By Cheri Sicard
A lot has been made about campground crowding here on RVtravel.com and with peak season about to hit, it’s a good time to sharpen your campsite-finding skills. Jared Gillis from All About RVs, one of our readers FAVORITE RV YouTube channels, is here to help with how to find campsites.
In the video below Jared shares all the apps and tools he uses to always find a great campsite, fully booked RV parks, as well as find new RV dispersed boondocking sites that are off the grid and not on the apps.
How to find campsites is a process the team at All About RVs has been refining for years. As this is a brand-new video, it is up to date with their latest methods.
A good app will save you lots of time and give you the convenience of having all the information you need in one place. In some instances, you can even book the campsite right from inside the app.
Some of the apps are free, and some have paid versions. Jared says he personally rarely pays for the subscriptions, but that a lot can be accomplished using the free versions. In fact, he says the bulk of what you want is in the free versions.
Be sure to watch the video to the end where he shares how to get some of the paid functionality of popular apps for free elsewhere.
Best campsite-finding apps
Here are Jared’s favorite campsite-finding apps and why he likes them:
#1 The Dyrt:
Jared loves the number of options and filters this app offers and says it is a great way to find out a lot about an area you plan to visit. There is a paid version, but a lot is available on the free version too. Jared likes The Dyrt because it’s a fast and efficient way to search for campsites as it gives you the ability to narrow down what you are looking for. For instance, you can search for sites with a strong Verizon wireless signal, or those that are ADA accessible, have pull-through sites, etc. You can also filter by price point and ratings.
If you do opt for the Pro version of The Dyrt, one of the best features is its offline maps that can keep you on track when you go out of signal range. Boy, I sure could have used this last year when I got lost in the remote hollers of West Virginia.
They also offer overlay maps. So, for instance, if you wanted to see the cell coverage in an area, or where the public lands are, you easily can at the touch of a button.
Lastly, know that if you book from the app, those reservations can come with 10% to as much as 40% discounts and skip extra booking fees. Learn more about The Dyrt here (and, hint, RVtravel.com readers get a free 30-day trial!).
Campendium is similar to The Dyrt in that even the free version has a lot of great features. Campendium has a large database of campsites to choose from and also has a lot of ways you can filter your search results, including by discount club.
The user reviews have always been a strong point of Campendium. They even have a Q&A section so that you can ask a question of people who have stayed at the campground in the past.
The pro version will give you map overlays, more information and greater functionality, but the free version is robust on its own.
This app has recently gone to a subscription model. A lot of the info here is similar to the first two apps, but AllStays also offers filters to alert you road hazards, clearance issues such as low bridges, or steep grades.
#4 and #5 Campspot and CampsiteTonight
These two apps both offer convenient in-app campsite booking.
If you are looking for unusual and unique camp experience, Hipcamp is the place to look. Unlike Harvest Hosts, which is a subscription service that gives you access to unique camping spots, Hipcamp is kind of like an Airbnb of unusual private camping spots.
Resourceful tools to find new campsites
Beyond those apps, Jared recommends these tools to find new off-grid campsites that nobody knows about. Well, almost nobody. He also goes over ways you can score a campsite at places that are normally booked solid!
USGS Maps with US Public Lands app: USGS maps will show you where BLM land and national forest land is. The inexpensive U.S. Public Lands app helps you find unique and uncrowded public land boondocking spots as it shows via satellite where all the public-use lands are. You will be able to see access roads, potential camping areas, the surrounding areas, etc.
Overbooked Cancellation Alert Apps
Jared ended the video with apps that can alert you when an overbooked park has a cancellation. We are talking about parks that are usually booked months in advance (the kind I would never go to because I never plan that far in advance).
But cancellations can and do happen, and these apps, which work similarly, can help you snag them. As not all of these apps operate off of the same database, it is a good idea to install several or all of them.
Watch the video below. These are tools that Jared and his wife end up using most often. It’s a quick overview, as he says each one of these apps has so many features he could almost do a separate video on each one.