It works with an app: With a smartphone and the right program, the next hike can be planned and navigated along the way. Stiftung Warentest has tried five popular apps.
Yes, it still exists: the good old hiking map. A faithful companion with kinks and cleavages, but not comfortable to use. One option are hiking apps for smartphones, which outdoor fans must navigate purposefully. But how well does it work? And what should you pay attention to?
Stiftung Warentest took a look at the five hiking apps that users downloaded the most from the Google Play Store: Alltrails, Bergfex, Komoot,Outdooractive and Wikiloc. iOS and Android full versions tested.
Offers range from card packages for four euros to the premium version for 60 euros per year. All providers also offer free versions which provide fewer functions. For example, navigation is sometimes not possible.
This is how apps work
Tours can be planned through the provider’s website or the respective app. A larger computer screen provides a better overview, though testers found the route planning through the Komoot app better. The Services may be used to discover other users’ routes or to create routes themselves, for example to avoid over-traded paths. Filters help in finding the right tours, for example in terms of increased difficulty.
Also interesting: Hiking in the Harz Mountains – 5 Beautiful Tours
Result: Two providers assure
Among other things, testers put their hiking boots on themselves to test the app: in the Lüneburg Heath, the Berchtesgaden Alps and the Harz Mountains. He also checked navigation on demanding sections and in the presence of obstacles such as road closures.
komuto And OutdoorActive best navigated hikers and received a “good” grade according to the results of the magazine “Test” (issue 10/2021). Both were apps showing arrows for precise route guidance. Testers also liked the voice prompts. So the cell phone can stay in the pocket during travel.
According to Stiftung Warentest, the Alltrails and Bergfex providers are more suitable for experienced hikers, as arrows and remaining distance and running time are missing. In Wikilock, experts lacked orientation details on standard maps.
At one point, every app tested failed – on a road block in the Harz Mountains. Testers directed all services to a section of the Harzer Hexenstieg that had been closed for months. All that was left was to return.
Also interesting: The 12 Most Beautiful River Hiking Trails in Germany
Tips for using on the go
Experts recommend downloading the maps before the tour and then using them offline. It goes with the full versions and is advised in large parts of Germany. If you use voice navigation, turn down the display brightness and close other apps, you also save battery. If in doubt, take a power bank with you.
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