Camping Got Hip

Want to rent your own waterfall? This Airbnb-style company can make it happen.

Want to rent your own waterfall? This Airbnb-style company can help.

Lost Maples State Park in Texas
Hipcamp allows you to search available campsites in state and national parks as well as privately owned land. Photo by Bruce Lemmons/Panoramio

When work wears you down, imagining a weekend in the great outdoors may be the only thing that gets you through. And new website Hipcamp can help make those daydreams a reality, with an innovative booking service that takes the stress out of finding the perfect campsite.

Hipcamp boasts a comprehensive database of campsites across the country, pulling photos, reviews, booking information, and other pertinent details into one helpful listing. The online collection covers everything from state and national parks to smaller campgrounds and private land. Not only can eager campers search for spots by location, but they also can narrow down results by available amenities and activities.

"Hipcamp is the best place to discover and book awesome places to camp," says co-founder Eric Bach. "We're bringing the world's public campgrounds online, while developing brand-new private camping experiences."

The California-based company was founded by Bach and Alyssa Ravasio in 2013. Last year, Hipcamp raised $2 million in investments, allowing the service to spread across the United States. Hipcamp officially launched in Texas in February. By July it had spread to the rest of the country.

Hipcamp's draw is the company's innovative land sharing program. Like the popular rental booking site Airbnb, landowners can list their property, and interested campers can gain access to the area for a reasonable fee. It's a win-win situation as far as Hipcamp is concerned: Landowners benefit from the new source of revenue, which goes toward helping conserve these pristine areas, and campers get access to grounds that are off the beaten path.

"Land sharing connects landowners that have awesome plots of land with a network of campers that are excited about new camping opportunities," Bach says. "The new camps range from ranches, farms, geodesic domes, yurts ... hell, you can even rent out your own waterfall!"

In just the few months since the program's launch, Hipcamp has been able to list more than 100 private spots across the country, and the company continues to reach out to private landowners in Texas.

"We've gotten a ton of support from the Lone Star State and feel that it is totally under appreciated; there's so many rad camping adventures to be had," Bach says.

These "rad" adventures aren't just for camping pros, either. In addition to increasing public access to our country's amazing landscapes, Hipcamp wants to inspire people to connect to nature. The company hopes to make the process of finding a campsite so hassle-free that camping newbies can easily get acquainted with the great outdoors.

"I always say that we use technology to get people away from technology, and in this day and age, that is becoming increasingly important," Bach says. "Every day we work to make the outdoors more accessible. I believe that spending time outside leads to healthier, more balanced, and more creative people."