You’d love to get away for a few days and some friends of yours will be camping at a picture perfect lake in the mountains just a few hours from where you live. Your work at home job allows you to work anywhere as long as you can get your assignments and turn in your work.
What you do? You have a cell phone and a decent data plan. You could use your phone to set up a WiFi hot spot, but you don’t know if there will be cell coverage?
Or, perhaps you are on an extended camping trip. You want to explore the mountains and deserts of New Mexico. There are hundreds of beautiful, picturesque spots where you can set up your rig. There is just one thing. Your business creating and maintaining websites for your clients requires you have continuous, reliable internet service.
How do you plan your journey? You know you have got to stay in range of a cell signal. How do you find the best cell phone coverage? How do you ensure reliable service?
If you get there and you find your cell just won’t connect. You could use a WiFi hot spot, but how will you know if you are near a WiFi hot spot?
Let’s take a look at a few apps which will help solve these problems.
Will I be in Cell Phone Range? Consult “Coverage?”
There is nothing like having to make a cell phone call only to look and find there are no bars on the signal strength indicator. This is even worse if you were planning to use your phone to set up a WiFi hot spot because you needed to complete some work.
There is an app called, “Coverage?” from Two Steps Beyond that takes almost all the guesswork of knowing if you will be able to find a cell phone signal.
Coverage? combines the cell phone coverage maps of four major cell phone carriers.
There is no internet needed. The proprietary maps are stored within the app on your device. You can find out where you can get a signal even if you don’t have one.
The maps cover the entire continental USA, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
You can get Coverage? for your IPhone and Android phones and devices. The full version of the app sells for $2.99. There is a “Lite” version that is free to download with in-app purchases.
A word of caution. Finding cell phone service in remote areas can be iffy. If you truly depend on your cell, you might consider getting a signal booster or some other device that extends the range capabilities of your phone.
Need WiFi? Here Are Some Apps to Help You.
You meet your friends at the mountainside lake. The spot is even more beautiful than they described it. However, you just can’t get a cell phone signal. Don’t worry, all is not lost. There could be a WiFi hot spot nearby. But, how do you find it?
There are several apps available to help you find nearby free WiFi hot spots. WiFi hot spots are just about everywhere with more popping up every day. Truck stops, coffee shops, restaurants, and motels are all likely WiFi hot spots.
This app boasts over 2 million hot spots. They encourage their users to post new hot spots thus updating the database. You enter your location and the app shows you the nearby hot spots on a map which makes it easy for you to find the hot spot.
Wi-Fi Finder also lists the passwords for free WiFi hot spots. However, with passwords being changed often, the password listed may be out-of-date. The app is available for IPhone and Android. Wi-Fi Finder is free to download. Wi-Fi Finder Pro retails for $0.99.
Boasting over 100 million WiFi hot spots and passwords, WiFi Map is a handy WiFi finder. Besides helping you find hot spots, this app comes with a network scan and speed analyzer. You can know the speed of your connection.
WiFi Map is available for IPhone and Android. WiFi Map is free to download. WiFi Map Pro retails for $4.99.
Searching for free WiFi might be a breeze with WiFiMapper. This app has a database of nearly 500 million hot spots all over the world. WifiMapper gives you a lot of information about your hot spot. It can tell you what type of venue it is, how reliable the connection is, and even if they have good coffee.
WiFi locations are displayed on a map making locating the hot spot much easier. The app also encourages its user base to contribute info on new hot spots and changes to existing ones. They give recognition rewards for their best contributors.
There are filters within the WiFiMapper app to help you narrow your search. For example, you can search for the type of venue or type of network you want.
Using Technology to Enjoy Nature
Camping is rapidly becoming a blend of technology and nature. The internet, computers and cellphones combine to keep us connected even when we are far away from home. Solar panels, and deep cycle batteries can work together to make anywhere we can park our rig a camping spot. We are no longer dependent of campgrounds and the grid.
An entire new world is opening up to us. I don’t know about you, but I am excited about this. There will be challenges to be sure. I welcome these advances. With apps, like the ones listed above we can increase our opportunities to get out and enjoy nature.
What about you? Are there some apps you find essential for camping? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Post a comment down below and we’ll continue this discussion about camping technology.