The next time you pitch a tent, your smartphone may be handier than your multi-tool. These are the top five camping apps for Android and iPhone.
In a world filled with never-ending texts and emails, sometimes it’s nice to unplug and free yourself from those wireless chains—especially when you’re camping and enjoying nature. But a smartphone can be indispensable while you are in the woods. (Just make sure that you have a way to charge it and you keep it protected from wet or sharp objects in your bag.) Whether you are looking for the perfect campsite, the Big Dipper, or first aid guidance, here are a number of apps available on both the iPhone and Android that can help.
Best Weather App
Before you go to the wilderness, knowing the forecast can make packing much easier, so download the Weather Channel App for free on your iPhone or Android. That way, you can check the app as your trip goes on and stay on top of dips or spikes in temperature and storm warnings. In case of inclement weather, don’t forget to pack an umbrella in your bag, as well as a warm, waterproof jacket in a compression sac to save space.
Best Navigation Apps
Getting lost can put you in serious danger. That’s why offline GPS tracking on your smartphone can be a lifesaver, because there is a good chance that you won’t have cell service while camping. The BackCountry Navigator PRO GPS ($10) for Android includes a wide selection of U.S. topographical maps and offline GPS tracking. For the iPhone, MotionX GPS ($1) has similar features.
Best Survival Guide App
Hopefully you will never have to resort to using lifesaving techniques during your camping trip, but you should always be prepared for an emergency. Download the SAS Survival Guide app on iPhone ($6) or Android ($5). It’s based from former British Special Air Service solider and instructor John “Lofty” Wiseman’s best selling book. The app includes tips on first aid skills, medicinal and poisonous plants, Morse Code signaling, and more.
Best Campsite Finder App
When you’re in the wild, would you know where the best place set camp is? Camp Finder ($3) for iPhone or Android lists over 18,000 campgrounds and RV parks all across the U.S. Plus, you can filter the results by the amenities (cabins, groceries, laundry, WiFi) or activities (biking, kayaking, fishing, hunting) you desire. Before making a decision, use the app to find out the site’s daily rate, read reviews of it by other users, and look at photos of it.
Best Star Gazing Apps
Lying on a blanket under the vast night sky is one of the many pleasures of camping in the wilderness. When you’re far away from the bright lights of big cities, you can see constellations clearly in the darkness. But what exactly are you looking at? Is that the Big Dipper or Orion’s Belt? Luckily, there are two apps that can help you make sense of them all—the SkyView Free for the iPhone and Sky Map for Android (both free). Just point the phone lens toward the sky and these apps will name what you’re looking at and literally connect the dots for you on screen so you can see the “big picture.” You can even use your phone to help locate something that you want to see in the sky, such as the North Star.
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.
Kristen is a foodie and a wanderer born and raised in upstate New York. She currently resides in York, Pennsylvania, where she works as the food editor at The York Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter at @kjputch.