While paper maps are important – essential some might say – on hiking adventures in wild places, a good navigational app can be incredibly handy for those times when you’ve taken a wrong turn on the trail, or have misread your map coordinates, and need to quickly get your bearings. There are some that also offer ways to discover and follow routes that other people have created, taking away the need for lots of careful plotting.
There are, however, a lot of navigational apps to choose from, and some of these, to put it delicately, aren’t very good. To save you falling into the trap of a dud, we’ve pulled together a list of the best navigational apps available.
How To Choose A Navigational App
Aside from route planning and navigating your way along hiking paths, navigational apps are also choc-a-block full of cool features to make your journeys that much smoother. These might include terrain information, mountain profiles, elevation levels, progress trackers, weather forecasts, voice navigation, live tracking, offline and saving functionalities, points of interests along the route and much, much more. Depending on which features you think you’ll use the most, having these clever extras is very handy indeed.
Your choice of app will also inevitably depend on which outdoor activities you love the most and the whereabouts of each trip you make. For example, while PeakVisor mostly caters towards the mountaineering and snow sports communities, AllTrails tries to include as many different activities and types of user abilities as possible. Similarly, while Footpath Route Planner includes worldwide coverage, OS maps solely focuses on the UK.
In addition to this, if you’re going on a multi-week backpacking or bikepacking trip and are looking to cover multiple regions and areas, it’s not always handy to bring loads of physical OS maps with you, especially if you want to keep your pack weight down. So even if you’re a die-hard physical map lover, it might be worth checking out how much weight you could save by adding an app to your kit list.