What mobile apps provide the best offline maps for camping in remote UK locations?

Whether you're an adventurer setting off for a remote camping trip in the UK, or a casual hiker planning to explore some offbeat trails, having a reliable map is essential. When you're off the grid, offline maps are particularly useful. The good news is that there are several mobile apps that provide high-quality offline maps. They offer an array of features like GPS navigation, route planning, and trail finding, making them the perfect companions for your outdoor adventures.

In this article, you'll find an in-depth review of the best free and paid map apps available for both iOS and Android devices. We will guide you through the features, benefits, and how to download these apps, helping you to find the one that best fits your camping or hiking needs.

1. AllTrails

With one of the largest collections of trail maps, AllTrails is a favourite among outdoor enthusiasts. Available for both iOS and Android, this free app enables you to download maps for offline use, helping you find your way even in the most remote locations.

The AllTrails app prides itself on its user-friendly interface and robust features. It offers more than 100,000 trail maps worldwide, including plenty of options in the UK. Aside from the standard map view, it also provides topographic maps, which are especially useful for hiking and camping in hilly or mountainous regions.

AllTrails lets its users save their favourite trails, create custom maps, and even share their hiking experiences. With the GPS tracker, you can record your route, distance, and elevation. However, the standout feature is the 'download' option which allows you to use the maps offline.

2. ViewRanger

Next on the list is ViewRanger - another brilliant app for offline maps. This app specifically targets hikers, mountaineers, and outdoor adventurers who often find themselves in places with no network coverage.

The standout feature of ViewRanger is its high-quality topographic maps that offer detailed terrain information. You can download these maps and use them for offline navigation. The Skyline Augmented Reality (AR) view is another unique feature. This overlays walking routes and waypoints on the camera view, helping you identify peaks, places, and other points of interest.

ViewRanger is a free app available for iOS and Android, and while it does offer in-app purchases, the free version comes with enough features to satisfy most users. It's also compatible with Apple Watch and Wear OS devices, so you can check your route and navigation at a glance.

3. OS Maps

OS Maps by Ordnance Survey is a premium app that's well worth the investment for UK campers and hikers. While it does offer a free version, the paid version gives you access to the full range of Ordnance Survey maps for the whole of the UK, ready for download and offline use.

With OS Maps, you can plot routes, record your track, and even import GPX files. It's perfect for planning your hike or camp, allowing you to choose the best trails and navigate them with ease. The app also features an augmented reality (AR) view that helps you identify the landmarks around you.

The high-resolution maps combined with the powerful features make OS Maps a top choice among outdoor adventurers. However, keep in mind that full access requires a subscription. The app is available on both iOS and Android.

4. Google Maps

Google Maps is possibly the most widely used map app worldwide. While it may not offer the specialised trail and topographic maps that some of the other apps do, its offline feature makes it a great tool for navigation in remote UK locations.

When you have a connection, you can download a map of a specific area in Google Maps. This map can then be used offline for navigation, helping you reach your camping spot or navigate the hiking route. The app's driving directions are highly reliable, and it also offers walking and cycling routes, which can be handy for hikers and campers.

Google Maps is a free app and is available for both iOS and Android. Keep in mind that while it provides excellent general navigation features, it may not have the detailed trail information that some of the other dedicated hiking and camping apps offer.

5. MapOut

For those who prefer a more personal touch, MapOut allows you to draw your own routes and waypoints on the map, which can then be used for navigation. You don't have to worry about getting lost, as the app allows you to download maps for offline use.

The app also stands out for its intuitive design and clean interface. It offers detailed topographic maps with elevation profiles, making it easier to plan your hikes or camping trips. You can save your planned routes and share them with other users as well.

MapOut is a paid app available on iOS. While it might not be as feature-rich as some of the other apps on this list, its simplicity and ease of use make it a great choice for those who want a straightforward offline map app.

6. Gaia GPS

For the wilderness explorers who crave precision and detail, Gaia GPS is a must-have app. It's a premium hiking app that provides an array of navigation and tracking features for your outdoor adventures, making it one of the best hiking apps out there.

What sets Gaia GPS apart is its wide selection of map types, including topographic, satellite, and National Geographic Maps. It offers the ability to overlay multiple maps for a comprehensive view of your surroundings. It's particularly useful for wild camping, as it allows you to explore remote areas and find camping spots with confidence.

The app includes features such as real-time tracking, route planning, and waypoint marking. You can record your hikes, measure distance, and check altitude. Also, it allows you to download maps for offline use. This gives you the best of both worlds - the detailed maps of a dedicated hiking app and the accessibility of offline maps.

Gaia GPS is available on both iOS and Android. While the basic free version offers a decent range of features, the membership version unlocks additional map layers and features.

7. Recreation Gov

If your camping trip involves national parks, then the Recreation Gov app is an ideal choice. It's a one-stop shop for reserving campsites, buying tickets, and accessing essential information about national parks in the UK.

Aside from its reservation capabilities, the app provides offline maps of the parks. These maps show trails, campgrounds, points of interest, and other essentials. They can be downloaded ahead of time and used without an internet connection, which is a boon when you're deep in the wilderness.

Recreation Gov also offers real-time updates on campsite availability, park status, and more. This helps you plan your adventure better and avoid disappointment. The app is free and is available on both iOS and Android platforms.


In the digital age, there's no need to rely on paper maps or guesswork when you're out exploring the UK's wonderful wilderness. The right mobile app can be a gamechanger, offering detailed maps, route planning, real-time tracking, and other useful features. Whether you're a casual hiker, a dedicated mountaineer, or a wild camper, there's an app out there that perfectly suits your needs.

AllTrails, ViewRanger, OS Maps, Google Maps, MapOut, Gaia GPS, and Recreation Gov each have their unique strengths and offerings. They all provide offline maps, which are essential when you're in remote locations. The choice between them depends largely on your specific requirements and preferences.

So, before you pack your bags for your next outdoor adventure, make sure to download your preferred hiking app. Not only will it help you navigate unfamiliar terrains with ease, but it can also enhance your overall outdoor experience. Happy camping and safe journeys!