Best Weather App for Outdoorsy Types, Camping & RVing

Finding the best weather app for us outdoorsy types can be a bit overwhelming. But, they are an essential trip planning tool for RVing, camping, and anyone hitting the road or planning an outdoor adventure. With so many different smart device online weather applications out there, we’ll show which is the best weather app that’s most beneficial for adventure seekers.

It’s funny, anything we plan outdoors is all based on the weather. Whether it’s planning an RVing, camping, hiking trip or a day on the water, the first thing we do is tap into our digital device weather app to see what the forecast is for the event.

Regardless of how we travel, whether by planes, trains or automobile, we need to be able get up-to-date weather at our destination as well as points in between.

And now, we (and you!) can do that! Weather apps provide the vital information that will help keep you and your family safe on the road, on the water and on the trail.

Most Popular Weather Apps

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Best Weather Apps for RVing & Camping

Smartphone Showing Active Storm on Weather Radar

How weather data was  collected before the internet

In the latter half of the previous century, weather information was compiled through various resources; from weather stations, weather balloons, satellite imagery and radar, to local meteorologist reports using computational methods. All of which were used to analyze weather data to make short-term weather forecasts.

However, that so-called technology surely wasn’t as sophisticated as it is today. Satellite data processing was extremely limited compared to current modern capabilities of weather data collection.

I remember being one of the ship’s navigators on the long range, high endurance Coast Guard Cutter Chase, one of my multi-faceted jobs was to collect weather data and compute it.

As archaic as it sounds, we collected that weather data just the same way as Explorers and Navigators, Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci, did previous centuries ago when ships were made of wood and men were made of steel.

We learned to visually read the sky and study the clouds through identification and movement.

That saying “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning” was quite literally, the next day’s weather forecast for us underway peeps. And, 99% of the time, it was correct. Dare I say, “the sky never lies”.

Intricately for the times, we’d measure the outside temperature from wet bulb and dry bulb thermometers in a wood box outside aft of the pilot house. I’d log humidity level through a thermo hygrometer. They certainly are not like the digital types you see in the windows of homes today.

On the bridge masthead, we had an anemometer that would show wind speed and direction.

And, with the help of our ship’s engineers, we’d get the sea water temperature through deep water soundings with thermometers secured on a lead line that also measured water depth. (Or, at least I think that’s how they did it)

And, one of the most important pieces of nav equipment that made us either sing for our supper or take a hard pass at eating anything was our onboard ship barometer. that measured barometric pressure. Those rapidly falling numbers below 1000 were not our friend unless you were on an instant weightless plan.

But then we got our first piece of ‘technology’. I couldn’t help being so excited *sarcasm* to get actual digital weather predictions via weather facsimile.

The stinky, rubbery paper with jiggly wavy lines was so illegible that we couldn’t make out what the heck we were looking at. And, the report was also stupidly outdated by the time we got it. Thus, ending up being a 2-point score right in the trash can.

My point is that’s all we had back then, just the same as those famous explorers Columbus and Vespucci did even centuries before me.

Today, I keep imagining how much easier my job would have been if I could have just whipped out my smartphone and opened my weather app. Oh wait, they actually did away with my job in the Coast Guard because now, ‘there’s an app for that’. *humor*

That said, I don’t think it would have been as much fun just pushing a button on a smartphone to get all that weather data as tech-savvy navigators do in this century.

And even today, I still look to the sky to get the weather by reading those clouds, putting my nose to the wind and silently estimating sunrise and sunset by gauging the sun to the horizon. I’m truly a dinosaur or even a fossil of my era when it comes to weather.

For all the non-mariner types decades ago, all they’d have to do is turn one of the 3 television stations and wait for the weather report. Even so, there was surely no fancy state-of-the-art radar imagery, hour-to-hour weather reports and 7-day forecasts.

Now, fast forward a few decades to today, weather reporting has taken the world completely by storm! Through the use of a simple weather app, getting up-to-date weather and forecast is literally at the tip of your finger.

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How weather data is collected today

So, as you see, weather reporting has really progressed so significantly in the past decades. Today, anyone with a smartphone is privy to dedicated 24-hour weather apps with state-of-the-art weather reports for every place on the globe.

Those weather apps allow users to simply plug in your locale and voila! Right in front of you, there’s the hour-by-hour weather, 7-day forecast, temperature readings, visibility, humidity and dew points, wind speeds and directions, UV index and even air quality reports and pollen counts. Heck, we can even see precise times when the sun and moon is going to rise and set down to the minute of any given location.

But look how long it took an old school ship navigator to get all of that weather data compiled and logged versus logging on your phone and seeing what the weather is going to do in 2 minutes or 2 weeks from now.

Young people today have no idea how lucky they are to not have to wait around for the weather report. They rarely have to hope the weather will hold out to go on that camping trip or outdoor adventure. Because they’ll know instantaneously through their smartphone.

As the saying goes, “there’s an app for that! Weather app, that is!”

What is a weather app?

A weather app is a digital application that’s is a sophisticated piece of software designed to provide users with current and forecasted weather conditions for a specific location or multiple locations.

A weather app collects raw data is technologically analyzed and processed through complex calculations to generate forecasts.

Weather app platforms then present app users   through an interface to display current conditions, forecasts, radar and satellite imagery and weather patterns overlaid on geographic maps.

When severe weather conditions such as tornados, hurricanes, thunderstorms and flash flooding is forecast, the app alerts its’ users with notifications and audible sounds.

Even more, each user can customize their chose weather app to display the weather in their specific geographical location, customized weather units of measure (e.g., Celsius vs. Fahrenheit) and set weather alerts for future locations.

But, as the saying goes, “stick around, the weather will change at a moment’s notice”, weather apps work a lot faster.

It’s amazing how a simple online platform can keep up with the weather around the globe through mach speed data collection to putting it in your hand. So Mr. Ben Franklin, put that feather in your cap! 

Common features and functions of weather apps include:

      • Current conditions
      • Forecast; 24-hour and 7-day
      • Interactive real-time radar and maps
      • Severe weather alerts
      • Historical data
      • Sunrise and sunset
      • Air quality index 

Plus, they all offer cute little widgets that offer quick access to weather info directly from your device’s Home Screen without even opening the weather app itself!

App users can also customize their weather app experience by selecting their preferred units of measurement (e.g., Celsius or Fahrenheit for temperature), setting location preferences, and adding multiple locations for weather tracking.

So, now that you know how weather data is collected, computed and filtered into a smart device platform, let’s see which weather app fits your outdoor adventures! 

Each weather app listed offers options to download on iOS (Apple) or Android smart device. Do know that we do not make any commissions on any of these smart device weather applications.


RadarScope App - Professional Weather Radar

If you’re an avid weather enthusiast, go with the RadarScope weather app that a lot of meteorologists use. There’s tons of radar features users can use for planning road trips or a day on the water. Its’ high-tech information provides a variety of real-time storm trackers, severe weather warnings and lightening alerts. iOS or ANDROID


The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel App Live Radar and Storm Tracker Interactive

The Weather Channel app is one of the best weather apps that many outdoorsy types use. It provides everything under the sun. This commonly-used app covers current weather, temperatures and live local radar. It also provides severe weather, lightening and pollen alerts. The weather app is a free download with no in-app purchases. iOS or ANDROID

NOAA Weather Radar Live

NOAA Weather Radar Live App - Rain Forecast and Storm Alerts

The NOAA Weather Radar Live (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather app informs users with real-time radar images, severe weather alerts, and accurate weather forecasts. The NOAA Weather Radar Live displays radar overlays showing areas of rain, snow and mixed precipitation in high resolution with vivid colors on the interactive map for the next 24 hours. Other features on this weather app include barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed, visibility, dew point info and sunrise and sunset time. iOS or ANDROID


AccuWeather App Weather Tracker - Forecast Alerts and Live Radar

AccuWeather weather app gives live weather forecasts for all seasons as well as accurate storm alerts and weather news. This weather app offers accurate hourly, daily and extended weather forecasts. It also offers live radar, real-time alerts, and severe weather warnings are available on-demand. And, it’s MinuteCast features minute-by-minute precipitation predictions. It’s a simple weather app that provides serviceable widgets. iOS or ANDROID

Weather Underground

Weather Underground App - Forecast Hyper-Local Data and Live Radar

The Weather Underground is one of the more comprehensive weather apps that features basic weather forecasts and radar. It also provides important health info such as local flu outbreaks, pollen counts and UV risks. Weather Underground provides widgets and hyper local weather. iOS or ANDROID

Storm Radar

Storm App - Weather Radar and Maps Tornado and Hurricane Tracker

Storm Radar weather app users can track the most severe weather in real-time. This powerful, high-def NOAA radar and tornado tracker is designed to help users stay up-to-date to literally, weather the storm safely. The Storm Radar app helps users understand weather like never before with easy-to-understand advanced high-definition mapping technology (the same technology the Weather Channel depends on)Users can view live current weather patterns around the world as they happen with incredible predictive radar. iOS or ANDROID


Weather Bug App - Weather Forecast Local Radar Live Map and Alerts

From storm warnings to pollen levels, WeatherBug is a simple user-friendly weather app that also shares current atmospheric trends. It delivers the fastest alerts and best real-time current, hourly and 10-day forecasts. WeatherBug has 18 different weather maps including Doppler radar, lightning, wind, temperature, alerts, pressure, and humidity. WeatherBug offers lifestyle forecasts, enhanced Interactive maps, and weather alerts. And, users can also customize alerts and display weather widgets. iOS or ANDROID

Always On Liberty #1 Weather App

Now, since we enjoy applying humor to oh crap, batten down the hatches or drag out the beach umbrellas and margaritas weather forecasts, our all time favorite is Carrot Weather!

Carrot Weather

Carrot Weather App - Humorous Crazy Powerful Weather App

Carrot Weather is my all-time personal favorite weather app because it features funny, sarcastic and witty quotes to brighten even those hair-raising, super crappy weather days. Joking aside, like all other weather apps, Carrot Weather offers users simplified weather forecasts, temperatures, humidity, etc. Users can opt for the premium-paid version where users also get 70 years of quirky weather history and lots of cool weather widgets. iOS or ANDROID

Wrapping up

As you see, it’s way easier to plan your road trips and RV adventures with a touch of the button. For destination trip planning, we use RV LIFE Trip Wizard to get us to our camping destinations utilizing RV-friendly routes specific to your RV and travel preferences. But, to keep track of the weather and forecasts, we use any one of these weather apps to keep us safe on the road and at our destination.

Pairing with this helpful information, we know exactly what to do in the event of a weather emergency. And as always, we stand ready with our emergency bug out bag should we need to evacuate.

Look, it’s important to take the weather seriously. By taking smart precautions, it can help save you from planning frustrations. Even more importantly, it might save you or your family’s life.

✰✰ WEATHER PRO TIP ✰✰ Before downloading any app, we do suggest reading about each app and the fine print, including in-app purchases and location tracking.

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More RVing Weather Tips

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✰ How to Survive Winter RV Camping in Cold Weather & Snow

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