Don’t leave your smartphone in the glove box on your next hiking trip!
The trails are calling—and we’re bringing our smartphones!
Even us tech-loving Cellular Sales folks like to unplug and get out into the woods. It’s nice to get away from the constant noise of the connected world. But, that doesn’t mean we leave our smartphones behind. Read on to find out about our favorite apps, gear and other ways our smartphones help us get back to nature.
First, activate “Do Not Disturb”
You don’t want to be reachable. Isn’t that about forty percent of the reason you’re heading for the hills in the first place? Luckily, you can turn off communication from the outside world while still using your apps and GPS. Here’s how:
Tap Settings > Sound > Do not disturb
Tap Settings > Do Not Disturb
This should ensure your phone stays quiet, while still allowing you to access your favorite hiking apps.
To turn off only specific app notifications (including email) on iOS and Android phones, go to Settings > Notifications and scroll through the apps. Turn off notifications for any- and everything that disturbs your nature setting.
Video-journal with your smartphone camera
This might be your first major trip into the wilderness, or it might be your fiftieth. Whatever your hiking expertise status, it can be nice to keep a record of your trip. Sometimes you just want an easily accessible way to remember the good times, the gorgeous sunsets, the miserable, rainy times, the times a squirrel tried to steal your last fresh apple and yet you prevailed! (By the way, it was questionable whether you should have actually eaten that apple after Squirrely McFluff took a few bites out of it. We hope you at least rinsed off the rodent spit.)
Sure, you can take a notebook and pencil and do things the old-fashioned way, but if you want to add a little color and atmosphere to your trip log, record yourself giving an account of the day with your smartphone. Don’t forget to mention that name of where you went and the date, or save your photos and videos in an album with that information. Months or years from now you might not remember those details.
Smartphone hiking apps
Knowing where you are in the great, wide world can make you feel rooted. It can also help you figure out which direction you’re supposed to be hiking when you’re turned around. You can download an offline map through Google Maps or one of these offline navigation apps, and use your phone’s GPS to navigate.
There are other great apps to help with planning your trip, digitally documenting your favorite trails, even getting backwoods survival tips. Check ’em out!
Looking for a basic list of stuff you’ll need to take with you? This app does that. It’s also great for other checklists: for the dorm, for Cub Scouts, and more.
This app boasts 50,000+ trail maps across the U.S. You can also get driving directions and save your favorite trips with the app. There’s more, too: other hikers have contributed descriptions, reviews and more, so you can learn about trails before you even get your boots tied.
This app takes trip journaling to a new level. It allows you to draw tracks over digital maps to show where you’ve been. You can also geotag places along your route with photos, descriptions and more, and share on social media!
Looking for a great place to set your tent stakes? This app shows you campsites in your area, plus availability, cost, amenities and ratings from other campers.
SAS Survival Guide
For more extreme outdoors enthusiasts, this app features survival instruction for every situation, from finding food in the wild to first aid to even urban emergencies. Based on the book written by bestselling author John “Lofty” Wiseman, this is your go-to app for survival skills!
Smartphone Gear for hiking
Using apps on the trail, especially when you’re plugging into GPS, will drain your battery quickly. Consider packing an extra battery pack, or a solar battery charger.
Remember, you’re also out in the woods. Hiking carries a risk of getting rained on, tripping and falling, dropping gear—especially gear you’ve stowed in a shirt pocket, like your smartphone. Invest in a burly case to protect it!
We don’t recommend listening to music while you’re on the trail. You’re in nature! Listen to the wind, the birds, the unidentified snorting and rustling sounds off in the undergrowth … but, if you’re in the mood to wind down with some tunes before you get a little shuteye, you might want to throw some headphones into your pack. That way you won’t disturb other hikers in the area.