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Old 05-13-2021, 06:14 PM   #1
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Has anybody tried hipcamp.com? It looks kind of like an AirBNB for campsites.

Locating a place to stay is my second least favorite thing about Class B camping (number 1 is finding places in the van for everything I want to bring).

It's really difficult to get a campsite at a state park or national park. We've been to most of the KOAs in Northern California and tried one of the Thousand Trails locations. We have a favorite KOA near Pescadero, but its rates have gone through the roof.

So, I've been exploring other options. There's no dispersed camping anywhere near us. However searching on "dispersed camping bay area" I stumbled upon a website that caters to camping planning procrastinators: https://thesixfifty.com/a-procrastin...a-7db7e491c8cc. I'm their target customer.

Mentioned in that website is hipcamp.com. This outfit arranges with land owners to host campers and takes a 10% commission on the rental. They have listings all over the place.

I plan to give it a try.
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:29 PM   #2
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Keep us updated. I kinda like the Harvest Host idea but I don’t like feeling obligated to buy a bottle of wine.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:43 PM   #3
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Keep us updated. I kinda like the Harvest Host idea but I donít like feeling obligated to buy a bottle of wine.
The expectation to buy something is a big turnoff to HH for me. Some are ok with this and enjoy HH very much.
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Old 05-13-2021, 08:46 PM   #4
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I like the pay-for-stay idea. If there's a buck to be made, maybe a bunch of new camp sites will become available.
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Old 05-14-2021, 01:34 AM   #5
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Keep us updated. I kinda like the Harvest Host idea but I donít like feeling obligated to buy a bottle of wine.
Except you are not obligates to purchase a bottle of wine (hard to do when not staying at a vineyard). They just ask you spend $20 patronizing the host. For me its probably money I'd spend anyway, rv or no rv.
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Old 05-14-2021, 01:59 AM   #6
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Seems that HH are rv parks, a chain of rv parks that are Not free.

Some like off grid, some like rv parks, some like/use both, some like the HH system, chain of rv parks vs KOA. Something for everyone with a heck of lot of different B's to choose from. Times have never been better concerning B's and where to stay? A question mark because I've not been rv'ing long enough.
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Old 05-14-2021, 02:47 PM   #7
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The expectation to buy something is a big turnoff to HH for me. Some are ok with this and enjoy HH very much.
You are not obligated to buy anything. It is a courtesy same as Walmart and to get you to have an incentive for a visit. In fact we have arrived after closing a few times. It is easy to buy especially if you like wine and beer like we do and support the independent craft entrepreneurship. That's why we seek them out. Many have tasting rooms and tap rooms and there are some that have restaurants from full menu or simple things like wood-fired pizza. Most are in rural and scenic areas and you may park amongst the grape vines. Usually very quiet. Anyways it is better than a Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lot and there are not as many boondocking public lands east of the Mississippi.
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Old 05-14-2021, 06:23 PM   #8
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You are not obligated to buy anything. It is a courtesy same as Walmart and to get you to have an incentive for a visit. In fact we have arrived after closing a few times. It is easy to buy especially if you like wine and beer like we do and support the independent craft entrepreneurship. That's why we seek them out. Many have tasting rooms and tap rooms and there are some that have restaurants from full menu or simple things like wood-fired pizza. Most are in rural and scenic areas and you may park amongst the grape vines. Usually very quiet. Anyways it is better than a Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lot and there are not as many boondocking public lands east of the Mississippi.
This review makes it sound like the HH owners have given the impression to the Hosts that their guests will buy enough from them to make their involvement worthwhile. While not obligated it sure looks like you are expected. Makes for an uneasy situation that I would just prefer to avoid.

My Short Unhappy Stint as a Harvest Host | Left Coast Cowboys
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Old 05-14-2021, 06:44 PM   #9
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I read the Left Coast Cowboys post. It meshed completely with my discomfort with the HH program. As a camper, I don't want to be in the way of the normal operations of a farm or winery. I don't want my presence to be an uncompensated burden. I want my camping to be a dependable source of revenue, so the host has some incentive to provide service.
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:08 PM   #10
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We have stayed at multiple HH locations, and enjoyed every one. Hosts have been kind, thoughtful and generous, locations have always been pleasant, and since there's no cost for the stay, we certainly don't begrudge them the cost of buying a bottle of wine, a few beers, some food, or tickets to their museum. They're things we'd want to buy or experience anyway, given the opportunity.
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Old 05-23-2021, 04:18 PM   #11
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back to the OP question, we used HipCamps quite a bit on our inaugural 6 week trip around the West. Overall it became our goto first pass on any given area.

We had an amazing experience in Menard, TX at a family farm, right off the highway where we were totally isolated in a beautiful setting, purchased eggs and prickly cactus syrup. Oh and an amazing outdoor composting toilet with a view! Overnight rent of $10 seemed too low.

On the other end, we found a place in California City where someone was renting what we think is public land that seemed, while exactly as described, a little creepy so we just moved on.

We stayed at 4 or 5 other places (along with some HH's, state and National Parks etc) that were all excellent.

It seems that HipCamp has more sites than reviews now so many of the sites had few or no reviews. We stayed at some and the descriptions always seemed to match.

Pricing varies. In Central CA, the rates were crazy, but in Cedar Falls, UT, totally reasonable. The amenities vary. Some were just a place to park, others offered water, toilets and even wifi.

Given the challenges finding boon docking spaces, having the ability to make a reservation for an out of the way spot at a reasonable price is fantastic. Of course it's not free, but free is hard to get these days!

Overall, HipCamp fills a nice niche between Harvest hosts and boon docking.
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Old 05-23-2021, 04:38 PM   #12
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I am using Allstays.com/campgrounds, it gives you camping of all sorts. Also has phone app but it's $9.99
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Old 05-23-2021, 05:25 PM   #13
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I also use Allstays Camp & RV app. You can check boxes for BLM, private campgrounds , state parks Natl parks , Walmart’s, truck stops etc based on a map of where you are or want to be. Not perfect but the links give you directions, contact info if there is a contact, etc.
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Old 05-23-2021, 09:00 PM   #14
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I also use Allstays Camp & RV app. You can check boxes for BLM, private campgrounds , state parks Natl parks , Walmartís, truck stops etc based on a map of where you are or want to be. Not perfect but the links give you directions, contact info if there is a contact, etc.
We mainly use Allstays, too, and have found it invaluable. As mentioned, it has flaws, but what doesn't? I've not tried Hipcamp, but looking at it strikes a chord with me. Many of the listings I've seen are "interesting"...and I like those kinds.
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Old 05-24-2021, 01:07 PM   #15
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Great discussion and thanks for your blog Peteco, I enjoyed it and agree with you. Being an Airbnb host for over 7 years I can relate. We use a mix of State Parks, a few private RV places and HH.
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Old 05-24-2021, 10:46 PM   #16
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...I don't want my presence to be an uncompensated burden. I want my camping to be a dependable source of revenue, so the host has some incentive to provide service.
You do have to pay an annual $99 membership fee. So in reality the "free" camping is actually the number of nights divided into $99.
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Old 05-24-2021, 11:15 PM   #17
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You do have to pay an annual $99 membership fee. So in reality the "free" camping is actually the number of nights divided into $99.
I don't think the Host sites get any of that annual membership fee. It all goes to the people that run the HH program. The Hosts get their income from the people that stay there, assuming the buy something... which they are expected to do.
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Old 05-24-2021, 11:16 PM   #18
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Also, the premiere harvest host membership requires you to play golf (which I donít) if you stay in any of those sites. For me, there werenít enough of harvest host locations with the regular membership. Thatís why I didnít sign up.

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Keep us updated. I kinda like the Harvest Host idea but I donít like feeling obligated to buy a bottle of wine.
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Old 05-25-2021, 01:35 AM   #19
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I don't think the Host sites get any of that annual membership fee. It all goes to the people that run the HH program. The Hosts get their income from the people that stay there, assuming the buy something... which they are expected to do.
The point I failed to convey was any overnight camping isn’t free.
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