If you are an outdoor travel lover who enjoys hitting the trails with your furry friend by your side, having the right tools at your fingertips can significantly improve your experience. Good news – living in the age of technology, we have a wide assortment of free hiking apps at our fingertips.
From interactive maps and trail guides to real-time weather updates and pet-friendly amenities, these apps can help you plan and navigate your next adventure, meeting your pet’s needs along the way.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, here is a list of the best free hiking apps that cater to pet-friendly outdoor travel, allowing you to enjoy safe and memorable trips for yourself and your best furry friend.
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What Do Apps for Hiking Do?
While we usually think about hiking as an activity we engage in to unplug and get away from technology, there are options to incorporate modern solutions to some of the challenges we may face.
- Locating new trails in your area
- Providing clear and up-to-date trail maps
- Checking trail rules (Are pets allowed? Can they go off-leash?)
- Viewing recent reviews and photos from other travellers
- Receiving weather updates, including storm warnings
- Check on the current trail conditions
- Networking with other outdoor travellers either virtually or through planned meetups
- Track your trail activity
Using any of the free hiking apps on this list, you can plan out your next trip, find exciting new places to explore, and ensure that the trails you’re visiting are the best fit for you and your pack. What more could a pet-friendly traveller ask for?
6 Best Free Hiking Apps (According to Our Pack)
Of course, like anything, we all have our own opinions. Ask any adventurer, and they will have their own list of hiking apps they love and use regularly.
That’s the best part about articles like this – it doesn’t matter how many different people you ask. There is always the chance to discover something new. It may even be an app that makes your “must-have” list!
With that in mind, here are the best free hiking apps based on our experience:
If you’ve been following The Kas Pack on social or receive our email newsletter, you already know that we are huge fans of the AllTrials app.
We have previously shared a full review of AllTrails+, which is the paid version of the app. But don’t overlook all that it has to offer if you’re searching specifically for a free trial app.
With the basic AllTrails plan, you can still enjoy the following features:
- Access information about over 400,000 curated trails, including directions, reviews, and online trail maps
- Filter trails for specific features, like whether they are pet-friendly
- Add new trails to the app for other hikers to explore
- Track your trips, including recording the path you take as well as adding your photos and reviews
Whenever we visit a new location, the AllTrails app is the first thing we reach for. It’s also a great way to find a small trail along the route of a big road trip to let everyone stretch their legs a little.
One of the essential features that you want to consider as a hiker is access to quality and up-to-date trail maps.
Not only does this make your trip a little easier, but it’s a critical safety consideration.
There have been far too many news stories of hikers and their pets that get lost out in the woods, requiring search teams and emergency personnel. Unfortunately, not all these stories have a happy ending.
The best GPS app for hiking that we have found is Gaia GPS.
This is similar to AllTrails in that you can find new locations to explore from their database of trails. Still, their advanced overlays and intelligent routine tools make the app stand out from the other options available.
You can use the free version if you are hiking in an area with cell service.
However, you would need to upgrade to access offline maps when heading out in more remote locations. The good news? The premium version will cost you less than $5/month!
Speaking of safety, we firmly believe that no one should go out to explore without the Cairn app. Why? This is the ultimate hiking safety app!
Whether heading out with a pet on a solo hike or exploring with your best friend, you should always inform someone where you’re going and when you can be expected to return.
The Cairn app makes this easy by providing the option of real-time location tracking and alerts you can share with friends and family.
It also uses crowdsourced information to help you find cell coverage when you’re on the trails.
We have already shared a few of the best apps for tracking hikes, in our opinion, but Komoot offers one key feature that may speak to your needs.
Rather than requiring you to follow a map on screen, this app provides you with voice navigation.
Pair your phone with your favourite Bluetooth headphones and head out on the trail hands-free. Just remember to keep the volume low enough or only wear one earbud to stay aware of your surroundings.
This app is designed more for mountain biking, but it can still be used by hikers effectively.
You have likely used Google Maps before when planning a road trip or searching for directions to a local business – but you may have overlooked its potential to help you on your hiking adventures.
While the app is noticeably more basic than the other options, there is still a lot here that you can use.
Google Maps will allow you to view trail photos, see reviews from other hikers, plan routes, save map points, and even access 360-degree tours of some of the more popular hiking destinations.
Why did it make our list? We consider it to be the best free hiking app with offline maps.
As long as you download your maps before heading out, when you still have a solid internet connection, you can continue navigating anywhere you go without paying for a pro or premium upgrade.
American Red Cross Pet First Aid
Unlike the apps before this, the American Red Cross Pet First Aid app isn’t exactly a “hiking app,” but it is one that we recommend all pet-friendly hikers download.
We recently discussed the importance of having a Pet First Aid Kit for outdoor adventures. But the first aid kit is only the first step in ensuring you are prepared in an emergency.
This first aid app includes:
- Step-by-step first aid instructions for several common emergencies
- Video and images to support instruction
- Animal hospital locator
- Pet Profiles where you can store tag identification numbers, photos, and current medications
While we hope you never have to use the information in this app, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Final Thoughts – Best Free Hiking Apps for Pet-Friendly Adventures
With technology taking such an essential role in every aspect of our lives, it should come as no surprise that there are great ways to leverage these developments for our travels.
The above apps will help you prioritize safety, find exciting new locations, and plan the best adventures for you and your pet.
Of course, the above list only scratches the surface of all the options available.
We encourage you to download some apps, experiment, and discover which you enjoy most, both for the features they offer and the functionality of using the app in a real-world environment.
Do you have a “must-have” hiking app on your list that we didn’t mention? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!