When it comes to overlanding, apps make life SO much easier.
You can use apps to find free camping, navigate off-road routes and find cool spots, get discounts at campgrounds, learn more about plants and wildlife, and more.
Since I’ve been overlanding around the US and Mexico for a few years now, I’ve discovered a lot of really helpful apps you may not have thought of.
Below, I’ve compiled all of my favorite overlanding apps in one place for you to find and use!
Navigation & GPS Apps
First things first, navigation apps help you see your route ahead of time and choose where to go. These are some of my most-used apps when it comes to trip planning.
OnX Offroad maps are some of the best out there. You can download maps for offline use so you still see your route even when out of cell service.
Their app also shows pictures and reviews from other overlanders who have gone through those trails, and you can see difficulty ratings from 1-10 and other tips from past drivers.
It’s the first app I open when planning where to go on my overlanding trips.
Like OnX Offroad, GAIA GPS is another excellent GPS app with off-road trails and detailed maps you can download for off-line use.
Gaia is more geared towards covering multiple types of trails—such as hiking trails—in addition to motor vehicle trails. Unfortunately, it can be hard to differentiate between them in the app.
However, they do seem to have more-often updated trail data using Trails Offroad, which is an additional $25/year fee. It would be nice to have motor vehicle use maps without needing to spend extra money, though.
Google Maps is my go-to app for checking the satellite view of an area to see things like how big the trails are, how well-made they are, and if there are clearings for camping.
To see the satellite view, click the sandwich button in the top right and click “satellite”.
Of course, it’s also great to navigate to whatever trailhead or sightseeing spot you’re en-route to (as long as you have service or download the map for offline use).
Topo Maps is a free app made by the US Government for anyone to download the historical topographical maps of the United States of America.
I haven’t used it a ton personally because my other apps cover these needs, but it is a cool free option to check out if you want to see topographical data of National Parks and other places!
Hema Explorer App
Hema Explorer is a 4WD map app as an alternative to GAIA or xOffroad. I haven’t used it personally, so I don’t have much to say about it.
Apps to Find Camping Locations
Trying to find a place to lay your head? These apps are my go-to when looking for campsites and places that allow overnight parking.
The Dyrt is a campground finding app that also has information on free campsites, public lands, and discounted campground options for paid members.
I mostly use The Dyrt when I’m looking for paid campsites because they offer 40% off at select campgrounds for The Dyrt pro members.
You can get a 30-day free trial of The Dyrt pro by clicking here or using the code AOTR.
iOverlander is the first app I pull up when I’m looking for dispersed camping and wild camping.
It shines the most when outside the US, such as when overlanding in Mexico. You’ll get tips on the best places to stay, places to avoid, and where to find important amenities like food, water, dump stations, laundry, showers, etc.
That said, it’s still excellent in the US and I use it in the states all the time!
Free Roam is my backup after iOverlander. It isn’t quite as robust, but does outshine iOverlander sometimes.
For example, in the Pacific Northwest, I found that Roam revealed more dispersed camping opportunities that weren’t on iOverlander. So it’s nice to have both,
Originally made for anyone taking their RV on road trips, RV parky is a great app if you need to find overnight parking for bigger rigs like trailers, motorhomes, or other campers.
Apps to Find Hiking Trails
If you’re anything like me, you love to go hiking. These are the apps I use to find the best hiking trails while traveling!
AllTrails is my go-to app for finding hiking and backpacking trails. I like how in the pro mode you can filter by hiking length, difficulty, whether it’s dog friendly, and so much more.
It’s also nice to see pictures and other people’s reviews of the hikes. They will often notify you of closures and other things you may want to avoid.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Camping With Dogs
This is on here twice because GAIA doubles as a trail-finding app. Just wanted to remind you!
Other Helpful Mobile Apps
While these aren’t necessarily “overlanding apps”, they are still super useful to people who may be overlanders!
Recreation.gov is a website and app made by the US government that allows you to buy tickets for National Parks and National Forests.
It’s nice to have because it makes it easier to scan your QR code and set up a time to visit these places. In fact, I just used it to get into Multnomah Falls near Portland, OR!
iNaturalist is a cool app that helps you identify plants and wildlife while you’re out in nature! It lets you upload pictures of things you see to an online community to discuss and share.
My Currency Converter & Rates
My Currency Converter & Rates (iOS | Android) is super useful if you plan on overlanding in Mexico or Canada, where their currency is different. It’s harder math to do in your head than you might think!
Offline Survival Manual
The Offline Survival Manual (Android only) is a cool app that shows you different survival guides like how to make a fire or which plants you can or can’t eat. It’s neat to look at, at the very least!
Other Overlanding Tips
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the best outdoor adventure apps for overlanding and off-roading. Here are some other guides you might find helpful:
- How to Start Overlanding: Easy Adventure Travel for Beginners
- Simple Guide to Camping Storage: Organize Your Camping Trips
- Must-Have Overlanding Gear (And Fun Toys)
- The 9 Best Hard Shell Rooftop Tents in 2022
What do you feel are the best overlanding apps? Did I miss anything? Drop me a comment below!