Last Updated on 11/23/2023 by Glynn Willard




Whether you’re camping on public lands, in national forests or in parking lots, the right boondocking app will simplify your process for finding free camping spots.

Of course, the list of apps for boondocking has grown and will continue to do so as boondocking becomes more popular.

It’s tough to narrow down the best camping apps for boondocking since different users have different needs.

So, let’s look at each app individually so you can find the one (or three) that best fits your needs for finding a great boondocking spot.

Some are specific to a particular style of dispersed camping such as van life. But you’ll find all can be applied to most styles (RV, tent or van) to find free campsites.

And you don’t have to live fulltime or part time in a van or RV, these apps are also applicable to road trips to find free boondocking sites.
 

 

Best Boondocking App

 
We use boondocking apps to find free dispersed camping, potable water, dump stations and regular campgrounds.

But many of the newer apps have evolved past just showing boondocking locations on BLM land. Their building community into their app.

The newer apps are making fulltime RV living and vanlife a whole lot easier! Every app listed is built for both Android devices and ios devices.
 
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  • Boondockers Bible
  •  

     

    Boondockers Bible Boondocking Map may not be an app, but it’s priceless for finding boondocking locations that have been reviewed by seasoned boondockers.

    It’s an amazing supplement to many of the apps, which will give you honest feedback, road conditions, crowds, cell reception, nearby dump stations and more.

    • Does Boondockers Bible Boondocking Map have a free version?
    •  
      Yes, Boondockers Bible is a free website without a paid version.
       

    • Can you use the website without creating an account?
    •  
      Yes, it’s the most comprehensive free information available for boondocking.
       

    • Do you need an internet connection or cell service for the website to function?
    •  
      Yes. But to solve this, I do my research while I have data, take screenshots and use GPS coordinates on the phone and truck navigation.
       

    • Does Boondockers Bible have offline maps available for offline use?
    •  
      No.
       

    • What kind of map layers and map overlays are available?
    •  
      There are no overlays, yet. But every site review discloses everything map overlays disclose. But, I hear some overlays are coming!
       

    • Does it have cell service overlay?
    •  
      No, it’s not necessary since many of the reviews by seasoned boondockers disclose the cellular coverage.
       

    • Does it give you GPS coordinates that are easy to copy and paste?
    •  
      Yes. This is a huge benefit.
       

    • Are road conditions to boondocking locations disclosed?
    •  
      Reviews state whether it’s big rig, small camper or just tent friendly. And just about every review discloses the road conditions.
       

    • Is the user interface easy to navigate?
    •  
      Yes, it’s simple and I like simple!

     
    Boondockers Bible is a tried and true educational website for boondockers and belongs in every RVers or vanlifers arsenal.

     

     

  • iOverlander
  •  
    Best boondocking apps
     

    iOverlander app is and always has been my favorite app for finding boondocking locations. It’s the first app I open when planning the next camping location.

    It’s a no frills, robust system with a lot of locations and reviews on those locations.

    • Does iOverlander have a free version?
    •  
      Yes, iOverlander is a free app without a paid version.
       

    • Can you use the app without creating an account?
    •  
      Yes, but to leave a review on a site, you need an account.
       

    • Do you need an internet connection or cell service for the app to function?
    •  
      Yes. But to solve this, I do my research while I have data, take screenshots and use GPS coordinates on the phone and truck navigation.
       

    • Does iOverlander have offline maps available for offline use?
    •  
      No.
       

    • What kind of map layers and map overlays are available?
    •  
      There are no overlays.
       

    • Does it have cell service overlay?
    •  
      No.
       

    • Does it give you GPS coordinates that are easy to copy and paste?
    •  
      Yes. This is a huge benefit.
       

    • Are road conditions to boondocking locations disclosed?
    •  
      It states whether it’s big rig, small camper or just tent friendly. And just about every review discloses the road conditions.
       

    • Is the user interface easy to navigate?
    •  
      Yes, it’s simple and I like simple!

     
    iOverlander is tried and true and belongs in every RVers or vanlifers arsenal.

     

  • Freeroam.app
  •  
    best boondocking apps
     

    I have always felt like freeroam.app and iOverlander should be packaged together.

    The map overlays on freeroam are user friendly and essential to living on the road.

    • Does Freeroam.app have a free version?
    •  
      Yes, freeroam is a free app without a paid version. It’s a nonprofit and I encourage you to donate, so the founders continue to maintain the app.
       

    • Can you use the app without creating an account?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Do you need an internet connection or cell service for the app to function?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Does freeroam have offline maps available for offline use?
    •  
      Yes, you can set it to record your search and findings to the local device (your phone).
       

    • What kind of map layers and map overlays are available?
    •  
      Public lands, cell phone carrier networks, hazards, terrain and satellite.
       

    • Does it have cell service overlay?
    •  
      Yes and it’s accurate from our experience.
       

    • Does it give you gps coordinates that are easy to copy and paste?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Are road conditions to boondocking locations disclosed?
    •  
      It states whether it’s big rig, small camper or just tent friendly. Also, just about every review discloses the road conditions.
       

    • Is the user interface easy to navigate?
    •  
      Yes. Simple and easy.

     
    Freeroam.app is tried and true with great overlays and belongs in every RVers or vanlifers arsenal.

     

  • Sēkr: Camp, Vanlife, Overland
  •  
    Best apps for dispersed camping
     

    Sēkr is new to me, but after downloading and exploring the apps free version that’s in front of the pay wall, it passed the test with flying colors.

    It labeled many of the locations I’ve found in the past with a few reviews. If you want to load locations offline, get additional map layers and use trip planning tools, it will cost you an annual subscription of $19.

    I chose to stick with the free version. At my age, user profiles, passwords and subscriptions are getting a little overwhelming!

    They also offer a cool “Boondockers Welcome like” feature where you can host vanlifers on your property for a fee or find a location to patron.

    If you’re listening Sēkr, it would be nice if your website disclosed a little more about how your app works, pricing and specific features.
     

    • Does Sēkr have a free version?
    •  
      Yes. It’s robust enough to make it worth having the app in your arsenal.
       

    • Can you use the app without creating an account?
    •  
      No, you have to create an account to use Sēkr.
       

    • Do you need an internet connection or cell service for the app to function?
    •  
      Yes, unless you have the paid version and download your itinerary while online.
       

    • Does Sēkr have offline maps available for offline use?
    •  
      Yes, for $19/year.
       

    • What kind of map layers and map overlays are available?
    •  
      The paid version offers cellular data coverage, public lands, terrain, street and hazardous environments.
       

    • Does it have cell service overlay?
    •  
      Yes, in the paid version. But, if you click on a dispersed site, it will give you the cell coverage available.
       

    • Does it give you gps coordinates that are easy to copy and paste?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Are road conditions to boondocking locations disclosed?
    •  
      No and neither are the types of vehicles that can navigate the terrain. Some of the reviews disclose this info, but there are few. This will change over time.
       

    • Is the user interface easy to navigate?
    •  
      Yes, it’s modern and easy. Sēkr is well funded, so updates should be a regular thing.

     
    Sēkr is a robust up and coming app that’s making waves in the dispersed camping community. It’s worth having.

     

  • Google (or Apple) Map
  •  
    best boondocking apps
     

    Google or Apple maps are likely included with your phone and are a necessary app if you’re only using the free version of most boondocking apps.

    Before I began boondocking fulltime, I would not have expected Google Maps to be so applicable to finding free dispersed camping.

    We even pin drop every boondocking location, so we can return to that spot with ease (and share it with close friends on the road).

    • Does the app have a free version?
    •  
      Yes. Most of us have either Apple or Google Maps on our phones. They’re bot a powerful supplement to your camping apps.
       

    • Can you use the app without creating an account?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Do you need an internet connection or cell service for the app to function?
    •  
      Yes, unless you screenshot everything while you have coverage.
       

    • Does the app have offline maps available for offline use?
    •  
      Yes, if you download specific areas on your itinerary.
       

    • What kind of map layers and map overlays are available?
    •  
      Terrain, satellite, street view, traffic and hazards.
       

    • Does it have cell service overlay?
    •  
      No.
       

    • Does it give you gps coordinates that are easy to copy and paste?
    •  
      Yes. If you use something like maps.me, you can copy coordinates from Google maps easily and apply to your downloaded maps.
       

    • Are road conditions to boondocking locations disclosed?
    •  
      No, but the terrain and satellite view can give you a pretty good idea.
       

    • Is the user interface easy to navigate?
    •  
      Yes.

     
    Google or Apple maps are a must as a supplement to any of your boondocking apps. Most of the apps are built over Google maps API anyway.

     

  • US Public Lands App
  •  
    best boondocking apps
     

    US Public Lands is not a free app, but it’s not expensive. The important aspect of this app is knowing the boundaries of public vs private land.

    It’s not obvious when you’re out in the wild where boundaries lie and this app can help eliminate that unknown. It is legal to camp on any BLM land that doesn’t state otherwise.

    It’s not Ok to build new campsites on untouched BLM land for an RV. Use previously made pull-offs and designated RV spots. They’re very obvious.
     

    • Does the app have a free version?
    •  
      No.
       

    • Can you use the app without creating an account?
    •  
      No, it’s a paid app (but very inexpensive).
       

    • Do you need an internet connection or cell service for the app to function?
    •  
      No, the overlays reside on your mobile device rather than the internet.
       

    • Does the app have offline maps available for offline use?
    •  
      As long as the maps on your device are cached, the layers will work using gps only.
       

    • What kind of map layers and map overlays are available?
    •  
      All public lands are separately overlayed.
       

    • Does it have cell service overlay?
    •  
      No, you’ll need a different app for cell service overlay.
       

    • Does it give you GPS coordinates that are easy to copy and paste?
    •  
      This is not applicable since this overlays Apple and Google maps.
       

    • Are road conditions to boondocking locations disclosed?
    •  
      No, but you can get a good idea by zooming into the satellite view.
       

    • Is the user interface easy to navigate?
    •  
      Yes.

     
    They key benefit to owning this app is to have the boundary overlays for public lands stored on your device. This way it can be used offline, e.g., your phone’s in airplane mode except for the GPS.
    As we evolved in our boondocking, we began just looking for public land and spots that are not labeled on popular apps.

     

  • Campendium
  •  
    boondocking apps
     

    This is the first app I ever installed based on FB forum suggestions. It works fine, but always seemed to point us to where everyone else was camping.

    We prefer going off the beaten path, but that’s not to say this app doesn’t have value since the number of users have increased the number of listed boondocking locations exponentially.
     

    • Does the app have a free version?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Can you use the app without creating an account?
    •  
      Yes, at least my long time downloaded version does not require an account. But if you want to see more pics of locations, you’ll need an account.
       

    • Do you need an internet connection or cell service for the app to function?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Does the app have offline maps available for offline use?
    •  
      No, so plan in advance.
       

    • What kind of map layers and map overlays are available?
    •  
      Cell service and public lands, but they require the paid pro version.
       

    • Does it have cell service overlay?
    •  
      Yes, on the paid version, but each site selected lists the usable cell service carriers for that location in the free version.
       

    • Does it give you GPS coordinates that are easy to copy and paste?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Are road conditions to boondocking locations disclosed?
    •  
      Some reviews disclose the road conditions, but it’s not definitive.
       

    • Is the user interface easy to navigate?
    •  
      Yes.

     
    We found Campendium to do the same thing as a lot of the others, but it just seems more corporate to me with a lot of users.

     

  • The Dyrt
  •  
    boondocking apps
     

    This is also one of the first app I ever installed based on FB forum suggestions. It works fine, but was buggy and tried too hard to up-sell me on the pro version.

    It may a good solution for some, since it does what many of the other apps do, but it was the first uninstall from my phone.
     

    • Does the app have a free version?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Can you use the app without creating an account?
    •  
      Yes and no. You don’t get very far without being hounded to create a paid account.
       

    • Do you need an internet connection or cell service for the app to function?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Does the app have offline maps available for offline use?
    •  
      In the pro version, yes.
       

    • What kind of map layers and map overlays are available?
    •  
      Cell service and public lands, but they require the paid pro version.
       

    • Does it have cell service overlay?
    •  
      Yes, on the paid version, but each site selected lists the usable cell service carriers for that location in the free version.
       

    • Does it give you GPS coordinates that are easy to copy and paste?
    •  
      Not that I could find before deleting the app.
       

    • Are road conditions to boondocking locations disclosed?
    •  
      Some reviews disclose the road conditions, but it’s not definitive.
       

    • Is the user interface easy to navigate?
    •  
      It’s not difficult, but the constant barrage of up-sells are annoying.

     
    I don’t like what claims to have free features, but constantly tries to up-sell me or the endless pop-ups to upgrade to pro if I want to use that feature. If you’re willing to pay, it will do what you want it to do.

     

  • Harvest Hosts/Boondockers Welcome
  •  
    boondocking apps
     

    I’m basing this review on Boondockers Welcome. We were long time members before it was purchased by Harvest Hosts.

    Once the new owners took over, it became super corporate with a degradation in customer service. I’m a little biased since the original owners promoted our channel. With that said, it’s still a great program.

    It’s worth having if you live on the road full time or part time.
     

    • Does the app have a free version?
    •  
      No, it’s a membership based system.
       

    • Can you use the app without creating an account?
    •  
      No.
       

    • Do you need an internet connection or cell service for the app to function?
    •  
      Yes.
       

    • Does the app have offline maps available for offline use?
    •  
      No, it’s not applicable to Harvest Hosts since you have to book with the home/land owner.
       

    • What kind of map layers and map overlays are available?
    •  
      Not applicable.
       

    • Does it have cell service overlay?
    •  
      Not applicable, but many of the hosts let you know what cell service is available at their location. Many also offer wifi.
       

    • Does it give you GPS coordinates that are easy to copy and paste?
    •  
      Not necessary. Directions are disclosed once the site is booked.
       

    • Are road conditions to boondocking locations disclosed?
    •  
      Home/site owners will often disclose road conditions approaching the site.
       

    • Is the user interface easy to navigate?
    •  
      Yes, very easy.

     
    Despite not being Harvest Host members, we really like using Boondocker’s Welcome.

    The only caveat I have to offer is that its popularity has made it more difficult to book certain locations.

    But meeting and socializing with some of the hosts has left us with great memories.

 

Easy Boondocking Locations

 
When you’re on the road and in a pinch, look into the following locations if you just need a place to park for the night.
 

  • Casinos
  • Truck Stops
  • Walmarts
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Bass Pro Shop/Cabellas
  • Rest Areas
  •  

Keep in mind that many of the listed locations do not allow overnight parking, so make sure you call or check with customer service beforehand.

Many rest areas will post signs if overnight parking is not allowed.

If the parking lot belongs to a store or restaurant, it’s best to patron them if you’re staying overnight.

If you stay in a truck spot, avoid parking in truck specific spots. Look for RV or car parking instead.
 

Other Considerations When Boondocking

 

 
Potable water and dump stations are essential when boondocking. If you’re not coming straight from home, you’ll have to find these amenities on the road.

Many of the above apps also offer locations for dump stations, potable water and trash.

As long as you have one of the apps that does list those services, you’ll have what you need. We prefer to use iOverlander for those needs.

You can learn more in our articles: How To find RV Dump Stations and How Much Water Do You Need While Boondocking?

Also, please be a responsible boondocker and police your area before leaving.

“Leave no trace” isn’t just a set of words. If you’re going to use public lands, please keep them clean for all of us.
 

Wrapping Up The Best Apps For Finding Free Boondocking

 
You could easy saturate your phone with all of these apps for boondocking. But do yourself a favor and select the ones from this list that are most suitable to you.

Of course, while you’re on the road, it’s easy to download other options if those you chose are not to your liking.

In addition, many of the apps also list national parks, state parks and RV parks, which is helpful as an option.

Bottom line: go with the free versions first. You will likely find them to be enough to offer you a solution, although it may take two or three apps.

Have you found any great boondocking apps that you prefer?
 
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