Gaia GPS Premium - is it worth upgrading?


Expedition Leader
I have Gaia GPS on my iPhone, and generally like it and use it as my go to GPS app for way pointing and trail marking. I have the free version, and it's worked okay for me over the past few years, but I note that I didn't get out a whole lot the past few years. I now have a better adventure vehicle and anticipate more trips in 2022, gas prices permitting.

Only once do I recall Gaia GPS having an issue, and that might have been my fault? I was in one area, enjoying hi-res maps, and then I moved into a new area while out of cell coverage, and the new zone was heavily pixelated until I eventual got a signal again and it automatically downloaded the appropriate map segment. I don't recall this ever happening before, but I usually make sure I have the map preloaded to cover the zone I am in, so maybe I was just better prepared?

Would the Premium version (Which seems to feature downloadable maps) be the solution to this once in nearly a decade issue? What else does the Premium version do that you find useful that the free version does not already do?

I am asking this, because for Black Friday, they are offering 50% off ($20 verses $40). Here is a link:


Expedition Leader
One feature that might be worth paying for is access to the Motor Vehicle Use Maps the various Natioanal Forests have created. These are terrible maps for navigating, but useful to know if its a legal trail or not. These seem be included with the paid (Premium) version only.


Definitely spend the $20. It's cheap and it'll last a year. Plenty of time to get a feel for map downloading.
Once you have downloaded the maps, you can use them w/o a cell data connection. Download a larger area than you think you'll need.

Paying the subscription allows use of some interesting add-on "live" layers that only work when you have an internet connection.
Assuming you have adequate storage space on your device (phone or tablet), you download all the maps you need for a planned trip, plus extra coverage in case your plans change. I recommend having at least 10GB available storage for a modest collection of maps, 25GB is better, and you could go higher than that.
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I don't think paying for the premium subscription would have fixed the pixelated cache of maps you are describing. But it does allow access to a ton more maps and features. I just upgraded to premium a few weeks ago. I've been using Gaia for a couple of years now and have really enjoyed it.

The only issue I've ever had was recording a hiking track. When I got into an area with no cell coverage and I went to pause/restart the track after we ate lunch, the app froze. I had to restart my iPhone but luckily it started right back up and I was able to finish recording the hike.


Expedition Leader
The premium version has access to other layers that are much 'better' in a lot of ways. Once key difference is that some of these layers are 'vector' instead of 'rastor' based. This makes downloading large areas for offline use much more compact. The key is doing this on at least one good layer for your area. It is possible to do entire states fairly easily ( and compactly ) with these layers, with the 'Gaia Overland' being one of the most popular.

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