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Scary tales and survival guides – our top ten camping and outdoors apps

April 3, 2013
by Laura Canning | guides

'Now, where's my tent?' ‘If you’re appy and you know it clap your hands’ might not be the first song you think of for caterwauling around the campfire. But that was before there was a need for an ode to apps. A phone app that tells you how not to burn your food over the fire – or one that shows you which food to find in the wild for free? Yay on both counts.

Sadly, no-one has yet invented an app which puts up your tent or cleans your caravan for you, but we live in hope. In the meantime, here are ten of our top camping and outdoors apps:

Camping recipes : Read up on the art of campfire cooking with the handy Pitchup.com blog guide , then build a campfire and get cooking with this app detailing over 80 recipes including ‘Best Damn Peach Cobbler’ and ‘Blackened Fish’. Fish is normally blackened when we try to cook it over a campfire, so this app already gets a win. There’s also the Classic Camping Cookbook and Meal Planner app, where users can search for recipes according to cooking method, type of meal and ingredients. Camping and Outdoor Recipes , Android, 75p; Classic Camping Cookbook and Meal Planner , iPhone, free.

Forager’s Apprentice : Wild camping and want to find your own tasty, fresh and free food? Understandably wary of poisoning self by overenthusiastic gathering of berries and mushrooms? Have a look at this app, which gives locations, pics and recipes for wild food in Britain including beach foraging, hedgerow foraging and when to find the tastiest outdoor morsels. For an overview on what to look for, our top ten foraging foods blog covers the basics to foraging for seafood, seaweed, snails and more. Forager’s Apprentice , iPhone, £1.99.

Campfire tales : Scary tales, naturally, because sitting in a dark forest with the campfire embers dying down and the owls hooting overhead is not the time for historical romance. The campfire stories in this app are rated for kids, teenagers and adults, and they come with sound effects so you won’t be able to hear any zombies creeping up to the campsite. Which is possibly quite a big disadvantage. (Download a powerful torch app to sweep around at periodic intervals.) Coleman Campfire Tales , iPhone, free.

Campfire games : If the kids start to get a bit too freaked at the thought of zombies lurching up to camp, calm things down with this app, which lists 225 outdoor games from all over the world suitable for ages 2—16. Although the kids will probably be better informed and equipped to deal with marauding zombies than we ill-prepared adults, so limit them to two games then set them to work guarding the pitch. 225 Kid Outdoor Games , iPhone, £1.49.

Survival guide : You never know when you might get the urge to go feral, bounding up cliffs Rambo-style clad only in a piece of tarpaulin. These days a phone laden with an army survival guide is an essential piece of kit to get you started; you can worry later about how feral foragers keep phones charged. One of the most comprehensive free survival apps is the Army Survival Guide (Android); for paid apps, try the SAS Survival Guide (Android, £3.07) or Army Survival (iPhone, £1.49).

First aid : From heart attacks to broken bones to choking, learn what to do in campsite accidents and emergencies with this app from the Red Cross, covering 18 common first aid scenarios with videos and interactive quizzes, as well as checklists and tips for emergency situations. All the info is hosted on the app itself, so no internet access is needed to use. For symptom checking and advice, there’s also the NHS Direct app, which is linked to the NHS 111 phoneline. First Aid by British Red Cross , Android and iPhone, free; NHS Direct mobile app , Android and iPhone, free.

'Again...where's my tent?' Tent finder : Because sometimes the pesky things are tricky to find, especially at a festival among thousands of others, if it’s getting dark or if you’re a bit tired and emotional. And then there’s trying to remember where that food stall was or how to get back to the best festival bar. Store your tent location in your phone then find it or any other stored location later – with no need for wifi access as the app uses the phone’s built-in GPS. Find my Tent , iPhone, 69p.

Motorway services : For those less feral, there’s a survival guide for motorway service stations too: find out the facilities available in every motorway service station along your route – before you pull in, secure your tourer and totter hopefully off in search of edible food. All the main motorway networks in the UK are covered with details of location, operator, fuel brand, facilities, shops, restaurants and services. Motorway Services UK , iPhone, 69p; also see Truckstop UK , iPhone, £1.49.

Star-gazing : Survivor types like to know the stars for guidance and survival purposes; lesser mortals just like to lie back and gaze skywards on a clear night. But it does help to know what you’re looking at, and not by flicking back and forth with a torch to an astronomy textbook: point your phone at a star, constellation, planet or galaxy far far away and this acclaimed app identifies it for you alongside enough data for you to be annoyingly knowledgeable around your fellow campers. GoSkyWatch , iPad, free.

Camping list : Old-schoolers can scorn that there’s nothing wrong with pen and paper for writing down a camping checklist, but that involves remembering what to put on the list in the first place. This camping checklist app lets users pick items for their list from over 250 stored on the app, add and save their own personal bits and pieces, then email the lot to the friend or family member who’s been nominated to pack the car boot or caravan. Camping List Pro+ , iPhone, 69p.

Where to test your camping and outdoors apps

Sites with charging facilities

Sites with wifi

Sites with free wifi

Sites with campfires allowed

Sites with fishing

Sites with fishing nearby

Sites in a remote location

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