Statistically speaking, chances are that if you're reading this you have a smartphone. If you're reading this, have a smartphone, and are planning on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, then chances are that said smartphone will be accompanying you on your journey of a lifetime.
Naturally, you want to to be able to maximize the utility of this device (because you know it's capable of more than calling, texting, and storing pornography). Thanks to the hard work of some very dedicated people in the world, the Pacific Crest Trail has its own host of apps to download and install on your device for the long trail ahead.
And yes, as much you would like to think they're “leaving everything behind” we both know you will be bringing the digital world into the wilderness (it's alright, I won't tell anyone). To maximize your PCT journey, immediately download the following apps.
In addition to creating the Pacific Crest Trail paper maps that hikers carry, Halfmile has also created both PDF and app versions of his maps for hikers to use on the PCT – and it's all FREE!
Seriously, there's no reason not to have this app (there aren't even ads). For more on Halfmile's PCT, check out my detailed review.
Check out Halfmile's website for more information.
Atlas Guides (aka Guthook Guides)
Guthook Guides takes navigation to the next level. It provides detailed information on the PCT, and is updated regularly. It includes (literally) thousands of points of interest including water sources, campsites, views, and places to visit. Many data points also include photos and comments from other users. Lastly, you can check out elevation profiles for each section of the trail. For more on the Guthook app, check out my detailed review.
For more information, check out Atlas Guides.
PeakFinder AR won't help you with navigation, but it will help you identify every peak you pass (thus freeing you from conversations/arguments beginning, “I think that's…”). You just hold up your phone in front of you to find out the names and elevations of all the mountains around you. It works offline and is awesome, just pay the $5 and download it.
For more information, check out the PeakFinder website.
And honestly, that's it in terms of apps you should definitely have. Remember that your phone's GPS will work – even without reception. So just keep your phone in airplane mode and enjoy your newly extended battery life.
Have a favorite app or two that you never take to the trail without? Leave a comment and let us know what else do download before heading out into the wild.