Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Staying Connected Outdoors

There are days when you just want to shut the phone off and not have to deal with it until the morning. There are other times when technology guides you through your day. Lately I have been testing out a few applications available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Here are five reviews of the coolest FREE apps for your reading (and tinkering) pleasure:

What Knot To Do
This might be my favorite free app because it is the most applicable to my life. Put out by Columbia Sportswear Company, this is an extensive guide to knot tying. Included are 70 different knots presented in six categories: Bends, Bindings/Lashings, Hitches, Loop Knots, Special Knots, and Stopper Knots. Features include step-by-step illustrations of knot tying, a terminology glossary, and a favorites list to which you can save the most useful knots. Columbia claims this to be the first of a series of apps, so keep checking back!

Very cool. Skullcandy's free app is not only aesthetically supreme, but is a gold mine of information and entertainment. Skaters can find local skateparks, surfers can check out tide conditions before they roll out of their potato chip infested futon, while snow-sports enthusiasts can see snow reports for all their favorite mountains. Need some tunes while you shred the gnar? Skullcandy provides some worthy beats to jam out to, along with a TV/video channel for those cold, lonely rides on the chairlift.

Coleman Camp Recipes
This is a great free app from Coleman that doubles as a cookbook and a meal planner. It's a good idea to check this app before you pack for a camping trip, as well as during, to compile grocery lists and check recipes. This app has your fancy-camping recipes, along with the basics (ants-on-a-log, scrambled eggs, s'mores.) Search recipes by cook method, ingredients, or meal. Check out the tips section for some campfire-cooking pointers.

AllTrails is an excellent free app for locating great nearby hikes. Search trails, view photos, read and write reviews, and get real stats including difficulty, distance, and elevation gain. You can look at topographic maps, as well as download trails to track later when you're deep in the woods and out of service. You can even connect through Facebook.

iBird Explorer Lite
This application is an extensive resource for birdwatchers. It allows you to identify bird species in any way imaginable from patterns to behavior. This app features multiple photographs and drawings of each bird that are zoom capable. You can play bird calls and songs, and view full color range maps. The only disappointment is that the free version only features 30 bird species. If you are interested in a longer list of species, you can download the plus or pro versions, or download region-specific species lists for $4.99. A great app regardless


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