I joke around about how finding camping spots before apps came along must have been next to impossible. Campers actually had to talk to people or use a paper map to determine where to get away from it all.
Boondocking must have been quite difficult back in the days.
Today’s world has various apps to help anyone boondock, and Campendium is one of the best.
It’s now quite easy to find those remote places that really aren’t so remote anymore. Could Campendium be the demise of boondocking?
What is Campendium?
Campendium is a free user-generated app that is easily accessible on a computer or smartphone. It offers easy search capability either for a specific place to camp or via a specific location on a map.
Giving users access to thousands of free camping, state parks, campgrounds, Bureau of Land Management Lands (BLM), RV parks, dumpsites, and more, finding a campsite has never been easier. You can also access reviews for each site, including road access, cell service, and amenities, along with website links, directions, pictures, and more.
If you’re looking for more search capability and an ad-free experience, there’s a community-supported membership available for a low cost. This subscription level helps maintain and improve Campendium, making it an even greater tool for ease of finding the best campsites around the nation.
How Campendium Gathers Campsite Information
Started in 2012 by a full-time camping couple and expanding into an app in 2015, Campendium is the first platform that brings together camping information into a one-stop mobile-friendly app.
With over 21,000 campsites listed for RVers and tent campers alike, users add more every day. Once you have stayed or visited one of the sites listed on Campendium, you can leave a review that helps others determine if they would like to stay at the same spot.
Users can review the roads getting in and out of the campground, the noise level, the beauty, the activities nearby, the cell signal, or lack of all the above.
If you come across a campsite that isn’t listed on Campendium, you can even add that site to the list. Head on over to this form to send it in for approval.
Is Campendium The Demise Of Boondocking?
Because of its popularity, well-liked sites get promoted so much that they become overrun and over-used. And while most campers are quite competent when it comes to caring for Mother Nature and following the region’s rules, not everyone is a responsible camper.
With an ever-increasing amount of people traveling in RVs, vans, and even tents, many campsites in BLM lands and National Forests are either limited or shut down completely due to this lack of concern.
While Campendium is a great tool and makes finding ideal campsites quite easy, is it too easy?
The Environmental Impact of Land Overuse
When too many people converge upon one spot over a period of time, it can break down the natural qualities of the land. This breakdown can cause issues for the wildlife that call that area home, as well.
One of the most popular and impactful activities on land is a campfire.
Building campfires right next to water is also a no-no. No matter how pretty and serene it may be. The ash and remains of a campfire can easily get into the water. This results in decreasing the water’s health, changing the landscape quite dramatically for the wildlife that depends upon this water.
Another environmental impact is waste.
Many campers use the woods for their natural bathrooms. This doesn’t have to be a problem, but if we keep thinking that toilet paper will decompose overnight, it becomes a problem. Toilet paper doesn’t grow in the forest or anywhere naturally. If you use it, pack it out.
Trash such as toilet paper, styrofoam, plastics, and more has a great environmental impact.
The more people who use the same piece of land, the more trash there is to pile up, one micro piece of trash at a time.
It’s time to start taking care of the land that we love.
Why Some Boondocking Sites Get Shut Down
When too many people use it, some boondocking sites are closing.
This may not be because of misuse; it’s just used too much. And for us to be able to use it again for our recreational purposes, it’s sometimes best to close the land to human access while it recovers.
Doing this on and off is a simple solution to keep much of our beloved lands still available for our recreational uses, albeit on limited terms.
If we, as campers in general, keep heading in the same direction and not paying attention to the places we love to stay, we’re going to lose those places.
It’s as simple as when we were kids. If you don’t pick up after yourselves, you’re going to lose all your toys.
Social media and the internet. Oftentimes they warrant a love-hate relationship for many. While they can be great tools to help us connect and earn us income, they can also lead us down the wrong path.
A path of thinking everything in travel life is rainbows and unicorns, for example. Think about it? How many Instagram images do you see of beautiful people with their vans?
It makes you want to go where they are, doesn’t it?
And many people are doing just that. Going to all the places that they see on social media.
Expecting great things and no disappointments. Without any of the research or planning. And when they get there, with everyone else doing the same thing, most times, it’s not exactly what was portrayed.
By all means, use social media and the internet to be inspired. Use Campendium and the many other camping apps to find a campsite.
You should also use your brains before traipsing off into what is portrayed as paradise.
Remember, one person’s dream life is another person’s demise.
How to Be a Responsible Boondocker
So, if the land we love is being overrun and over-used, does this mean we should stop boondocking altogether? Is Campendium at fault for this?
Boondocking is still one of the greatest ways to explore the country. With millions of acres of land to camp on, boondocking can still be done, if done responsibly. Which then answers the other question. An app is not responsible for the care of the land that we love.
We are responsible for that care. Here are a few tips to help you to continue to be a responsible boondocker.
Never Overstay Limits
Rules are posted for a reason. One of the more common rules when boondocking is time limits. Much of the BLM lands have a 14-day stay limit. This reduces the number of people staying in one spot at one time.
Only Camp and Hike on Durable Surfaces
By camping in designated spaces and staying on designated trails, ultimately, we’re helping to keep the beauty in nature. This means we don’t get to make our own firepits or create new campsites. It means we use what’s already there to diminish the impact of what we have already created so far.
Pack It In, Pack It Out
Leave no trash, dump no wastewater. That’s what garbage cans and dump stations are for. If you have trash, you packed it in, you pack it out.
Leave It Better Than You Found It
The unfortunate truth is that some campers are trashing our public lands. It’s up to us to clean it up, or the managing districts will shut them down. So, it may not be your trash, but it is now your responsibility to pick it up as best as you can.
Campendium: The Demise of Boondocking is People
Campendium makes a camper’s life much easier when seeking out great places to spend the night. It is up to us to make sure that Campendium and other apps don’t become the demise of boondocking.
All those lessons we learned as kids? They carry a great deal of importance as campers.
So, remember to follow the rules, share when you can, pick up after yourself.
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