With Corona the urge to move around arose in many people who were previously couch potatoes. This is hardly surprising. Since leisure activities were restricted as part of the containment strategy, one had to resort to classic hobbies. At the latest when the library of Netflix Amazon Prime and Co. was thrown through, many jumped off the couch. Since fitness studios also had to close, only outdoor activities are considered. In addition to cycling and jogging, hiking has also become increasingly popular. After all, you don’t need a lot for this. Good shoes and two healthy legs are enough. In the best case, you also take a compass and a current map with you. You should at least do this if you are moving in unknown or unpopulated terrain. Is that too time-consuming for you? Then just grab your smartphone . You can now find a number of different apps in the Google Play Store that make hiking easier for you. In the following we would like to take a closer look at the practical hiking apps.
Tour portals vs. stand-alone apps
If you start looking for hiking apps, you will quickly find that there are two different types of applications. On the one hand, there are apps from established tour portals such as Komoot and Bergfex. Here you are not necessarily only dependent on your smartphone. Those who prefer a good overview for route planning can plan their routes conveniently on the computer. The alternative are standalone apps. These independent navigation apps usually score with their uncomplicated operation. On the other hand, they can often only score with limited community functions. We will now shed light on the advantages of one or the other group.
A look at the statistics quickly shows that Komoot is one of the most popular apps in the field of outdoor sports. The hiking app has now been installed over 5 million times. That is hardly surprising. After all, this is a real egg-laying woolly milk pig when it comes to outdoor sports. This starts with the planning of a tour. Here you set the start and finish point and let the app plan a suitable route for you. You can see details about difficulty, altitude, distance and other parameters. The gigantic pool of tours available is a source that, even in the long run, is unlikely to dry up anytime soon. Finally, every community member can advertise their own routes.
You can use Komoot in different ways. However, if you want to hike regularly, the one-time investment of 29 euros for the world map package makes perfect sense. But the purchase of the premium subscription should also prove to be lucrative for many. This is especially true if you want to hike in lightly populated areas or international climes. After all, you benefit from the possibility of downloading maps in advance and using them offline. So you are self-sufficient from mobile network coverage and do not have to worry about high roaming charges. For the premium subscription you pay 5 euros a month. All in all, Komoot is not a cheap app, but you also get a huge package here. The app shines with what is probably the largest community of all providers and the associated features. A large tour database, great overview and easy operation round off the positive overall picture.
Especially in Austria Bergfex is an extremely popular app among hikers. Unlike Komoot, the application does not focus on several sports at the same time. The focus here is clearly on hiking tours through mountainous terrain. Thus, especially ambitious hikers and those who want to become one will get their money’s worth. Not all hiking is the same here. Instead, Bergfex offers you sub-categories such as alpine tours, climbing tours and exotic disciplines such as snowshoe tours. You can currently find almost 70,000 routes here. A comparison with the other hiking portals makes it clear that Bergfex offers the largest selection of maps. Many hikers will be happy about the map even in the basic version. This will quickly become familiar to users of Google Maps. After all, Bergfex’s design is clearly based on that of the navigation expert. Anyone traveling in Austria will receive detailed maps. Here, the developers sometimes even use satellite photos. You benefit from a great overview.
But not only the clear map is appealing. Bergfex can also convince in the discipline of tour planning. This is easy to do and is also free of charge. Compared to Komoot, Bergfex scores above all with its fair price model. So here you get an extensive hiking app in the free version, which should at least be sufficient for occasional hikes. After all, certain maps can also be used offline here. In addition, you benefit from the extensive tour portal, a navigation system and safety features such as an avalanche report. If that’s not enough for you, you can use the Pro version. This costs only 6.99 euros a year and scores with a number of attractive additional functions. You can get more detailed maps and an extensive network of trails here. This is ideal even for professional hikers. Above all, all those who like to be out and about in the mountain regions of Austria should be completely satisfied with this.
The third tour portal in our list is called Outdooractive . With almost 500,000 downloads, the provider is enjoying growing popularity. Unlike Komoot, this hiking app doesn’t focus on the community. Instead, you can view tours here that are advertised by real professionals. For example, lots of travel agencies and tourism associations are active at Outdooractive. So you can be sure that this is not about running the gauntlet, but real hiking trails. When it comes to tour planning, Outdooractive also scores points within the app. You do not necessarily have to access your computer.
However, we also have to complain a bit. In its free version, the provider only offers basic OSM maps. You have to do without practical path markings. If you want to secure topographic maps or even expert maps, you cannot avoid one of the pro versions. Outdooractive offers either a Pro version (2.50 euros a month) and a Pro + version (5 euros a month). Of course, the two Pro versions come without advertising and, thanks to the download function, also enable the use of offline maps. The possibility of choosing a summer and winter menu is particularly practical. In this way, the provider accommodates all types of hikers.