOM satellite and radar plus detailed rain, tide, UV and wind forecasts. It also provides information on sunrise and sunset times, and the moon phases – so it’s better suited to outdoor activities such as hiking.
BOM Weather offers all its weather stats on the one screen, so you can quickly bring up the forecast for the day without having to open up a menu. This app is better for everyday use where you just need a quick snapshot of the weather in one glance.
WillyWeather offer detail and easy to use functionality.
8. FuelMap Australia
FuelMap is a free crowd-sourced database that shows you a map of all the petrol stations around Australia, with user updated fuel prices. Not only is this amazing for finding the best-priced fuel in your area on a weekly basis, it’s also really useful for planning your refuelling schedule for your next trip away. FuelMap is free to download too, so it’s definitely not a waste of space on your phone.
Which outdoor apps do you actually use? Fill us in on your best ones in the comments.
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