Field-tested apps: an in-depth round-up of some of the most popular
One of our forum members has tried the various Camino Apps, and wrote up a review. All his opinion, but still valuable information. (See the full review in his PDF attached on the forum post).
There are so many Camino apps available now but I’ve not read any round-ups, so I’ve put my own one together which will hopefully be of use to you.
These are my in-depth reviews of four of the most popular Camino apps available for iOS. Some of these will also be available on Android, but these reviews are based on iPhone and iPad use as that’s what I own. My comments are based on real-world Camino use on both the Francés and Norte — warts and all — and each review goes into a lot of practical detail.
A Camino app just needs to do a handful of things, but it needs to do them well and reliably. These are the functions I’ve rated each app on:
- MAP: Show a map indicating your GPS location and any nearby places of interest and accommodation. Elevation profiles are a huge bonus here too. Optionally, it is an advantage if the app also has an offline function for users without mobile data in Spain.
- MEASURING / PLANNING: Be able to tell you how far it is to a certain location ahead of you. It’s important this is measured by foot along the Camino route. Optional points earned if the app usefully lets you plan stages.
- GUIDEBOOK: Offer information on points of interest, history, tourism, gastronomy and terrain.
- ACCOMMODATION: Have an up-to-date directory of nearby accommodation, linked to your current GPS position. Pricing and dining indications are a big advantage here.
- ROUTES: Offer you different Camino routes and variations. All apps service the Francés, but only some handle other routes. Within routes there may also be variations and detours, and it’s useful to have these marked as well.
- RELIABILITY: However feature-full an app is, it’s useless if it crashes often or certain functions work unreliably.
I’ll give each app I review marks out of ten in each of these categories, and then give an overall summary based on my experience of using the app on the trail.
These are the apps I’ve looked at:
- Buen Camino (Francés and Baztan free, other routes paid)
- Wise Pilgrim (paid)
- Guthook Guide (paid)
- TrailSmart (free with paid offline maps)
… with hopefully more reviews coming soon once I get back out on the trail!
Because the reviews total 16 pages, I’ve had to put them in a separate PDF for you to view, so please click the download icon for the attachment on this post.
On the last page I’ve made a few one-line suggestions for different circumstances, if you think sixteen pages means “too long; didn’t read”.