When it’s time to hit the road (or the trail) one of the first resources we turn to is our trusty phone to help us navigate to our intended destination. This isn’t your Dad’s trip to Florida. We don’t need to dig out those outdated paper maps from the glove compartment and determine which route will get us there in record time. Are we there yet?
With the advances in technology we are able to plan ahead, avoid delays and maybe hit that roadside attraction we’ve always heard of. The GPS feature of your phone will come in very handy for a successful and enjoyable journey. Overlanded is here to help you find the best Overlanding apps to guide you on your way.
Here are our choices for the apps you’ll need for directions and the latest trail conditions, camping spots and even plant identification. What a time to be an Overlander.
This is the “go-to” app for most Overlanders, ourselves included. If you are going anywhere off-road this is a must-have Overlanding app.
Gaia GPS has the most comprehensive and detailed maps of any app so far. It also includes the entire line of National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps so you’ll navigate the trails with no worries. Additionally, if you subscribe to their Premium Membership, they also include specialty maps for hunters, skiers and our favorite, Overlanding.
They have various levels of memberships from free to 36 dollars per year. It’s honestly one of the best investments and quite a small investment at that for all you get. Even the free version has some pretty cool features like recording your activities and planning your routes.
iOverlander was created by Overlanders so you know it will be useful and include what you need as you travel the backcountry. Basically, you tell it what you need and iOverlander will help you find the best route and the one with the specific facilities you’ll need.
It is especially useful for finding a spot to camp for the night whether it’s an established campground or simply a nice place to call it a day. Do you need water? Propane? Gas? Diesel? They’ve got you covered with icons that show you where to find these needs.
The user contributions are what make it really stand out. Whether you want photos, reviews or ratings, the input from Overlanders who have already gone before you is invaluable. Be sure to pay it forward though with input from your experience with the places you’ve been. Adding to the iOverlander “community” guarantees its future existence and its price… FREE!
Overland Bound One
Providing maps of trails, resources, trip planning tools and the support of the Overlanding community, Overland Bound One is an essential app for adventure. It features comprehensive maps of off-road trails, points of interest and must-see locations.
With the Overland Bound One app you get a complete arsenal of navigation tools to mark trails, use offline maps (including layers) and best of all, import GPX files from the adventures of previous Overlanders.
OnX Ofrroad is great for finding trails for Overlanding as well as other off-road vehicles (SxS, 4×4, ATV, dirt bike, and snowmobiles). Each trail has open and closed dates, difficulty ratings and photos so you will be well-prepared on what to expect before choosing your route. They have over 500,000 recreation points in their database and are able to be accessed at any time.
Like some of the other apps, OnX Offroad has maps available offline that you can download to your phone or tablet. If you have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, the app can sync up with your on-board system and see the trails on your dash display.
OnX Offroad has 3 different pricing plans with memberships starting at free and going up to $99 per year. The only difference between the Premium ($29.99) and the Elite ($99.99) plan is the ability to see property boundaries, the landowner’s name and how many acres the property consists of. To us, this information isn’t necessary for most Overlanders so the Premium plan is more than sufficient.
The Recreation.gov app is the official reservation system for National Parks in the United States. Just enter the dates you plan to travel and then book your campsite. It gives real-time site availability as well as park information. You can also compare campsites, find location details and then click the individual locations to learn more about them. You can also buy tickets for special events at the park or make reservations for activities like ranger-led tours and exploring natural wonders.
Another cool feature is it stores your previous visits in the app to enable you to look back on where you’ve visited in the past and make your way back to your favorite spots (or avoid the duds).
Need to reserve a campsite? No problem. Scan the QR code, reserve and pay for it right from your phone. No waiting in line, no carrying cash, no writing a check and stuffing it in the fee tube. Conveniently you can even do this if you don’t have cell phone reception. The app will process your transaction when you get back into a coverage area.
The Dyrt Pro
This Overlanding app helps you find free camping, check the cell service situation and stay connected even offline. Explore the BLM and USFS public use maps to locate free dispersed camping, find the best camping spot along your intended route and get campground discounts all while using the app.
The Dyrt PRO is $35.99 per year but with discounts on over 1,000 campgrounds across the US, it can easily pay for itself after a few excursions. The Dyrt app bills itself as the #1 camping app in the US boasting over 1 million campsites, reviews and tips submitted by campers for campers.
A collaboration of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, iNaturalist is an app that lets you take a photo of anything you find in nature, share it with other Naturalists and then discuss what you’ve found.
Findings are shared with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. This helps Scientists gain open access to data about all types of life on Earth.
With iNaturalist, you can learn about nature, keep track of your encounters to keep “life lists” of the animals, insects, trees you’ve seen and become a “Citizen Scientist” to help with scientific missions that interest you.
We’re sure we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to apps that would be useful for Overlanders. Please let us know in the comments if we have missed one of your favorites.