Heading outdoors? Bring your phone


Apps make it easy to get more out of your adventures

Headed for the great outdoors to escape it all? Take the phone.

Really. You don’t have to answer it if someone calls or check your work e-mail. Think of your iPhone as a tool to help you enjoy the great outdoors. There are apps for that. A lot of them. And some work even when you’re out of cell phone range.


Trailguru makes it easy to share and download digital routes for outdoor trips. Users submit their routes, and Trailguru combines them and generates a composite trail. The application shows you the route by piggybacking off Google Maps and Google Earth. It also keeps track of how long you’ve been going, how far and at what speed.


The rubiTrack application is an exercise journal where you can sort all kinds of workouts, such as running, biking, walking, hiking and skiing. Using rubiTrack, you can compare your past workouts on metrics such as elevation, length and distance. And the activity comparison lets you contrast different activities side-by-side.


This application literally turns your iPhone screen into a brake light. You secure your iPhone to your bag or back, and the application uses an accelerometer to detect when you brake, flashing a red light.


CycleMeter functions as an allin-one way to keep track of cycling workouts. Its simple interface is a readout of speed, time, distance and elevation. You can also see a calendar with all your workouts and graphically compare your workouts using different metrics.


The Livestrong.com Calorie Tracker is for those who want to know if the weekend hike canceled out the weekend beers. The application has nutritional information on more than 525,000 foods, and you can calculate personalized calorie burns on 2,000 fitness items.

Calorie Tracker allows you to keep tabs on weight, and it creates a diary of your caloric, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, sugar, fiber and protein intake.

(c) 2010, The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.).