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Explore the Great Outdoors with Your Smartphone

Many of us like to hit the great outdoors to take a break from our jobs, the hustle and bustle of city life, and the tether of technology.

But getting away from it all doesn’t mean you have to trade in your smartphone for a walking stick. There are plenty of ways to integrate technology to enhance your nature time while remaining (mostly) unplugged.

Your smartphone can be a handy outdoors helper. No doubt you have a preferred weather app (use it!) and know how to use the flashlight. Here are some other things that might come in handy.

Don’t get lost

It’s hard to take the trail less travelled when you don’t know where it is. AllTrails is an app that gives you access to a database of more than 50,000 trail maps, navigation aids and the ability to save your favorite trails. The app allows you to see trail distances, photos and share your experience with others.

Avoid getting a rash

Not quite sure if the shrubs around your tent are poison ivy? Then check out the app Leafsnap. It’s is a digital field guide that can identify plant species based off an image you submit. Learn more about the flora around your campsite, and prevent an itchy situation.

Gaze at the stars

Depending on where you live, it’s difficult to see stars if you’re too close to the lights of the city. So get away from the lights and use the Star Walk app. It displays the stars and planets, labels the constellations and gives a brief history lesson on the mythology behind the star patterns. So the next time you’re sitting under the starry sky, you’ll have all of the answers to its mysteries right at your fingertips.

Be prepared

The world can be an unpredictable place when you’re outdoors, and the last thing you want to do is get caught unprepared. You should check your preferred weather app, but sometimes bad weather can sneak up. With the Disaster Readiness app, you can keep a disaster survival guide on your phone and be prepared for any emergency. The app includes information on how to prevent emergencies, as well as how to handle them. From forest fires to thunderstorms, it’s got you (figuratively) covered.

Find your bearings

If you are ever in the middle of the woods, compass nowhere to be found, your phone is there for you. You can access your compass without being on a network. If you’re a planner, you could download offline maps before leaving civilization.

Keep it charged and protected

We all know that panicked feeling that occurs when the low battery notification fills the phone screen. How will I call someone if there’s an emergency? What if we get lost? My snap streak is going to end! While you’re out recharging in the sun, your phone can be, too. The WAKAWAKA Power+ Solar Charger can power most devices using a lithium battery that’s fed by a solar panel.

Your phone is a helpful buddy to have along when you’re camping or hiking, but remember to take care of it, too. Like a human companion, rain, heat, sun and cold can be too much. Keep your phone in top shape with the LifeProof Fre Power External Battery Case. Made of water- and impact-resistant material, the case also has a built-in battery that will extend the phone’s charge.