The new WikiCamps version has been causing some consternation on social media so I thought I would do a new review of this essential travel app. In my opinion, the update has made using it more intuitive. Yes, it is different and that can be upsetting to some, but the basic functions of using filters to locate a spot on the map or searching for one are as easy to use as before.
Starting at the beginning, after updating the app or if you are a new user, you will get the login screen. Having a WikiCamps account provides a lot of benefits to you including having your trips and favourites backed up, so if you haven’t already got one, then I recommend you get one. If you have forgotten your password, enter something in the password box and if it is incorrect tap the ‘Forgot Password’ button and you will receive an email with instructions on resetting it. Android users usually use the same Gmail address when they replace their phones or tablets so this isn’t an issue and of course once you pay for it using that account it can be reinstalled on another Android device at no extra cost.
The next screen you will see is the ‘WikiCamps Works Offline’ one. This is one of the best features of the app – having maps and content available when the internet isn’t. I just select the states and territories we will need and the Maps item now, you can always download others later.
Finally, after reading the ‘Boring Stuff’ terms (does anyone read these?), tap the Accept link and you will see the welcome screen and a brief tutorial on using the main items that are new in the latest version.
On the right side of the screen you will see the orange Home button and below that provides access to the menu of features available in the app – below that are three buttons. The top one lets you change the map options and as well as changing to offline maps if you have downloaded them you can change the map view and turn on or off the trip route. The second one centres your position on the map and zooms into the area, you can then move the map around and zoom in and out using the ‘pinch zoom’ method. Finally, the last button lets you drop a ‘sorting pin’ anywhere on the map. This feature is one I hadn’t used in the previous versions but it is very handy. After dropping a pin in a location, you can then set filters to find the kind of accommodation or feature you are looking for by tapping on the word ‘filter’ at the end of the search bar. After selecting the filters you want, scroll down to the bottom of the filters menu and change the direction and distance slider to show sites only within the radius and direction you want. The direction option is very handy when you are on the road so you can narrow the search down to the direction you are travelling. Tap the Apply button to return to the map.
To view sites close to your or the pin location tap the ‘three dots and bars’ to the left of the search box. Tap any of them to go straight to that site to see details / reviews / fees and photos. To hide the results, tap this again (I did spend ages trying to figure out how to close it I must admit!). If on the map, just tap on a site to bring up the site at the bottom of the screen then tap the name in that box to bring up the same info. Note that you may need to zoom in on the map to separate sites so you can tap on the correct one.
You can add any site to Favourites or add to the trip planner or get directions once the information screen is showing or tap the three dots menu to the far right of the info box to do it quickly from there.
From the orange Home button, there are a range of features, including the satell
ite dish pointer, compass and trip planner which have all been brought over from the old version. Adding a new site, accessing the chat forum are there too and I like the way everything is accessible from the one place.
The trip planner has had an update, to use this select from the home menu then enter the trip name you want and the fuel consumption if you want the app to calculate this. Of course we use litres per 100km rather than Km/l – I can’t see why the app uses this odd method, but there are online converters to use to convert your vehicle’s usage – just use Google. Once you have your trip planner started, I have found that I used it this way – set your starting point by tapping the add button and locating the starting point and save it. I then exit the planner (top right) and use the normal map / search to locate the next site you want then open the info box and choose add to trip planner. I used ‘smart insert’ but often found I needed to remove / reinsert a few times as the trip would often add a return journey back to the last site for some reason. The trip green line doesn’t follow the roads very well either.
Tip: make sure that you ‘sync’ the trip before exiting the planner after making a change – use the circular arrows button to the right of the trip title.
Hopefully all these issues will be sorted in the next update as it is a handy feature but not very well implemented in my opinion.
The chat forum, while a handy feature is a little ‘clunky’ and slow in my experience and also not being able to view the forum in a web browser on the WikiCamps website anymore is a mistake I feel.
I hope this review has helped existing and new users.
WikiCamps Australia V3
Price : Free trial, in-app purchases (currently A$7.99 to buy)
Needs : 5.0+