Jerry Rizzo’s Must-Have Apps for the Tech-savvy Hiker

As a digital communications pro, it’s not unusual to be locked in on social streams, websites, and conference calls five days a week. I’ve found that taking the time to disconnect and recharge a bit in the great outdoors has helped spark creativity and gain clarity. While I would like to say I completely ditch the tech at home, I do rely on a few key mobile hiking apps to help me get to where I want to go.

Whether you are just beginning to explore hiking and camping adventures or you are a seasoned expert, these additions to your smartphone will help you navigate your treks a little easier. The best part is that these hiking apps won’t create any extra weight in your pack.

AllTrails -- Need a quick hiking escape for the day? No problem! With the AllTrails app from National Geographic, it’s easy to find nearby trails and their respective maps. What makes this hiking app a true must-have is that it allows users to drill down into over 20 different activities from hiking to snowboarding. Go where you want and do what you want.

Camp Finder -- If you’re considering making your hiatus in the wilderness an overnighter, the Camp Finder app can locate campgrounds for tents and RVs alike. The app provides reviews and testimonials from recent visitors, so you can be sure you are getting the experience for which you’re looking.

Survival Guide -- Any time you consider spending time in the outdoors, it’s important to be prepared. Even those with experience encounter unexpected elements of Mother Nature from time to time. The Survival Guide app by Max Soderstrom is equipped with tutorials on subjects from crafting campfires to identifying poisonous plants. It’s best to get familiar with the most important items in the app before your adventure. It is vital to be prepared no matter the difficulty of the trek.

Accuweather -- A little wet weather should never force you into cancelling your outdoor plans but it should alter the way you gear up for them. If forecasts predict severe weather, it’s best to put plans on hold until all threats have moved through the area. There are a number of weather apps for iOS and Android, but I like to keep the Accuweather app handy, as it provides minute-to-minute updates and a bit more hyper-local detail than the stock apps that typically come with your mobile device.

Project Noah -- While you’re out exploring and unwinding, hopefully you get to spot some interesting pieces of nature. The Project Noah app encourages you to share your sightings with other connected communities. The goal is to help audit and unearth different species of plants and animals in specific regions. You never know if your discovery is groundbreaking, so be sure to share.

This is part of the Verizon Wireless “Must-have Apps” series, which provides insights into the apps that people use every day to embrace the mobile lifestyle.