CampThat Web App Helps Campers Connect With Campgrounds, Each Other

Maybe this holiday weekend you’re joining the 40 million Americans who go camping each year. Those of us who love the great outdoors know that camping web sites and apps are desperately in need of innovation—many look like they were designed in the 1990s and often don’t have complete information. CampThat, which just opened up to the public in mid-June, hopes to simplify the lives of campers by offering them a way to connect with campsites for reservations, and trade tips and reviews online.

CampThat’s co-founder, Brian Flaherty, was attending law school at the University of Michigan when he and his roommate taught themselves how to code so they could develop the app. Flaherty says the idea came to him after a frustrating attempt at planning a camping trip. “The app does what others don’t: It makes it easy to find campgrounds by location or by name,” Flaherty explains. “A lot of it is based on what we wanted and other customers’ feedback.”

CampThat users can also filter their searches by features like showers, electrical hookups, or whether alcohol is allowed. Eventually, users will have the ability to make reservations for camping spots right from CampThat.

As CampThat adds more users, Flaherty expects the social component of the site to become perhaps its most useful part, as campers rate campsites, post photos, and offer each other advice. Right now, CampThat covers every public campground in Michigan, whether state or federal, and Flaherty wants to expand to other states where camping is popular, like California and New York, in the coming months.

Flaherty, whose favorite campground in Michigan is D.H. Day near Sleeping Bear Dunes, says CampThat is the only app of its kind. (The Pocket Ranger app series offers extensive information about state and national parks, but doesn’t focus exclusively on camping and has not been created for Michigan yet.) CampThat will eventually pursue a funding round through IndieGoGo in order to grow. The ultimate goal, he adds, would be to attract enough users to offer a premium subscription service.

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