Enough trail tools to take care of basic maintenance will fit in the side pocket of an ultralight backpack.
Photo by Ryan Linn
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Why is our app called Guthook?

We’ve been asked more than a few times what the proper name of our app is. Is it “Guthooks” or “Guthook”? “Guthook’s Guide” or “Guthook Guides”? And just what is Guthook, anyway? What does it have to do with navigation for thru-hikers? Let’s find out!

Ryan Linn       Inside Atlas Guides       11/07/2019
Ryan Linn
Inside Atlas Guides
11/07/2019

The best place to start this story is in the middle, when Paul and I released the first version of our app, “Guthook’s Pacific Crest Trail Guide.” That’s “Guthook’s” with a possessive apostrophe, indicating I (Guthook being my trail name) had created a guide to the Pacific Crest Trail. But Paul and I worked equally on the app, so it could just as easily have been “Tangent’s Pacific Crest Trail Guide,” (Tangent being Paul’s trail name). At the time, though, I had a 5 year-old blog called “Guthook Hikes!”, so we decided to boost the app with my name.

App icon for the Pacific Crest Trail on Android
Guthook’s PCT Guide

That was seven years ago, though, and the name of the app has changed a few times. For a while, we had variations of “Guthook’s Guide” to various trails. Within a few years, so many hikers referred to “Guthook” as a daily part of their hike that I almost wished we had chosen a different name. My friends had been calling me Guthook since years before I hiked the Appalachian Trail, so when I heard hikers say things like “I look at Guthook all the time,” or “I checked out Guthook in my tent this morning,” I started to feel a tiny bit uncomfortable. But the ship had sailed by that point. No turning back now!

Eventually, when we combined our various trail apps into one, we decided on a simpler name. “Guthook Guides” is the official name, although if people use some variation of “Guthook,” it’s not hard to understand what they’re referring to. I find it amusing to continually hear people referring to “Guthooks,” which I guess is a plural of “Guthook,” though there’s only one of me.

And what exactly does “Guthook” mean? We get that question from time to time, too, although much less than you’d think. As I mentioned above, I’ve had the trail name since well before I began thru-hiking. The story isn’t very exciting – on a spring break trip with my college’s outing club, one of the club’s leaders decided that the freshmen needed intimidating names for our future forays into the wilderness. We were at a hunting and fishing store at the time, and the aisle stocked with various sharp tools provided a great array of names for us. Guthook, Bonesaw, and Meat Cleaver are a few that stuck.

You might wonder if it’s proper to use a name from before a thru-hike as your trail name, since you’re supposed to get your trail name on the trail. I’ve always said that anyone who claims there are rules about trail names is mistaken, though. Your trail name is whatever sticks, and what stuck for me was “Guthook.” What has stuck for the app that we’ve created is also “Guthook.”


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Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association
A lake reflects a nearby wildflower meadow and trees.
Showers Lake Vista, Tahoe Rim Trail
Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

Trail guides that get you to places you’ve dreamed of.

As the makers of Guthook Guides, Bikepacking Guides, and Cyclewayz, we help you navigate the most popular trails around the world on your smartphone. Our hiking guides and biking guides work completely offline. Let Guthook guide your next adventure!

Download our popular hiking and biking guides!
About the Author
A man wears a blue shirt, blue backpack, and a tan baseball cap.

Ryan Linn

Ryan is also known as “Guthook,” which is where our apps get their name. Already an avid hiker, he hiked the Appalachian Trail, New England Trail, and Pacific Crest Trail before joining forces with Paul to create the Guthook Guides apps. Ryan handles iOS development for our apps from his office in Maine, and usually runs away to the forests and mountains throughout New England. He also volunteers with the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Baxter State Park in Maine is his happy place.