A web & mobile app that empowers you to easily find campsites you'll love. Let's bring camping awesomeness to the whole US!
Vision: An app that makes it easy to find campsites you'll love... so that you can save time, avoid planning frustration, and experience awesome camping places
Campthat's creators, Bobby and Brian, created Campthat because we love camping and were unhappy with existing web and mobile technologies for outdoor enthusiasts. Simple tasks like finding an available campsite that has access to showers or locating a good backcountry campsite can require hours of research on crummy, poorly designed websites that have crummy, poor information. We knew we could build something better. Something that would make it easier to find places to camp, save time and energy, and empower people to experience better camping. So we made Campthat.
Project: What is Campthat?
Campthat is a web and mobile technology for easily discovering great camping experiences. It is available on the web and soon apps for iPhone and Android. Bobby and Brian spent months designing, coding, testing, reworking, and re-testing the prototype with hundreds of campers in Michigan. You can play with the Michigan prototype website at campthat.com. It's just a baby and we're really excited about its future.
Now we're ready to roll out a more polished experience, expand to all 50 states, and build a companion mobile app for iPhone and Android. Here's a taste of what Campthat will offer:
Relevant campground information, all in one place. Campthat will develop detailed information about every public campground in the U.S., eventually adding private campgrounds and user-added backcountry areas too. This way, you'll no longer waste time combing through dozens of poorly made government and private websites.
The right campground, in seconds. Campthat lets you discover campgrounds with exactly what you're looking for. Find campgrounds near your destination that have showers. Or places that other campers like. See which campsites are available next weekend. Or learn which places your friends camped at and liked.
Insanely great camping information. Campthat offers photos, reviews, maps, campground features, reservation highlights, and relevant information that isn't readily available anywhere else. Campthat's team researches and creates some information. The rest is provided by users or collected from government databases.
The most advanced camping tech in the Cloud. Campthat is built around smart software and design. It will learn thousands of data points about each campground to create a camping genome for each place and state. It will learn what you like and adapt campground recommendations to your personal preferences. We envision that Campthat will also learn where individual campsites are, map them out, and know which campsites are bookable or vacant in real time. The result: better camping. Yay!
Perfect for when you're on the go. When you're on the road and looking for a place to camp, Google often doesn't cut it. Campthat mobile will let you find suitable places you can camp nearby and will tell you how to book it and get there. (There are other apps promise this. The problem is - they don't work.)
Built for camper happiness. Everyone on the Campthat team is an outdoor enthusiast. We're building the product we always wanted and testing it with thousands of other campers to make sure it's simple, intuitive, and a joy to use.
Karma through community. Campthat makes it easy to see what other campers thought about campgrounds, exchange tips, see where friends have camped, plan group trips, and engage people you camp with like never before.
The people behind Campthat
Brian Flaherty: "I've really enjoyed camping since I started doing it a few years ago while I was a law student at the University of Michigan. But I was surprised how tedious it was to find good information about places to camp. When Bobby came to me with the idea for Campthat, I realized that it could solve an annoying problem that affects a lot of campers. I knew that with my background in startups and Bobby's technical chops, we could make Campthat a reality. It took me a few months to learn how to code, but now I'm an intermediate web developer and on my way to becoming a real hacker, which is fun and challenging. I'm really excited about how far we've come in just a few months and now we're on the verge of delivering an awesome app that's going to bring delight to outdoor enthusiasts."
Bobby Cooper: "I started Campthat with Brian because I had terrible experiences with other camping websites and I knew we could make something better. My background is in software development and leading product development teams. I'm a pretty lucky guy to have Brian on the team. As a lawyer and business school grad he takes care of all the ugly legal mumbo jumbo and business development so I can focus more on the product. I was trained at the University of Michigan's engineering school."
Let's change camping forever! If this campaign is successful, here is what we'll do and when:
1. Make Campthat available in all US states by Spring 2014. We did it on a smaller scale in Michigan, so we know how to do it in other states. It will require building a huge database of campground information, but with your backing, we will have all the resources we need to get it done.
2. Roll out the mobile app for iPhone & Android by Spring 2014. Once Campthat is available in all 50 states, we will release a comprehensive mobile app for US camping.
3. Fulfill all the rewards. Yes! We will give you what you're paying for.
1. Real-time reservation information. Campthat will provide real-time information about which campsites are available on what dates. This will require government cooperation and we all know how quickly that goes. :) That being said, having real-time reservation info is extremely important to the developers and will be a top priority.
2. Beautiful campground maps. We'll create beautiful, interactive maps of each campground, its campsites, and maybe even nearby trails, activities, and points of interest.
3. Photos, reviews, & tips for campgrounds. We'll send people out into the field to ensure that, in time, most or all campgrounds will have photos, reviews, tips, and complete information easily accessible online.
Questions? Doubts? Suggestions?
Shoot Brian an email (email@example.com) or a message on Kickstarter.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The amount of information we need to collect is large and every state is different. We did it in Michigan so we have a pretty good idea of how long it will take in most states. More difficult states may require additional time to complete. If this happens, we will publicly release Campthat in these states only when it meets our standards but we will try to make a pre-release version available to our backers.
To endure in the long-term, Campthat will need to become financially sustainable. Based on our experience with the prototype, we predict Campthat will become financially secure once it expands to all 50 states.
Web and software development projects are notorious for taking longer than expected. If development runs over deadlines, the initial release might not have all of the features we envision. If that happens, we'll focus on the features we think are most important and release those first. Then we will update the the website and app frequently with improvements and additional features.
The team wants to make sure that Campthat is great. If we tried to rush things and build a web platform for the entire world, it just wouldn't be very good. We're focusing first on building a great product for the US and then expanding internationally when we have the ability to do it well.
Yes. The way Campthat solves this problem is by flagging information that needs to be validated and then sending it to real people to validate it. Sometimes those people are users and sometimes it's people on the Campthat team.
Yes and no. Campthat will definitely make information about lesser known campsites more available and transparent. That could mean that lesser known campsites will be used more. But it could also make campsites less competitive, because people will have access to more options and be able to find alternative campsites more easily.
The team starts by combining campsite information from government agencies and private organizations that are willing to share the information. Then we build on it. We do research, visit campsites, and do what it takes to fill in information, starting with what's most important like campsite locations, reservations, features, activities, and photos. Sometimes, we work with partners who allow us to use their content when we think it adds real value. Awesome users sometimes choose to share photos, tips, ratings, and other information. In the future, Campthat will reward users who contribute content with meaningful rewards and incentives.
We built the prototype website for Michigan without any funding. We thought it was important to do this, so we could test it in the wild, learn how to do it right, and build something users would enjoy using.
But taking Campthat to the next level will have significant costs. Getting it done by next spring will consume all of the founders' time for the next 6 months. Campthat will need to build a high-quality database with information about more than 8,000 camping locations in the US -- which is achievable but time consuming. With the founders working full-time on it and enlisting more teammates, things will get done better and faster. And funds will also enable Campthat to use better technologies that have licensing fees and costs associated with them.
Also, Kickstarter is wonderful. The Kickstarter project has let us to connect with passionate, talented people who share our vision and are helping make it happen. It's getting the word out and building a larger community of people who want Campthat to happen. It proves that there's a real need for Campthat and that we're building the right thing.