Are printed campground directories on the way out? Looks that way … however I still use them


freecampgrounds-donwrightIt was reported this past week that a high percentage of RVers (a self-selected group who responded to a recent survey on are using printed campground directories much less than they did in the past.

Chuck Woodbury, editor of said: “Only about 40-percent, of the more than 1,160 RVers who responded, use a printed campground book or directory the same or more than five years ago. Less than four-percent use one more than before. Meanwhile, about 62 percent use such a publication less including 36-percent who use such a directory “far less or never.”

“This is no surprise at all,” said Woodbury, whose has seen a steep decline in sales of printed campground directories.

“We’re selling only about 10-percent of what we sold six years ago,” he said. “Anyone with a computer, tablet, GPS or even iPhone has a directory of one kind or another with them all the time,” he said. “There are plenty of websites like and those of Thousand Trails and KOA that guide RVers to a place to stay. And there are many apps, most available for free.”

That all being said, Jimmy and I tend to travel to places where frequently there is sketchy cell and internet connection. And I am one of those creatures who does better when I am flipping pages back and forth, than relying on one small digital screen while we are bumping down the interstate or along a gravel forest service road.

While I have just recently purchased an iPad and a ‘smart phone’ — both rely on batteries and a good solid internet connection. Therefore, I am never going to give up my dog-eared, well-used printed copy of Don Wright’s Guide to Free Campgrounds” ($21.95).

This resource has been years in the making and includes many campgrounds in remote locations operated by state fishing agencies and state parks, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Corps of Engineers, regional and local utility companies, and small county and parks.

If you are “camping on a shoestring,” Don Wright’s guide is worth a very close look. His latest edition contains more than 14,000 USA campgrounds where RVers can stay for free or under $12. It has literally saved us thousands of dollars.  It is our boon docking bible.

This book is usually available at … if not there then check out your local or online book seller.

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  • I’m wondering if more people have opted for electronic media vs dog-eared paper copy. I would have to think that publications that are on CD or even DVD versions would be favourable to a paper hard copy. When you consider space is usually at a premium with full timers, the relatively small footprint of CD’s would be favourable.

    • Mike … I understand that the vast majority of full-time folks would favor a CD or online version, especially when considering the space issue. We’ve traveled most of our RV life in a truck camper, and that ‘huge’ Sears-Catalog size “Free Campgrounds” does get in the way. However, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve grabbed it in the middle of the afternoon looking for a place “up the road” to camp for the night.

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