Pack these Smart Camping Apps
Whether you’re going away to Summer Camp, kicking it at GlampLyfe, or roughing it in the wilderness, you can enhance your experience with Apps. It may sound counterintuitive to bring the digital world into the woods, but between Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, there are free nature apps that can benefit anyone. The only thing I remember from Biology class is how to make a Punnett Square, but it doesn’t matter because I have unlimited access to education and self-study resources in my palm. We’re lucky to live in a world where technology can help keep us safe instead of being stuck on the side of the highway at midnight trying to get service to call AAA. So here’s our list:
Camping can be dangerous, especially if you’re alone. Noonlight, the app that’s “ushering in a new era of safety”, features a large button you hold down when you’re feeling unsafe. This shares your exact location and can be used to contact local police and emergency responders. You can add friends to your safety network to monitor their locations, camping or not. It pairs with other apps to keep you safe like Tinder, Uber, Apple Watch, Alexa, and more.
Autio (App Store)
Introducing Autio, formerly Hearhere, the Webby Award Winner for Best Travel App 2022! This unique app is a location-based story guide. It’s like having a tour guide in your hand, sometimes voiced by celebrities, so really it’s like having a celebrity in your hand. For instance, if you’re in Columbus, Ohio, you would be recommended audio vignettes about the history of that area. The first five stories are free but if you’ve used all five, a similar app is GyPSy.
If you’re an avid hiker in the United States, this is a necessary download from the National Park Service. Their map feature allows you to see your exact position, even offline. Hikes are searchable and organized by categories like difficulty, elevation profiles, and if they’re family friendly. Each trail description is accompanied by local guide information like nearby food, necessary permits, and lodging. The National Park Trail Guide has a wealth of information and is really a national treasure.
Forgot your binoculars? Here are two apps designed for the experienced birders and casual birdwatchers alike. Smart Bird ID has photo and audio identification capabilities, journals, quizzes, and community alerts. Their audio feature is unique, in that you can record from your phone and the app will do its best to identify those calls. The Audubon Bird Guide is very similar but lacks the audio ID feature. If you have a NatureShare account with the Audubon Society, it will sync to this app. If you already have TikTok, you can follow the Audubon Society’s viral account there as a special bonus.
Next Vision Limited’s Identify Kit: Rock, Insect, Bird, Mushroom, and Fish (App Store)
This is an App Store Kit. If you’re not familiar with this developer feature, it basically means when you download the kit, you get all of the related apps. This bundle includes Rock Identifier: Stone ID, Picture Insect: Bug Identifier, Picture Bird: Birds Identifier, Picture Mushroom: Mushroom ID, and Picture Fish: Fish Identifier. These pocket guides each come with a topical encyclopedia, field guide, and photo identification capabilities. You may also download these individually.
Obviously, this isn’t a camping or nature app, but it can be a useful outdoor tool for a million other reasons. This is a guided meditation app with ten free sessions. Headspace, Calm, or any guided YouTube meditation video can be used while camping for sleep, anxiety, or imposter syndrome.
Sleep: Often, camping means going to bed at 9pm, which can be very hard if you’re not accustomed to it. You may also be in an uncomfortable sleeping bag or listening to someone snore. Meditation helps you sleep by focusing on your breathing and lowering your heart rate.
Anxiety: You want to enjoy the great outdoors, but you can’t stop worrying about Bigfoot, bears, and if you left your front door unlocked. Acknowledge those anxious thoughts and let them go with meditation.
Imposter Syndrome: Some would say that the sounds of nature should be their own source of meditation content. If you can’t “just relax” with your eyes closed, it’s okay to let a professional guide you.
The Wyze app needs camera hardware to work, but it’s accessible. Their most basic camera costs $29.99. It’s incredibly reassuring to have an app that shows you exactly what’s going on at home. Home camera apps like Wyze have settings that alert you to movement and include two-way microphone/speaker features. You may have been able to take your dogs into the woods, but that isn’t the case with all pets. In fact, your cat was waiting for you to leave to knock over that lamp.
Happy travels from the GlampLyfe team! Follow us on Instagram for more info and updates!