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22 Must-Have Apps for Boondocking in the US | BMPRO
22 Must-Have Apps for Boondocking in the US | BMPRO
Boondocking. Dispersed Camping. Going Off-Grid. Whatever you may call it, the recreational pastime of finding a remote place to spend a night under the stars has never been more popular.
While the idea of boondocking is centered on disconnecting from fast-paced modern life, smartphone apps have become a useful tool for campers getting out in the wild.
We put our adventure experts on the task of compiling a list of the most useful apps for planning and enjoying a successful off-grid camping adventure. Read on or use the menu below to dive in:
What is Boondocking?
The term “boondocking” has not yet made it into Webster’s dictionary, but when it does it will be near the definition for “boondocks: remote, thinly settled rural area.” It makes sense then that the concept of “boondocking” involves finding remote, thinly settled rural areas to enjoy, often with an RV, campervan, or tent camping setup.
“Dispersed camping” is similarly defined by RVCamping.org as “camping outside developed campgrounds.” That could be anywhere from acres owned by a neighbor and used with permission to National Forest or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land.
Wherever you set up for the night, dispersed camping or boondocking also means you will be on your own when it comes to services like trash removal, bathroom facilities, food preparation, firewood, and more. Many sites designated by BLM do include a fire ring, but you’ll need your own wood, fire starting material, etc., and you’ll be responsible for removing any trace of your presence when you leave your site.
What are the Best Smartphone Apps for Boondocking in the US?
As boondocking has risen in popularity, the availability of smartphone apps to serve the camping community has also grown. There are apps to help you find a camping spot, level your camper, read the stars, and get a good night’s sleep. Many are free or use a subscription model to offer premium or offline content.
Explore our list of tried and tested apps on your next boondocking adventure. And if you have a favorite we missed, we’d love to hear from you.
Best Apps for Scouting Boondocking Locations
The first step to any boondocking adventure is finding a safe and legal place to spend the night. Many of the location-scouting apps below succeed because they leverage the incredible network of real campers to share their experiences and reviews. A few of our favorites include:
- iOverlander: Non-profit run with worldwide data on all manner of dispersed camping spots and necessities, from parking lots to dump stations to off-grid camping sites. (iOS, Google, and web versions, Free)
- Allstays: Find campgrounds, RV parks, and dispersed camping spots with or without internet. (iOS only, $9.99 for multiple devices)
- Campendium: Massive database of camping spots with a section for Free Camping and resources. (iOS and web, ad-free for $20/year)
- The Dyrt: User-driven listings with photos and reviews of sortable sites* across the US (iOS, Google, and web, *requires $35.99/year subscription for dispersed site listings)
- FreeRoam: Designed for boondocking especially, FreeRoam offers a rich database, guides, trip planning, and social features. (iOS, Google, and web, Free)
- Gaia GPS: Build maps for your off-grid trip, hike, or another outdoor journey with sophisticated GPS and offline* capabilities (iOS, Google, and web, *requires $39.99/year subscription for offline maps)
- Hipcamp: Upgrade your off-grid experience by renting a unique spot to camp from the “AirBnB of camping.” (iOS, Google, and web, Free)
- Outly: The perfect starting place for any adventure, Outly helps you find legal places to camp, hunt, fish, and ride off-road vehicles. (iOS, Google, and web, Free)
- Park4night: Another community favorite with user reviews, Park4night collects spots of all kinds to safely camp off-grid including parking lots, BLM land, and more. (iOS, Google, and web, Free)
Best Apps for Entertainment while Boondocking
Once you find the perfect spot to camp, you’ll be ready to relax. The following apps will help you enjoy the great outdoors, with a few comforts of home to accompany you.
- iHeartRadio: Tune into your favorite station while grilling or setting up camp with the most popular radio app solution from iHeartRadio. (iOS and Google, $5.99 and $12.99 monthly options)
- AccuRadio: Customize your campsite listening with more than 1,000 channels of free internet radio. (iOS and Google, Free with ads)
- Night Sky: A planetarium in your pocket, you won’t believe what you can see in the sky when completely off-grid including constellations, stars, planets, and satellites. (iOS only, Free with $4.99/month AR tours)
- Sky Safari: A more advanced and technical star gazing tool, Sky Safari offers offline capabilities to help you explore the night sky even without a cell signal. (iOS and Google, $1.99 with additional in-app purchases) – Bonus: available offline!
- iNaturalist: For the nature-lovers among you, iNaturalist helps you identify and share the animals and plants in the world around you with photos, location tags, and much more. (iOS, Google, and web, Free) – Bonus: available offline!
- Nature Passport: For explorers young and old, Nature Passport provides activities and even active safaris to help kids enjoy the great outdoors, wherever your travels take you. (iOS, Google, and web, Free) – Bonus: available offline!
Best Apps for Sleeping Well while Camping Off-Grid
Getting a good night’s sleep is often a challenge, especially for first-time campers used to the noise of home. Set yourself up for success with a level camper and keep some white noise in arm’s reach just in case.
- Camper Leveler: Make sure your RV or campervan is level for the night with this easy-to-calibrate and flexible leveling app. (Google only, Free)
- Caravan Level Remote: Level any camping vehicle remotely with this highly-visual leveling app. (iOS only, Free)
- White Noise Lite: Add a familiar sound to the wild sounds outside with 50 free pre-programmed sounds including rain, air conditioners, and colored sounds like white and brown noise. (iOS and Google, $1 for ad-free)
Other Must-Have Apps for Off-Grid Camping
Below are a few more of our favorite apps for going off-grid, including remote monitoring tools, weather trackers, and more.
ProSmart: Our very own DIY-friendly system allows you to easily monitor water levels, gas levels, tire pressure, temperatures, and battery charge while on your adventures, all from an easy-to-use app on your smartphone.
- My Radar Weather Radar: Keep an eye on the weather coming your way with this powerful and easy-to-use weather app complete with advanced alerts for rainfall and more. (iOS and Google, Free)
- AccuWeather: Trusted by campers and meteorologists alike, AccuWeather delivers hyper-focused forecasts and alerts to keep you safe and dry. (iOS and Google, Free with ads, $8.99/year for Premium)
- RV Dump Stations
Whether it’s your first boondocking trip or your thousandth, smartphone apps can support your off-grid adventure. We hope you enjoy the opportunity to get away from it all and off the beaten path. Travel safe!
For more camping tips from your friendly Aussie adventurers, sign up for the BMPRO Adventure Hub Newsletter.
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