Perhaps two of the most common questions we are asked are….
“Are you all about Free Camping?” & “Are you just like Wiki Camps?”
In short, the answer to both Questions is No, in this article we look at the similarities and differences in more detail.
What is Free Range Camping?
Our name ‘Free Range Camping’ was chosen to represent the freedom we experienced when camping. No matter if it was free or paid. In fact, some of the best experiences we have had have been those that we paid for and got to stay at some of the most exotic locations in Australia.
Camping @ Lake Argyle WA, one of our favourite campsites
That said, we love Free Camping just as much and the freedom that also brings. What we wanted to signify by using the name ‘Free Range Camping’, was similar to the term ‘free range chickens‘. Where chooks are given the freedom to explore their backyards without being caged or boxed in.
Chickens Free Camping @ Longreach, QLD
We do this by offering a full range of choices and clearly distinguishing between them all. Hence our categories cover Rest Areas, Free Camps, Campgrounds (including National Parks, Showgrounds, Pubs and Private Grounds) as well as Caravan Parks. We also have two very unique categories, House/Farm Sitting offering campers the ability to stay in a place longer in exchange for looking after it. And our Help Outs, where campers can get to stay with someone, usually on a farm, and help out in exchange for somewhere to stay and at the same time enjoy a totally new and unique experience.
Try our House Sitting or Help Out categories
Now, if Free Camping is just your thing that is fine, all you need to do is select that category in our app, and that is all you will be shown. If caravan parks are your go, then we cater for that to, just select the Caravan Park icon. But if you wish to truly expand your horizons, select them all and take your pick from over 10,000 sites we now have in the directory.
Choose from 7 categories
Are you just like Wiki Camps?
The short answer is NO, but we do have similarities.
Wiki Camps is a great app, and we have used it ourselves in the past. Like FRC, it provides a directory of campsites all around Australia. However, there are many other differences between Wiki Camps and FRC which are outlined below.
Both Wiki Camps and FRC have apps that are readily available in either Android or iOS (Apple) versions. Both are easy to download and both have a user friendly interface.
Wiki Camps allows for only one version of its paid app to be used per device.
FRC allows for one version to be used over three separate devices, making it ideal for couples to use on individual smartphones as well as a tablet. FRC also has a free online version of their directory (different to the app) for PC users, accessible from both Windows & iOS operating systems.
Use the same app over 3 different devices
The word ‘Wiki’ by definition is a website or data base developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.
Wiki Camps is exactly that, with a great amount of data pertaining to campsites that has been collected over time and contributed by users.
What is unknown in some cases is the accuracy and reliability of that data, and in some cases if the campsites nominated are in fact actually approved campsites or perhaps just gravel pits on the side of the road. Both of which can be great for short stop overs, provided you don’t get moved on, and worse still fined by local authorities for camping in unauthorised locations.
FRC data is only sourced from owners of campsites or associated government authorities or departments. For example, we have relationships in place with each states National Parks and Transport Department offices with data provided by them directly to us, so we are as assured as we can be of its authenticity and accuracy.
We are personally in touch with Councils and have obtained details of any free camps from them. Similarly we directly communicate with caravan park chains and privately owned parks to ensure their information is as detailed and up to date as possible. In many cases, the owners of the campground have access to their own listings where they are free to update any changes on a daily basis.
Whilst Wiki Camps do have more listings at this stage, you can be assured the ones that FRC do have are genuine, authorised sites with the latest information possible, and FRC continue to verify and add sites daily.
Wiki Camps currently costs $7.99 and offer a Free 7 day trial period of the app before you purchase.
FRC offer a full Free Version of the app to use forever. The free version of the app contains all the campsites and RV related businesses, but no weather overlay, membership card or discounts which are applicable only to premium club members. Premium Club Membership is separate to the app as there are many more benefits involved. (More info on Premium Club Membership below)
Get the Free version of the FRC app to use with no time limits
Wiki Camps provide a brief outline of each site with limited written descriptions about the sites. They then use separate tabs for additional information including a ‘Comments’ tabs which contains individual comments from its users.
This appears to have advantages as well as disadvantages. If the comments are authentic and justified, it can paint a great picture of what the campsite is really like. If on the other hand the comments are frivolous and unjust, it may un-necessarily give the wrong impression of a campsite.
FRC use factual descriptions of each site, depicting if possible what is located at the site and what is unique about it. Where possible a written description is provided on how to get to a site, which is important if towing a larger van or motorhome. Site access is also included which covers things like how hard, or easy it is to find the campground. This may include road conditions, landmarks to look out for, and even what you should do on arrival.
The majority of listings also contain a Things to Do section which highlights attractions or activities, not only at the mentioned campsite, but also in the nearby area, which will help you plan your trip better.
All this information is in the main body of the listings with no need to navigate to separate tabs.
Listings contain detailed descriptions, directions, fees & booking and additional information
Both Wiki Camps and FRC have a series of icons to depict which facilities are available at campgrounds. The list of icons are comprehensive in both apps and easy to interpret. Both offer a legend explaining what each icon represents and both cover everything from amenities to services available at the sites.
Over 50 icons depicting facilities at sites
Costs at campsites vary greatly and can change often.
Wiki Camps rely on users to update their prices. This is done via a separate tab under the heading of ‘Prices’ where users can input the price of a campsite. Prices are then listed based on user input.
FRC have a Fees & Booking section in each listing description outlining any relevant pricing and booking information depending on the type of site. There is also a separate summary section in each listing under the heading of ‘pricing’ which provides starting prices at a glance. FRC pricing information is constantly monitored and updated as we become aware of changes from users, or as site owners update their listing and prices.
FRC Fees & Booking info outlined in several areas
Both Wiki Camps and FRC have a rating system based on users experiences.
Wiki Camps provide a separate tab that contains comments made by users at the site. Comments posted by users on Wiki Camps appear to be published immediately without moderation. Comments may vary and contain descriptions of the sites or current conditions based on the personal opinions of the user.
FRC also have a comments section with input from users. The comments are contained in the same listing under the facility details. Whilst all comments made by users are published they are verified first, and campsite owners offered the right of reply, thus reducing the risk of frivolous and unwarranted comments.
Ratings, Reviews & Comments on FRC
With many different types of campsites available it is important to easily distinguish between them. Both Wiki Camps & FRC have chosen relevant icons and map markers for this purpose.
Wiki Camps have chosen the categories of; Campgrounds, Caravan Parks, Backpacker Hostels, Day Use Areas, Points of Interest, Information Centres & Dump Points.
FRC have separated categories further to avoid confusion between site classifications. Their categories are clearly marked as; Rest Areas, Free Camps, Campgrounds (with sub categories of National Parks, Pubs & Showgrounds) Caravan Parks, Help Outs, House/Farm Sitting & Dump Points.
FRC have 7 Categories of sites to chose from
Points of Interest
Include sites, that are not necessarily campsites, but sites that may be necessary to find from time to time.
Wiki Camps have chosen to display their points of interest on the main map and use a filter and generic map marker to identify them.
FRC have a separate filter for this function which allows the user to select only the points of interest they are interested in. This information is sourced from Google Maps and provides specific category icons depicting such things and keeping them separate for easy identification and not clogging your map. For e.g. If you wished to find a bank or ATM nearby your current location, you can populate the map with only those choices and see immediately what each icon represents.
Filter out and show only points of interest you require. E.g. ATM’s nearby
Both Wiki Camps & FRC provide detailed directions in each listing on how to find your way to your campsite. There are several options available, including offline features for both that allow you to navigate to a site when no internet is available. Both require additional maps to be downloaded prior for the offline function to work correctly. Both apps provide easy access to their maps section when online, this can be activated from within each listing.
Online & Offline directions take you direct to your site
Both Wiki Camps & FRC have the ability to access 7 day weather forecasts at each campsite location.
Wiki Camps provide a brief snapshot of predicted temperature and forecast in each listing, with an option to be redirected to a third party app should you wish to know more.
FRC provide a comprehensive weather coverage offing a full weather service contained within each listing. This includes temperatures, forecast, wind warnings, tide times, sunset/sunrise times and a full rainfall radar overlay which covers the whole country. This eliminates the need to be redirected to a third party app and you can use everything all in one place.
Fully integrated weather overlay in the FRC app
Pictures tell a thousand words, and both Wiki Camps & FRC rely on pictures in each listing to give users a better view of campsites.
Wiki Camps showcase images contributed by members and which are uploaded direct to each listing.
FRC have a mixture of images taken by members of staff, supplied by owners of campsites and supplied by Government departments. They also use images contributed by users. If images are used that have been contributed by members they are verified with geographical co-ordinates before publishing so you can be sure the images of the site being depicted and not somewhere else. Most listings have between 3 to 10 photographs of the site.
FRC have between 3 – 10 photos for reach listing
Both Wiki Camps & FRC have the ability for members to nominate new sites.
Wiki Camps permit users to directly input a new site and once submitted they are instantly available and become public for everyone to view. Once published the site cannot be deleted by the user.
FRC allow for the sites to be suggested by users, however, once the site has been submitted, checks are made to ensure the site does not already exist. The owners of the site are then contacted and the site fully verified before it is published. In this way you can be sure a site is genuine.
Nominating new sites is easy to do with FRC
Wiki Camps currently have a Trip Planner built into their app. The planner is easy to use and assists in planning road trips.
FRC are currently in the processes of developing their trip planner which will function along the same lines but incorporates a Trip Journal to keep track of those memorable moments and will also include section for keeping track of expenses and repairs/servicing logs.
On the Way
Wiki Camps currently have added features such as a Satellite Finder, Compass and Home Clock.
FRC are constantly adding features to their apps of which the above are in development.
Wiki Camps have a FAQ section in their app as well as a forum section where members can interact with each other.
FRC also provide a FAQ section but also have a live chat function where, if staff are online they are only too happy to help out at the time. Failing this you can leave a message and someone will address your questions, usually within a 12 hour window, or call you back if necessary.
Live Chat or FAQ options easily accessible from the app
Watch the Video
Have a look at our short video showing how easy it is to find free camps using the FRC app
Additional features with FRC
Dedicated RV Business Listings
Finding a campsite is relatively easy, but when you are in a new area, finding out where to go can be a challenge. Anything from finding where to eat, camping supplies or caravan repairs is made easy with FRC. The app includes a comprehensive list of RV related business partners, some of whom are making generous offers and providing discounts to FRC Premium Club Members. (See more about this below). Our business categories include Groceries, Camping Accessories, Food & Wine, RV Repairs & Accessories, Medical, Personal Health, Markets, Things to See & Do, Essential Services, Accommodation and Tourist Information Centers. The list is growing on a daily basis with currently over 700 participating RV Related Businesses.
Over 700 participating independent RV related businesses
News & Information
Anyone that joins Free Range Camping is free to access the website at any time for a host of information all about camping and caravanning. There are numerous stories about locations to see while travelling, stories from other travellers, tips and tricks and product information. There is also a weekly newsletter that is sent out with all the latest information and stories as well as new campsites, RV Businesses and major camping events held around the country.
Weekly newsletter distributed to over 100,000 fellow campers
With such a large user base FRC also provide an online classified service providing a platform for anyone to buy and sell anything that is RV and Camping related. From tents to caravans and all sorts of camping equipment.
The classifieds are available for anyone to browse from either within the app or the Free Range Camping website. And as a Premium Club Member, you can list your items for free in the classifieds. There is no listing fee, and we do not take a percentage of the sale. Members are free to list as many items as they like in the classifieds. As a bonus, ads listed in the classifieds are also placed into our weekly newsletters and distributed to over 100,000 interested campers.
Buy and Sell anything camping related
At FRC we understand you cannot always wait to get to a caravan show to purchase the latest and greatest camping gear. We solve this problem with our online shop which has a small selection of quality personally selected items specifically for RV and camping, some of which are usually only available at the shows. Better still, for FRC Premium Club Members prices in the shop are reduced to either wholesale prices or some have free shipping options available so there are guaranteed savings to be had by being a member.
The FRC Shop with further discounts for Premium Club Members
The FRC Premium Club Membership
As well as the free app, FRC provide a separate Premium Club Membership which gives users the choice to take advantages of some great member benefits and discounts. This benefits not only full time travellers, but anyone who goes camping, even if it is just weekends or once a year.
Generous Member Discounts
FRC have been able to secure some great deals with participating National outlets. These currently include Kui Parks, Battery World, Tint a Car, Bob Jane T-Marts & IGA who are all offering various discounts to save you money on the items you need most while travelling. There are more deals and partnership currently in progress and on the way.
Between 5% – 20% @ participating outlets
Digital Member Cards
Premium Club Members are easily identified by participating businesses with their digital membership card. To save carrying around a plastic card, the cards have been built into the app. They are not available in the Free version. Once a member upgrades to Premium level, their member card is activated. The card is time and date stamped for security purposes and will be required to be presented to obtain any member discounts.
Digital Member Cards built into the app
Monthly Prizes & Giveaways
Each month FRC have a great monthly prize or give way available to all Premium Club Members. Prizes vary and in the past have included fuel vouchers, BBQ’s and even a brand new Honda Eu22i Generator. Premium Members are afforded the chance to enter and winners are selected by the prize sponsors.
Just one of the great monthly prizes we have had on offer for Premium Club Members
We hope we have been able to answer those two common questions. As you can see FRC not only support Free Camping but all forms of camping. And whilst we also think Wiki is a great app, we also think ours is pretty special. Obviously we are bias, however, why not try both and see the difference for yourself.
Get the FRC App here.
Thanks for reading and happy travels no matter where you are or which app you use.