Best outdoor apps of 2014
Here are the best camping and hiking apps to make your adventures go a little more smoothly
FOR THOSE WHO like a little more comfort or help with planning, there are a number of apps that can help you make your outdoor adventure a little easier. Whether you’re heading on a relaxing camping trip or a hard core hike, there are apps to suit your needs, as well as some must-haves for any adventurer to be prepared in case the worst happens.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, this dynamic user-generated camping app, specifically designed for Australia, has got you covered. The database is constantly growing and updated, by app users, with the latest information about sites from all across Australia. Listed locations include, caravan parks, camp sites, backpacker hostels, day stops, points of interest and information centres. Each site has a heap of information, including such as swimming and fishing spots, off-road driving, pet rules, Wi-Fi hotspots, prices, toilets, showers and heaps more. This app is available for both apple and android users; however, it is only available in PAID versions ($4.99), though the Android app offers a free 14-day trial.
Campee is a community-powered camping app, specifically designed for Australia. Camp sites can be added, edited and shared by all users. The app lets you discover and share some of your favourite campgrounds and caravan parks. Most sites have information about the facilities (toilets, power, fire and pet rules), descriptions and plenty of photos. While offline you can still view site locations, facilities and descriptions; other features require connectivity. This FREE app is only available for Apple devices.
Australian Road Trips
Some would argue the best way to see Australia (or any country) is still the classic road trip, whether it’s on a family holiday along Highway One, to remote outback 4×4 adventures. The Australian Road Trips app features more than 350 routes from across Australia and almost 3000 photos. For each road trip there are recommendations on what to see and eat, where to sleep, and where to camp. The app is only available in PAID versions ($4.99) on Apple and Android systems.
BackCountry Navigator GPS Pro
BackCountry Navigator GPS Pro offers Android customers the opportunity to preload offline topographic maps, aerial photos, and road maps to your phone for free so they are ready when you need them on a trip (offline even). You can add waypoints and track your trips via GPS. This sort of functionality is not cheap – the app will cost you $11.99 – but you can download a FREE 21-day trial.
Unfortunately, the app is not available in the iTunes store; however the Motion X GPS app offers similar free downloadable maps after initially purchasing the app in iTunes.
Map My Hike GPS Hiking
From the well-established Map My Run/Walk team comes a hiking version of the app to track and log your hikes 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. Upgrade to the MVP and get premium features such as training plans, route recommendations, audio coaching and live tracking. The basic version is FREE, and the pro version requires monthly ($7.49) or yearly ($37.99) costs.
SAS Survival Guide
When heading out into the unknown, or even the known, the most important thing is to be prepared for anything that may happen. The SAS Survival Guide app is based on the best-selling book and may indeed save your life someday, if the unthinkable were to happen. There’s both FREE and PAID versions. The free version is still jam-packed with basic survival tools including: building fires, finding water, navigating by the stars, signals and a survival checklist to ensure you are prepared for trips. For the more daring of adventurers you may want to shell out for the full version which includes the whole book and videos.
First Aid by the Australian Red Cross
First Aid is another one of those things people often don’t worry about until they need it, so this app is essential for all smart phones users, not just those who are planning on going off the beaten track. The official Australian Red Cross First Aid app gives you instant access to the information you need to handle the most common first aid emergencies. The interactive and simple step-by-step advice means it’s easy to give a quick response to someone in need. The best thing about this app is that it’sFREE on Apple and Android devices.
One of the best things about leaving the city behind you and heading for the middle of nowhere is the ability to truly appreciate the night sky and viewing the stars at their best. This app will allow you to know every constellation and planet in the sky. All you have to do is point your device at the sky and using the real time location of the stars, planets and moon (even during the day). For each object you can get detailed information on what it is, its location and the brightness. The Star Chart app has both a FREE version with the possibility of in app purchases and a PAID full version.
Everytrail builds on a great website and is a means to share trips, connect with other travellers and find great new routes. Plot your trip, photos and videos right on the map and upload it to EveryTrail.com. The power is in the number of users and trails – thousands in some cases. Key features include route tracking, audio guides, download maps, view stats and save trips. Note: the app was bought out by TripAdvisor in 2012, so there is no longer an iTunes version and there’s not a lot of development going on for the Android version.
What’s better than being outdoors, an outdoor adventure. Geocaching is essentially a global treasure hunt, where items are hidden all over the world. The adventure begins when you search for cleverly hidden containers called geocaches. There are millions of these geocaches scattered throughout more than 185 countries. The FREE intro app is a good gateway to the geocache world; you’ll be guided through the adventure of finding the first few geocaches, tips, hints and instructions can also be found. Then once you are feeling confident, you can upgrade to the PAID premium version which features all the geocaches. Available on both Apple and Android devices.