Many of you that follow this blog know that I really enjoy hiking, camping and backpacking. Whether it is camping in the front country or back country... it is all good.
I recently came across a resource that has really made it easier for me to research and plan my trips. The website, app and community are called TheDyrt. "The Dirt" is an idiom which means the gossip or real story. So getting TheDyrt is a play on words which translates to finding out the real story about campgrounds.
TheDyrt.com website allows users to search for campgrounds in the U.S. (currently only available within the U.S.) and read user generated reviews of the campgrounds. Sometimes the reviews are very general and sometimes very specific - down to the campsite number or cleanliness of the facilities. The website markets itself and its service as the Yelp.com of camping.
The community just launched a new app which can be downloaded via TheDyrt.com, the Apple Store or Google Play
You can search via a search box or a map. The app will display the campgrounds nearby.
Once you have narrowed your search by the area, you can read Overviews and Reviews of specific campgrounds.
When you click on a campground a page will open up with an "Overview". The Overview highlights basic information about the campground and the amenities that are available.
With a touch of the "Location" tab you are provided a map of the area, GPS coordinates and the ability to get turn-by-turn directions to the site.
With a touch of the "Review" tab you are provided a list of reviews written by community members.
As part of the reviews you can often view photos and even videos of the park, campsites, amenities and unique features. If you typically find places to camp by looking at park websites or Instagram photos you probably realized that you only see the idealized beautiful images. I find it useful to look at other people's opinions of campgrounds rather than simply relying on glamour shots.
There is also a growing community behind TheDyrt.com. To take part in the community or write a review simply create a profile and review a campground that you've visited. It's kind of a cool way to share your experience and first-hand knowledge.
Of course, similar to Yelp, one has to read each review with a grain of salt. One man's trash is another man's treasure - and vice versa. The greater the number of reviews that are written for a particular campground increases the probability that the overall rating is realistic. As always with review sites, you can toss out the extreme viewpoints.
Another cool feature and benefit of TheDyrt is that they often run contests.
When you write a review (including text, photos and videos) you earn points. The more reviews that you write, the more points you can earn. Check out the rules of the contest to learn how to maximize your ability to earn points.
Throughout the duration of the contest (typically a month), the points are tallied on a leaders board. At the end of the contest, the leader is declared and wins cool camping gear. The runner-ups win gift certificates. I've been using the app and writing reviews for a couple of months.
I won this sweet Primus Profile two-burner stove.
And these handy Midland Two-Way Radios.
So the next time you're planning a camping trip check out TheDyrt.com or download the app. And after your trip, write a review. Maybe you'll have a chance to win too!