Going Camping This Summer? Try New Parks Canada Learn to Camp App

By the time mid-summer hits, Canadian national parks are normally full to the brim with enthusiastic vacationers looking to get a real taste of the outdoors while the warm weather lasts.

Experienced campers probably know how much of a drag it can be to forget to pack that extra flashlight or rain tarp, which is partly why Parks Canada launched the new Learn to Camp mobile app.

Designed with the urban-dwelling first-time camper in mind, the Learn to Camp app provides campers with a wide range of photos, videos and information all on the basics of camping. The app teaches you how to go about planning your trip and helps you figure out how to set up your campsite—with additional pointers on typical stuff like building campfires, preparing for bad weather, meal planning and children’s activities.

Information on all 42 of Canada’s national parks has been built right into the app, including straight-to-the-point summaries about animals you might come across, driving tips, insider facts and park-specific activities.

“Along with the new Smartphone App, this initiative will allow all Canadians to gain the necessary skills in order to have an amazing experience near where they live and to instill in them the confidence to continue to find enjoyment in camping while connecting to the wonders of our treasured natural places,” said Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.

The four major information tabs of the app are Camping Basics, Camping Checklist, Recipes and Cooking, and Where to Camp. The Where to Camp tab will show you a list of all Canadian national parks according to province. And for our Canadien/Canadienne friends, the app is also available in French.

It’s clearly visible that Parks Canada put some hard work into its design and putting together the collection of multimedia information. The app looks very professional—much more so than many others—and is very easy to use. There are a lot of sections to browse through, but navigating through each page is quite intuitive throughout the entire thing.

Activity icons are listed on each park’s page to give campers a summary of what kinds of things they can expect to do during their trip. Each park page also has a toll-free phone number and a link to each park’s official webpage on the Parks Canada website for people who want more information. 

The video quality and variety of photos are quite outstanding and gives the app a real visual kick, making it all the more helpful for first-time campers. Even experienced campers can benefit. The interactive camping checklist that uses colour coded dots to keep track of gear is an organizational savior all on its own.

Keep in mind if you’re planning on using the app throughout the course of your trip, you’ll have to remember to bring some kind of power source to keep your device charged. The app is currently available for both iOS and Android devices free of charge from the App Store and Google Play, with Parks Canada having plans of bringing it to BlackBerry smartphones and tablets as well.

And so what if one of the main purposes of going camping is to escape the hustle and bustle of high-tech work and life? Chances are you might actually be a lot better off using the Learn to Camp app resources rather than completely trying to wing it, anyway.

Now if only someone could develop some sort of mobile app that works as a campsite delivery service for s’more supplies… just in case you get a sudden hankering for a few more of those marshmallowy bad boys at 3am. Then everything would be perfect.