If you’re familiar with REI’s Adventure Projects, their digital empire of outdoor activity data, providing trail maps and beta for mountain biking, hiking, running, skiing, you name it, it’s time to make room for one more. REI’s new Camping Project just came online, an all-things campsite service for discovering and booking campground spaces.
Camping Project pulls data about campsites—everything from site size to amenities to a map to weather—mostly from Recreation.gov, and sends you to book through that site should you find a campground you like. But then the rest of REI’s Adventure Project’s data kicks in to fill users in on all the cool stuff available nearby. Trailheads for hiking or biking or trail running, for example.
The interface looks much better than Recreation.gov, is easier to use, and provides a lot more helpful information. Recreation.gov is a great service, but aesthetically pleasing it isn’t. (Update: Recreation.gov has apparently had a recent redesign and looks much better). Camping Project has done well to make it an enjoyable site to use.
We talked last month with REI’s CEO Jerry Stritzke about how REI hopes to weave more experiences into their product offerings, and to expand their footprint as a resource provider. This is a pretty cool way to do that.
So far, some 3,400 campgrounds can be researched and booked through Camping Project. A quick look of some of my favorites, most of which are mostly unknown all popped up on the site, with accurate and current descriptions. I pulled up a fairly well-used campground near the California-Nevada border, Leavitt Meadows, to see what the site had to say about it and the surrounding area. Spot-on description. Easy booking.