Despite the preaching of purists, technology has edged its way into the wilderness. Whether you consider smartphones’ proliferation in the outdoors akin to the spread of an invasive species or not, they’re there — and they’re there to stay. And while Instagrammers crowding once-secluded lookouts and the rise of hikers blaring music on the trail take away from the Thoreauvian experience of wilderness, it’s also true that tech has generated a wide range of useful backcountry tools.
Take Mountain Hub, for example. It’s just one of a slew of mapping apps that provide real-time trail information and harness the power of GPS without needing a separate, dedicated device. Mountain Hub provides everything you’d expect from an app-based map system: detailed topographic maps (some, depending on region, are available even when offline), elevation profiles that display what’s in store for the trail ahead as well as time, distance, and pace statistics.
But the latest version of the app, launched yesterday, goes beyond what you’d expect. Now, Mountain Hub connects you to a network of backcountry professionals and gives you access to the data they collect in the field so you can stay on top of updates about trail conditions and closures — and even avalanche info. Safety is the undeniable benefit of bringing technology into the wilderness, but the platform isn’t without its social media pleasures; it also allows you to share excursion highlights with a series of geotagged photos.