North Face’s Trailhead iPhone app has social appeal

Aug 17, 2010
Tech

Trailhead, brought to the iPhone care of The North Face, offers users a chance to Lewis & Clark their lives up a bit. In other words, you can blaze your own trails and upload them to a database where other people can boldly follow in your footsteps – even if your footsteps lead to the […]

Trailhead, brought to the iPhone care of The North Face, offers users a chance to Lewis & Clark their lives up a bit. In other words, you can blaze your own trails and upload them to a database where other people can boldly follow in your footsteps – even if your footsteps lead to the grocery store.

It’s an interesting take on trail apps that will either rub you the right way (what a neat way to find a slice of your world off the beaten path!) or the wrong way (why can’t I find actual trails easier?). I happen to think Trailhead offers a nice mix of the two viewpoints, using a rating system to push more adventurous trails to the top, while still allowing for users to craft their own, perhaps more unique offerings.

Finding trails on Trailhead isn’t difficult. The app’s home screen gives you the closest trails to your GPS location, and if you don’t care for those options you can do a custom search for a trail while adding activity categories, such as snowboarding or sightseeing to narrow down what you’re looking for.

While the amount of information on each trail varies by how committed the user was to making it, the better ones are truly fascinating. Photos and notes about what you should take notice of on the trail litter the more interesting finds. Once you’ve found a trail you like, it’s as easy as tapping the follow trail button and looking on the in-app map to explore the land on your own.

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Adding your own trail is just as simple. A few taps to note the beginning of your journey and you’re off, adding as much auxiliary information as you’d like, while the app’s GPS logs the journey you’re taking.

Despite not being a big-time hiker myself, I was drawn to how easy it was to jump into Trailhead after briefly reading the frequently asked questions page. It’s not quite caveman easy, but with a little patience you can have the whole experience figured out in no time.

Although Trailhead might benefit from taking a more serious approach to the sort of trails it allows on the app, there’s still something worth checking out here, especially if you fancy yourself an amateur adventurer.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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