Whether you’re pitching a tent or RVing across America, these 9 apps and sites will come in handy
Colorado campers are fortunate — there are thousands of potential camp spots all around them — but so much choice can be overwhelming. You can buy a print guidebook to read up on your options, and you can also browse for campgrounds on your laptop or mobile device. But there are also a few apps built to help you navigate the wild world of Colorado camping.
Apps for finding campsites:
More and more people are using campsite-sharing apps, both to find and book traditional campgrounds on public lands, and also to explore the newly opened world of individuals renting out campgrounds on private land. Here are a few that were most popular at time of publication, but as you can imagine, it’s a quickly evolving landscape.
The Dyrt(free, Apple iOS and Android) allows you to search, review and reserve campgrounds, based on crowdsourced, user-generated information regarding tent and RV sites, plus a few cabins. The Dyrt maintains an online space “for campers to connect with other campers” and boasts many thousands of reviews, campground photos, and videos for the 1,300 campgrounds it has listed in Colorado (out of some 35,000 total campgrounds nationally). The Dyrt also has direct-booking capability and millions of users.
Hipcamp(free, Apple iOS) is a camping and glamping list with 750 campground listings in Colorado, including private and public campgrounds. Outside magazine’s article, “Hipcamp Just Made Booking Campsites Way Less Terrible,”reports on the company’s efforts to keep public lands campground info open and accessible.
Campendium(free, iOS only) is another crowd-sourced database of campgrounds (28,000 nationwide), vetted and reviewed by nearly 200,000 members. They host an online community of campers who share site photos, GPS coordinates, camping fee updates, reviews and reports on local cell carrier coverage. The app has single-tap search for nearby RV parks, campgrounds on public lands, free camping sites, RV hookups, overnight parking and dump stations.
Tentrr(free, iOS only) specializes in upscale campsites, or “glampsites” on private land, and usually includes most of the gear you’ll need, making this service ideal for city-dwellers who don’t have their own camping gear. Tentrr also connects you to “CampKeepers,” or local hosts with “the inside info on all the secret swimming holes, best nearby adventures and quality local provisions.” At most Tentrr sites, you get a canvas tent on a wood platform, wooden camp chairs, fire pit, portable toilet, cookware and a queen-sized air mattress. In addition to glamping, they also list affordable primitive tent sites (which require you to bring your own tent and gear) located on private property.
Wikicamps USA($2.99, iOS only) is another powerful, crowdsourced database of campgrounds, but it has the added benefit of working offline when there is no cell service. You just have to pre-plot campsites, then download a personalized map onto your device before heading off-grid. Campground searches can be filtered by things like toilets, showers, hookups and pet-friendliness. In addition to basic details, each campground listing has user ratings, user reviews, prices, photos and a weather forecast.
For finding free campsites:
Free Campsites(free, Android) is a community-driven platform for finding campgrounds and campsites. Boondockers Welcome($30/year, boondockerswelcome.com) is a network of landowners who will let you boondock, or park your RV for free, on their property. Your RV must be self-contained (i.e. all sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation must happen inside the vehicle, especially a toilet system and a built-in grey water tank). Founder Marianne Edwards calls it, “the driveway equivalent of couch-surfing,” which “saves on camping fees, builds community, and beats staying in a Walmart parking lot.” Hosts pay nothing and RVers pay a $30 annual subscription for an unlimited number of stays at any of the 44 host locations in Colorado (or the 1,700 host locations across North America).
APPS FOR RENTING VANS, CAMPERS, TEARDROPS, AND RVS:
Outdoorsy(free, iOS) and RVshare(rvshare.com, online only) are two of the most popular peer-to-peer RV-sharing networks. Many renters list their vehicle on both sites. Both provide a reliable marketplace for renters and owners to list and book RVs, and both offer 24/7 roadside assistance and travel concierge services for travelers in most areas. Simply download the apps, open them up, and start browsing all the available campers in your town.