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8 Camping Tech Toys and Apps

Nervous about unplugging for that camping weekend? Relax. In the great outdoors, a little technology goes a long way.

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1. Let There be LED

Long-lasting and energy-efficient, light-emitting diode technology takes flashlights to the next level. Perfect for a family campsite, the Coleman 8D LED Quad Lantern comprises 24 LED lights in four removable sections. Keep them together for an ultra-bright lantern, or carry away one of the panels for a trip to the outhouse.

$79.99 at Canadian Tire

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2. A Place in the Sun

Lighten your load with the BioLite CampStove, a nifty two-pounder that can cook a meal-and charge an iPhone-using a handful of twigs. It’s a cleaner, safer option than an open fire.

$129 for pre-order at

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3. Friendly Fire

Durable, flexible and lightweight, the Powerfilm Foldable Solar Charger USB + AA is the ultimate in portable solar technology. A favourite with the military, the Powerfilm unfolds to recharge two AA batteries in four hours of full sun and also includes a USB port for charging smartphones, iPods and GPS devices.

$98 at the Mountain Equipment Co-op

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4. Heavenly Bodies

One of the coolest tools around, Google Sky Map is an interactive star chart that orients itself by using your Android’s clock, built-in compass and GPS. Simply point the phone towards the sky.

Free in Google’s Android App Store

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5. Perfect Shot

Document your adventures with the iPhone-camera-enhancing app Gorillacam and its battery of options: anti-shake, time lapse, auto-save, grid overlay, self-timer and unlimited rapid-fire shooting.

Free in the iTunes App Store

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6. Map Time

Forget expensive handheld GPS devices. Download Backcountry Navigator PRO GPS for a fraction of the cost, then preload free topographic maps before setting out. The GPS in your Android can access satellites for positioning even without cell service-priceless when you’re out of range.

$10.49 in Google’s Android App Store

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7. Ready or Knot

Learn the difference between a clove hitch and a bowline with the What Knot to Do app, a step-by-step illustrated guide to 70 must-know knots from Columbia Sportswear Co.

Free in the iTunes App Store

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8. Fast Track

Take a Boy Scout refresher course with the MyNature Animal Tracks app and its catalogue of tracks. Illustrations, measurements, animal calls, and information on gait patterns, habits and range help identify your finds.

$6.99 in the iTunes App Store