What is Hipcamp? And Why Should YOU Care?


Hipcamp, an online commercial forum for camping, lets campers discover unique and special camping experiences, and  book them right on the site. Search for campsites using the various options and filters which they provide. But these aren’t your typical run-of-the-mill campgrounds. These are landowners that allow travelers to stay at their unique locations. No Teddy Bears and no 12ft wide slip wedged in between 2 semi truck sized RV’s.

Users can find sites based on their area, amenities and activities offered and a lot more. Hipcamp also lets users choose what type of camping they want, be it an RV or tent camping, or maybe even a lodge. The options available for prospective camping lovers are numerous and varied.

Apart from providing options to book sites for camping, Hipcamp also offers a platform for users to upload their photos, reviews, and ratings of the campsites which they know and visit. Making it the Uber of the Outdoors.

About Hipcamp: A Look at History

The main goal of the company is to create an engaged group of campers, to form a community which regularly interact with each other.

The platform was founded by Alyssa Ravasio in 2013 in San Francisco, California. This is also where she grew up and started camping. In around 2012, it was announced that about 70 of the state parks of the region were potentially closing down due to lack of funds. Ravasio believed that if booking campsites were easier than what it was, the parks would certainly benefit from the increase in the influx of people and funding.

During that time, the online process of booking campsites was very haphazard and certainly not an easy and intuitive experience. This was when the idea came to her to build a platform which will let campers connect and book campgrounds.

After teaching herself how to code in a 12-week crash course, she builds and released the first version of the application by herself which went live, in 2013. The current version of the website launched in 2015. They have a team consisting of about 8 employees, writers, interns. The platform is currently also planning to release a mobile version of their application. Just the web version is released as of now.

Hipcamp tries to solve the camping problem and make the experience most personalized. The first thing the product allows users to do is to book campsites based on their personal preferences i.e. the type of amenities, activities or other features they might want. Secondly, they also have a blog which has plenty of reviews, spotlights, tips for campers and more. They also have a presence on most social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

What is Youcamp?

Youcamp is an online marketplace in Australia which started in 2013. It offers exciting and unique outdoor experiences for travelers. The properties on Youcamp are private ones which property owners open up for travelers to experience and enjoy.

The entire area of the country contains vast areas of private land which can be perfect spots for adventure and camping lovers. Youcamp aims to connect these private landowners to travelers, both of whom have a shared admiration and wonder for the outdoors.

Youcamp also aims to provide something which is beneficial for campers and land owners. For travelers, you always find something which will suit your traveling needs. This is because of the huge number of private properties available which can provide accommodation and various activities. There is always something for everyone. With hundreds and hundreds of properties laced throughout the country, you don’t have to go to a crowded campsite or scourge thoroughly for more peaceful locations.

The platform provides a curated list of all available sites, with reviews and ready help available for each one of them. Finding good camping spots can be a raffle; you never know what you ’re going to get when you reach one. Youcamp provides details, photos, reviews and ratings for each of their spots. And the properties you have will have a landowner, so you can always reach out to them for help. It gives an added incentive to the owners as well to keep their properties clean and get some funds as well.

Youcamp has over 180k users in Australia and has connected properties from over 60 cities in the country. You can join the platform either as a host or a fellow traveler. If you want to be a host, you first have to register on your platform and list your property over there.

What are some alternatives to Hipcamp or YouCamp?

 

There are several alternative options to Hipcamp which are available in the market today. Some of them are –

Gamping:

Gamping is a platform similar to hipcamp which launched in France around 2013. It starts for Garden Camping and allows users to find campsites from around the world. Their website claims to have over a thousand campsites all around the world. Most of these spots are found in France and around Europe for now, as they started from there.

You can still find quite a few places in the U.S. The application allows you to search for campsites by location and allows you to filter them by amenities, activities and other options. You book your property directly with the owner of the site.

Tentrr:

Tentrr is quite similar to Hipcamp and even Gamping in the fact that it provides you areas to camp which are usually privately owned. But there is something special about Tentrr. All the campsites listed in Tentrr have a basic set of amenities ranging from tents, chairs, toilets, tables, fire pits and more. This actually means that you do not have to bring anything of your own for camping, they provide you with the whole experience.

They will even set up some extra tents for you if your group is a bit large. At the moment, their platform is available only in New York and the Catskills mountain ranges, but they have plans to expand further in the near future.

Camp In My Garden:

**Update: Camp in my Garden is now Campspace

Camp In My Garden was launched in 2010 and is similar to other camp booking platforms, but with a small difference that it doesn’t allow large groups. They mostly limit the number of tents to around six. The website might seem a bit old and dated when compared to others, but they provide over 1000 garden sites to campers across many regions.

Most of their campsites are in Europe, but the rest and dispersed all over the world with quite a few of them to be found in the US as well. Camp In My Garden ensures that every site has access to a water tap and a lavatory of some sort.

Upcamp:

Upcamp is a platform in the United States which lets you know when your favorite campgrounds have cancellations and are available for booking. All you have to do is search for your favorite campsite and check its availability on the day or the range of days you want. If your favorite spot is not available, don’t fret. Upcamp will let you know the moment there is a cancellation on that ground on your selected dates and notify you.

Campnab:

Did you ever want to go camping at a site and get to know that it has actually been booked months in advance? This is what usually happens, but many of these reservations are actually canceled. Campnab lets you know instantly when a site has been canceled so that you can book it. It’s a bit similar to Upcamp in that regards.

Aerial Camping

Aerial Camping is a photo sharing service. It is tailored towards camping and aerial photography. The platform offers aerial photos of campgrounds, reviews, directions on how to get there. The photos are all community generated where users can like and share photos. Even hashtags are allowed.

It’s like an Instagram for campers. So you can check out your desired destination before heading out. With photos being added be users and hobbyist photographers, you don’t have to worry about going to a location based on some 15 year old staged photo of a brand new campground. The application is available on iOS and Android platforms.

What are the safety concerns with camping on private lands?

There can be quite a few safety concerns when you’re a fellow camper and are looking to spend some time in a private campground:

  1. Fire safety is one of the most paramount safety concerns in a campsite. And it an integral part of camping. What’s a camping experience without any bonfire or barbeque? Make sure you control the fire. Don’t build one on low trees, always have someone watching and make sure to put out the light before catching your dreams.
  2. Wild animals can be another problem when camping, even on private properties. The fact is that you are new and the animals you encounter will be unfamiliar to you, and might even be dangerous. Behave properly with them and never approach a wild animal for your own safety.
  3. Bugs. It doesn’t matter if you’re on public BLM land or a private campground, there can be bugs everywhere. So be prepared and take precautionary action. Have a bug spray with you at all times or any other method you deem fit to drive them away. You don’t want to keep slapping your cheeks all night long.
  4. Water – Have clean drinking water with you can be really important during camping. And having plenty of it. Some private campsites do provide water, but there aren’t a lot of them.

How much money can you make as a landowner by letting campers in?

There are quite a few platforms out there which connect private landowners to connect with campers around the world. This provides a great experience for both campers and landowners. You let your land be used for camping and make some dough along the way. But the question does arise, how much can you really make by letting people camp in your private land? Well, the answer to that depends on where you want to register your campsite and more importantly, what you have to offer.

There are various applications like Hipcamp, Youcamp, Gamping and more which allow hosts to list their campsites and let campers find and book them. The normal rates for tent camping per night are around $10-$40. These are generally the rates of local public campgrounds and landowners can at least make this much amount per night. You can even make more if you provide additional amenities or have landed in unexplored places where people might want to visit. All this makes your income from tent camping to be around $300-$1200 per month.

If you have arrangements apart from tents like glamping tents or cabins, the range might go upward with what you are providing. You can expect anywhere between $40-$250 depending on the experience and comfort of the structure.

Another thing to note is that most applications you list your property on will charge some sort of a commission fee from your total gross income. This can be around 5%-15% depending on the platform. For example, Hipcamp takes a 10% commission from your earnings, which is low compared to the amount of visitors that the site gets that can see your property. Listing your ownsite, however, is usually completely free of charge.

While there are plenty of ways to make money while you are traveling, there are few that allow you to make it while owning some cool property to stay at.