Whether you’re hiking, skiing, camping, or off-roading, the right apps can help you stay on course and enjoy your journey worry-free.
Nowadays, there are GPS and communication apps that provide assistance in even the most remote locations.
And as technology advances, navigation tools like these are beginning to provide a convenient (and more portable) alternative to printable maps.
Before your next adventure, look into these five essential off the grid apps that include route planning, communication, GPS- based emergency response, and more.
1. onX Offroad: GPS 4×4, ATV Maps (iOS & Android)
As the name implies, the onX Offroad app was made specifically for off-roading.
It boasts a massive database of over 600,000 miles of open trails, 985 million acres of US public land, and 24,000 topographic maps encompassing the entirety of the US.
If you’re new to an area and want to plan your route for the day, this off the grid app allows you to download maps in advance, set and share waypoints, measure distances, and check local forecasts.
Hit a dead zone? No problem. The maps you saved before setting out will still have all the trails and points of interest for reference when your service runs out.
You’ll also find features such as:
- User ratings for various trails across the country, which can help you find the best routes for your off-roading adventures.
- 3D satellite maps that show topographic lines, points of interest, and terrain features.
- Trail status updates — showing which trails are open and which are closed.
- Snow mode, providing information on snowmobile trails nationwide.
- Fishing and boat launching areas
- Information on 4,500 backcountry cabins and lookouts
- And more!
2. ReserveAmerica Camping (iOS & Android)
Whether you’re an avid camper or you’re simply looking for the perfect spot to spend the weekend unplugged, the ReserveAmerica Camping app is the way to go.
This “one-stop” off the grid app allows you to search for and reserve everything, including campsites, RV sites, cabins, national parks, and more — all across the US.
You can narrow your search using your location, campground names, features, activities, length of stay, and much more.
And, like any reservation service, ReserveAmerica displays available user reviews to help you pick just the right campground for your escape into nature.
Once you’ve found your favorite, the app will provide driving directions to your destination. Throughout your stay, you can add pictures of your campsite, and after you leave, you can contribute a review to help future campers.
3. Gaia GPS (iOS & Android)
Our third off the grid app is similar to onX Offroad, except it’s geared more towards all types of outdoor adventure, and it features worldwide maps.
Find new trails wherever your travels take you, set custom routes, and take your maps with you with Gaia’s offline functionality.
Set waypoints along the way to avoid backtracking, and use the built-in altitude, elevation, and distance trackers to record each of your treks.
Gaia GPS’s wide array of features also accommodates campers, off-roaders, backcountry skiers, mountain bikers, and outdoor professionals.
4. Slopes: Ski & Snowboard (iOS & Android)
The Slopes app gives skiers and snowboarders the ability to track their runs, add and compare stats with friends, and find their location on the mountain.
It includes a library of resorts across the US and displays detailed maps and current conditions for each location, helping you plan your trip ahead of time.
Throughout your day on the slopes, the app automatically tracks your runs. If you get separated from your friends, its live location sharing feature will show where they are on the mountain.
Along with metrics like run time, speed, distance, and elevation, Slopes also features Apple Watch connectivity. This integration allows you to see health metrics like heart rate, calories burned, and more whenever you like.
5. Rescu (iOS & Android)
The Rescu app provides the fastest way to get help in an emergency anywhere in the US — whether you’re at home or out in nature.
Unlike 911, Rescu doesn’t require you to talk with a dispatcher. All it takes is two taps on your smartphone to dispatch help to your current location:
- One tap to select the service you need — fire, police, or ambulance…
- And one tap on the “Send Alert” button to submit your request to Rescu’s private dispatch center.
This streamlined process saves users the trouble (and time) of explaining who they are, where they are, and what happened. Instead, Rescu immediately contacts and dispatches the closest emergency response team to your location.
But that’s not all.
The app stores your personal information, relevant medical information, and unlimited emergency contacts. When you send an alert, Rescu automatically sends your information to your first response team and notifies all your emergency contacts.
Plus, with its most recent update, Rescu now features Apple Watch integration, allowing users to send for help when their phone is out of reach.
With best-in-class response times and state-of-the-art features, Rescu is the perfect off the grid app for adventurers who want to explore with confidence and peace of mind!