Backpacker Radio Episode #22: “Guthook” on Building the Most Popular Thru-Hiking App

What’s it like to build the most ubiquitous app in the hiking community?  Today we learn that answer as we’re joined by Ryan Linn, more commonly known as Guthook, one of the people behind the “Guthook App,” the uber-popular navigation app, especially among thru-hikers.  He shares his background in backpacking and thru-hiking, the inspiration for the creation of the app, his coding background, and what lies in store for the future of the app. We also talk about Jennifer Pharr Davis’s wonderful article on Health Insurance Options for Thru-Hikers, an illustration outlining five ways to poop in the woods, and the ranking of New Hampshire’s 48 4,000 foot peaks. We close out the show with a heated Triple Crown of Thanksgiving Foods and some mailbag questions.

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Subjects discussed in today’s show include:

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Comments 4

  • Jonathan : Nov 13th

    Guthook, not sure if you’ve seen the Ramblers’ Pathwatch app in the UK for reporting path issues, might be of interest.

  • Amelia : Dec 12th

    During my PCT thru-hike this season a friend recommended your podcast to me during a podcast recommendation exchange. This was the first episode I listened to, and I barely made it through. I was absolutely floored by your “kill yourself” comment in reference to people not knowing the song “Let’s Talk About Sex.”
    “If you don’t get that reference, just hang up the podcast and just kill yourself.”
    After finishing the episode I deleted it, and the rest of the episodes I downloaded.

    It is now MONTHS since I listened to this episode and it still eats away at me. How dare you make such an arrogant and insensitive comment and broadcast it for the world to hear.
    “If you don’t get that reference…”
    You mean anyone who wasn’t listening to hip-hop and pop radio in 1991? Which would mean anyone born after the year 1991. So listeners under the age of 29? Or anyone who perhaps prefers another genre of music? Classical? Country? Jazz perhaps? Polka? Opera?
    “…just hang up the podcast and just kill yourself.”
    Again, how dare you. Do you know how many times the phrase “just kill yourself” has pushed a person over the edge to actually commit suicide? Do you know how many of your listeners have lost a loved one to suicide? Do you know how many of your listeners are struggling with mental health? Do you know how many of your listeners are struggling to get the help and support they need to treat their mental illnesses?

    As for “the 99% of you still alive,” even a 1% loss of life due to a remark like this is still 1% too many.

    Do better Zach.


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