Great gadgets and mobile apps to keep you on-track while hiking

Great gadgets and mobile apps to keep you on-track while hiking

July 8th, 2013

camelbakBy Phil Hornshaw

Hiking is all about getting back to nature, but nature can sometimes be hard to handle. For instance — not getting lost or  sick when you drink from streams you find along the way. Fortunately, there are gadgets that are good for those things. There are tons of gadgets available today that make hiking a little less inconvenient, without changing the fact that you’re roughing it a bit in nature.

Many gadgets can help keep you safe, get you through an emergency, or just help keep you hydrated and moving. Here are a few of the best gadgets for your next hike, no matter where you are.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Having enough water with you on a hike is crucial to safety, especially with this sweltering summer of 2013. Among the handier items for helping keep hydrated are Camelbak water-dispensing backpacks, which allow you to carry lots of water without the strain or irritation of smaller bottles.

Camelbak also makes its Water Filter Bottle, which can help you refill from the wilderness without worrying about contracting some horrible disease or bacteria.

Hit up Amazon for Camelbak backpacks as well as water bottles and filters, and try retailers such as Walmart, where you can get 2.5 percent Cash Back, for some alternative prices. You can find other water alternatives at outlets such as REI (3 percent Cash Back) and Gander Mountain (5 percent) as well.

Apps for going the distance

Your smartphone is one of the best tools you can keep with you on a hike. It can serve as your camera, your flashlight, and your map, as well as lots of other things.

You’ll want to grab AllTrails – Hiking & Biking, which can help you find the nearest hiking trails just about anywhere, and MapMyHike, an app for keeping track of where you’ve been, so you can see how far you’ve gone (and how to get back). If you’d rather hit up some American treasures for outdoorsy fun, National Parks by National Geographic is a must.

There are even more great hiking apps in the Apple iTunes App Store, Google Play Store and Amazon Appstore, and though the ones mentioned above are free, you might run across some paid apps as well. The best bet for saving money on apps is to grab gift cards from retailers such as Walmart or Target (with 2 percent Cash Back) and take advantage of discounts on the stores, while saving money from other retailers.

If you’ve got a smartphone, it can fit a lot of gadget roles, as well, including serving as a flashlight and a handy map. While apps are a big part of getting the most out of your phone, you won’t want to forget portable battery rechargers. Check the above retailers, as well as Best Buy (2 percent) and RadioShack (3 percent), for the best prices on batteries re-chargers that can keep your smartphone alive.

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