Becoming a Hipcamp Host to host campers on your land is an incredible way to share your love of the outdoors with new people. Whether you have a small sustainable farm or a wild ranch bordering a national park (or neither—excuse us while we daydream), there are a lot of things you’ll want to consider doing to make your land safe for campers. Read on for our insider tips on getting your land guest-ready with campground safety considerations.
Camper safety is a top priority for us, and we know it is for Hosts, too. Nothing ruins an outdoor trip like an accident that could have been easily avoided. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure your guests have a good time while staying safe on your property.
Whether you offer designated campsites or dispersed camping, you’ll want to do your part to ensure no one sets up camp anywhere that could be hazardous.
Try to keep tent sites away from highly trafficked roads and parking areas—this will avoid disturbances and keep cars from driving around campsites after dark when it may be hard to see campers on foot. If your land features outdoor cooking areas or fire pits, be sure to build them with fire safety in mind.
Campers are going to explore (and we want to make it easy for them to get to the bathroom even in the middle of the night), so it’s best to make paths as clear and accessible as possible.
Regularly check in on your camping areas. In addition to looking for unhealthy trees, you’ll want to keep an eye out for erosion, hazardous surfaces, or damaged construction such as rotted wood boards. We hope your Hipcamp earnings can help you continue to maintain and improve your land!
To promote campground safety and better welcome families, it’s best to fence animal pens and pools (or other deep water sources). If your land borders protected land or natural habitats, property boundary fencing may also be beneficial to prevent these places from being disturbed and to let campers know what areas are off-limits.
Setting clear visual boundaries is an important part of keeping visitors safe. Campers will also appreciate knowing if the area is frequented by dangerous wildlife such as bears, snakes, or poisonous plants.
Every campsite has its quirks—maybe you have a stream that cuts right through the campground, or a crabby old horse that isn’t interested in mingling. No matter what, communication is key in building a safe campground visitors can enjoy. By giving your guests a heads up and posting a few strategically placed signs, you can minimize the risk of something going wrong.
Water is a must-have for campers, so Hosts should let them know where to find it if you offer it. Add signs near potable water sources (those safe to drink), but especially near ones that are not. It’s also a good idea to have signage directing guests to bathrooms or showers so they can find their way easily. Do you offer firewood or allow campers to scavenge for their own in certain areas? Make this clear.
We love pets! And we’re thankful so many of our Hosts do too. With that said, it’s important to set clear expectations with campers to keep everyone safe—including you and any animals you might have of your own. Use your listing descriptions, welcome instructions, and Hipcamp Messages to convey what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to dogs and to share what animals you have onsite. You can require that campers’ pets stay on leash at all times, and/or also designate areas where they’re not allowed (near chickens or other farm animals, for example).
To manage expectations, it’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate. Your land description page, site descriptions, and welcome instructions are all great places to share tips and helpful information campers should know upon arrival. How far is the bathroom from the campsites? What does the entrance road look like?
This can help them bring appropriate gear (such as 4WD vehicles, a leash, or their own sun shade) and arrive prepared. In addition, you can always send campers a Hipcamp Message in advance of check-in to share last-minute reminders.
If you host remotely or don’t greet campers upon arrival, read up on our tips for hosting when you’re not there.
Last but not least, one of the best ways to ensure a safe space for your guests is to foster an environment of respect—both for nature and for others. This can range from signs on the importance of respecting other guests to quick explanations on how to properly dispose of waste or protect delicate plumbing. The main reason to do this? It sets the tone for how to treat your land and other outdoor spaces. Leave No Trace is always a good place to start.
We like to believe that most people have good intentions and may just need a little nudge in learning how to do things the right way. Hipcamp Hosts and campers can be model land stewards so that the lands we love will be around for the next generations.
Even with the most detail-oriented preparation, accidents happen and we want our Hosts to have the peace of mind that they’ll be taken care of in the rare event of injury or property damage. That’s why we offer a robust insurance policy that protects Hosts for up to $1 million USD per incident in the US, Canada, and the UK, and up to $10 million per incident in Australia and New Zealand. Read up on other ways Hipcamp protects Hosts from risk.
Want to earn extra income to help pay for property taxes, home expenses, and future dream projects? Learn more about becoming a Hipcamp Host. (Use the promo code JOURNAL and get an extra $100 when you host your first camper on your land.)
And if you’re looking for more creative ideas for building structures and campsites to add to your land for extra income, check out The Top 7 Types of Campsites Generating Income on Hipcamp.
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