Backcountry.com included a humorous comparison between the outdoor utility of an iPhone and a stick in their latest newsletter and it’s worth a read if you’re looking for a Friday morning chuckle. The pics are a little cheesy but it’s nice to see someone poking fun at the Jesus phone for once. Oddly enough the article sounded pretty similar in tone to our own article comparing the iPhone to the Garmin Edge 705 GPS.
But seriously though, it’s crazy how many applications are available for the iPhone these days and you might be surprised to know there are a few that might actually be helpful for camping and hiking. Here’s a sampling:
Ok, so obviously we’re a little biased but the Tripleblaze app really is useful. Find nearby campgrounds and trails, read reviews, and view photos. An updated version will include access to the Tripleblaze outdoor photo of the day plus the blog and topo maps. Available for iPhone or Android.
Knot Time ($0.99): Both a learning tool and field guide for tying knots. Tying knots is a time honored camping tradition and this app adds a high tech twist (no pun intended). Rated 3 stars.
Scat and Animal Tracks ($0.99 each): Two different apps for helping you identify scat and animal tracks in the great outdoors. Who needs field guides anymore when your phone knows more than Bear Grylls?
TopoPoint USA ($9.99): TopoPoint gives you access to USGS topographic maps on your iPhone to help you on your next hike. Although we’re not big fans of USGS topos in general (most were hand drawn in the 1960s) this could be a helpful tool – just remember to download the necessary map tiles before you get out of cell range!
Mosquito Device ($0.99): According to the developer, “Mosquito Device uses high pitch sound waves to keep away mosquitos. Almost silent, you won’t notice it working.” I’m pretty sure that last bit is right: you won’t notice it working (and it only received 2 and a half stars to prove it). Believe it or not there are at least two other iPhone apps that promise to do do the same.
GPS Compass ($4.99): This little app does way more than make your iPhone into a compass (though it does do that) – it also lets you use your iPhone as a full blown GPS. There are a number of apps out there that do the same thing but the great thing is you don’t even need a cell signal to get your current location coordinates, altitude, and distance hiked.
Yep, the iPhone could come in pretty handy on your next camping or hiking trip. Now if there were only a good way to re-charge your phone outdoors…