Smartphones are a part of our regular life. With cell phone coverage available in off-the-beaten-path locations, smartphones have become an essential tool for hiking. Apps can educate you along the way. GPS technology always lets you know exactly where you are, and the camera on your phone is all you need for photos of your adventures. Explore the following five ways smartphones have changed hiking.
Stay on Track With GPS
People have always relied on help to identify their locations when they’re hiking by using maps to track their progress, spotting landmarks, and knowing how to use a compass. Your phone’s GPS makes pinpointing your location easier and more accurate. GPS technology allows you to pack lighter when you use your phone instead of a dedicated GPS unit.
Smartphone GPS technology is easier to use than a dedicated unit because you don’t have to have any maps preloaded on the phone. You’ll have an unlimited supply of location information at your fingertips simply by using Google Maps. You can also check out the vast amount of hiking-specific mapping apps available for free or by purchase.
Enhance Your Hike With Apps
You can use apps on your hike for mapping or for fun along the way:
1. MapMyHike GPS Hiking
Free or paid versions of MapMyHike are available. This straightforward and easy-to-use app lets you track your route, get info on your pace, and find out how many calories you’ve burned.
2. Audubon Birds Pro
This fun app from the National Audubon Society lets you identify 808 species of North American birds. Audubon Birds Pro shows you migratory paths, and you can use the app to identify birds by sound.
3. SAS Survival Guide
SAS stands for Special Air Service, a British Army division known for being one of the toughest in the world. You might want to put this particular survival guide in front of all the rest. This comprehensive guide has 400 pages of text, along with videos, photos, a compass, and a first aid guide.
4. Capture Memories With Your Smartphone Camera
Smartphone cameras are so good these days that they can eliminate the need for a separate camera. Unless you’re a professional photographer, the image quality will be perfect for online sharing and small to medium-sized prints.
For example, an Apple iPhone 6, while not the newest phone on the market, features an excellent camera that shoots eight-megapixel photos. Eight megapixels is good enough to get beautiful, sharp prints up to 8 by 10 inches.
If you have a newer smartphone model, then you probably have a camera than can give you larger prints. The 12-megapixel camera on the Apple iPhone SE will deliver stunning results and you can shoot fun videos of your adventures. Who needs a video camera anymore?
Find the Answers You Need
You’re walking along with your hiking partner and, inevitably, you spot a bird, tree, or mountain that you want to identify. Here is where your smartphone comes into play. Likewise, you may be wondering if storm clouds are coming your way and how long a storm may last.
Your phone can take the guesswork out of any situation that may arise when you’re on the trail. It can give you the information you need to make the best decisions about your health and safety. For example, you can find out if a wild berry is safe to eat or learn how to improvise in an unforseen situation.
Call or Text for Help
If something were to happen and you need to call for help, remote areas have better coverage than ever, and improvements are often being made. If you’re in a spot where a call won’t go through, try sending a text message. With a powerful smartphone such as an Apple iPhone SE from the service provider T-Mobile, you’ll be well-covered by a network that offers extensive 4G LTE coverage on and off the trail, which can prove useful when you need to call for help during an emergency.
With its GPS capabilities, excellent camera, and helpful apps, your smartphone could be the most important piece of hiking gear that you own.