Your smartphone should rank low on the gear priority list for off-road adventuring, right? Nobody wants their chill time in the great outdoors interrupted by the annoying ding of incoming text messages. On the practical side, smartphone-powered apps can add convenience and fun to offroading.
Want to view centuries-old topo maps of your route? How about downloadable maps for venturing off the grid and into the backcountry? You might want to star gaze and identify stars and planets you see in the night sky. There are apps for all of that. Crowd-sourced apps add to the fun by enabling riders to share favorite rides, photos and even videos of their favorite moments along routes.
Feature-packed apps provide instant access to just about everything—right in the palm of your hand. They should not be relied upon for emergencies—unless you need to call for help using the phone. Safety comes first. For navigation, always carry a backup—such as a pocket-sized magnetic compass—should you venture outside cell range.
Smartphones have high-quality cameras, long-lasting batteries and can stand up to the tough off-road environment. Toss in the apps and smartphones make legit outdoor adventure tools.
Even better, many off-road apps work in airplane mode, so your peace isn’t interrupted by phone calls or text messages.
Camping, hiking and navigation apps are plentiful, but not all are built with offroading in mind. End your search with our top picks for off-road focused apps. We’ve even added a couple that are mainstream but practical for planning and adding more fun to your trips.