The best hiking technology, apps to help you go the distance


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Tired of long days spent at your computer looking for a change in routine? Before COVID-19, people were already eager to escape the attachment to their phones and computer screens. Now that the workplace has become remote, screen time has increased, forcing people to step outside for their mental and physical health.

Many find that a walk around the block will not be enough and that walking the hiking trail is the ideal social distancing activity. Here are some gadgets and apps that can enrich your travels.

Find the best trail – for free!

For hikers keen on hitting the trails but not sure where to start, the Hiking Project app, developed by REI, contains data on over 35,000 trails and is continuously updated. The free app allows the user to browse nearby trails and filter by difficulty, trail type, elevation, and ratings to find the best fit near them.

Another free app, Ramblr, provides a social media experience for users, allowing hikers to document their trip with videos and photos to share online. Users can also track their status live and download maps so that they always know their location whether online or not.

A case for the worst case

Even if you’re going on a hike to disconnect from the world and minimize distractions, it’s best to make sure your phone is protected and charged in an emergency.

The Otterbox Defender offers style and reliability. Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, this is a step up from the standard phone case with multiple layers of protection, a plastic shell around the phone, and a rubber outer shell to resist drops. and dust. The case also has a holster that doubles as a kickstand when you want to take a selfie on top of a mountain on a solo hike.

For those who are looking for a cheaper case with military standards and care less about customization, the Pelican Shield cover is reinforced with 5 layers of protection and can withstand drops from 12 feet. It also comes with a kickstand and a lifetime warranty.

Clean water everywhere you go

Even for the most prepared hikers, sometimes those 32 oz. Nalgene doesn’t last as long as expected. Although river water is tempting, it’s hard to say how drinkable it is. Fortunately, the SteriPEN Ultra water purifier can fit comfortably in a backpack and take those worries away. The USB rechargeable device uses UV light to deliver nearly 50 liters of purification per charge.

Keep the load off the grid

The Nomad Carbon carabiner can attach your water bottle to your backpack and keep your phone charged. The clip comes with a USB-A to Lightning cable that integrates seamlessly into the unit to withstand the wear and tear of the toughest hikes. Just load it up before the trailhead and you’re good to go.

Worried about forgetting to charge before going on a hike or running out of power before you finish? Then a solar backpack is the answer. ECEEN’s solar backpack features a detachable sunscreen that allows the hiker to recharge on a sunny trail or place it in the sun during a break. The bag also has a bladder to hold 1.8 liters of water in addition to several compartments and pockets for devices and equipment.

Stay on track and on time

The Garmin Fenix ​​5 X Sapphire offers everything a high-tech hiker could want. The versatile smartwatch is equipped with maps, long battery life and GPS, so Engadget says “it will be almost impossible to get lost”.

Scratch resistant, waterproof up to 100 meters and able to track heart rate, the watch can also be paired with Spotify for tracks on the track. Finally, the apps built into the watch let you take it off the beaten track to run, climb, ski, swim, cycle and even play golf.

An (augmented) view from above

The PeakVisor app provides an added bonus for those who have reached the end of an ascent and while enjoying the view have been wondering ‘what exactly am I looking at? Using the hiker’s location and camera, the app augments their view with a panorama that labels each peak, along with elevation and other additional information.

The app also provides the Sun Trail for these peaks, letting users know the perfect time to snap a photo to make all of their homemaker friends jealous. The app also works offline, so no peaks are out of reach.

Now that you have the apps and tools, all you have to do is hike the trails. Have a good hike!

Image Credit: Olga Danylenko /

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