Obsession Camping

Jun 29, 2011

I’m obsessed lately. Well, I’m always obsessed with something new, but these days it’s camping (and Indian food which actually go really well together) but this list isn’t about Indian camping food but about camping apps. DO NOTE this is not about the best camping apps. Some of these are fantastic and some are just worthless but as I find more camping apps I’ll try to pull them into a number of lists for you so you can save your money and put the winners on your phone for the next trip into the woods (or the beach, or the desert).

Camp Where

I’ve heard a lot of bad reviews about the other camping apps out there so while I don’t usually like to pay more than a dollar for an app I decided to get this one anyway. It only has drive in campgrounds but then again, in my state at least that’s quite a few campgrounds, and if you listed all the hike in ones too you wouldn’t be able to see anything but dots on the map in many places.

There appears to be very few campgrounds missing from this app. Each campground has a different colored square depending on the type of campground. Green is for City or County Park, Red for State Parks, Blue for National Forest camps. There’s a page to send suggestions about a particular camp (so this app just gets better as we all use it) and the ability to search for nearby campgrounds. Who knew there was a camp spot 9 miles from my office in Downtown Seattle? Well, OK, I didn’t.

If you’re a car, motorcycle or bike camper this app is well worth having to get you to a place to stay as quickly as possible. My only suggestion would be giving actual times that these campspots are open rather than simply referring you to the website of the agency that runs the spot. That said it’s a heck of a lot faster than trying to look this stuff up on the web!


Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™

This is a pretty great app. As someone who is doing more car camping now (no time for longer trips) this app is very helpful. Not only will it find you State and Federal parks but you can search by a number of different activities and even combine these activities to find a park near you that will serve all your needs.

Choose parks with auto touring, cycling, bird watching, boating, camping, caving, climbing, hiking, fishing, golfing, off road vehicles, RVing, skiing… the list keeps going. There are a ton of different activity choices that you can mess with to find the best places for your trip to the park.

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The only thing that could be better would be to combine this app with Campwhere so you could find all camp spots and get information about them within the same app. Still very worth it for those that would like to explore the great outdoors easily.


What Knot To Do

Ages ago I had cards that taught you different knots to tie. While that idea is super, it’s annoying to take something like a deck of cards with you everywhere you go to learn new knots. But… of course I’ve always got my phone with me, and now I have all of these knots in my hands as well.

The average person probably knows a knot or two but likely we don’t know a knot that would be super helpful, not just for tying up a horse, but for securing something with a stopper, or a loop, or a great way to connect two ropes together. Most of the time we’re struggling with other ways to do this than what we know. Theoretically we could “learn” these, but even better, we can use this app to pull up what we need when we need it.

Not only do you get the knot with this app, but you get why you’d need it/ how you use it, and step-by-step instructions on how to build the knot. For every boy scout, girl scout and even those who want to tie up your beers, this app is a must.


Smokey Bear

I’ll admit that most of the time when it comes to a fire outdoors I stick to the fire pits provided by the forest service. That said, there are times when I would like to build a fire but am concerned about the location. Am I far enough from anything that might like to catch on fire? Is there a better place to build my fire? As someone who has been playing and camping in the outdoors for as long as I can remember these aren’t questions that are only for the beginning camper. An extra safety checklist is handy for all of us and something I especially remember as we enter the season of forest fires in my state and others.

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So basically this app breaks down for you how to build a proper campfire and of course how to put it out when you’re done. But there’s more of course. The app also shows you where there are current wildfires, something to keep in mind as you consider starting a fire at your campsite.

Of course the app also connects you to Smokey on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook. Eventually I’d love it if they could somehow include burn ban information into the app however with a number of agencies around the US doing this kind of work it could be quite tricky. For example in Seattle we can have two different kinds of burn bans, those for when the air quality is too bad to burn and those for when it’s not safe to burn due to weather conditions (aka it’d be too easy to start a massive fire). Still, I’d love this app even more if that were also included.

Thanks Smokey for all you’ve done to remind us to stay safe. Let’s hope everyone will work together to keep campfires from getting out of control this summer!


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