This is a story about making camping simple.
Today I invite you to celebrate 10 years of Hipcamping with me. Since we began writing our story a decade ago, tens of thousands of landowners have opened their gates to our international community of Hipcampers, who have spent more than 10 million nights under the stars with us. An incredible team of talented and passionate people has worked tirelessly to get more people outside, creating Hipcamp in collaboration with our community of Hipcampers and Hosts who generously share their ideas and feedback to make Hipcamp better. Together we have created a movement and changed the way people get outside.
Hipcamp started with a wave.
The wave was a gorgeous point break off the coast of the campground at Andrew Molera State Park. After many hours of researching the perfect camping trip, none of the websites I’d looked at mentioned surfing, so I neglected to bring my beloved mint green surfboard.
That wave sparked a dream of a world where camping was simple. As I drove home the next morning, I felt both eager to return with my surfboard and also profoundly recharged and energized after my night under the stars. Suddenly, I realized if I could build a tool that made it simpler to go camping, then more people could get outside and feel as good as I did in that moment. Even better, they would know to bring their surfboard!
Looking back, Hipcamp’s first decade has two distinct chapters:
Chapter One — Opening Access to Public Lands
In our first chapter, we focused on increasing access to camping on public land. We built the first unified dataset to bring together campsite information across all US public park agencies, including state parks, national parks, national forests, BLM land, county parks, and more. We successfully championed the movement for open data on our public lands, changing the precedent for federal and state parks, and creating a data platform that now supports dozens of companies.
While this chapter was filled with huge and exciting wins, we kept getting the same tough feedback: so many of our public lands were already overcrowded, so it didn’t feel like there was much space for more people to get outside.
It was like one of those black-and-white drawings, where you suddenly see the inverted image, and the tiger becomes an owl.
Surrounding our amazing public land was so much amazing private land. In fact, most of the US (60%) is private. In Texas, that number is 95%. What if people could get outside on all that private land? Not only would that solve our overcrowding problem, but it could also create a sustainable revenue stream for landowners that would support the protection of these open lands and healthier ecosystems around the world.
Chapter Two — Opening Access to Private Land
And so our second chapter began. I’ll always remember reading in Hipcamp’s very first private land reviews how free and happy people felt getting outside on these beautiful lands. Building a community for camping on private land has been an enormous challenge, and I am so grateful to all the people who have contributed to making it happen, from our talented teammates, to the Hosts who took the leap of opening up their gates, to the Hipcampers who decided to give this new way of camping a try. Creating this new movement in the outdoors has brought out the best in all of us.
It was during this second chapter that we found our camping soulmates down under in Australia with the YouCamp team, and across the pond in the UK with the Cool Camping team. We joined forces to bring Hipcamp to campers around the globe. We also recruited some amazing Canadian teammates and launched Hipcamp in Canada. Now, our passionate team and awesome community span three continents, making it possible for people to spend more nights under the stars all around the world.
Today, Hipcamp has opened access to 5 million acres of beautiful private land for camping. Nearly 90% of this land is found only on Hipcamp.
(For context, 5 million acres is just about the size of Wales or New Jersey!)
Chapter Three — One Ecosystem
Now, as we celebrate 10 million nights outside and our 10th birthday, our third chapter is beginning. In this chapter, we’ll bring together the 5 million acres of amazing private lands found only on Hipcamp with the best camping across our public lands and the world’s most iconic campgrounds. The result will be a world where, finally, access to camping is simple.
I’m excited to share more about this with you soon. Our third chapter is just beginning, and if you’re an avid reader like me, you know that means the book is just starting to get good! Thank you for writing (and editing!) this story with us. Our community is what makes Hipcamp real, and so often it is the ideas and feedback from our community that make Hipcamp better.
Today is all about celebration. Celebrating the past 10 years and all the learnings, adventures, challenges, and wins each one has brought us. All the nights under the stars, the perfect s’mores, teaching Aussies what s’mores are and then having our minds blown by jaffles, the pink dawns, the shooting stars, the cool creeks and the perfect sunsets, the gates opened, the lands stewarded, and the new friends made.
Here’s to the next 10 years of Hipcamping!
Founder & CEO
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