Summer’s final month is upon us, which means we’re smack in the middle of premium camping season. Grabbing a tent and embarking out to whatever level of campsite you prefer is a great way to experience all the outdoors has to offer, and the variety of campgrounds available means that the options for any level of camper are plentiful.
Similarly, there is a large ecosystem of apps that make those options easier to access, from cataloging the thousands of campgrounds available on federal and private land to providing useful, and in some cases potentially lifesaving, tools. So, before you set out for your own solo expedition, family campout or final summer getaway, check out Paste’s choices for the top camping apps available.
The name tells you exactly what you’re getting with this one. Like any of the infinite resources boasting the Wiki prefix, Wikicamps is the best completely user-generated tool available to would-be campers. The app collects information on everything from campgrounds to dump stations and water taps across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia. A robust amount of search filters also aid users on their trip to campsites, letting you find specific necessities, bodily or otherwise. The option to download and access maps without an internet connection is valuable as well.
When it comes to the expansive lands under the National Parks Service, why not simply go directly to the source? The official NPS app gives users easy access to all National Parks that offer spaces for camping. The app doesn’t let you book sites directly through the app, however, instead linking to each park’s official website for those services. Despite that bit of clunkiness, the app does contain a wide array of information specific to each park under federal purview.
While the National Park Service has federal lands covered with a proprietary app, it doesn’t populate options from the vast network of state parks. That is where Reserve America picks up the ball. This app lists campsite options from parks in 30-plus U.S. states with booking tools available in-app. It also provides access to private campground companies, including KOA. The major drawback is its lack of tools. Finding and booking is simple, but the lack of map and user feedback tools hamper it a bit.
The first step to any camping trip is to find a place to plant your temporary homestead, preferably near some amazing views and outdoor activities. The Dyrt is your one-stop shop for scoping out the right campground for you. The app collects photos, videos and user reviews for over 42,000 campgrounds across the nation, including many featured on other apps on this list. Users can book campsites directly through the site as well. The broadness of its options can seem daunting, but you can’t go wrong if you want one app to see every campsite at your fingertips.
Cairn is a must-have for dedicated hikers and those drawn to exploration in natural habitats where cell phone service isn’t the best. The app’s developers built out a valuable collection of tools to help keep hikers safe, including downloadable maps, algorithmically-calculated route information and community-sourced maps highlighting where cell service is available in remote areas. Cairn also keeps hikers in contact with loved ones, providing updates on hiker status and location tracking to help ease the minds of anyone who may be worried about you going off into the wilderness.
The detail-oriented and strict planners among us all will find much solace in using FreeRoam. The app helps you plan every aspect of your camping trip, from helping map out travel times to find the premiere time to get on the road to plotting out supply stops along the way. Campgrounds are also searchable, though booking tools aren’t available in-app. FreeRoam is also great for RV campers as its mapping tools include options for vehicle height, directing users to accessible roads that won’t turn a bridge into a can opener.
While a lot of apps include activities information alongside campground listings, sometimes you just need an option with a specific focus. AllTrails is just that for the hiker in all of us. The app lets users discover more than 200,000 hiking, backpacking and mountain biking trails around the world. It also includes detailed descriptions and maps, helping even seasoned outdoorspersons find new discoveries to explore.
Boondocking is an app specialized to those looking for free campsites without extensive amenities. Perfect for fans of dispersed camping, users can search hundreds of campsites with user-generated information to help guide your decision. Just make sure you want a space that is more off-the-grid. Most of Boondocking’s options don’t have electrical or sewage hookups for RVs or tents. It also isn’t available on Android devices.
Outside of the most well-known peaks, a lot of mountains that campers may find themselves near can run together. PeakFinder is the app to help anyone put a name to those whitecaps. The app uses a compass and GPS information to provide a panoramic view of the surrounding area on your phone and show you the name and elevation of mountains in view. Users can also capture and edit photos of the panoramic views within the app.
Now that you’ve chosen your perfect campsite, you should also perfectly prepare for your trip. That’s where Packing List Checklist comes into play. There are numerous packing aid apps out there, but Packing List Checklist stands apart as one of the best for iOS users. The app offers extensive categories of packing lists, letting users customize planning options based on everything from family structure to location. It also includes a Pick Suggested Items option that creates itemized lists with little effort. Users can save and reuse lists as well, making it handy for the future as well.