It is important to have a good offline navigational map when you go on the road, especially off-roading. There will be many times when you will have no access to the internet. However, it is important to have an offline navigation app even for on-road travel, hiking, and bicycling, as there may be times when you will lose access to the internet.
The best off-road navigation apps include Polaris, ViewRanger, and Komoot. Other great options include Fat Map and AllTrails. These apps are available on Android and iOS. Regardless of which app you get, make sure it has great reviews and provides offline access.
This article will go over the best offline navigation apps for both Android and iOS devices. I will mostly talk about apps designed for off-roading and hiking in particular – these apps will have data such as campsites and off-road trails that other popular apps might not show. These apps are available on Android and iOS devices, though the names may differ slightly from one app store to another.
Gaia GPS: Hiking, Offroad Maps is a great app to use if you will be off-roading in your truck/van or hiking. It has more than half a million downloads on the Google Play store, and as of this writing, has an average star rating of 4.6.
There are so many cool features in this app. You can use the Discover feature to find popular hikes near you, along with reviews, and download a map covering the hike. There is an entire database of trails for you to search through. You can also create offline routes to follow, incorporating both on-road and off-road travel.
Gaia GPS is also great for hunting. You can build custom hunting maps. It is also great for camping. It includes all kinds of data you will need to know for camping, including information about whether an area is public or private land and what the weather will be like. The Public Land overlay will show you various camping areas. Also, a lot of information is sourced from the community, so you will get updated, real-time information based on what other users say.
You can even use Gaia GPS for skiing. Using the snowfall and precipitation forecast overlays, you can create custom skiing maps to help you find the best places to ski in nature.
However, you will have to be a premium member to download maps and access the catalog of topo, road, and satellite maps from around the world. Otherwise, you will be limited to the default map and won’t be able to download anything.
ViewRanger: Trail Maps for Hiking, Biking, and Skiing comes with topographic maps and offline tools. It is a Google Play Editor’s Choice app, which means you can be sure that it is good.
Although there are downloadable maps available for the entire world, there are special outdoor maps for 23 countries, including the USA, Canada, New Zealand, and France. These outdoor maps are perfect for those who are hiking, skiing, and off-roading. You can view terrain maps, satellite images, and street maps.
The Skyline feature is especially useful when you are hiking. It helps you identify more than nine million peaks and lakes near you. It does not have coverage in Alaska, though you can use all of Alaska’s other great ViewRanger features.
There are also 180,000 trails you can search through when hiking through national parks and forests, as well as state parks. The Appalachian trail is there in its entirety as well.
The app also integrates with OS WEAR. If you have a smartwatch that supports OS Wear, you will be able to view your tracks and trails right on your watch without needing to take your phone out of your pocket. You will also be able to see useful data on your smartwatch, such as latitude, longitude, and altitude. In addition to working with all smartwatches that support Google OS Wear, you can also use ViewRanger with the Casio PRO TREK smartwatch.
The app currently has over five million downloads on the Google Play Store, which is around ten times more than Gaia GPS. It has a 4.3-star rating as of the time of this writing.
Komoot also has more than five million downloads, but it has a slightly better rating (as of this writing): 4.6 stars. It is also a Google Play Editor’s Choice. The editors picked it as an Editor’s Choice for several reasons, such as the ability to create your trails with added details like elevation and surface type.
Whether you are looking for an asphalt path for your road bike or motorcycle or mountain paths and trails for your dirt bike or mountain bike, you can create an entire route with Komoot. One of the best features of the Komoot app is that it offers voice navigation. You will not have to take your eyes off the road – you can keep going on your bike or driving and simply follow the voice command directions given to you.
You can download all types of maps: street roads, shortcuts, hiking trails, singletracks, and more. A cool feature of Komoot is the Highlights. The Highlights include all kinds of interesting and useful places you might want to visit:
- National parks
- State parks
- Points of interest
- Even sandwich shops where you can get something to eat
All of these Highlights show up as red dots on the map. The community of users adds many of these places, so they are often updated in real-time. A user might add a sandwich shop or point of interest, for example, that other map apps do not have. You can even add your recommendations if you want to help others find special places.
Another cool feature that you will love is the ability to log your adventures. You can add photos that you took along the way, add notes for when you go back to the place, and add Highlights. You can even share the data you entered with the community – but only if you want to. Otherwise, you can keep it private as a way to store your memories.
Komoot also syncs across many devices. If you buy a new phone, you can get all your planned trails and routes back. You can even plan routes on your desktop and then use them on your phone once you get on the road.
If you have a Garmin device, you can download the Komoot app on the Garmin device and then sync your accounts to share routes you planned on your phone.
If you have an Apple Watch, you can use Komoot on it as well.
FATMAP: Hike, Bike, Ski Trails – 3D Outdoor Maps is a great app if you want offline 3D maps. The 3D maps come with all sorts of useful information, such as footpaths, peaks, and more.
There are various topo layers available, and you will also get useful information such as real-time snow conditions, including snow depth and future snow forecasts. You will even see which ski lifts and runs are open or closed. Not all ski resorts support this feature, but many do, making it a great skiing app.
Avenza Maps is a great app for your offline map needs, whether you will be hiking or driving off-road. Not only do they have maps from National Geographic, the Bureau of Land Management, and national parks, but you can also import your custom maps, which you have created for your unique routes. Whether you want to go backpacking in the woods or fishing, you can use Avenza Maps. It is free to use, though some maps are premium.
Avenza is also great for cycling. Even when you are offline, you can locate your real-time GPS location, whether you are in the city or a forest. You can add your custom highlights to maps and choose various icons to make the highlights easier to recognize.
Polaris GPS Navigation
Polaris GPS Navigation: Hiking, Marine, Off Road is a great app for navigating offline. You can see trails, find waypoints, and even use the built-in compass to figure out where you are. With all of the features it offers, it is a great backup for any handheld satellite GPS device you might be using while hiking or driving off-road in your vehicle.
Polaris GPS Navigation is also a great app for boating and sailing. The marine navigation charts in Polaris are entirely free. Marine navigation charts are not present in many, if not most, apps, so this is a great app to download if you go fishing and boating. The Fishing GPS app will help you find your favorite fishing spot, and you can also use the hunting maps if you enjoy hunting.
You can download the marine, hiking, and topo maps for offline use. Downloading maps is free; you won’t have to pay extra for this. There is no limit on how many maps you can download for free. Neither is there a limit on how many types of maps you can download for free.
Polaris GPS has some other cool features too. For example, you can use the odometer, altimeter, speedometer, and chronometer. You can see altitude profiles and share your location with others. You can do many things with Polaris GPS, which is why it is one of the best options if you are looking for a hiking or boating map app for your outdoor adventures.
AllTrails has over five million downloads on the Google Play Store. It’s great for people who are riding their bikes and want to find the best paved and unpaved trails to bike on. It is also great for people who are walking their dogs and are looking for dog-friendly trails.
There are over 100,000 trails and mountain bike routes that you can use. Other users of AllTrails give these trails ratings and reviews, which will help you get a sense of how good they are. In the reviews, you might see whether the trail has beautiful scenery, is difficult, or is safe.
A cool AllTrails feature is the ability to see your hiking, running, and cycling stats. You can also share your latest activities with friends on Facebook and Instagram. Of course, the ability to download maps for offline use is also very useful. Although All Trails is free to use, you can sign up for the Pro plan to use the maps without viewing any ads.
National Park Trail Guide
National Park Trail Guide, by Adventure Projects, is also an Editor’s Choice on Google Play. It is a great app to have if you are focusing your adventures on national parks. Some of the national parks that the app supports are Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky, and many other famous parks.
The user community of the app rates trails and hikes. Just use the Best Of list to find the best-rated trails in any given national park. You do not need internet access to use this app. You can use it offline.
You can plan a great route using the built-in difficulty ratings, based on your level of off-roading experience. You can also see insights about seasons, camping, and where to eat. There is even a handpicked list of Family Friendly Hikes. This list is perfect if you plan on hiking with your kids.
Google Maps? Yes – while it may come as a surprise to you, you can use Google Maps offline and for off-road purposes. It is not the best offline map app, but it is useful to have. However, you can only use Google Maps offline if you first download a map of the area. For example, if you live in New York City, you will have to download the New York City area to use Google Maps offline.
To do that, simply type the name of the place into Google Maps and look for the Download option. You can zoom in and out to download a larger or smaller area.
Keep in mind that you can only use Google Maps offline in certain countries. Also, it only provides driving directions when used offline. There is no updated traffic information, and it also will not give you walking directions when used offline. However, as I mentioned above, it is useful to know that you can use it offline since it comes preinstalled on most Android phones anyway.
Maps.Me is one of the best offline apps. Like with Google Maps, you will have to download a map to use offline before using the application offline. However, you can download entire regions at once, so you can go on a cross-country trip without having to worry about downloading new maps all the time.
Unlike Google Maps, Maps.me does give you walking directions offline. It also gives you biking directions. The fact that you can get walking directions offline means that you can stop your van anywhere and take a walk around, using Maps.me to help you navigate.
Although Google Maps is getting better at including trails, steps, and shortcuts that cut through forests, it is still not as good as Maps.me in this regard. Maps.me is still better for on-road travel, but it is also pretty good for trails and shortcuts.
Maps.me also includes little icons on the map, which show you awesome hiking trails and interesting city attractions you might want to see.
HERE WeGo is a great offline map app for offline navigation. There is live traffic information, which will help when you are driving. It is a great app to have if you need to do a mix of on-road and off-road driving on the same day.
Of course, all of the updated information, such as live traffic information, are not available offline. However, the maps themselves are available offline. You can download the map to your device, and you will be able to navigate without any internet connection.
Places in more than 100 countries around the world are available in the app. These 100 countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and various other countries. Wherever you are in the world, you can use Here We Go to help you navigate.
For a good in-depth video that covers some of the best off-road navigation apps, click this Youtube link:
There are so many other apps out there that are good as well. However, the apps in this list have many downloads and good reviews, making them some of the best for your off-road map needs. If you decide to use another app, check the average review ratings before you download it. Also, make sure that you can download apps for free. Some apps might have “Offline” in the title but require you to pay to download apps.