With so much information dedicated to hiking and backpacking, I often hear the question “Where’s the best place to look for hiking resources?”

In my early days as a hiker, I fell foul to believe or make do with the first source I came across. It took a few years and setbacks before I learned the error of my ways. To make sure you don’t make the same mistakes, I’m here to help!

I know how difficult it can be starting out in hiking and backpacking. And even once you’ve gained more experience, getting knowledge and skill takes time. This article is dedicated to guiding you in the right direction. 

Below, you’ll find a detailed list of the best and most reliable resources for hikers and backpackers. 

I’ve broken them up into categories, so whatever you’re looking for - inspiration, gear guides, route suggestions, apps, safety advice or just a bit of dietary know-how and backcountry menu tips - you’ll be sure to find it.

Contents

Now, let’s get down to that list. We’re going to start with maybe the most important item, and certainly the most fun: inspiration. 

SIDENOTE: We aim to keep this list fresh and up-to-date, at all times. So if you feel we’ve missed any useful hiking or backpacking resources, you can suggest them for inclusion here 🙂

Inspiration for hikers and backpackers

Where to Get Inspiration and Motivation for Your Next Hike

“Inspiration is the midwife of action.”

Never is this quote more true than in the case of hiking and backpacking. 

We’ve all had those rainy days at home or in the office when we’ve needed an inspirational ‘kick’. It motivates us. It gives us a lift. It’s the spark that has us dreaming up our next adventure.

Seeing what others are up to - and where they’re getting to - can liven up a rainy day like nothing else. 

Below is a list of some of the best sources of such inspiration. Each one will have you packing your bags and heading somewhere wild and wonderful in a hurry.  

Hiking Inspiration: Could You Use Some?

A list of inspirational reading material for the bookworms among you. This page offers a collection of lesser-told tales.

They range from the hill-going grandmother to meditations on the benefits of wild places to the hiker and backpacker. The target audience is primarily women hikers, but the suggested texts are just as entertaining and inspiring to male readers.

Check it out

67 Adventure Instagrammers You Should Be Following Right Now

Social media networks are a great place to find inspiration for future hiking and backpacking trips. This article homes in on the best of thousands of possible pictorial sources of inspiration.

Each Instagrammer featured does things a little bit differently, but they all have one thing in common - incredibly inspiring content!

Check it out

These 10 Hiking Trails Will Blow Your Mind

A selection of world-famous authors and business luminaries reveal their favourite hiking trails in this awesomely inspiring list.

From Canada to New Zealand to an all-time European Classic, their choices are sure to have you donning your backpacks and following their lead.

Brief route descriptions of each trail are also included.

Check it out

 Map: America's Best Long Trails

Most of us outdoor-lovers can remember the thrill of poring over a map for the first time. The sense of anticipation and adventure is incredibly exciting.

This map from Backpacker.com renews that excitement in style, offering a downloadable and print-friendly resource of all of the USA’s long-distance trekking routes.

Stick it on your wall and start dreaming! Or, if you have an abundance of vacation time, start a tick-list.

Check it out

Southbounders

For those more inspired by movies than maps and apps, the very moving and funny Southbounders could well be your source of inspiration for one of America’s classic trails.

This film follows the fortunes of a young woman on her epic trek on the Appalachian Trail.

It features awesome scenery, lessons to be learned and, of course, plenty of inspiration for the everyday hiker who fancies a new challenge.

Check it out

Hiking safety tips

How to Stay Safe on the Trails (Hiking and Backpacking Safety)

Staying safe and healthy in the outdoors can be tricky. It requires know-how and is one of the most valuable skills you need to learn.

A fun day out can easily turn into a nightmare, doing your research and learning the tricks of the trade is vitally important.

The articles below will help you do just that.

Beginner Backpacking Tips: The Ultimate Guide for Your First Trip

Checklists and tips from one of the world’s top manufacturers of outdoor clothing.

This page features an exhaustive overview of everything you need to bear in mind when planning your first big hiking trip and simplifies the packing process with itemized gear selection advice. 

The ideal resource for novice backpackers.

Check it out

Backcountry Mistakes to Avoid

Mistakes in the backcountry can have serious consequences. Avoiding them is far preferable to dealing with them once they’ve happened!

This page features a useful list of common backcountry risks with useful insights into what you can to spare yourself from their (often grisly) consequences.

Check it out

Top Hiker Mistakes to Avoid

A truly brilliant and comprehensive list of the most common mistakes hikers make and advice on how they can be avoided.

It features a great deal of common sense reminders (wear sunscreen, for example) and also a selection of useful tips for less obvious and trickier situations such as down-climbing and gear maintenance.

Check it out

Building A Hiker's First Aid Kit

A handy checklist for those who choose to build their own first aid kit from scratch.

This list is comprehensive and includes a number of items many of are liable to forget or which aren’t included in standardized, pre-prepared hiking first aid kits.

As a bonus, the list also includes uses for each of the items featured.

Check it out

Hiking First Aid

This no-nonsense resource offers another list of hiking first aid kit items and further tips on what to do in emergency situations.

Ideal for cross-checking the list above from Washington Trails Association.

Check it out

Snake Safety

Copping a snakebite in the wild is a hiker’s worst nightmare. This factsheet offers vital advice regarding both avoidance and the steps to take should you happen to be bitten.

Most importantly, given the amount of bad advice out there, there is a useful section detailing exactly what not to do.

I really hope you don’t need it, but just in case…

Check it out

Hiking with Infants, Toddlers, and Kids

When parenthood arrives, many hikers pack up their boots and backpacks in storage, awaiting the day when their kids are old enough to become hikers themselves.

This page from Rei.com offers very practical advice on how to continue your passion for hiking with the kids in tow.

It addresses safety fears and offers a wealth of information that will help you to allow your kids to reap the benefits of nature from the get-go.

Check it out

Trail Safety for Women Hikers

A very thorough analysis and explanation of all aspects of hiking safety that’s as applicable to female hikers, as it is to male hikers.

It covers pre-trip planning, navigation, self-defence, health tips, wildlife encounters and gear advice.

For female hikers, there is a very useful section on dealing with the threat of human predators while out in the wild.

Check it out

Survival Guide: 10 Essential Skills for the Blue Ridge Backcountry

This page covers the most important skills each of us need to master before heading out into the backcountry. From map reading and navigation to bear safety and river crossings.

Each item is explained in layman’s terms with easy steps that will ensure you stay safe and make the most of your time in the wild.

Check it out

How Not to Get Lost While Hiking, And What to Do if it Happens

Getting lost in the outdoors is something we’re all likely to do at least a few times in our hiking and backpacking careers.

This page offers expert tips into both prevention and reestablishing your whereabouts when you run into navigation difficulties.

For novices and old-hats alike, there’s something to be learned.

Check it out

Finding the best hiking trails

How to Find the Best Hiking Trails

Our planet is blessed with millions of miles of hiking and backpacking trails.

How to find the best ones and those best suited to your fitness levels and aspirations?

Fear not, dear reader! Whatever your ambition, the entries included in the list below will have you covered for at least a few lifetimes…

Just don’t blame me when you quit your job and take to the trails on a permanent basis!

AllTrails

A great website for learning about trails in your area or locating trails you’ve heard of elsewhere.

Just type in the trail name or your region and, hey presto, a map will appear dotted with potential routes.

Click on one of the routes on the left hand side and you’ll also find a detailed description, route reviews and a user-generated difficulty rating. An invaluable resource!

Check it out

Trails.com

A fantastic resource for US-based hikers.

All you need to do is click on the map to select your location and then wait for the trails to appear.

You can also filter your search by technical difficulty, rating, length and accessibility, or zoom in to select an ever smaller map segment.

The site also includes an extensive list of trails in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Check it out

HikesPeak

Another vast resource of trails that allows you to search by location, peak or trail name, length and elevation.

It features useful route descriptions, reviews, pictures galore and detailed access instructions for each trail and peak.

Check it out

Trail Finder

This web page lets you select your activity type - hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing - and then delivers a comprehensive list of suitable trails in New Hampshire and Vermont.

If you happen to be in or headed to that part of the world, you’ll struggle to find a more thorough list or more detailed trail descriptions.

Check it out

Hiking Project

An extensive collection of trail descriptions and suggestions with very detailed reviews, maps and photos.

There’s even an offline app to help you navigate once you’ve chosen from the thousands of featured trails.

To cross-check the info provided in the trail descriptions, the user forum is a great place to get second opinions from the horse’s (or hiker’s) mouth.

Check it out

Map My Hike

This one has it all - worldwide route description, elevation charts, distances, time estimations, user reviews and photos to boot.

It allows you to plan, analyze and share your route with friends or other users - to date, there are over 20 million of them!

You can also send maps to your phone to use while on the go or print them out for a more old-school hard copy of the route you’re keen on.

Check it out

ParkFinder

A great page (and app) for those keen on exploring the US’ vast array of national parks, forests and wilderness areas.

Each location contains information on the available activities, so you can filter your search either by location of activity type.

There are 20 different categories of activity and thousands of trails, so you’re all but sure to find something that takes your fancy!

Your searches also return campsite info, trail descriptions, a list of scenic spots and an image gallery.

Check it out

Build strength for hiking

How to Get in Shape for Hiking

Like any sport, hiking requires keeping yourself in shape and maintaining decent fitness levels.

Building up your strength, stamina and key muscle groups will help you get the most out of your hiking and enjoy your time on the trails.

Unlike most other sports, we hikers tend to be a bit lax when it comes to training between trips. Consequently, the amount of information on suitable training exercises for hiking is a touch on the lean side.

Luckily, I’ve done the hard work for you, scouring the net to find the best sources and advice out there.

Exercises for Getting Fit for Hiking

Many claim that the only way to get fit for hiking is by hiking alone. While it may be hard to replicate the movements involved, it’s certainly not impossible to boost flexibility, stamina and strength a in key muscle groups.

This article provides eight very simple but very effective exercises that will help you stay trail-ready during layoffs or downtime from hiking.

By establishing a routine, you’ll be ensuring you’re muscles aren’t quite so shocked by their return to action when you eventually head back to the hills.

Check it out

How to Enjoy Hiking More Through Conditioning

A few subtle and minor changes to your approach can make a big difference to the enjoyment you take out of your time spent hiking.

This article offers six very useful tips and things to bear in mind that can increase bodily awareness and efficiency. Each one proposes a negligible ‘tweak’ of habit that can have a huge impact on your performance on the trails.

Check it out

Fitness Tips for the 50+ Explorer

The fitness tips that apply to your average 18 year old aren’t necessarily the same as those for silver hikers.

This page homes in on the specific exercises and habits that help you extend your hiking career and get the most out of your body past the big five-oh.

Check it out

Get Fit For Hiking In Just 10 Minutes A Day

Really?

As unlikely as it may sound, this page offers seven simple exercises and pre-trip tricks that can boost your fitness and muscle strength for future hiking adventures - and they really work!

Check it out

7 Ways To Get A Better Strength Workout During Your Hike

A collection of very useful, actionable tips for those who hike as much for the physical benefit as for other intrinsic rewards.

While other items in our list focus on conserving and utilizing your energy resources carefully, this article delves into ways to turn your hike into a full-body workout and toning session.

Check it out

What gear do I need for hiking and backpacking?

What Gear Do You Need For Hiking

If ever there was a category of hiking and backpacking advice that suffers from an excess of information, it’s that of gear selection.

The entries below I’ve weeded out the chaff to leave you a selection of very reliable, informative sources to assist you in making your gear choices.

Getting your gear right is a big deal and can make the difference between a happy hike and a miserable one.

The following articles will each guide you smoothly toward the ‘happy’ side of things!

Backpacks & Bags

Storing all of our pricey kit safely, adequately and conveniently should be very high on each of your ‘must-do’ lists when choosing your hiking gear.

Not only do your packs take care of your backcountry gear, they also contribute to your comfort levels while out on the trail.

There are thousands of good packs out there - the following resources will help you make sure you get your hands on a great one.

Tactical Backpacks

Our definitive list of the best tactical backpacks out there. 

This page also includes key advice that will help you choose the best backpack for your needs and a very detailed explanation of the tactical backpack’s makeup.

Whatever type of adventure you’re planning, the subsequent review will feature a pack that’s likely to become your go-to kit for backcountry excursions.

Check it out

Carry-On Backpacks

Want a backpack that can do it all, including pass muster at the check-in desk?

This article looks at the key components of a carry-on backpack before delving into a review of the best options on the market.

It includes loads of info and tips for those who like to mix up a bit of hiking when on their travels or who simply want the most convenient means of carrying their gear on vacation.

Check it out

Sleeping Gear

Spending the night in the wild is certainly one of the highlights of hiking - if you have the right gear.

From soaked sleeping bags and leaky tents to burst mattresses and underperforming stoves. The potential gear mishaps that can ruin a good trip are endless.

The following list of resources will help you choose your gear wisely and avoid the pitfalls of poor gear choices.

Tents

A useful simplification of camping tent specs and features that identifies what to look for when buying your tent.

This article also offers a review of 2018’s top tents for backpackers - from ultralight solo tents to bomb-proof, all-weather wonders.

Check it out

Hammocks

A very extensive and detailed review of the best camping hammocks out there. 

This article also provides a wealth of tips for would-be hammock campers and a list of reasons why you should consider hammock camping instead of standard tent camping.

‘Hanging out’ (instead of ‘laying low’), it seems, it’s fast becoming the way to go!

Check it out

Sleeping Bags

Our detailed review of what to look for in a 3-season sleeping bag followed by our selection of the best bags currently on the market.

This article delves into the nitty-gritty of sleeping bag specs and demystifies some of the more confusing lingo used elsewhere.

Check it out

Sleeping Pads

A review of the best sleeping pads out there whatever your body shape, weight restrictions or adventure type may be.

This article runs through the various ins and outs of sleeping pad features to let you align your budget and needs with the best pad your money can buy.

Check it out

Stoves

A selection of different stove types that all have one very desirable feature - they’re the best you’re likely to come across no matter how much digging you do!

This page also offers a plethora of information that will help you simplify the search for your ideal backcountry cooking companion.

Check it out

Gadgets & Extras

The world of hiking and backpacking isn’t quite what it used to be.

While the days of maps flapping up in your face in foul winds and counting steps are not over, technological advances have changed many aspects of hiking and backpacking for the better.

Some hardcore old-schoolers will still insist on keeping things technology-free. But there’s certainly no harm (and definitely a ton of benefit) in making use of the best resources and kit at our disposal.

GPS

Whether you’re carrying it as a backup for your map or navigating solely by its compass or interactive maps.

There’s no questioning the utility of good GPS device. But just how good a device do you need? And what distinguishes ‘good’ from ‘not-so-good’?

This article clears up any confusion and reviews the best GPS devices out there waiting to guide you on your next adventure.

Check it out

Headlamps

A reliable headlamp is the essence for backpackers, campers and hikers alike.

Whether you’re setting up camp in the dark or returning late from a long day on the trail, your headlamp can be the difference between a lot of stumbling and fumbling around and a painless, drama-free outing.

The below article features insights into the often confusing world of headlamp lingo, a breakdown of features and specs, and a review of our top picks for 2018.

Check it out

Watches

Once upon a time, a good watch was one that kept the time accurately and added a touch of bling to your standard getup.

These days, they can help you navigate, pinpoint your place on a map, offer weather warnings, your current elevation, heart rate, and do just about everything else besides climb your mountain for you!

The variety of watches out there is huge. In this article, we take a look at how you should go about choosing the best one for you and offer our pick of the best hiking watches for any budget.

Check it out

Camping Knives

The number of uses a camping knife can be put is endless - whittling, trimming firewood, bushwhacking and food prep are just a few.

In this article, we review the best camping knives out there and take a look at the most important factors to bear in mind when buying your camping knife.

Check it out

Hiking Clothing

The 21st century has seen an explosion in the number of outdoor clothing brands. Adequate apparel can make a big difference to our time spent hiking and backpacking.

With so many fabrics and styles and other variations out there, navigating the gauntlet of specs and features can all become a little bit overwhelming.

To keep things simple, check out the links below for non-salesy guidance that’s free of all the confusing jargon.

Your brain will thank you for it!

Base Layers

Hiking base layers have come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Gone are the days of foul-smelling, itchy and questionably breathable outdoor undergarments.

In their place, we now have a wide choice of high-performing styles and material types to support our outer layers and help keep things fresh.

This article highlights the best of these styles and materials and offers a review of current top performers.

Check it out

Rain Jackets

When the elements are out to do their worst, having a high-performing rain jacket means you can continue to do your best.

In this article, I explain why all rain jackets are not created equally and offer a comprehensive analysis of a rain jacket’s features. This analysis is then followed by a review of my top picks for the year ahead.

Each one offers something a little bit special and caters to different budgets and different types of hikers - from good-weather wanderers to all-weather warriors.

Check it out

Bottoms/Pants

The world of hiking pants is one replete with far more nuance and variety than you’d ever expect. The differences between one pair of pants and another can be night and day.

In this article, we give you the lowdown on these variations to help you make an informed decision on what’s best for you and then present our top 5 picks for 2018.

Check it out

Shorts

If full length pants lack the freedom you prefer when hiking in summer months or stickier climates, the above article’s got your back.

It lists a range of shorts with surprisingly varied specs and features to help keep your pins cool when the thermometer’s at its peak.

Check it out

Footwear

Boots

Hiking boots are one of if not the most important item of any backpacker or hiker’s kit.

Get this bit of gear selection wrong, and you’re in for either a lot of pain or a lot of expense!

This article analyzes in detail the particulars of hiking boots and offers an expert opinion on the best boots currently available.

Check it out

Vegan Boots

For the conscientious hiker, finding eco and animal-friendly products can be something of a challenge.

In this article, we look at the best fully vegan boot options out there to save you hours of scouring the market and reading the fine print of product descriptions.

Check it out

Men Shoes

Hiking shoes are a very comfortable and lightweight alternative to standard, full-length hiking boots.

This article helps you decide what type of hiking shoe will be best for you and offers a selection of the best shoes currently on the market.

Check it out

Women Shoes

An in-depth review of the best lightweight and high-performing trail shoes for women out there.

This article also looks at the factors to consider when choosing your hiking shoes to help you narrow down your search.

Check it out

Sandals

When hiking in hot climates, the last thing you need is a pair of large, heavy, sweaty hiking boots holding you back. Hiking sandals solve the problem.

These ultralight, hiking-adapted wonders will keep your feet comfortable without compromising on underfoot grip. The below article lists the best 8 sandals out there.

Check it out

Waterproof Socks

You may not have heard of them yet, but waterproof hiking socks are fast becoming the only way to go.

So much so that I’m pretty sure they’ll be included as a ‘must have’ item on every hiker’s kit list sometime soon.

In this article, I take you through the ins and outs of waterproof hiking socks and offer my top choices for 2018.

Check it out

Gaiters

They may not look overly cool, but gaiters are a must-have for any hiking enthusiast.

Whether you’re out hiking above the snowline, wading through thick brush, this accessory can keep unwanted snow, twigs, stones, ticks - where they should be kept…outside your boots!

The above article features a review of the best gaiters on the market and a more detailed scoop on their features, specs and potential flaws.

Check it out

Hiking Hydration & Nutrition

What to Eat on a Hike

Keeping the engine running with suitable fuel while hiking and backpacking is second in importance only to breathing. In other words, it’s highly recommended!

But ensuring you are adequately hydrated and energized out on the trail isn’t as simple as slaking your thirst and devouring snacks at every opportunity.

The basics of sound backcountry cuisine and beverage choices, you’ll find, are far more nuanced and elaborate than most would ever suspect.

Taking note of and acting on these nuances can allow you to get the most of your body and avoid premature burnout, dehydration and a number of other unwanted hiking party-poopers.

How to fuel your body for adventure

A simple, in-a-nutshell overview of the three main food groups (carbohydrate, fats, proteins) and why each is important in maintaining energy levels on your hike.

This article also offers tips on the best foods you can carry to get nutrients on board and which you should avoid.

Check it out

Hiking Nutrition: What You Need To Know

This article breaks down hiking foods into those suitable for day trips, overnight trips, backpacking trips and even has a little section on foraging.

Links on the page offer more detailed tips on freeze dried food, backpacking food, nutrition, trail snacks and antioxidants for hikers.

Check it out

35 Delicious Camping Recipes For Your Next Adventure

As a demographic, hiker’s aren’t terribly well known for their culinary expertise.

This list of trail treats, however, will have you feeling like a Michelin star chef.

How does a cake and berry campfire skillet sound? Or campfire beer pancakes? Good?

Well, read on - there are plenty more yummy suggestions on the list.

Check it out

Hiking Guy's Food Guide

Nutrition tips, cooking tips, packing tips and a generally thorough resource for nutrition on the trail.

This page also features set menu plans and a wealth of additional ideas to spice up your backcountry fodder.

Check it out

Best Backpacking Food - simple and nutritious

This page takes a very comprehensive look at what foot types you should be carrying, how to carry them and in what quantities.

It also offers menu suggestions for every major food category to ensure you’re getting your fill of key nutrients.

For caffeine addicts, there’s even a little section on how to beat the no-caffeine grumpiness without lugging you coffee machine and a generator along with you on the trail!

Check it out

Backpacker Eat Better Guide

An incredibly informative page on backcountry nutrition that delves into ‘needs’ and ‘fixes’, ways to balance you diet on the trail, and even features a Q&A with a knowledgeable food expert.

Oh, and there are plenty of ideas and recipes for trail meals and snacks, too!

Check it out

Trail Foody Subscription

Are you not a great fan of all this backcountry cooking business? No problem!

A Trail Foody subscription will land a very tasty and nutritious food package on your doorstep every month, saving you the hassle.

Subscribers can customize their plans to suit their needs and are assured of a nice selection of light, healthy meals and snacks to keep them going until the next bundle arrives.

Check it out

Technique, Timing and Avoiding Tiredness

Techniques and Skills Needed for Hiking

Most of us are guilty of being a bit overzealous when we get out on the trails. Wild places are to the modern adult what the playground was to the child of yesterday.

As soon as we’re there, the thrill of release from obligations and sight of our ‘happy place’ makes many of us charge ahead like our energy reserves are endless and time is in short supply.

Taking a break once in a while can not only make our hike far more enjoyable but also play a vital role in ensuring we can last the duration of our outing.

How You Should Take a Break While You Hike

Important advice on pacing yourself and how to make the most of rest stops out on the trail.

This page emphasizes not only the health aspects of taking thing easy but also the boost to enjoyment levels resultant of a short, well-used breather.

Check it out

Hiking Techniques

A collection of detailed and very informative suggestions for building up and maintaining rhythm during your hike.

This often overlooked facet of hiking technique can make a big difference to your days on the trails and The Hiking Dude offers a wealth of practical tips on how it’s done.

Check it out

Hiking Speed, Rhythm, Rest and Rest Interval

Another handy resource for learning about how to pace yourself, how long and when to stop, and what to do during your downtime while out hiking.

While many of these ideas may seem self-evident, we all know someone who could benefit from their wisdom. Surprisingly insightful.

Check it out

5 Tips on How to Not Get Tired When Hiking

Most of us are no strangers to the scourge of fatigue while out hiking.

At the outset, we’re full of beans and raring to go. Then, somewhere along the trail, we suddenly hit a brick wall and our energy reserves desert us.

This page offers 5 very practical and easy tips to help you avoid the above scenario and help you stay energized from start to finish.

Check it out

Hiking Techniques for Optimizing Your Performance

Many are apt to think that hiking is exempt from considerations of technique. You just put one foot in front of the other, right?

In this very thorough article, The Hiking Life leave us in no doubt that technique is as important in hiking as in any other sport. It contains a list of very enlightening advisories on optimizing your performance and staying power.

Check it out

Best Hiking Apps

Must-Have Apps for for Adventurous Travelers

Doing a spot of tweeting or updating your Instagram pics while out in the wild might not appeal to everyone. That said, having your smartphone along with you on a hiking trip now makes more sense than ever before.

A large variety of apps are available to help you in all kinds of ways - navigation, trip planning, safety, inspiration and peer-to-peer sharing of trip reports and pictures.

There are a lot of sketchy apps out there, granted, but the selection included below represents the most useful and reliable of the bunch.

Even if you’re not a great admirer of the digital age, each of these will come in mightily handy for both pre-trip planning and while you’re out getting your hike on.

ViewRanger

A very complete (read exhaustive) resource for trip ideas that features topo maps, and trail guides. Including an integrated navigation system and inspiring user-rated trail reports.

This app has won a host of awards and received top ratings from publications as diverse as The Sunday Times and The Great Outdoors magazine.

Wherever you are, tap the app and in seconds you’ll have a wealth of potential hikes to explore.

Check it out

Gaia GPS for Outdoor Navigation

Topo and Satellite GPS maps with user-interaction and detailed trip analysis.

This app works like a standard GPS device but allows users to share route descriptions and photographs, making navigation in the backcountry fun, safe and an absolute cinch.

Gaia GPS includes regularly updated featured trips to give you a little bit of inspiration, too!

Check it out

PeakFinder

A crazily good and fun little app for the mountain buffs among you.

Ever stared at a glorious skyline and wondered about the names of the mountains it’s composed of?

Well, you can wonder no more! By just pointing your camera at the scenery in front of you, PeakFinder can identify all of the mountains in a 360-degree panorama.

Good for navigation, great for fun!

Check it out

First Aid by Red Cross

If you are unsure what to do in the event of a backcountry medical emergency, this useful app could be a lifesaver.

It offers simple, easy advice on 18 common first aid scenarios and also tips on how to prepare for emergencies.

This app features a series of handy videos, interactive quizzes and, best of all, can be used entirely offline.

Check it out

Topo Maps+

Downloadable and detailed topo maps that pinpoint your location just like a GPS.

Sound good? It’s actually great. Topo Maps+ can be used offline and boasts trail data for over 500,000 trails. You can also customize routes and check your elevation at any time.

While I’d always recommend carrying a map and compass for backup, this easy-to-use app makes navigation quick and easy. Just remember to bring your charger and power pack!

Check it out

goTenna

goTenna devices pair with smartphones and, through intelligent mobile ad hoc networking protocols, enable users to send texts and share locations on a peer-to-peer basis.

That means there’s no need for centralized communications infrastructure (i.e. networks) of any kind. It’s kinda like having old-school walkie-talkies, but with reams of modern technology packet in to boot.

The bottom line? This is an awesomely practical navigation and safety device than could be a lifesaver should you happen to be caught with no phone or internet signal.

Check it out

Spyglass

Don’t want to carry a separate, bulky GPS device? No problem! Spyglass is an advanced compass and GPS navigation app that works with all iPhone, iPad, iOS and Android devices.

It boasts a wealth of features that make navigation absolute childsplay, including a hi-tech viewfinder (HUD), milspec compass, gyrocompass, maps, tactical GPS, waypoint tracker, speedometer, altimeter, a sniper’s rangefinder, coordinate converter, sextant, inclinometer, angular calculator and zoom camera.

If you get lost with this in your pack, you probably don’t deserve finding!

Check it out

Geocaching

If you want to spice your hikes up a little by turning them into a virtual treasure hunt, geocaching is the way to go.

This app allows you to hunt down geocache targets both offline and online and share pictures and videos of your hunt with friends.

It’s family-friendly, fun and home to the world’s largest geocaching community.

Check it out

Conclusion 

Given the right resources and tips, I believe anyone can elevate their hiking and backpacking experiences and take a lot more out of any given trip.

One of the most commonly cited pleasures of hiking and backpacking is their utter simplicity.

While I don’t disagree, I’m aware that in order to enjoy this simplicity in the fullest we must first do a little bit of groundwork and research.

I hope my list will help each of you in this respect and lead to many a happy day in the hills, mountains and backcountry in the future.

So…What Do You Think?

Now I want to hear from you.

What do you think of this list?

Or maybe I missed a high-quality resource.

Either way, leave a comment below right now to let me know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.