Cairn App Review: Hiking & Outdoor Trail Safety

Cairn App Review: Hiking & Outdoor Trail Safety

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Are you planning to go hiking, but are not familiar with the trails?

Maybe you’re wanting to go hiking on a familiar trail, but I want to venture off. Before planning your hike, you’ll want to take the necessary precautions to ensure some peace of mind and safety.

Good thing there’s an app for that.


As much as we would love to 100% guarantee your phone won’t have any complications or errors, we can’t. Always be sure to have a printed-out hardcopy map with you in addition to this useful tool.

Batteries die, and phones can malfunction, so please do everything you can and make sure you have all of the supplies that you need to be safe.

Introducing Cairn: A Hiking App for Safety

Hikers disappearing is not an uncommon scenario, and not all stories in these situations have a happy ending, so safety should be a priority no matter what time of year it is. You might find a hiking app useful for this, among many other reasons. If this sounds like something that you plan to do, then Cairn might be just the app you need.

Cairn will help you get home safely from any adventure. Read on for a brief review of Cairn.

Downloading Cairn

The Cairn app is free to download and use. You’ll receive a free 30-day premium trial upon signing up as well (extra safety features on this plan for about $5 a month). It can be downloaded on iOS or Android devices.

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First thing you will see when you open the Cairn app

This app is made to work online or offline, so you’ll always feel safe, no matter what the reception is like. You must download the map for where you’ll be exploring beforehand.

Your loved ones will also be comforted in knowing that no matter what, they will be alerted if you’re overdue when returning. This feature works with or without reception.

If this does happen by chance and you haven’t returned when you’re supposed to, someone will need to reach out to a rescue team if you are unreachable, and it is recommended that this is done as soon as possible.

Alert Functionality

If you knowingly return later than you said you’d be, Cairn will send a message to your circle (aka the people you add to follow where you are) and let them know what is going on. You can set up messages beforehand so they can be sent more quickly and send out automatically.

In case of an emergency, you can call 911 even if you don’t have service as long as you are on the same frequency band as a carrier that does have coverage. Since phones like to shut off when it’s cold outside, if you’re in a cold area, you may want to keep your phone in your coat pocket or somewhere safe with a hand warmer.

If you have your phone on airplane mode, remember that it will register with the app as if it didn’t have any service. So, you’ll want to avoid doing that if at all possible. It is also safe to stay off airplane mode because you want to make sure you’re reachable for extra precaution.

How to Use The Interactive Map

Cairn interactive map

Another one of Cairn’s useful features is it has an interactive map that allows you to create, find, and follow trails. You can find out where certain cellphone companies may be missing from the map, but again, don’t forget to download the map before you leave for your hike just in case you lose cell phone reception.

Use the cellphone signal map to see what the coverage will be like in different areas of your hike. Cairn uses data generated by users to find available service areas.

When you travel from different regions, the app tracks your signal’s strength and carrier and adds it to its server to report back to future hikers so that they can see the information as well. The app lets you track and update your own key stats like distance hiked, elevation gained, and your estimated arrival time.

Setting Up for Offline Usage

If you want to change your starting trailhead, just tap on the name of the one currently specified and pick the one you choose. After you select a destination and starting point, you’ll need to download a portion of the map for offline usage. When you’re done, go ahead and set up your emergency contacts.

Ending Trip: Safe and Sound

The app will then deliver your trip plan to the emergency contacts with an interactive map.

When I set this up myself, I picked to send messages via text and email, but you can choose whichever options are easiest for yourself. When you go to “end trip,” it will alert your contacts and lets them know you’re safe and sound.

Conclusion: Hike On! – Safely.

Overall, this is our top choice app in navigation, and we highly recommend you download it if you hike frequently or even take trips here and there. With its easy-to-use interface and top safety features, it’s a must-have for anyone wanting to go on a hiking adventure.


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