Hiking Apps for the Droid Phone

Do you have a smartphone?  Well, there are a multitude of hiking apps available for it.   I have reviewed a few of the apps available for the Droid operating system.  (I am sure that the IPhone has similar, if not the same, apps available).


Google has an app called My Tracks.  This app is really designed for the runner or biker that wants to keep track of their time on a reoccurring route.  It will map your route onto google maps and record your time.  You can also take that data and download it into a spreadsheet to log your training.  It can be a useful app for hiking as well, but you cannot download any topography maps.  Thus, you are limited to hiking trails that are within cell tower range.  The best thing about this app is that it is free.


Another app is called Back Country Navigator Pro.  It is made for hiking, but has one major drawback, it doesn’t display elevation change.  You can download maps and it does a very good job of tracking your progress.  But, I like to see a graph of my elevation change.  You can download it for free and use it for 14 days.  After the trial period, it is $9.99.


Finally, there is Backpacker GPS Trails Pro.  This app was created for hiking and backpacking.  You can download topography maps and it graphs your elevation change.  It is rather cumbersome for downloading maps, but it gets easier once you get used to the interface.  This is my recommended app to purchase ($9.99).  It has an online component where you can send all of your hiking experiences, storing them online at Backpacker.com.


I will say that there is no app that is as powerful as a stand alone hiking GPS unit.  The antenna on a cellphone (to connect to GPS satellites) is not as powerful nor as accurate.  Not to mention the high battery usage.  You will probably run down your cellphone battery in about five hours of hiking while using one of these apps.


Other apps available are Backpack Planner, Camp Checklist and Camping Trip Planner.  These are basic list programs.  They can help you make sure that you have everything you need for your next trip.
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