If you’re a hardcore fan of the outdoors, the arrival of summer can only mean one thing—it’s time to get the tent out of the attic, throw everything into the car, and head off for a stay under the stars. It sounds idyllic, but as with all family holidays, it’s all too easy to end up bickering in the sweltering heat over directions or arguing over who’s turn it is to cook dinner. But don’t panic, help is at hand! We’ve gathered together our five favorite iPhone apps that will help you enjoy every minute of your camping trip. The only thing we can’t help you with is wrestling grizzly bears....
1. Allstays ($9.99)
Given rave reviews by everyone from The New York Times to Woman's Day magazine, Allstays is the first thing you should download before you even consider heading off on your camping trip. Featuring 24,950 campsites and the ability to search for everything from tent pitches to RV accommodations to rest areas and fuel stops, this app will make sure you get to your destination with the minimal amount of fuss. Forget arguing over huge maps and searching desperately for a car park, this app will tell you everything you need to know with the touch of a button.
2. Flashlight (free)
The main downside to sleeping under the stars is that if you (or the kids) need the toilet in the middle of the night, you'll usually find yourself stumbling through the grass, tripping over branches, wondering if you’re going in the right direction. The newly updated version of the Flashlight app not only features an LED brightness control, built in SOS signal, and strobe mode, but also an always-on compass, meaning you can find your way easily, even in the darkest field or forest.
3. Knots 3D ($0.99)
As a seasoned camper or a beginner setting off on your first outdoor adventure, you’re probably going to spend a lot of time tying knots. Whether you’re putting up the tent or making a clothes line, you’re going to want to leave your rope as secure as possible, which is where the Knots 3D iPhone app comes in. Featuring 87 different knots and detailed instructions on how to tie them, you’ll soon be able to do everything from mooring a boat to catching fish for dinner. This is an invaluable app for life outdoors.
4. Bushcraft HD ($3.99)
Regular campers know that to enjoy life outdoors to the maximum, you need an array of skills to make life as easy as possible. From starting a fire to basic first aid, comfortable camping is far more than just packing a tent and a sleeping bag. The Bushcraft HD app allows you to choose your terrain, and then search for an activity, from dealing with wildlife to signaling for help. It also features comprehensive first aid instructions. With hours of instructional videos and advanced survival techniques, this app will soon become one of your camping essentials.
5. Classic Camping Cookbook & Meal Planner (free)
Whether you’re planning to camp for two nights or two weeks, one thing is certain—you’re going to need to plan your meals carefully. Forget the old and uninspiring campfire cliché of sausages and beans. Instead, download the Classic Camping Cookbook app, which features numerous top-rated recipes and a search function to enable users to find a meal based on category or ingredients. Generate shopping and equipment lists, rank your favorite recipes, and get the whole family involved in enjoying.