Snippet: Campendium “Treasure Box” is a fantastic resource for finding campsites. We use it every time we decide on a new location. We use it both as a resource to find campsites and for us, even more, important than finding campsites we use it to evaluate campsites. It is the number one evaluation tool we have used for three years of full-time RVing. You can tell by our Campsites Reviews page, we have been to quite a few places: Campsite Reviews Each of these locations was picked after reviewing Campendium.
I know that Campendium has much more power than I give it credit for because I keep finding new ways to use it and I freely admit that I am not the Campendium expert.
I think the biggest benefit of Campendium is that it is made by real RVers, for real RVers, and they really care about giving their friends (other RVers) the very best RV resource.
When we first started full-time RVing one of the first resources we got a book the size of a telephone book that listed RV parks. The era of paper directories is long gone and the era of online and cell phone information is here. Campendium is my go-to resource.
Campendium is a collection of nearly limitless information. It has also captured one thing that provides this limitless RV help. The information comes from experienced campers who care enough (for the rest of us) to share the things they have learned. Campendium is a great tool because vast numbers of cool RVers support it with their comments on Campendium about camping spots. These comments make Campendium great.
How we use the Campendium “Treasure Box”
I know I am probably missing some very great features available on Campendium. It is not that I don’t care about these other things, but rather this post is about what I know (or don’t know). I am just showing you how I use Campendium.
First, before I reference Campendium I already know that I am interested in a specific location. For people who have followed us, they know that we don’t like to move very far and have never liked moving fast. Typically, assuming the weather participates, we like going less than one hundred miles, generally in a straightish line. Crossing the desert, when it is hot, is one of the times we deviate from this general plan. Once we get to our destination we like to stay and enjoy it for a few days. Then we move again. Here is a link to the Campendium home page: Campendium
Here is how to open the Campendium “Treasure Box”
So when I open Campendium I focus straight on the dialog window “Where do you want to camp?”
I’m going to pick a location that I know very little about –Marfa Texas. Marfa is a small town in west Texas, the population is about 2,000. The reason I’m picking Marfa is that I have heard that it is a cool place with lots of surprises. I’m going to guess that most people don’t plan a stop in Marfa, but rather they stay in their cars and barely slow down. Don’t be too harsh about my assumptions, remember it is just a guess, we are not certain. Marfa is about halfway between El Paso and Del Rio along the Texas border with Mexico.
Plugging Marfa into Campendium came up with more than 30 places to camp, both in town and in nearby surrounding areas. Several of these locations were free camping spots. I don’t know any other online resource that names more free camping sites than Campendium. The blue pins mark RV parks, the green pins mark public land (city, county, state, federal) and the purple pins mark parking areas including rest stops and other places that allow near road camping. Oh, there are also brown pins that represent dump stations.
On the left side is the list of locations represented on the map.
The next step
A quick zoom on the map centered on the Marfa Lights Viewing Center and change to satellite map revealed an airport structure just to the south of the viewing center.
After this view, I zoomed in a little more and saw that the Marfa Lights Viewing Center has the design of a typical roadside rest area and that the highway is not divided and has a passing lane down the middle. The highway is just to the north of the site had the potential for some road noise.
The item at the Marfa Lights concerned me the most was the black smudge to the north of the highway. This is a train track. Both roads and trains make noise, but trains have whistles.
Nearly everything I need to know, in less than a minute.
All this information about a potential campsite was obtained in well less than a minute, without exiting Campendium or reading anything.
I have since learned, just because things like this are interesting, that the airport is an abandoned Army Air Field, and was used for training pilots in World War II. A quick check on the Marfa “lights” date the first sitings back to 1888 and that eliminates the airport from causing the lights because airplanes had yet to be invented.
Back to the example
Scooting and zooming the map re-ordered the list of available campsites and the one that caught my eye was not either in Marfa or Fort Davis and not on the main road, but instead it was a rest area on Texas Highway 166. A quick check of the satellite view and I found a much smaller road and no trains. This could be a win.
Then I check the reviews. One of the first reviews I saw mentioned that Texas Rest Stops allow camping — but only for one night. My choice would be the rest stop on Highway 166, I just wish that I could stay a few days.
Other places that jumped out were the state parks. Once you get the map, make sure to zoom in and scoot the map around. Each time I click on a pin, I get a small description of that location which matches the list of locations.
The real value of Campendium is that I can quickly look at several nearby locations and quickly check reviews.
Another way I use Campendium is by selecting a menu tab along the top edge. They include RV Parks, Free Camping, National Parks, National Forests, State Parks, and Blog. With regard to the first five tabs, each of them creates a limit to the number of options that you see on your map page. Other people call it filtering out the things you don’t want to see.
As an example to explain the tabs I am choosing the National Parks tab. After picking the tab the first thing you will see is the introduction page. On the right side of the introduction page is a list of states that contain information about National Parks. For this example, I am choosing Washinton and picked the North Cascades National Park as my target location. This brings up a map and the lists, just as if you selected the “Where do you want to camp?” dialogue box. From here the information is the same as the “Where do you want to camp?” dialogue box.
Tabs are Short Cuts
So for me, these Tabs are a short cut to the location. Here I can use menus and don’t even have to know how to spell.
By selecting North Cascades National Park, I knew that I would be able to cover a resource which is a Youtube video that is made by Campendium. Campendium has a very well constructed Youtube channel that highlights fabulous places to camp. When you watch one of these videos, such as the one about North Cascades National Park (Click here for the Youtube link: Campendium North Cascades National Park) you get a video about the location and a sampling of the comments that Campendium contributors have left about the location.
Maybe the biggest item in the Campendium Treasure Box — is the Blog. Here you can “deep dive” into tons of information on specific topics that Campendium has complied to make Campendium an all-in-one solution to make inform campers on what is happening and what is trending.
Campendium is not a route planning tool so much as it is a location tool. We use RVParky for route planning and Campendium for location details. RV Parky has location details but we like Campendium better for an easier user experience. Here is a link to our article on RV Parky. Snippet RV Parky Route Planning
Campendium also has a subscription version that eliminates outside advertising and has more options than the free version. If you sign-up for the subscription version we don’t earn anything from your subscription. The subscription version is available and your choice to go with the free version or signup for the extra stuff. Here is a link to the Campendium sign-in: Campendium
So that is it
We opened the Campendium “Treasure Box” and we love what we found inside.