Lifestyle

This Is The Paramount Outdoor Navigation App For Hikers And Backpackers

Created by outdoor enthusiasts, onX made their mark with onX Hunt, an app for hunters and fishers that illustrates exactly where the boundaries are for public and private lands, across all fifty states, using map layering technology. Next, onX Offroad lets you filter trails by level of difficulty, so you know where to go with your off-road vehicles, motorbikes, and toys, facilitating explorations in remote and rugged places. Newest to the collection of onX navigation tools, onX Backcountry is a rising star in the lineup.

It may seem like an oxymoron to tout a piece of technology for use in the backcountry, where being on a digital device is a bit of a faux pas, but utilizing a premier navigation tool actually helps you focus more on being in the moment while hiking in the outdoors. With the ability to research public and private lands beforehand and see guidebook-like content and data (including trail descriptions, elevation profiles, and photographs), applicable to your specific journey, you can map out your route before even setting foot in the wilderness.

And, once you have some dirt under your boots, you can use the offline maps to not only save your phone’s battery, but also, to know exactly where you are at all times. The tools are there for you if you should find a fork in the road or loose the trail, otherwise, you can secure your phone in a pocket or your backpack and be present for the adventure.

onX Backcountry is like a hiking companion, or well-informed guide, aiding your human-powered explorations and keeping you safe along the way. This is all good news for the directionally challenged or for those who have difficulty piloting by compass or sunlight.

And, while there are plenty of great navigation apps out on the market—AllTrails, Gaia GPS, Guthook Guides, Hiking Project—what sets onX apart is the amalgamation of advantageous expert user-generated content, GPS capabilities and point-to-point navigation. The information you get here has been well vetted and curated by outdoor pros and informed by industry collaborations with content contributors like the Colorado Mountain Club and Beacon Guide Books.

Intuitive and easy to use, this app directly immerses the user into trails and data tagged by location, season, and activity (toggle between Trail Mode or Snow Mode). Distinctive features include access to weather forecasts, precise private and public land intelligence, innovative 3D landscape maps (as well as satellite imagery, topographic maps, or a hybrid of the two), and waypoints that can be set by the user to mark and share indelible places with custom colors, icons, and photos.

Every backcountry hiker or camper needs to be aware of wildfire season, complicated by droughts, wind, and exceptionally high temperatures. Being safe in the outdoors should be a priority and trekking near fires, or through areas with poor air quality, is a dangerous risk. The new Wildfire Layer will prove to be a helpful tool.

Do you need to find a campsite on state land? Are you bushwhacking through the countryside? How certain are you that the acreage you’re exploring is within the public land boundary? Figure out what your needs are and plan accordingly—the app comes in two packages: Free, with limited features, and Premium, a membership that starts at $29.00 per year.

New Happenings

Because the good folks at onX play outdoors, they also want to protect the outdoors. A portion of the company’s profits are dedicated each year to non-profit initiatives that invest in public land access and recreation opportunities across the country. This month, the program is expected to expand and applications for funding will go through a submission process.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the popularity of outdoor recreation over the past year,” says Molly Stoecklein, Senior Communications Manager at onX. “But at the same time, access to public lands is threatened by the pace of land development. Outdoor recreation opportunities are being fragmented, scaled down, and lost. Encouraging stewardship of and improving access to the land and resources that we do have is our top priority at onX, and the goal of this program.”

The ethos at onX absorbs the belief that everyone should have access to nature and the outdoors. To that end, they work with land management agencies, policy makers, land trusts, and non-profit conservation organizations. In the last few years, onX helped open 58,400 acres of land for public access in addition to 28 miles of trails.

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