I’ve talked to a bunch of people about the apps they use for finding free camping spots and the answer is always: all of them. Frustratingly, each app has its own user-generated dataset, so you have to have all of them. For example, iOverlander has spots that Campendium doesn’t.
Anyway, here are the apps I use:
- Campendium: I use this the most frequently, but it’s a site not an app. You can use it on mobile, though.
- iOverlander: It isn’t great, but it has some good details like RV dumping sites and water fill-up spots.
- AllTrails: Since I’m too busy to actually hike, I use this to make sure I’m not camping near a trail head, which isn’t allowed.
- Google Maps: Indispensable, though admittedly a bit disquieting that there are so few Google alternatives. I use Google Maps literally every day, multiple times a day, mostly to navigate to various sites.
On that last point, Campendium spots usually give you GPS coordinates, which is great for actually finding where you’re supposed to be going, and throwing those in Google Maps will actually get you there.
The real answer to this question is: Get a map, a compass and learn to use it if you’re hiking. Being out in nature should be an opportunity to put down the tech — for a few hours, anyway.