9 Essential Apps to Download for Your Next Camping Trip
Whether it's a long-weekend getaway, an extended summer holiday, or an outdoor winter excursion: there's always a great time to go camping!
As you take stock of your gear, suit up your camper van, and prepare for your first, third, or twelth adventure of the year (don’t forget a portable power station), we thought now would be a good time to share some indispensable mobile apps that will help make your next camping expedition both effortless and unforgettable.
Finding and Booking Campsites
Step 1 of your adventure is of course finding and booking a destination. While a Google search may get you halfway there, we believe the following apps are definitely worth your consideration with the specialized value and benefit they bring to your camping experience.
And remember: With more people taking to the outdoors than ever before, campsites are sure to fill up quickly—particularly in the spring and summer months. Be sure to reserve your location early before all the best spots are taken!
Highly rated on app stores and beloved by users everywhere, The Dyrt is a fantastic all-in-one resource for discovering your next outdoor destination. And there’s over 42,000 to choose from, including RV parks, national and state parks, hipcamps, cabins, and sites for glamping.
The clean interface is easy to navigate, and the interactive map makes it a joy to filter down your choices based on the experience you’re looking for. Once you find the perfect spot, you can book the site right from the app.
A big part of what makes The Dyrt so special is its emphasis on the community. Thousands of passionate campers regularly contribute photos and peer reviews to the database, lending their personal stories to the campgrounds. There’s also the Campfire forums, an invaluable resource to share camping advice and recommendations with new friends. We love the sense of human connection here that you wouldn’t otherwise find from a Google search or Yelp review.
The Dyrt also offers a premium subscription, which opens access to their PRO maps for finding free camping sites on BLM (Bureau of Land Management), NPS (National Park Service), and USFS (United States Forest Service) land. Additionally, you’ll enjoy discounts up to 40% on select campsites and zero booking fees.
If you’re not sure yet the $36.99/year upgrade is worth it, there’s also a 7-day free trial available, which is perfect for testing out the waters on your first trip.
Adventure is at your fingertips with the official Recreation.gov app, designed to be your on-the-go solution for finding and reserving incredible camping destinations across America’s federally owned land.
From within the free app, you can review location details of over 113,000 campsites, which can be filtered by price, type, amenities, and real-time availability. The interface offers a streamlined approach to both book your site and acquire any permits or passes (for hunting or fishing) you might need to fully utilize the land.
One of our favorite features is how you can custom tailor your experience through the Trip Builder to plan a truly awesome adventure. In addition to booking your stay for the night, you’ll find countless opportunities to explore the surrounding area further, such as wildlife reserves, historical sites, ranger-led tours, and even cave explorations.
If you’re someone who likes to travel without making plans, a nifty feature of the app allows you to simply show up to any unreserved campground, scan the unique QR code posted onsite, and claim your spot through the integrated payment portal.
For those who prefer to stray off the beaten path, FreeRoam is our top pick for finding the best public land for boondocking (free camping).
The interface is entirely map-based, where you can search for the perfect spot to set up camp that’s either as wildly remote or as accessible as you want—and you can certainly find some hidden gems here. FreeRoam is supported by a network of peer reviews that help you filter sites based on factors of crowdedness, noise level, shade, cleanliness, and safety.
The platform is run by a non-profit that “seeks to connect campers with nature in a sustainable way” by educating and building a like-minded community. So, if you’re looking to expand your appreciation of the outdoors, then this is definitely the app for you!
Friendly tip: if the idea of living off the land sounds intimidating, their handy how-to guide is a great resource for boondocking beginners.
Camping doesn’t always have to be the traditional experience. For a chance to explore exotic getaways and unique overnight stays, Hipcamp is the perfect app for embracing adventure.
By connecting land owners with good-natured travelers, Hipcamp creates an opportunity for people to reconnect with nature and discover new cultures across America. Whether it’s wide open, rural spaces or even a bit of well-deserved luxury, you’re sure to find a memorable experience when searching for one-of-a-kind campgrounds, RV parks, cabins, treehouses, yurts, or a cozy tent on the beach.
For RVers and Vanlife
While it’s possible to search for RV parks in the apps listed above, this style of camping isn’t necessarily their area of specialty. For those who love to experience the world from the window of a camper van, these next two apps definitely deserve your attention.
Allstays – Camp & RV
One of the highest rated camping apps for over a decade, Allstays is a must-have resource for life on the road. While you can use it to find pretty much any type of campground across 34,000 sites, we find it particularly useful for RVers.
Allstays helps you plan the best possible route from point A to B, allowing you to check current road conditions, search for rest stops, dump stations, RV supplies and services, and stay alert for low bridges or steep roads. You can also monitor the weather of your destination with GPS-based precision, instead of relying on inaccurate weather reports of the broader surrounding area.
Campsites can charge a lot these days for overnight RV parking, but Allstays helps you find plenty of free alternatives that are just a few miles down the road. It’s for this reason that you shouldn’t let the app’s one-time fee of $9.99 dissuade you—it will more than pay for itself with how much you’ll save on parking alone.
No RV? No problem! CNBC has described Outdoorsy as “what the future of adventure travel looks like,” and we wholeheartedly agree. It’s the ultimate app for renting an RV, camper van, or travel trailer for your next weekend getaway.
Renting the wheels of your dreams is unbelievably easy. Just choose a privately owned unit that suits your fancy, and then have it conveniently delivered to your location—even directly to your campsite. Plus, each rental includes free roadside assistance for that all-important peace of mind when traveling.
Finding Your Next Trail
Hanging around the campfire is a fine pastime, but the real adventure starts once you venture into the wilderness.
Discovering the best hiking, running and biking trails around the world is what makes AllTrails an essential download for outdoor recreation.
Over 200,000 hand-curated maps are backed by crowd-sourced photos and reviews from millions of users, so chances are high you’ll find a trail that’s been vetted and approved by the community.
AllTrails contains several safety features that are especially reassuring for solo travelers. During your trek, the app turns your phone into a GPS that tracks your progress along the trail so you won’t get lost. The Pro version allows you to download the maps for offline use, as well as utilize the Lifeline feature, which lets you assign safety contacts who can track your trail progress in order to minimize the risk of going MIA.
Safety and Survival
Not that you should expect something to go wrong, but it’s never a bad idea to prepare for emergencies when out in secluded areas. Before venturing off-grid, we strongly advise downloading these two survival apps to your phone. Better safe than sorry!
First Aid: American Red Cross
From CPR to dressing a wound, the First Aid app by the American Red Cross can be a literal life saver for unexpected mishaps in the wild.
Videos, interactive quizzes, and step-by-step advice can help you brush up on first aid knowledge in a pinch—and in truly dire moments, the app integrates with local 9-1-1 emergency right from your phone. Perhaps most essentially, all of its content can be preloaded on your device for instant access even outside of WiFi or cellular service.
Army Survival Skills
Can you confidently identify a medicinal plant from a poisonous one? Would you be able to start a fire using only primitive tools around you? Me neither.
Thankfully, hundreds of reference pages are available at our fingertips that teach everything from tying ropes and knots, to plant and animal identification, to surviving in desert, tropical, and freezing environments—all without enlisting in the army!
Take Your Limitless Journey
Now that your mobile device is loaded up with the most essential camping apps available, it’s time to select the best portable power station for your travels. With the ability to keep devices charged and ready wherever go, you can take your outdoor adventures beyond limits you ever thought possible!
||Long-lasting power away from home|
For help deciding which portable power station is right for your needs, consult our online store for more details on each product – or check out this article for a breakdown of their features and use cases.
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