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  1. #1
    Registered User Lewis Clark's Avatar
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    Default What, if any, trail apps do you recommend?

    One of the things I learned as a new hiker is how easy it is to get turned around. Not lost, but certainly confused. I am going to make a concerted effort to improve my map reading and compass usage skills. I was also wondering what folks thought about trail apps such as Alltrails and Guthook? Are there others that are good to use? I was fortunate that I met a group on the trail who could tell me that I was going in the right direction. I got confused when I stopped seeing white blazes and only saw orange ones. A couple white ones must have faded over time.

  2. #2

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    Both Alltrails and Guthook are great. Remember to download at home, and switch to AirPlane mode if there is weak or no signal on your trek. Suggest paper maps on trails that are less traveled. Suggest some skills on how to backtrack when you have to answer natures calls. So you can turn around and get back to the trail and know which way to head. If you have an REI near you, they do Orienteering Skills classes. There might be an Orienteering club near you and they would be happy to help you with map and compass skills. Boy Scout troops also for map and compass.
    You might have recently seen the news stories about a younger man, lost in the Caney Creek wilderness area of west central Arkansas. There was several factors that probably contributed to the events. He stayed calm and did lots of things to get found, or not make it worse. However the area he was in (I've trekked the same trails) is a "wilderness" area, with trails. That designation means NO BLAZES. No paint, no reflectors on trees. Just volunteers using hand tools to keep the trail open. And there are two Cairn's in there. One showing "turn here" on the Buckeye and one at the Buckeye/Caney Creek Trail intersection. ZERO cell signal. SO, have your app, a battery backup, but also have the paper map of the area and know how to use it. Think about that for any wilderness trek. Shoot, I've encountered people on trails in city parks, thinking they are lost!
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
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  3. #3
    Registered User tarditi's Avatar
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    I ponied up for the paid version of AllTrails so it allows downloading maps for offline use (in the event of bad reception) - great to jump from laptop or tablet planning and reviewing to phone for tracking and documenting during a hike.

    I have also had great luck with Back Country Navigator Pro, but it can get confusing with so many map download options and variations.

  4. #4
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I have used Guthook on the AT. It shows current position and distance to water, shelters, campsites, towns, etc. I used it every morning while hiking to ensure I didn't turn the wrong way when I leave a shelter/campsite (yes, I have done that a few times). The app also has much good information about towns and services in the towns. The hiker comments are also very helpful. I use it only in airplane mode to conserve the battery on my phone. If you download the maps and images while at home, there is no reason to have a cell or data connection.
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  5. #5
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    I loved using Guthook when I hiked the JMT a few years ago.
    However, for the JMT, it was a one-time purchase (about $10 to cover the full 210 miles of the trail).
    Not sure how it's sold for the AT today, but the last time I saw it, you paid for the AT in sections (with a discount to purchase the full 2000+ miles of the AT).

  6. #6

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    Guthooks has the market cornered for ontrail app use. After using it for 80% of the AT, it just doesnt let me down. You wil have people forwarning to still have paper backups but when it really comes down to it, people hike the entire trail every year with no navigational items at all.. For that reason I only take guthooks and if for whatever reason if my phone fails me, so what, keep walking - get water when you see it and move on.

    Short answer: Dont get any better than guthooks
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
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    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
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  7. #7
    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Cool Only one choice for me

    Gotta be Guthooks. I also print out paper topo maps created from Delorme software, so I'm okay under almost any circumstances. Guthooks can tell me where I am, whether I'm heading in the right direction, and how far to the next water or shelter. Paper and blazes will allow me to not have my smart-phone running all the time.

  8. #8
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    If Alltrails is the one I tried once upon a time (paid version), they take free amateur stuff from the unwashed public, package it, and sell it for their profit. Garbage in, garbage out without quality control. Not worth paying for. They didn't.

    Guthook's is their own work, they stand behind it, and of course they sell it. It's good qualty almost all the time and well worth paying for.

    Just my opinion.
    Last edited by Rain Man; 06-21-2019 at 09:38.
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  9. #9
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    I use www.caltopo.com to create.my maps. You can create routes by tracing trails, or just make your own route. Then I print out a .pdf file. This .pdf is geo referenced, so an app like Gaia or Avenza can import it and sync it to your location. When you pull up the app and view the pdf it will show you where you are on the map.

    I can't say enough good things about caltopo. YouTube a few videos to see how to use it. It's a game changer.

    I use Avenza and it lets me import one map at a time for free. I just set it up with the map i'm using for the weekend after deleting the previous hikes map.

    I also print two paper copies of the pdf. One goes with me, the other i mark up with "park here" or "camp here", and have arrows showing my direction and path. This copy stays with my wife at home.

  10. #10
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    I made the app Big Hike. Its free, has a website, and includes several other long trails including the BMT (we were the first app for that trail). People have left some comments in the app but we need more! Still, it has all the info youd need to thru. A paper backup is recommended.

    See link in my signature, also http://www.bighike.net/ and https://m.facebook.com/bighike/

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
    If Alltrails is the one I tried once upon a time, they take free amateur stuff from the unwashed public, package it, and sell it for their profit. Garbage in, garbage out without quality control. Not worth paying for. They didn't.

    Guthook's is their own work, they stand behind it, and of course they sell it. It's good qualty almost all the time and well worth paying for.

    Just my opinion.
    AllTrails has improved, but you really need the paid version and the app. It's not nearly as seamless and user friendly as Guthook, but it's useful for letting you know where you are, and it's covered a whole lot of the minor trails in my location. The free version is nearly useless other than finding the trailhead, and advance planning.

  12. #12
    Registered User Lewis Clark's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks everyone for your input! I have a ton to consider, and options are always good.

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