Apps for the Great Outdoors

This post is part of my partnership with the
US Cellular Blogger Brigade Ambassador Program.

If your child wants a cellphone you need this.




A few weeks ago, we traveled four states in six days.

From the cityscape of Chicago to the back woods of Michigan and the scenic views of the Indian Dunes to the water parks of the Wisconsin Dells, we did it all.

During our trip, we spent many days fishing, boating, swimming and making Smores by the campfire. It was pure bliss.


Great Outdoors with US Cellular


One of the reasons it was so amazing was because I never once worried about being disconnected from my family.

With two kids under 10, it’s nice to know that even when we are experiencing the magic of the outdoors I have the safety and security of my Galaxy S5 powered with U.S. Cellular’s high-quality network and national coverage in big and small cities and rural communities.

Our high-tech devices can serve as a planner, survival guide, trail map and wildlife guidebook, as well as a tool to call for help in a sticky situation.

Most smartphones come equipped with useful tools for the outdoors, such as a compass and flashlight function. Rugged phone cases can protect your device against the elements, and long-life lithium battery can give you hours of power. You can even pick up a military spec 4G LTE Duraforce Smartphone that’s built to last in extreme elements.

U.S. Cellular recommends the following tips and free or low-cost apps:

Safety first: Put the entire Army survival guide on your phone and access it anytime, online or offline, with the Army Survival Guide. This Android and iPhone compatible app offers information about survival planning and kits, shelters, water and food procurement, firecraft and much more.

Army Survival Guide App

Find your way: Recent U.S. Cellular research found that 22 percent of smartphone owners use GPS to get directions. We are one of the 22 percent, we wouldn’t make it out of the driveway without our GPS.

Take advantage of your device’s GPS functionality with Gaia GPS, a free app offering the full functionality of a handheld, backcountry GPS unit. Record tracks and waypoints, take geo-tagged photos and more. Plus, you can search for nearby waypoints and read reports about places.


Gaia GPS App


Be your own guide: Use the AllTrails app to browse through guides for 50,000 trails across North America. The app provides photos, reviews and tracks for outdoor activities – from hiking and mountain biking to fly-fishing and snowshoeing. Track your activities with your phone’s GPS and easily share your adventures with friends.


All Trails App


Spot wildlife: Identify birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, native trees and wildflowers with National Parks Field Guide, an interactive field guide to the wildlife and plants of 100 U.S. National Parks. The guide is also full of useful information about each park such as major sites within it, directions, hours and fees, links, and phone numbers to make reservations or get more information. It’s great for getting the kids involved in the adventure. I can’t count how many times my son’s asked me about the different types of plants or animal tracks.


National Field Parks Guide


Boat safely: If your adventure involves boating, check out the official United States Coast Guard app. This free app provides state boating information, a safety equipment checklist, navigation rules, float plans and more. It also offers tools to check weather reports, report pollution and call for help.


US Coast Guard App


Other tips: While a mobile device is not meant to replace good planning and adequate safety precautions, it may serve as a valuable lifeline. If you are lost or in trouble, in an ideal situation, you can call or send a text message for help. If you don’t have a signal, search and rescue might be able to find you based on your device’s location. Outdoor safety experts recommend bringing your mobile phone and leaving your phone number and service provider with family or friends. Even if you keep your device off, experts recommend powering it up occasionally to drop some digital breadcrumbs that may help search and rescue teams locate you if needed.

Thanks to these tips we can have Better Moments on our outdoor adventures and concentrate on better things like how many Smores we can fit in our mouths at one time.

Disclosure: Through the rest of the year I’ll be sharing some more of My BETTER MOMENTS as a US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade Ambassador. All opinions are my own and an honest view of my story as a US Cellular customer. 

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