As a traveler I feel it is very important to research where I might be going and the options which will be available to me. I have found that while some areas might have several options for stay others are a bit more sparse and without some planning it can get a little difficult to find a back up plan if something falls through.
There is no worse feeling than arriving after a long day on the road only to discover that a road is not accessible, a campground is not designed for tents after being told it was, a campground oversold your site and someone else is there or due to weather you don’t feel comfortable staying where you had initially planned. For that reason I have found that two apps have brought me a lot of assistance in navigating the road bumps so to speak of solo travel and camping.
Both Campendium and the Dyrt allow real campers like myself to speak on the places they have stayed, what they have enjoyed or disliked, average cost, amenities and provide photos of those locations. It then allows someone searching for the perfect site for their travels to make an educated decision about where they would like to call home for the night, week or even an extended time.
But while the two apps and their corresponding websites do resemble one another in purpose, they are slightly different in function. Each have their perks and benefits just as they have their areas for improvement. I took on the difficult task of weeding through each and finding what
makes each a valid source of reference and just what you can really expect when you log onto the apps to prepare for your travels.
For those trying out either of the apps the sign up itself is relatively similar. You must set a username and password as well as put an email on file. The criteria for password is almost identical so when signing up I suggest to keep it simple and use the same information for each.
I began by looking up a location I myself am interested in travel to on my next adventure, Washington, DC.
As you can see from the screen shots Campendium (right) has a lot more options visible in the area I had selected.
When I dove deeper into the map I decided I was interested in the first selected campground on Campendium because it is close to the Metro Station and on the side of DC I was interested in staying in for traffic sake. Unfortunately, because the Dyrt is more specific to the District area of DC only in the search, it did not find this campground on the initial map as it is in the Maryland part of the DC area.
Campendium for sure gives you more of a blanket to work with in their initial search of an area for options, the Dyrt is more campground specific to exact states or regions.
Instead, I had to go back to the main screen of the Dyrt and actually look the campground up by name since I already had it available, otherwise I would have had to go through the state of Maryland’s entire listing to find this campground.
Just off the first impressions of the landing pages of the campground, I noticed that the basics were present on each: name, overall rating by those camping at the facilities and available photos. Campendium (right) had 9 reviews and a total of 44 photos from patrons of the facility while the Dyrt (left) only had 3 reviews and 9 photos. However when scrolling though the photos I did notice that the Dyrt had more of a simplistic viewing on screen than having to click and scroll on a different screen. For quick access I did like this a bit more. In addition I noticed that the photos available, at least for this campground, seemed a bit more like a real user took them instead of a rep for the campground simply showing the sites one by one like Campendium felt.
Amenities are also featured on the main landing screens of each app. I did like the look and feel of the Dyrt’s amenities design a bit more. It seemed to have a quicker reference image which resonated with me as a user. It also seemed to have a bit more overall information than Campendium which featured 11 options versus the 16 on the Dyrt. These options are made available by those reviewing each of the sites for confirmation of details, so while Campendium might have more reviewers they might have fewer questions on their overall questionnaire for those users.
Campendium sacrifices facility description for larger cell coverage listings and a sneak peek of reviews with teasers on the main landing page. The Dyrt, on the other hand places reviews on their own screen and instead features a bit of information not only about the campground itself but the natural features you can expect to see, recreation availability and nearby attractions including accessibility to public transit when available. As a traveler this was a HUGE advantage to the Dyrt because I feel as though sometimes it is more important to know about access than it is to read a review that is not written under the same thought that I have in my travels.
For example someone who is wanting to travel to location like DC to get away and camp might not care to make it to the National Mall to see the Monuments like I would want to. Knowing how far I am from accessing public transportation to do so, what options I have if I am choosing not to drive and how far I might be from key locations is much more important than knowing about the back in size for an RV and if the campground provided a pool. There are many types of vacationers, adventurers and travelers and the section on the Dyrt landing page answers these for all types.
An advantage to Campendium is the GPS coordinates it offers as well as the last price paid, both featured in a no nonsense way on the main screen. The last price paid is derived from a feature within the review system itself which asks campers their nightly rate, number of nights stayed, site number and if they would stay again. While this feature can be overlooked or not completed most of the reviews on the app do in fact fill in the details which makes it a usable and reliable source of information.
The Dyrt on the other hand rewards* reviewers for information so they are given incentives when reviewing and sharing accounts of their stays with points system giving merit to reviews themselves, photos and videos. I found that a lot more of the reviews on the Dyrt included these features as a result in addition to information about when the review was given, when the stay had been and what site they had utilized.
So which is better and why??
In my opinion, each have a purpose in planning a trip. Together the collective information paints a much more complete picture of traveling to a single destination. While Campendium does make the search for finding initially the campground of your choice, as it is a bit older of an app and has expanded its reaches for a more lengthy time, the Dyrt is quickly rising to the challenge of meeting the every camper needs. Between the two the every day traveler can find solace in knowing there are many options.
When I searched another area, a single state base instead of the DC area, I noticed the coverage of the Dyrt rivaled that of Campendium in way of locations and actually surpassed them in reviews due to their incentives program* they offer reviewers.
I believe the target audience of the Dyrt is a younger demographic slightly than Campendium by the information I have found through using the sites as well as apps. While I might be wrong in that assumption the feel you get from each is very different. The feel of Campendium is more of that of RVers with the occasional tent camper in mind. A lot of the reviews seem to have a more short sweet and to the point with photos which seem less personal and more about the sites themselves. The Dyrt seems to have a more fresh overall appearance and makes you feel more outdoors and away from that standard RV feel. While there are plenty of RV campers which are using the site it feels more youthful overall. Photos seem more personal and like the people taking them are showing you the world around you not just the campsite. The Dyrt is more about the adventure at the location than merely the location itself.
Each of these apps is amongst my go to must when traveling, along with Yelp and Gas Buddy they keep me on my toes and keep my feeling safe and like no matter where I am I will always find a place that feels like home in every way.
*Incentives Program includes a point system given for contributions. Points are then utilized to reward users with sponsor give aways from various travel related companies.