Free Campgrounds on your GPS

Looking at the road in the Sideview with the Colorado River in the main picture.

Over 1100 Free Campgrounds on your GPS

In this post we will share how to easily import over 1100 great free campgrounds, free campsites, and free dispersed camping area onto your cars GPS. There are several great tools out in the wilderness of the internet that help you plan your next camping trip. There are even a few websites featuring information on free campsites, but they all require internet to access, or leave you manually entering coordinates into your GPS. The files and methods presented in this article will have you easily browsing over 1100 free campsites in the Western United States and Florida from your GPS anytime regardless of internet availability.

Map and Keys used  for navigation
Map and Keys

GPS Device Selection

Many of the GPS devices on the market will allow you to import several different file types. The steps may be different for your device check your manufactures owners guide or forums for assistance. No matter which device you choose extra storage space is a huge plus. If you have not purchased a GPS yet, or are upgrading look for a device that supports micro SD cards. For your reference the file size of our 1100 plus free campsites files is 892 KB. The Garmin Drive 5 was my top choice for several reasons. First I have had excellent user experiences in the past with their products. The ability to import file containing custom points of interest. Extra storage capabilities, easily adjustable routes and a very reasonable price all helped narrow down the options. Garmin’s free tool Base Camp has also been extremely helpful so a compatible device was a must. Note that I am in no way associated with Garmin, and I am not being paid to promote their products.

Car GPS Device used for navigation
GPS Device

Preinstall Checklist

  • Sufficient Storage Space. (892 KB)
  • Computer running Windows 10 (Other operating systems will work, but the steps may be slightly different.)
  • Format Micro SD Card if additional space is needed.
  • Download Free Camping files in the format that works best on your device.
  • Install POI Loader from Garmin to your computer.

Check the storage space on your GPS device

  1. Plug your device into your computer with the provided cable.
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Navigate to “This PC” in the left panel on Windows 10.
  4. Select your GPS and view free space available.

Format Micro SD Card for use in Garmin Drive 5 LM

  1. Insert the micro SD card into the larger SD card, or a compatible reader
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Select your Micro SD card
  4. Right Click | Format
  5. On the format screen name the volume so it is easy to identify later
  6. Ensure that FAT32 is selected
  7. Change allocation unit size to “Default allocation size”
  8. Leave all other fields at the default setting and click start.
  9. Use windows to safely remove the device when formating is complete
  10. Install the SD card in your device.

Download Free Camping Files

  1. Go to Free Camping Files
  2. Download the file type you will be importing to your device to your computer. (We will be using the files in the Sub 50 GPX Alpha)

Importing .GPX files into a Garmin Drive

  1. Attach your garmin device to your computer.
  2. Open the POI loader tool
  3. Select Garmin Device | Click Next
  4. The POI loader should find your device | Click Next
  5. Select install new custom POI’s on your device. | Click Next
  6. Browse to the location on your computer where you saved the Free Camping Files.
  7. Name the newly Created Custom POI file. (This is not required.) | Click Next
  8. The POI files will install. | Click Finish.

There are several different file types available in the download folder for the POI’s as different devices will support different file types and sizes. You are free to use, alter and share these files for non commercial use. The best program for making changes is Base Camp by Garmin.

Purchase of the guides on this website are a great way to help support the creation of more adventure oriented content. I hope you have a great time enjoying nature.

Thank you!

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