The best camping spots are rarely in a travel guide. Some of the best camping apps are kept a little quiet too…
By Emily Barker & Richard Robertson
Half the appeal of hitting the road is escaping our on-call world. Leaving all technology behind, however, isn’t always an option, or wise. Smartphones and tablets can be lifesavers and provide a huge range of capabilities – aside from keeping the kids quiet – even without mobile coverage. There are apps for just about everything and plenty of well known ones to help you get away from it all. Here’s a small collection of lesser known apps to help you make the most of your outdoor adventures, and bring you safely home again.
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If there’s one thing you don’t want dropping out when you lose mobile coverage, it’s access to your maps. Memory-Map is designed specifically for offline use, with a range of special features to help plan, plot, track and record your journey.
Offering a free 1:250,000 scale topographic map of Australia, it’s compatible with all maps published in the Memory-Map format (including HEMA) and works with any maps you may already have on your computer or previously downloaded from the Digital-Maps Shop. In terms of plotting features, you can import or create your own marks, routes and tracks; track speed, direction and altitude; easily review routes and mark points, plus import or export GPS data simply and efficiently in-app.
If you’re looking for frills instead of thrills this is not the app you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for a reliable offline navigational tool, it’s bang-on the money.
CamperMate is the brain-child of an adventurous Kiwi who knows the value of reliable first-hand information. You might already have heard of it, but the Australian version of this hugely successful NZ app was only released in January. Already making big waves it combines a ton of great features no matter your style of travel.
Through a map-based navigation tool you can access heaps of useful information to plan a trip or make one up as you go. Whether it’s locating the nearest campground, loo, servo, ATM, supermarket, fresh water swimming hole or free hot shower, CamperMate helps you find it. It also provides information on any costs, plus user-submitted reviews. This app combines so many useful elements, although the crowdsourced information can be a little patchy in remote areas. Generally, content is current, correct and useful, and if not you can always submit your own.
SkyView FREE – Explore the Universe
Camping and stargazing go together like bacon and eggs, and there’s nothing better to set the imagination racing than an inky black sky sparkling with starlit wonder. This mind-blowing app explores the wonders beyond our world and is a must for kids of all ages.
Night or day use your device’s camera to locate and identify galaxies, stars, constellations, planets and even passing satellites, including the International Space Station and Hubble. You can even discover where the sun is at night, because the universe is displayed wherever you point your camera; to the sky, below the horizon or beneath your feet!
This app really is a world class combination of technologies; the images and information are engaging and beautifully presented. Wi-Fi isn’t required, just let the night sky and your imagination take you on an adventure out of this world.
First Aid by Australian Red Cross
Mobile coverage across regional Australia is patchy at best, and non-existent in remote areas. One handy piece of information everyone should know is the emergency use of 112 from mobile devices as an alternative to 000. One handy tool every traveller should have is the Australian Red Cross mobile app. While it’s one you hope you’ll never need, it’s invaluable to always have on hand.
The app provides instant access to simple interactive step-by-step advice on common first aid emergencies from asthma to burns and bleeding to broken bones, snake bites, sunburn and CPR. It’s professionally produced and up-to-date, with the latest practices and procedures that can save a life – possibly yours.
Free to download and with no Wi-Fi required during use, this app is essential for every traveller. Included are helpful videos and images to prepare the whole family for safer and happy travels.
Knowing what the weather is expected to do is often much more important than just avoiding getting wet; there are many ways a simple adventure can turn from happy to miserable or downright deadly.
Weatherzone is uniquely Australian and it’s safe to say most people will be surprised by the extent and quality of information that’s provided. It crams in a whole heap of information to keep you alert and informed of all weather-related situations, including road closures, fire danger ratings, Bureau of Meteorology warnings, coastal wind warnings and even the ski reports.
There are also a host of features and tools including weather radar, satellite images, lightning trackers and synoptic map forecasts. Not only does this app help ensure you don’t get caught in the worst of the weather, it helps you make the most of the best days too.