Not sure what adventure to take on this weekend? Bivy, a free website and mobile app launched in 2016, offers recommendations for 17 different outdoor sports based on location.
Whether you’re visiting a new area or simply burned out on your age-old local adventures, let Bivy inspire your next outing. Founded by Vance Cook, Bivy stemmed from a lack of a holistic, multisport adventure guide for any location.
Here’s how the Bivy adventure guide app works.
Find an Adventure
Bivy provides a list of adventures using data from either your current location or an area of your choosing. For example, if you have plans to drive through the Dixie National Forest in southern Utah, you can search the national forest and review a map or listed view of adventures.
Furthermore, you can filter your search by activity, quality (1-5 stars), difficulty (easy to hard, Class I-VI, 5.0-5.16, S0-S8, etc.).
Diving deeper, it even filters by features like required permits, portages on canoe routes, and sport or trad climbing.
A few examples: Touch a button to view only difficult mountain bike trails, 5.10-5.12 trad climbing routes, Class I-III kayaking rivers, west-facing V3 bouldering problems along an arête, or backcountry skiing lines with chutes.
This level of detail for multiple sports makes the app stand out.
Bivy: Inspiring Adventures
A broad, more general search can be helpful too. Reading detailed descriptions and scrolling through photos can quickly inspire your next weekend outing.
If a specific adventure intrigues you, just select it. You can then review details like the elevation plot, total time, difficulty, mileage, adventure description, ideal season, uploaded photos, and features like waterfalls or views or canyons.
To get to the adventure, again, just touch a button. The app will open your phone’s default mapping app to lead you directly to the trailhead, put-in spot, or approach. You can also correct the adventure if conditions have changed or your experience vastly differs from its description.
Save Adventures to Profile
A key feature is the “download” button that saves the adventure to your profile, allowing you to open it and track yourself while offline (or out of cell service). The app will alert you if you take a wrong turn on the trail and can estimate time and mileage remaining.
Especially if the adventure is difficult to follow or more off-grid, like kayaking or backcountry skiing, downloaded adventures help keep you from getting lost along the way.
Track Your Adventure
The app also lets you track your own adventure using your phone’s GPS. It will record your path, time, distance, elevation plot, calories burned, average speed, resting time, and top speed. Before you head out, it will ask what activity you’re embarking on (full list below) and if you’d like to share your location with Bivy Members or Friends while out and about.
Doing so will allow them to watch your progress and worry less while you’re out alone.
List of Activities
- Mountain biking
- Trail running
- Cross-country skiing
- Road biking
- Sea kayaking
- Backcountry skiing
- Rock climbing
- Aid climbing
If you’re tracking a longer adventure and taking photos with your phone, consider bringing a portable battery charger. Consistent use of a phone’s GPS tends to drain its battery faster than normal.
Once you’ve completed the adventure, the app prompts a few questions: Name of the adventure, Primary Activity, Secondary Activities, Features, Description, Season, Quality, and Difficulty. You can save the activity privately to your profile, or opt to upload it to the Bivy database (pending review and acceptance of Bivy regulators).
Uploading it to the Bivy database helps the app grow and become more useful. Currently, there are over 45,000 adventures available on the app, a number that grows with user input.
Profile and Community
In your own profile, you can do the following: (1) view your stats (filtered by activity if preferred); (2) scroll through and edit/upload your tracked adventures; (3) access your completed, bookmarked, or downloaded adventures; and (4) see your contributions to the app (adventures, photos, comments, and corrections).
At any time, whether you’re on an adventure or not, you can share your current location with the Bivy community or your friends. Similarly, you can view the locations of other Bivy members or your friends who have shared their location, allowing you to watch their progress on the trail — or help them get un-lost on their way to the trailhead.
You can invite friends and contacts to join the Bivy community and befriend them on the app. This lets you view their adventures, share your adventures with them, or message them directly.
Quarterly Giveaways and Local #GearDrops
For every adventure you track, you gain a free entry into a grand prize drawing every three months. Called the Mountain Legend giveaway, the first one this year was a Black Diamond climbing kit given away to a lucky Bivy user on March 1. The next Mountain Legend giveaway winner will be announced in September.
Additionally, brands like Cotopaxi, Klymit, Cairn, Camp Chef, Tenkara Rod Co., and Topo Designs participate in Bivy’s regular #GearDashes. These give away gear during nationwide scavenger hunts. Follow @bivyapp on Instagram or Facebook for location announcements with the hashtags #geardash and #freeadventurefreegear.
So far, #GearDashes in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument have led to epic prize packages being found by those willing (and able) to follow clues to local adventures.
Though guidebooks may offer more details and recommendations on specific sports for specific areas, Bivy is a great (and free) way to quickly view, bookmark, or download various adventure opportunities. The app is a fit for multisport enthusiasts and those looking for outside-the-box adventures during their travels.
If your favorite adventure isn’t on there, track it on the app and upload it for other Bivy members to find and enjoy. And be on the lookout for a #GearDash near you!