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Tech Review: Apps make summer camping a little easier

Apps that help users stay connected.

Apps that help users stay connected. Credit: AFP / Getty Images

If Labor Day marks the end of your summer, you've got only three weeks left. For those heading to the parks, mountains or campgrounds for one last summer fling, these apps can make things smoother even when you're roughing it.

New York State Parks

(iOS, Android; free)

Whether it's a weekend getaway upstate or a day trip near home, this official app from New York State has information on regulations, activities and amenities at state-run parks, including 28 on Long Island. The app includes GPS map features that can be downloaded to your device so they can be accessed even if you don't have a data connection.


(iOS, Android; $2.99)

Hiking goes high tech with this app that uses GPS to track your trek. The app has information on your pace and distance and also keeps track of the amount of calories you are burning. Looking for some ideas where to hike? The company's website (mapmyhike .com) has thousands of routes you can download from its database. If the only hiking you do is when you walk Fido, the app has a mode to track that, too.

SAS Survival Guide

(iOS, Android; $5.99)

This app is not aimed at those whose outdoor activities are limited to a quick hike followed by a picnic, but it could be a lifesaver for extreme campers caught in an extreme situation. There's advice on surviving in all types of climates and locales, and a neat feature uses your phone's strobe to flash Morse code alerts. There's a free version available, but if you find yourself desperate enough where you need to know how long to cook poisonous ants to destroy the toxins, you'll probably be glad you sprang for the paid version.

Classic Camping Cookbook

(iOS; free)

This app from portable grill and stove maker Coleman helps campers go beyond the traditional can of beans around the campfire. In addition to offering recipes and meal ideas, the app helps you put together a list of ingredients that makes pre-camping grocery shopping easy. Recipes can be searched by food type, individual ingredients or categories.


Tech bytes


Hold the bacon

Which city's residents want to eat the healthiest? San Franciscans had the most searches for "healthy eating" on recipe site and, perhaps not surprisingly, also were No. 1 in searches for "kale." Yummly said New Yorkers were fourth highest in searches for healthy recipes. The city with the least searches for healthy eating was St. Louis, which was, however, first in searching for recipes with bacon. -- PETER KING

Don't slam on the breaks

If you're doing some personal Web surfing at work, tell the boss you're not cyberloafing, you're WILBing. Several studies found "workplace Internet leisure browsing," known by the acronym WILB, can help frazzled employees unwind and improve productivity if the breaks are short. A University of Cincinnati study presented last week found short online breaks can ease boredom and lower anxiety levels caused by workplace frustration.-- PETER KING

BlackBerry expands BBM

BlackBerry's popular BBM messaging system is now available to Windows phone users. BlackBerry, seeking to reinvent itself as a more software- and services-driven company as its smartphone market share dwindles, has been touting BBM's features in a bid to make it a more viable messaging tool for corporations and government agencies that require a secure messaging service.-- Reuters

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