Atlas Guides, better known as Guthook Guides, was started by a couple of thru-hikers who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (USA) together in 2010. Since then this app has grown to encompass a number of well known trails worldwide including a number of trails in Australia (see below). In 2018 I hiked the Bibbulmun Track and had a number of navigation options available to me including maps, GPS, as well as the Guthook Guide App.
As it turned out I ended up using this app almost exclusively on my trip relegating my Garmin InReach Explorer+ to an emergency device and trip logging tool. While I carried the maps as a ‘just in case’ I only looked at them before the start of each section just to familiarise myself with what was to come.
I’m going to come out straight up and say that I loved this app. The Bibbulmun Track is very easy to follow so I used this app more to provide me with distances and as a planning mechanism rather than as a navigation tool. Of the two times that I went off track (due to me not paying attention) I only used the app once just to confirm my suspicions of what I had done rather than dragging my map out.
The app is free to download but to use the functionality you need to purchase trail apps. In doing the Bibbulmun Track I had the option of purchasing the track data by itself but instead I purchased the Australian/New Zealand Bundle. For most of my five week trip my phone stayed in flight mode with the GPS off to conserve battery and would only turn on the GPS when I wanted the distances to show up on the map. The price on this product does change regularly but along with that they just keep on adding trails and at 2 June 2020 costs $67.00 AUD which now includes 14 trails. If you hiking regularly purchase the full pack.
Now like any product there are some minor glitches with this app. In walking through the town of Pemberton, heading north to head out of town, the app wanted me to be on the adjacent street but I persisted in following the trail markers. The other issue that I found was in Collie which is an off track town, the app stopped measuring distances at the turnoff point which was also an issue when I went off track accidentally. Over a trip that was just over 1000-km long these were pretty minor issues. Over my five week trip I came across a number of other hikers using this app who all sang its praises.
One final comment on this or any other app dependent on having a charged phone. Hikers should be able to navigate by some other method just in case your phone does die.
While you should always know how to navigate in case of technology failure this app is well worthwhile if your chosen trail is available. It just takes all the worry out of your time on the trail and it’s also a great planning app
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These Australian trails are currently available on Guthook Guides as at 26 November 2019:
In addition there are a number of US, European and other high profile tracks available to download.
Guthook Guide app showing a section of trail overview. This image identifies key points on the trail
Map view showing change in altitude on the trail as well as the key features. This view will provide an indication of what to expect on the trail as far as elevation gain
App view with more in-depth information
Guthook App settings image. This image is from the Bibbulmun Track maps and provides a number of options including the ability to travel north or south
This review was done with an app and maps purchased by Australian Hiker.