For those of us in the Northern states, April is a probably the most frustrating month of the year. One day the weather can be enticingly warm, wind-free and open to tons of outdoor activities. Then there’s days like the next few in North Dakota with temps dipping back down into the 40’s, rain possibly mixed with the S-word, and 50mph wind gusts.
But eventually (June?) the weather will turn nice and everyone will venture forth into the great outdoors for hiking, boating, fishing, biking, and any number of other activities. And we’re all taking our phones with us.
So it seemed like a great time to take a look at some of the best apps out there for Android that could make the outdoor experience better without being distracting. Below are a few apps in several categories you may want to try as you break from the winter hibernation and enjoy all the fun spring and summer have to offer. Click the Play icon to link to the Play Store.
I figured we may as well start with the obvious one. Not much affects outdoor activities like the weather. Sure, you can load up the boat and go fishing in the rain, but the experience gets at least slightly less fun. Check out these weather apps.
1Weather – My favorite weather app and one of the first apps I installed on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 when I got it. The interface and widget are beautiful and smooth and presents maps, forecasts and current weather in an easy to use format.
Go Weather – I replaced Go Weather with 1Weather a few months ago, but liked the way it worked. One of the biggest advantages is the multiple themes you can add (purchase) to make it look any way you wish.
Yahoo! Weather – Another very modern-looking app that displays all the same data in very usable ways. It was recently updated and is a wonderful widget.
Whether you’re hiking, biking, boating, fishing or just cruising the back roads of America, mapping and GPS apps are becoming incredibly handy.
Maverick – I use this app for a few applications, but mostly to mark my favorite fishing and hunting spots. Catch a fish somewhere new? Add a waypoint, take a photo and add some text to make sure you can find it again. The tracking function is great for monitoring speed, distance and to retrace your steps if you are hiking or biking. After you try the free version you may wish to consider the upgrade to Pro.
BackCountry Navigator – Another GPS app that has map overlays to show location, your track and waypoints. If I didn’t have so many waypoints already stored in Maverick I may switch over to this one. Cost is $9.99 for full version.
Google Maps – As usual, Google has one of the best, easiest to use apps already built into the operating system. It’s very functional, has great information and gets the job done without trying something new.
Sometimes outdoor activities can turn out not quite the way you would like. Injuries occur, adventurers get lost or things just go south. Add these apps to your phone to be at least a little prepared for when you need them, even if you’re offline. Hopefully you will never need these apps for anything but reading material.
American Red Cross First Aid – Accidents can happen and often you may find yourself some distance away from medical facilities. Having a first aid guide at your fingertips may be the difference between a tragic event, or a story you can share down the road.
Emergency Alert – If you, or your loved ones, are the adventurous type you know some situations aren’t necessarily safe. By installing Emergency Alert you can set up events that read incoming SMS messages and display on-screen and audible alerts in the event you receive an urgent cry for help.
Camping Trip Planner – How many times have you wandered out beyond the city limits only to forget something essential? Well don’t let it happen again with this app that provides templated lists that you can change to your own needs.
Sky Map – One of the best things about the summer outdoors is the summer night sky. Being able to sit out at a campfire and look up to see the planets and constellations can be messemerizing even if you DON’T know what you’re looking at. But find some cool things you may have only heard about by checking them out on this app of the night sky.
Lookout Security & Antivirus – Why would a security app be on this list? It’s for that one time you leave your phone on a trail, or drop it by the dock, or it gets stolen when you walk down by the water. Lookout has great features to locate or disable your phone, or give an audible “scream” to make it easier to locate. The antivirus and other security features are an added bonus.
Ulysee Speedometer – I use this app on my motorcycle. Since I wear helmets on the highway it can be hard to see the speedometer without looking down. By mounting a phone holder on my crossbar and firing up this app I now have speed, trip distance, trip time, elevation and other info available at a glance. I would recommend this for other applications like trail bike riding or maybe even kayaking.
Camera Zoom FX – You’re going to want to document all that outdoor fun, so why not use a better camera app than the stock android one? Camera Zoom FX allow you to zoom in easily, stabilize the shot and add effects. Great app.
Smart Tools – Not sure how i forgot this one, as I’ve had it installed for years. Smart Tools has a flashlight, compass, mirror, and other items that could easily assist in an outdoor situation. Thanks to @FaithFamilyTech for suggesting this app.
So there you go! A few apps that can make your trip into the great outdoors a little more pleasant, fun, or even safe.
I would love to hear of some of your favorite outdoor apps, so either leave them in the comments below or send them to me via twitter @bebizzy. Get out and enjoy the summer!
Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencers, I received the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own.