We get many emails of asking us for suggestions of the best overlanding apps or other resources to find camping and overnight spots or trails whilst out traveling. We ourselves have used many hundreds of resources before settling on a few that work and are helpful, so we decided to compile this list for all overlanders to see.
When traveling to completely unfamiliar areas (ie. A Big Road Trip), using apps and resources to scout overnight stops and camping spots along your travel route that can accommodate your overland rigs, is probably one of the most important parts of planning and executing an overland trip or expedition.
If you have info you would like us to add here or have more apps to add, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will add it.
Best Overlanding Apps
Hands down and without a doubt the Gaia GPS, Premium version is the best overlanding map app. We have driven thousands of miles with no set idea of where we would stop and we’ve used Gaia almost every time to pick a spot. Gaia GPS is a great platform. Many folks use that as their primary map on an iPad, you can also download data from friends.
Download maps if you are worried about being offline. We use satellite view and scout that way.
Gaia is powerful but user unfriendly. Gaia was by far the most robust, build and plan from the desktop/laptop, implement and use in the mobile devices.
As far as resources goes you are going to find a million apps but none like iOverlander. iOverlander has community sources for members and camping locations with reviews and suggestions all over the country. iOverlander is easy to navigate and informative for the most part.
Hipcamp will sometimes offer you camping spots with with tremendous views, etc that you can’t get without it.
Overland Bound App
Overland Bound’s app also offers community sources for members and camping locations with reviews and suggestions all over the country.
The Dyrt has been an amazing app! It had detailed BLM and US Forest maps that you can download offline. They saved us a couple of times when away from cell service.
If you want service where you camp download free roam. You can overlay cell service areas for each provider on the map.
OnXOffRoad is great app for land ownership and use information, especially when used in conjunction with Google Earth for instance for roads and terrain info.
Use the Google Maps app and read user reviews for all of the rest stops, truck stops, campgrounds, anything nearby highways, etc. We’ve found them to be very reliable and the most up to date/recent info in real-time. Google earth and look at the terrain as much as possible to scout it out. Google earth is great for roads and terrain.
It’s a USFS product and helps you find all the hidden little chunks of national forest. 99% of national forest areas allow dispersed camping for free.
Good Old Paper Maps
Contact the Bureau of Land Management and National Forest Service district offices where you intend to go off road to get paper maps of those areas including campsites. Once you’re on the road, you can go into the district offices in person and talk to personnel there for local information and maps. Great people and great information.
User communities and a solid platform such Gaia (pay for it, its cheap and worth the xtras) will get you what you need. All or most of these map platforms allow the importing of .gpx and .kml files. Those file types are the lifeblood of user communities and tracks and routes, campsites and waypoints among a whole host of other user generated data can be pulled in. Some of these mapping services are curating their user data so the platform is only as good as what people are adding.