Resisting the adoption of new technology is like choosing to stick your head in the sand. And why would you want to do that? Whether you have an iPhone, Android or Windows smartphone, there are heaps of apps available for camping and caravanning that can add value to your touring experience.
Everyone likes different things, but these are my personal top picks. I’m mostly talking about iPhone and iPad apps because they’re the devices I use, but whatever your device, there are literally hundreds of apps to choose from.
If you’ve been a bit slow to jump on the technology highway, an ‘app’ is a self-sufficient program downloaded on to your phone to help fulfil a particular purpose. An example is Google Maps – a navigational app that identifies a nominated location and provides step-by-step directions on how to get there.
While some apps are free, many of the better offerings come at a cost, such as the Camps Australia Wide app, which details the locations of campsites around Australia. A comparative, no-cost app is Wiki Camps.
While Google Maps is a great way to get directions in the city, beyond that, Hema apps such as 4WD Maps and Explorer are the go.
You’ve got to love some of the smaller apps that add value to your camping experience. There’s the Compass, to make sure you park your van to capture the afternoon winter sun; Level to keep things on an even keel; and the Torch for night-time activities. It is hard to fathom that an app can convert the flash on a phone’s camera into a torch, but it does!
Weatherzone Plus is easy to use and you can monitor your touring destinations to keep updated on what the weather will be like where you are going. It also has a radar, marine, tide and moon, 28 day rainfall, history and warnings. I also like using RainRadarAU by the Bureau of Meteorology; the darker the colour, the heavier the rain.
CAMERA AND FILTERS
I always have my iPhone handy to get a quick snap of something. And with the advent of other social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it’s a cinch to quickly upload them. For the enthusiast, there are heaps of apps for adjusting photos on your phone – Snapseed and Pro HDR are two of my favourites which I use to adjust the pics before uploading.
MapMyHike logs your hike data so you can view elevation info and build an online journal of trails. This app includes loads of information about your hike, such as pace, distance, elevation, route navigation, and a whole lot more. Sync your data to a free online account and you can share your adventures with friends.
People often don’t worry about first aid until they need it, so the First Aid app by the Australian Red Cross is a useful one for all smartphone users, not just those who are planning on going off the beaten track. It gives you instant access to information on how to deal with the most common first aid emergencies. The interactive and simple step-by-step advice means it’s easy to respond quickly to someone in need.
A BIT OF FUN
Some of the more creative and humorous apps include a campfire for you to gather around when you can’t enjoy the real thing. And then there’s the BugZapper with that bug zapping noise which attempts to deter other pesky bugs. I’ll get back to you on the success of that one!
Perhaps you have a favourite app you want to share with the Caravan World community? If so, hit us up on the Caravan World Facebook page. Until then, see you on the trails.
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #542 October 2015.