Comparing 2 Camping Apps – No Clear Victor

As someone that goes camping regularly, this was a fun, not to mention useful, assignment for me. Armed with two camping Apps, I set forth into the UK countryside.

The two apps in question are Sites UK and Campsites & Caravan Parks. The former is slightly more expensiveo. I’ve tested both Apps as thoroughly as possible and below are my findings.

Finding sites

Naturally, an important feature for an App such as this is the ability to search for campsites to stay at. Sites UK comes out on top here, as you can search by County, by Anything (i.e. site name), Postcode and Current Location. Campsites & Caravan Parks only enables you to search by City, Town or Region, or List by Region.

The latter, however, does have additional filtering options. You can select whether you want to see all available sites, or select whether you’re looking for a camping pitch, caravan, camping pod etc. You can also select whether you would like to be able to view campsites which are for Club Members only – useful if you’re a member of The Caravan Club or The Camping and Caravanning Club.

Once you’ve located a suitable site – both Apps enable you to save it to your favourites for easy reference.

Both Apps enable you to contact campsites at the touch of a button – press a phone number to dial, email address to send an email or website address to view their website. Campsites & Caravan Parks has the upper hand here, as the websites open within the App – meaning if it’s not what you want you can quickly go back and carry on searching, without having to restart the App. However, this App is problematic because it only lists campsites which have their own website, severely cutting down their number of listings.

Follow up

So, you’ve found a site, you’ve stayed there. Now what? Well, both Apps allow you to upload a review, helping out other App users who may wish to check out other people’s opinions of a particular place. You can submit and read reviews from within both Apps. Sites UK will also allow you to view and upload photos if you wish. Campsites & Caravan Parks doesn’t currently have this capability, but it does have the excellent feature that you can write reviews offline and they’ll be uploaded next time you have connection, which can be very useful if you’re out in the sticks!

If you wish to suggest a site for either App, both of them simply open an email to the developer – leaving you to guess which information they want to know. This would have been much better done via a contact form for you to fill in, so they have all the information they need on hand.

Overview

On the whole, both Apps have their pros and cons. Sites UK has by far the most campsites available – after searching for all five sites visited over the past week or so, Sites UK had all five of them. Campsites & Caravan Parks had just two. Some additional searching for sites I’ve visited in the past showed Sites UK had all of them, whereas Campsites & Caravan Parks was severely lacking in listings.

However, counteracting this huge plus for Sites UK is the fact that the sites aren’t stored within the App. To get the information you require, you have to rely on having an internet connection, which isn’t always possible. So if you’re stuck in the sticks with no internet and nowhere to stay, Sites UK won’t help much. Even if you have got internet connection, the App is incredibly slow once you’ve selected how you want to search – and is quite buggy. For example, sometimes clicking on one of the options, i.e. List by County, you’re presented with a blank page and even waiting for load time shows up nothing. Bizarrely, each UK county is listed twice, too.

On the flipside, Campsites & Caravan Parks stores all the sites and their information within the App, so it’s always at your fingertips. But with such a considerable quantity fewer sites than the other App, you also have to question the usefulness of this.

I can’t call a winner here. The perfect App would be an amalgamation of the two compared here. Sites UK wins in terms of information available, but it is buggy and totally useless when you’re in an area with no phone signal. So my advice, if you’re desperate for camping information on your iPhone is to buy both Apps. That or make sure you’ve done all your homework before you’ve packed the car.

Sites UK Cobalt Techno, Sites UK – $3.99
version tested: 1.0

Pros:

  • 3,000+ sites
  • Excellent search capability
  • Save your favourites
  • Contact campsites at the touch of a button
  • Read and upload reviews
  • Upload photos

Cons

  • Sites are not stored within App – problematic when no phone signal

Campsites and caravan parks North West Code, Campsites and caravan parks – $2.99
version tested: 1.1

Pros:

  • Filtering dependent on accommodation
  • Option to include sites which are Club Members Only
  • Sites are stored in the App
  • Save your favourites
  • Contact campsites at the touch of a button
  • Websites open within the App
  • Read and upload reviews
  • Write reviews offline, will upload next time you have connection

Cons

  • 2,883 sites
  • Search capability limited
  • Only lists campsites which have their own website

  • http://www.iphonecampsites.com David Burley

    Have you seen our app of iCampsites ?

    http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/icampsites/id360405766?mt=8

    It is driven by an online database from a community of almost 50,000 strong members who can add to the database.

    I think we are the only European database for campsites and stopovers, we have over 4,000 listings and >1600 additional reviews from actual visitors to the campsites.

    The app has a full featured form interface to add new reviews including taking advantage of the inherent gps and cameras for images and location information. Reviews can be bulk entered and once in fast / cheap internet access locality you can then upload them en masse

    Our app has favourite functionality also

    You can search via numerous methods i.e.:

    1. Filters
    2. via a Map interface
    3. Category type
    4. A-Z listing of UK Regions
    5. By Town Name / Campsite Name
    6. Quick search based on current gps location

    The entire database is located on the device so can access offline

    Our app also has the ability to open the website full and detailed entry up within the app itself.

    The app updates direct from the database via an API and so it is always growing.

    Directions to a site can be obtained, add the campsite entry to your contacts app.

    The app also has a news feed built into it so we can keep the owners of the app up to date quickly of new developments.

    Now up to v1.2 we constantly listen for customer feedback and enhance the app to evolve it to their requirements.

    I hope you will add this comment or review the app to add to your existing review :)

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