Technology can enhance your outdoor experience, here are a few websites and apps we recommend exploring.

Knot Tying

Animated Knots is a free website that allows you to search knots by activity and type. This valuable reference shows how to tie each knot with a concise sequence of photographs. It’s also available for purchase as an app that remains viewable even when you lose cell service.

Bird Identification

Merlin Bird ID is a free app that prompts you to answer five questions or upload a photo, and it provides a list of birds that best match. You can further narrow down the options by viewing additional photos, listening to sounds, and reading the identification tips.

BirdNet is a free app that identifies birds by sound. Frequently we may hear a bird sing, but never gain sight of it due to the dense tree canopy. This Android App records and shows a visualization of the bird’s song, simply select a portion of the recording to analyze, and this app presents the name and image of the bird.

Plant and Tree Identification

Plant Snap offers a free app that can point you in the right direction when you are trying to identify trees, plants, flowers, and mushrooms. I recommend using this in conjunction with other trusted field guides to confirm the identity.

Star Gazing

SkyView is a free app that reveals stars, constellations, planets, and other celestial bodies in the night sky through augmented reality. Discover coordinates and learn facts about planets, comets and asteroids. Bonus, this works even from within the walls of your home- you can tour the sky from the comfort of your couch on a chilly night!


Smart Geology Mineral Guide is a free Android app that provides a mineral chart with images, and assists you with basic detection of a rock or mineral you have in hand.

Rockd is a free app that helps you to learn about the geologic record and the stories of the rocks around you. Explore and document your geologic surroundings.

Trail Navigation

Alltrails offers a free website and a free app for iPhone and Android users to find trails, view maps, and even record your stats in areas where you can maintain a cell signal. If you plan to venture to more remote locations it may be worth paying for AllTrails Pro which allows you to download maps to your phone. This enables you to see your exact GPS location on a fully detailed and interactive trail map every step of the way during your hike, even if you lose your cell signal. Of important note, we have found discrepancies between the actual length of the trail and the trail length as listed by ALlTrails on several occasions. Comments by hikers that have completed the trail often will state the actual length, and it is smart to plan plenty of additional time to complete the hike before sunset, in case the trail ends up being a few miles longer than anticipated.

Add a simple easy-to-read compass to your phone with one of these free apps, Gyrocompass for iPhone or Compass Steel 3D for Android.

First Aid

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provides free access to basic medical knowledge with the First Aid app for iPhone or Android. The preloaded content allows you to study the basics before heading out, and offers offline capabilities with simple step-by-step instructions that can serve as a backup during simple in-field first aid scenarios.

The SAS Survival iPhone app is available for purchase. Based on the bestselling book SAS Survival Guide, it offers offline capabilities and contains comprehensive information on first aid and emergency/wilderness medicine.

Note: First Aid apps are not intended to be a substitute for first-hand knowledge of first aid, but they can be a helpful supplement.


Weather Live offers a free app for iPhone or Android with forecast data, incorporating precipitation, pressure, visibility, and interactive weather maps. As the app relies on real-time data, it won’t be available if you lose cell service, but you can consult it prior to an outdoor adventure for information on incoming storms and precipitation.

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Written 10/05/20 by Linda