Love them or loathe them, smartphones are here to stay and there are many apps available for the outdoor enthusiast to make life easier. If you enjoy using your smartphone on the hill then take a look at my five favourite apps:
1. Viewranger (Free)*
With a GPS enabled phone, Viewranger becomes the ultimate navigation tool. Use it as reference to check your location accurately, record your track and download/create routes. You can also check your altitude or use it as an offline map where ever you are.
*The app is free to download on Apple, Android and Amazon. Overview maps are also free to download, but you’ll need to purchase credits to buy OS map tiles or Harvey’s maps. Many maps are available for other countries too.
To prolong battery, Viewranger and GPS works when on Flight Mode and remember to carry a map and compass. 🙂
If you would prefer not to have a full navigation app, then OS Locate is a sensible option as the app will give you a 6 digit grid reference if you’re lost or have to give the emergency services your location. This app is also free.
2. Mountain Weather UK (£4.99 App Store or £3.99 on Android)
Okay so you can just check the weather on an internet browser, but this app just makes life that bit more simpler when on the move. MWUK feeds from the Met Office, so you can get the same reports on the app for various areas across the UK or select one particular mountain. MWUK also includes links to Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) and Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) without leaving the app, so you can access 3 services in one app.
3. PeakFinder Earth (£4.99 App Store or £3.99 on Android)
Picture the scene; you’ve arrived at the summit and your friend alerts you to a mountain in the distance and names it. You disagree and think it’s another mountain nearby. Both your maps don’t stretch that far and the argument continues on. This app will settle the argument there and then ensuring you win that well earned pint you bet your friend on.
The app downloads data on to your phone so works offline. Just enable your GPS and point your phone at the hills you want to identify and you get a detailed panorama naming the hills. PeakFinder will also tell you the distance.
Recent updates now include a solar and lunar orbit, and sunrise and sunset times. Ideal for the summit camper!
4. British Hills (free)
A must for any hill-bagger; a full offline list of every hill in the UK from the Munros to the Wainwrights. Tick em off as you go and view your progress on the offline map. The app is also useful when you’re on a misty top and not sure if you have the correct summit, the app tells you the 6 digit grid reference and summit feature.
If internet is available the app also has a link to OS maps and 3rd party weather forecast websites.
Sadly the app does not sync data with your account on the hill-bagging website. This version is only available on Android. But Hill Lists is available on iTunes for £1.99 which is very similar.
5. Player FM (free)
Okay so this isn’t an outdoors app per se, but the app allows me to organise and listen to my favourite podcasts for wild camps or journeys to or from the hills. Make sure to download podcasts using WiFi beforehand so it doesn’t eat up your mobile data allowance.
The list of apps isn’t exhaustive and if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below.