Plan Your Next Camping Trip with the Moonlight Mobile App
In my experience, there are two types of traveler: those who make detailed packing spreadsheets, meticulously count their socks and underwear, and have their Christmas vacation luggage ready to go in September (*cough* my girlfriend *cough*).
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Then there are those who throw caution to the wind, toss fistfuls of clothes and granola bars into their suitcase on the way out the door, and hope for the best. The sort of traveler who buys luggage at the airport.
Basically, there are planners and crazy people.
Just like there are apps for travel planners, there are now apps for camping planners. The new Moonlight app is designed to be a full-featured camping trip planner for the obsessive planner(s) in your group. I recently test-drove the iOS app (full disclosure: the company paid us to do so) and here’s what I found …
In Active Network’s own words, here’s what Moonlight promises:
Planning a camping trip with friends can be time-consuming and hectic. Especially when you are headed into the great outdoors where the ever unpredictable Mother Nature is in control. Luckily, remembering to pack the essentials and coordinating with your trip mates is now easier than ever.
Moonlight, the innovative social camping app, was created by The ACTIVE Network to be the ultimate outdoor adventure toolkit. Its groundbreaking social platform allows you to conveniently collaborate with your trip mates to plan the trip of a lifetime.
The Traveler’s Take
First off, this app isn’t for all travelers. The focus is primarily on outdoor and adventure lovers with a penchant for meticulously planning their hiking and camping journeys. That said, it does what it promises very, very well.
Upon launching the app, I immediately noticed the beautiful launch screen and smooth user interface. It’s clear that somebody (or manybodies) put a lot of thought into the design. From the opening screen to the main menu, it’s clear where to go next.
Users can forward their plans (camping reservations and the like) to a specific email address where the app will automatically parse out the details and add them to their upcoming trip. Travelers familiar with TripIt will no doubt be familiar with this process which works surprisingly well. Alternatively, it’s possible to create a trip manually and enter the details individually.
What’s really nice is the database of things that comes prebaked into the app. A thorough list of activities, meal/recipe ideas, and camping tips are all ready to go. While the latter offers typical advice (“Don’t forget to bring a shovel for those midnight bathroom breaks …”), the recipe recommendations and list of outdoor games are both solid. The database also includes a decent list of known campgrounds (including government- and privately-owned) in most U.S. states and Canadian provinces. This makes it easy to know whether your intended campground has, for example, toilets, showers, and other facilities.
Perhaps Moonlight’s strongest feature is its social capability which allows everyone on the same trip to collaborate in the planning process. Users can share the gear, food, and essentials they’re bringing so, for example, you don’t end up with too much beer (kidding …). If you’ve ever planned a camping trip for more than four people, it’s often chaotic even among the most organized of hikers. The app can ensure that “packing overlap” doesn’t happen.
I’m a planner and a hiker. However, my hiking trips tend to be solo and a little more “spur of the moment”. With that said, I don’t see myself using Moonlight on a regular basis. But that’s more a function of my personality and camping/hiking preferences, not about the app’s shortcomings. That said, for its target niche, it does a lot of things very, very well.