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What is Campnab and Why Do You Need It?

What is Campnab and Why Do You Need It?

With the ever-increasing popularity of camping (and RVing in general), new camping-related services seem to be popping up every month or two. Vetting each one isn’t easy, especially since properly determining the value of any service means actually using it. But that’s just what we’ve done with Campnab.

In today’s post, we’ll tell you what we learned about the Campnab service in our research, what our personal experience with the service was like, and whether (as a result of our experience) we think Campnab is worth using.

What is Campnab?

Campnab is a service that allows you to monitor cancellations at popular State, Provincial, and National parks throughout the United States and Canada. The service actually runs real-time scans of your selected park(s), to monitor for any cancellations that open up.

This is a fantastic concept and, if it works as it’s designed to work, can open up a world of wonders for many people who would otherwise miss out.  The overwhelming demand for spaces at these much-desired locations has created the near-impossibility of visiting on less than 6-12 months’ notice.

Why is it So Hard to Get a Campsite?

Some of the most incredible wonders of this world are tucked into the State, National, and Provincial parks of North America. The most popular parks require reservations as much as a year in advance of your visit, due to the demand. So, if you couldn’t (or just didn’t) make a reservation at a particular park early enough, you wouldn’t be able to get a site at that park. Period. End of story.

And that’s what people do – they make their reservations months in advance of a planned visit, and that’s why it’s so hard to get a campsite in any of these parks with less notice.

Campnab helps with last minute trip planning

The demand for space at popular state/provincial/national parks makes it difficult to book last minute. Campnab to the rescue!

But here’s the problem for many of us…

It’s not easy to commit to a travel destination a year in advance. Yeah, sure – we know – lots of people do it. But life happens. Every day. And plans change. Who knows how anyone’s life will have changed a year from now? If a global pandemic hasn’t shown us that everything can change in a heartbeat or two, then we haven’t been paying attention.

So, the fact is that “Plan A” often requires a change to “Plan B” (and sometimes even to Plans C, D, E, and F, before plan G actually happens). And this is where Campnap comes in – on both sides of the equation.

How Does Campnab Work?

Let’s look at an example:

Somebody made a reservation at Zion National Park nine months ago for ten days from today. Their plans have changed so they cancel. Campnab scans the online reservation system for us at our request and notifies us that a site just opened up that will accommodate our 43-foot motorhome. We grab it, and ten days later we find ourselves experiencing the wonders of Zion National Park.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for a plan on Campnab’s website
  2. Identify the park & dates you’re looking for and tell them the size campsite you need
  3. The system scans and watches for sites to open up due to cancellations
  4. You receive a text message on your phone when the system finds one
  5. Return to the park’s booking system and nab your now-available site

That’s how it’s supposed to work. And what a FANTASTIC concept, if it does work, right? But – does it really work?

Is Campnab Legit?

Turns out it is! Campnab has been around for four years now, and the example we noted above is our own real-life experience with Campnab.

Zion National Park happens to be one of our favorite places on earth. We’ve even camped there in the winter, as we shared in this post and video back in 2017. More recently we enjoyed hiking Angels Landing, one of the best hikes in Zion National Park, involving a 5-mile round-trip with a 1,500′ elevation gain – not for the faint of heart, but what an experience! You may have seen our footage from the peak in Season 3, Episode 5 of The RVers.

John and Peter at Zion National Park - can Campnab get us a reservation here?

Hiking Angels Landing in Zion National Park is not for the faint of heart – but once you reach the summit, you get to enjoy incredible views of the canyon below.

Peter’s first visit to a national park was to Zion, and it sparked in him a lifelong love of the outdoors that has brought so many amazing life experiences since, all over the globe.

In fact, a love of Zion was what initially sparked our interest in full-time RVing… a spark that’s turned into a decades-long lifestyle. So, this national park holds a very special place in our hearts, and we’ve been wanting to get back there.

More recently, we were in Utah and our upcoming plans changed, leaving us with some time to fill about ten days from then. If only we could get into Zion. We were so close – and yet so far, knowing how far in advance reservations need to be made for this indescribably beautiful destination.

Enter, Campnab. We’ll give it a try, we thought – what have we got to lose?

Campnab did its thing and in no time flat, we had a reservation for a campsite for our Class A motorhome, right in Watchman Campground. Just ten days away! Unheard of!

Well – not anymore, because now you’ve heard of it, and it’s real.

The Campnab service worked extremely well. And, for the cost of a mere 10 bucks, we had an amazing experience camping at Zion as always.

So, our answer (based on our personal experience), is a resounding YES – Campnab is legit. Our experience was seamless, the result successful, and as a bonus, we got back to one of our all-time favorite national parks on short notice.

Campnab found us an open reservation here at Zion National Park just ten days away

Thanks, Campnab, for getting us back to one of our favorite places on earth – Zion National Park.

At the time of the writing of this post (October 2021), Campnab has the capacity to scan 3,200 parks, 7,000 campgrounds, and hundreds of backcountry permits. With over 300,000 campsites in their directory (all from parks in the United States and Canada), they’re constantly working to add more, and by the time you read this they will probably already have done so.

How Much is Campnab?

There are a couple of ways to use Campnab’s services.

You can pay only when you use the system, using their pay-per-use option. Within this option there are three tiers, each with their own price point. The difference is in how frequently they scan. You can pay for a scan that runs every hour, every 20 minutes, or every 5 minutes.

Pay-per-use scans range from $10 – $20 each.

Alternatively, you can opt to buy into a plan – and the plans are also based on a tier system. So, if you’re on a plan, your scans will run every 15 minutes, every 10 minutes, or every 5 minutes, depending on the tier you’ve chosen to join.

Membership plans start at $10/month and offer frequent campers more options.

If you try the pay-per-use service and decide you want to switch to a plan, you can do that at any time, and the fee will be prorated accordingly.

Does Campnab Book Campsites?

No. It’s important to understand that Campnab does not book campsites for you. They simply alert you to the canceled reservations that open up, and then it’s up to you to “nab” that reservation by contacting the park (either by phone or using the online reservation service the park offers).

Campnab co-founders came up with the idea for a scanning system at this campsite

Campnab was essentially born at this campsite. Co-founders Kim and Eric Shelkie were having difficulty finding campsites, so they brainstormed Campnab’s scanning system into existence. Photo credit: Kim Shelkie

Campnab isn’t selling you a reservation for a campsite. They’re finding you an opening based on a cancellation. They don’t buy up campsite reservations and resell them, and they don’t work for the parks. They’ve created an ingenious scanning system that may be able to find you an otherwise unlikely reservation – but there’s no guarantees. If there’s an opening, Campnab is likely to find it.

The service also benefits the parks because they’re not left with an open campsite due to a cancellation.


We had a great experience with Campnab. But, if you’d like to check out what Campnab reviewers have to say, Campnab has some reviews posted here.

If you’d like to give Campnab a try, use this link to sign up and give it a try.

As a caveat, not everyone will have the amazing experience we had every time they use the Campnab service. If you’re hoping for a campsite for a particular week and no campsites open up at the location you’re interested in during that week, then obviously you won’t be able to make a reservation. Campnab has no control over that.

All in all, though, we’re fans of the service and appreciate having it available to help with last-minute planning. And we think you will, too!

Geek Out with Us Every Week

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J. A. Wilt

Sunday 20th of February 2022

Dear Geeks, I googled and my computer displays that this site as unsafe. Is it possible that you look into this and advise? Thank you

Eric Karjaluoto

Thursday 22nd of December 2022

Hi J.A.,

I’m one of the two Erics working on Campnab. (I’m the bald one.)

I’m not sure why you saw this message. Campnab is a secure site (you’ll see an https link in the URL field). Additionally, our payment and message delivery partners are trusted groups.

If you see this message again, please reach out to me at and I can look into the issue and advise on why this might be happening.

All the best!


Scott Floyd

Monday 1st of November 2021

This is terrific. I will try it. John and Peter, as always you are terrific.


Monday 1st of November 2021

Thanks so much, Scott! We hope you have the same great experience with it that we have.

John Schretlen

Monday 1st of November 2021

Another something new from the RVgeeks.

I was just talking to a fellow RVer yesterday that has been on the road since August and finally got to Coachella, CA. For the past few weeks travelling westbound in the southern states he reported that he's never seen so many RV's on the road and that most campsites and RV parks were full every night. Against his 'norm' he booked a site weeks in advance (to visit friends) and that park was booked up 100% when he got there.

This Campnab might be the most important app for upcoming trips. Thanks for posting this information.

This is why I'm glad to follow (and subscribe) your posts.

John Schretlen

Monday 1st of November 2021

P.S. Wow, they are located in Vancouver,BC, have 8 beers in the fridge and admit that "We are too old and boring for TikTok and Snapchat."


Monday 1st of November 2021

Thanks so much for that info, John. We certainly do need every available tool in our arsenal!

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