Whether you’re a part-time RVer or living the full-time RV lifestyle, there’s a seemingly endless list of things to plan and consider. Fortunately, there's a bevy of useful apps to help you on your journey. Don't let life on the road intimidate you. These tried-and-true RV apps will keep you on track for a smooth and enjoyable trip.
RV Life for GPS Navigation
While Google maps works fine for standard vehicles, RVs present their own set of challenges that Google maps simply isn’t equipped to handle. Low clearances and bridge weight limits are just a couple of the unforeseen snags you can run into out on the road. Lucky for you, the RV Life app provides GPS navigation custom made for traveling with a camper. Just put in your RV’s height and weight, and RV Life will find you a safe route.
Better still, the turn-by-turn voice guidance will work even when you’re offline. So you can take your trek far off the beaten path secure in the knowledge that you'll be able to find your way even if you’re traveling into areas with spotty cell service. Just be sure to download your map while you do have cell service!
In addition to the top-notch GPS navigation, the RV Life app gives you access to reviews and rules for campgrounds across the nation. Is a campground pet-friendly? Does a campground have all the amenities you require? How do other RVers feel about the location? Filter by your required specifications to find the campground you need, while also seeing reviews from other travelers and getting helpful tips about camping in the area.
The one downside to the RV Life app is the annual $39 subscription cost, but it’s a pretty small price to pay for what you get. The CoPilot GPS app is a slightly cheaper alternative for navigation at only $29.99 a year, but you miss out on all the campground information, reviews, and helpful tips. Alternatively, if you’re not a regular RVer and are just renting one for a vacation, you can sign up for a free one-month trial to get you through your trip. Regardless of which one you choose, the ability to find RV-friendly routes is an absolute must.
Campendium and/or Allstays to Find Campgrounds and RV Parks
The truly adventurous among us will hit the road without a destination and just make it up as we go. But even if your RV journey has a definitive destination, you'll likely need to find places to stop for a night or two along the way. Whichever type you are, the ability to find quality campgrounds is essential for a worry-free experience. You don’t want to get to a campground only to find out that your dog is not welcome or that the fees are higher than you expected.
A great resource for finding destinations and stops on your RV adventure, Campendium comes highly recommended by RV pros. Often considered the go-to for finding RV parks and campgrounds, Campendium lets you filter by price point, available amenities, recreation options, discount clubs, and more. While there are more features available if you sign up for a premium membership, the free version offers more than enough to help you find the perfect stop on your RV adventure.
Allstays is another solid choice for finding RV parks, boon-docking sites, and dump stations, but it comes with a $34.95 annual price tag. For your money, you get superior filter options, additional information like weather and trail maps, and it isn’t bogged down by ad space. If you’re okay shelling out the extra cash for it, this is another great option that we highly recommend.
US Public Lands for Free Camping and Boondocking Sites
Sometimes popular camping destinations can be a drag because of overcrowding. Or maybe you want to avoid the fees that come with a stay at an RV park. Boondocking on public lands is a popular alternative for the more adventurous types. According to the Bureau of Land Management (or BLM), campers are allowed to stay on undeveloped public land for up to 14 days. This can be an appealing alternative to staying at a developed campsite. But how do you know if a prospective campsite is on public land or not?
Enter the US Public Lands app from Two Steps Beyond. With this handy tool, you can see what type of land you are on, whether it is BLM, Forest Service, National Park or private property. BLM oversees about one out of every 10 acres of land in the US, so there’s a lot of free camping space out there. Many of these places are the hidden gems that will make your journey unique. US Public Lands will help you find and enjoy these spots secure in the knowledge that you are welcome to camp there.
This one comes with a nominal one-time cost of $2.99. Pretty good bang for your buck, all things considered. The cash you’ll save from getting one free night of camping will more than make up for it.
Dark Sky for Weather Notifications
Weather can be one of the most perilous variables when you’re on any camping excursion. It can affect when to hit the road, when to bring an umbrella, and whether or not to wear sunscreen. The list goes on. If only your phone had an app that would alert you when there was a sudden rainstorm on the way or a government issued weather alert...
You know where this is going; the Dark Sky weather app can do just that. Early morning updates and detailed hourly forecasts will help you plan out each day. But on top of its comprehensive forecast capabilities, the customizable notification settings will help you ensure you’re never taken by surprise. It can notify you when it’s going to rain in your exact location or when the UV index rises to dangerous levels. At only $3.99 to purchase and free to use, it’s easy to see why many full time RVers consider this a staple.
Bonus: Nomad Near Me app for Meeting RVers
Okay, so this one isn’t as time tested or highly regarded as the other apps on this list, but it’s a pretty nifty idea. The Nomad Near Me app is for finding and keeping in touch with fellow RVers out on the road.
Picture this: You’re at a campsite and hit it off with your neighbors. You’re about to leave, so you exchange information with your new friends, hoping to meet up with them sometime. But how will you know when you’re traveling in the same area again? Wouldn’t it be neat if you had an app that would notify you when your new RV friends were in the same area as you? Well, it would be and it is.
The Nomad Near Me app lets you make friends with people and notifies you when they’re nearby without giving out your specific location. That way, you can message each other and decide if you want to meet up without sacrificing your personal privacy. It’s a fairly new app, but it’s received mostly positive reviews and is completely free to use. Pretty cool, right?