There are so many ways apps can entertain and assist us in our camping and outdoor endeavours. We investigated some of the best ones available for the Apple iPhone and iPad, (particularly as these are our own weapons of choice), and we came up with the following recommendations we felt could help to enhance the camping experience for the app generation. (UPDATE: We’ve also found these great smartphone apps for anyone planning to go camping at a music festival this year.)
Developed by Coleman® the Cookout Cookbook & Meal Planner iPhone application helps families prepare meals during the busy summer camping and cook out season. This is high-end luxury camping, or glamping, that allows glampers to find the perfect meal based on food type, category, and ingredients. You can also plan your favourite meal and search for a perfect recipe based on the type of food and ingredients you have. It also allows you to plan meals for an entire camping trip, so it is ideal for large families or campers who simply want to take it easy. All you have to do is choose the number of days you will be camping and let the app do the rest. It will even help you generate shopping and equipment lists so you never forget essential ingredients again.
Want to become an expert in tying knots that would even put even Ray Mears or Bear Grylls to shame? Well look no further. This app shows you how to do bends, binding knots, climbing knots, decorative knots, fishing knots, hitches, lashings, loops, navy seal knots, rope care, sailing knots, scout knots, shortenings, splices, stopper knots and whippings. Phew! Like we said… ideal if you want to become an expert at tying knots.
Flashlight uses the LED light on the iPhone to fill the screen with bright white light to illuminate your tent, camper van or caravan. It even includes customisable special effects including: Strobe Light, S.O.S., Yin-Yang, Halloween, Candy Hearts, Holiday Lights, Photos, and many more! This is a really useful app to have at the campsite and is available on Android & Blackberry, but is known to drain your battery so make sure you have a way or recharging it.
This app includes the latest first aid advice and protocols for dealing with emergency situations. It is simple to follow with illustrated guides and voiced instructions. The app doesn’t replace the benefits of learning first aid on a St John Ambulance course, nor is it as in-depth as a full first aid manual. But when there is an emergency, it will help you to know what to do to in those few crucial moments when basic knowledge of first aid can make the difference. The first aid advice is based solely upon UK protocols but both the UK and European emergency service numbers are provided within the app. Other first aid apps are available for other countries here.
This helps avoid the possibility of ever forgetting a camping essential again. It comes with suggested items or you can add your own. So if a pencil and paper aren’t your thing then this app could really help you prepare for a trip.
This is a great app to have for the kids that you can use to identify and figure out animal tracks and learn a bit more about that type of animal left them and a bit about their habitat. It mainly uses databases for north USA, and includes illustrations of both fore and hind feet, with a complete description of track measurements, gait patterns used trail widths and animal life cycles. It has gorgeous photos of each individual animal featured together with sound files of the animals vocalisation. Other animal track apps for different countries can be found here.
Geocaching is a global treasure hunt. Participants hide and seek hidden physical containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share their adventures online. You can find out more about this incredibly popular treasure hunt at Geocaching. It compatable with Google Maps and allows you to submit comments when you log onto the system. If you are into Geocaching treasure hunts then this is definitely an app for you.
This comes highly recommended from us. We all use it, and as the Cult of Mac said… its “Stunningly fantastic … I don’t think I’ve ever seen any photo app quite as elegant and easy to use.” That says it all! We really can’t say enough good things about this app so we would suggest you go to the link above or simply just buy and try. You won’t be disappointed.
This is a bit more expensive than most other apps but is a great all round satelite navigation system for anywhere in the world. It does all the usual SatNav things but it does it really well with very few dropouts. The best bit is if you are secret camping or wild camping you can use take a picture of where you are, send it to a friend and get them to use their TomTom to navigate to the photo. It will then lead them right to where you are simply by the location data in the picture. Neat trick huh?!
This app is an award winner. In is arsenal it has un-cluttered base maps display animated radar, clouds and StormWatch severe weather alerts, allowing effortless interpretation of how the weather affects your day. As you check out the current weather, you may see drifting clouds or falling rain as the distinctive weather themes come to life. Whether you are interested in weather for today, tomorrow or next week, this app has it all.
There are a lot of weather apps out there but we like the look of Accuweather as it’s quite easy to understand at a quick glance. It has a clever lifestyle page that determines how your current local conditions might affect over 20 activities, including dog-walking and stargazing so it’s ideal for camping. It has hourly forecasts, 15 day forecasts and useful weather maps. The best thing is it covers the UK as well as other parts of the world.
This is another award winning app, which you should definitely buy if you are interested in stars, constellations, and satellites. If you can point your iPhone at it you can find out what constellations and satellites you’ve been looking at and get a lot of exciting and educative information. You can even use the app to look back in time or into the future to see what the night sky might or will look like. It’s definitely one to stir up amazing campfire conversations, even if you’re not that interested in stargazing.
This is a gorgeous app that works as you point your device in the direction of what you want to learn about, (similar to the above) and it even links to Wikipedia to enhance your experience. Basically it becomes your own personal telescope for looking at the night sky.
If you love to lie on your back by the campfire and watch shooting stars and satellites then you need to consider getting this app. It tracks anything you want to follow in the sky and on a world map in real time. The best bit by far though is the alarm you can set to alert you when something is coming into your field of vision.
Similarly to the app above, these track any planes and ships in your air and water space. The best feature is you can hold your device up in the direction you are looking and see the details of the boats and planes, the direction they are coming from and going to and their path of travel. You will never have to say again… “I wonder where that plane’s going…”
Ever turned up at a campsite wanting to pitch up, get your chairs out and crack open a beer, but not knowing when the sun might disappear behind that hill or line of trees. Well this app can help you out, and anyone else who might need to know where the sun will be when, such as a photographer. It has two great functions… the Google Maps function that shows the suns location throughout the day and the 3D map that shows you where the sun will be in the sky at what time. Basically it enables you to track each daylight hour in terms of where the sun will be in relation to where you are.
Do you find your camper van always has a bit of a tilt after you’ve pitched up, or you and your family find themselves at the bottom of their sleeping bags in the night with the down hill slope. Well the iHandy can help you out by telling you what’s level and what’s not. This is a simple tool, but like the compass, can be essential for a trip to the campsite.
Survival skills are techniques a person may use in difficult or dangerous situations (e.g. a natural disaster) to save themselves or others. However, they can also be used to better appreciate nature and for recreation. The techniques shared in this app provide advice to get basic necessities such as water, food, shelter, habitat, signal for help, navigate safely, avoid unpleasant interactions with animals and plants, and for first aid. This app is definitely for the more serious camper and backpacker.
Spyglass is a fantastic app for the iPhone that uses a compass image which is laid over the image coming from the video camera. This makes navigation easy to a particular point you can see in the distance. Also if you hold the phone flat the compass is laid over the top of Google Earth Maps so you can locate your position and calculate your speed and potential arrival time. It even has an inclinometer, which is incredibly handy for hikers. Other useful tools are: a hi-tech viewfinder, milspec compass, gyrocompass, maps, GPS tracker, speedometer, sniper’s rangefinder, sextant, gyro horizon, inclinometer, angular calculator and 5x zoom camera
In this app you can choose your terrain (desert, snow, forest, coast, at sea), watch hours of instructional video, look at dozens of images and diagrams, learn about first aid, and reference advanced survival techniques used by the world’s special forces.
Multi Spirit Level is a simple but extremely useful tool in your pocket to check whether a surface is level or not. Perfect for when you roll up at your campsite and need to find the best place to make camp or need to level off your camper van with wheel chocks.
This app is perfect for a family or individual who would like to go camping but hasn’t had any experience of doing it before. It deals with the basics of how to pick the best tent, backpack, sleeping bag and camping clothes. It shows how to build a campfire and set up camp as well as general food basics. It also has a number of bonuses, such as fun activities while travelling and camping, how to pack a first aid kit, keeping the kids happy, destination suggestions and 10 fun things for kids to do. Basically a great introduction to camping for any newbie.
So what do you think.. have we missed out any apps you know are great for the campsite? Use the comments section below to tell us more. We’d love to hear from you and share your tips and tricks with our readers.