I recently asked a question, and was denied, because it was off topic: What are the key features to look for in mobile device apps for hiking/camping?. Can we add a topic, or update the policy to allow asking about technology, software, devices, etc. that can benefit one who spends time outdoors?

2 Answers 2


I think it's a bit odd that this is off-topic in the FAQ. Why would we exclude computer software that is used for hiking? Because it's largely used for other things? It just seems like odd logic that if largely applied would look like this

1 -- No physical map questions for hiking maps because physical maps as a whole is a broader topic that does not include TGO.
2 -- No food questions for food to eat while hiking, because food as a whole is a broader topic that does not include TGO.
3 -- No raingear questions
4 -- etc.

I can see and understand development of said software being off topic, but why should software recommendations be different from any of the other recommendation questions we have?

At this point in time, mobile trail software is just another type of gear, and a type much more commonly used than maps, compasses, star navigation, etc.

  • (note, I'm speaking to the topicality of trail software, not that question in particular) Mar 7, 2012 at 20:26
  • 3
    +1 - Agreed. Although I cringe at the explosion of technology in the outdoors, that doesn't mean it doesn't belong here. Besides, what is a GPS (which we seem to allow) but a single-purpose bit of software / technology?
    – Lost
    Mar 8, 2012 at 3:24
  • 1
    I also used to cringe at the explosion of hiking GPS devices, but bought one anyway because i work in IT and like a gadget or two. I put it in a dry bag and more or less forgot about it at the bottom of a day sack.... Then one day it saved my butt and now i won't go without it. I do like a compass much more, but unexpected fog is no joke.
    – Sirex
    Mar 13, 2012 at 18:07
  • @sirex I'll second the fog. We had a map but no compass (and no GPS) when the freak foggy snowstorm caught us on a day hike. Only time I have seriously had to ask, "do we have enough stuff to survive the night." Fortunately, we didn't have to answer that. Fog broke just enough to get our bearings. We survived. And thus did not learn our lesson. I still almost never carry a compass.
    – Lost
    Mar 15, 2012 at 15:13

Personally I think that question should be considered on topic. I do think it should also be a CW though; it doesn't have one "set" answer and is a bit of a classic candidate.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .