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There are plenty of options for parking your RV or camper van when you go camping. Sometimes it’s good to stay in campgrounds but other times you just need a break from the norm. Harvest Hosts locations are a great option for accomplishing this and allows you to enjoy something a bit more unique.
Rather than just parking all up next to others in a crowded situation, you can be the only one parked in a location at a beautiful winery, farm, golf course, or other picturesque attraction.
The same can be said for Hipcamp locations. Hipcamp is similar to Airbnb but offers properties for camping. Other people rent out their property for you to stay on. In much the same way as Harvest Hosts, this allows you to get away from the normal crowds of campgrounds and experience more solitude. The right location can give you the peaceful camping experience that we all dream about.
While both of these services have similarities, there are plenty of differences that would make one wonder if one is better than the other.
Although I don’t consider one better than the other, I’ll try to share some experiences I’ve had with both types of locations. These are the two primary locations that I stay at when I travel. They are my go-to places and while there might not be a Harvest Hosts location in an area where I’m going, there will likely be a Hipcamp location available. Likewise, I can often find a Harvest Hosts location in an area where a Hipcamp location may not be available.
Both of these are great options to have available to you and can serve as a perfect way to enjoy a peaceful night in idyllic locations.
Click here to read my full review of Harvest Hosts.
My full review of Hipcamp can be found here.
Below, I’d like to compare them to each other so that you can decide which is best for you.
Both Make Use of Other Peoples Properties
Whether it’s a business location of a Harvest Hosts, or a private location via a Hipcamp offering, both of these utilize land owned by others who have opened it up for you to park on and enjoy for a specified amount of time. With Harvest Hosts, this is generally a one-night deal while Hipcamp allows for as many nights as you want to pay for.
They Are Often in Great Locations
Usually, a stay at either of these types of locations will put you into a scenic place. Many vineyards and farms offered through Harvest Hosts are on lots of land and will give you the private setting that we campers can certainly appreciate.
Many of the places offered by Hipcamp are located in a country setting and you can use their booking system to find a place nearly anywhere you wish.
There are also some places offered through both services that are not ideal. Many of them are decent enough to stay at if you are passing through and may be all you have available in some areas.
There are some places offered that aren’t any better than staying in a Wal-Mart parking lot. However, if you are wanting to stay in a great location, you’ll have a high chance of finding one with either option.
They Are Both Mostly Off-Grid
Renting a camping spot in a Hipcamp location or staying at a Harvest Hosts location will generally put you off the grid without electricity or water connections. If you are interested in this Boondocking lifestyle then these types of places will be great for you. If you are equipped with solar and you have wastewater holding tanks that can last for a few days then you are in luck.
While this is often the case, I have stayed at both types of locations that did offer full hook-ups. This is the exception to the rule and these places are few and far between. However, they are out there and I have stayed in multiple locations that allow for full hook-ups or some that offer only an electrical connection.
Although I generally don’t need it in my camper van as I am self-contained and have solar power that runs everything, it is nice to have shore power and not have to worry about depleting my battery bank.
Both Are Very Affordable
Both of these options are low-cost options when you consider the number of stays and compared to what you might spend in a similar campground setting. Sure, you can stay in cheap campgrounds but those are not similar to the types of locations that you will find with these services.
Only premium campgrounds and RV parks can match the setting that you’ll experience at these locations and even then, you won’t have the privacy and serenity often found in these locations.
The Way You Pay For It
With Harvest Hosts, you pay a yearly fee to be a part of the network, and then you are allowed to stay at Harvest Hosts locations assuming the owner of the location approves you. However, the unwritten rule or suggestion to spend money at the farm or winery, or other location should also be considered. It’s a great deal if you are going to stay at them often and you enjoy the services provided.
As an example, a person who loves to drink and taste various wines and other farm products will probably come out ahead and very happy with a Harvest Hosts membership. On the other hand, someone who doesn’t drink at all may struggle to find locations suitable for them. Most locations are wineries and it’s assumed that you will participate in a wine tasting or purchase some wine during your visit.
Hipcamp, on the other hand, is a reservation system that allows you to pay as needed. If you decide you want to stay three nights in a location and find the perfect location for it, you simply pay for those three nights and no other requirements are necessary. This provides a different type of situation and is perfect for someone who just wants to pay their way and then park, camp, and not be bothered so that they can enjoy their time.
Harvest Hosts is great for those who want to meet others and enjoy friendly conversations while enjoying good wine and food.
Length of Stay
With Harvest Hosts, each stay is assumed to be a one-night stay only unless the owner offers additional nights. I have only been offered this one time in all of my travels so it doesn’t seem to be a common thing.
With Hipcamp, you can pay for as many nights as you wish for as long as they are available. I’ve taken trips where I have stayed for only one night and trips where I have stayed for a full week.
Types of Camping Allowed
Harvest Hosts requires you to have a self-contained camper. This makes it off-limits to those traveling in pop-up campers or other small campers that might not have an indoor kitchen, bathroom, or other common areas that must be utilized outside the camper.
Hipcamp is totally different in this area. You will find locations that will allow anything from tent camping to large RV camping. Rather than being limited to having a self-contained RV, you can enjoy a camping stay while sleeping under the stars in your tent and enjoying an evening meal around the campfire.
Number of Locations
The number of available locations between the two services is a bit different. With Hipcamp, there are currently over 300,000 locations throughout the United States. These locations are made up of private property, campgrounds, ranches, vineyards, and more.
Harvest Hosts currently has around 2500 locations including wineries, farms, museums, and golf courses.
However, even though Hipcamp has a higher number of locations, some of them are only campground listings and not comparable to what you’ll find with Harvest Hosts.
If you are looking only for locations that will put you into unique places with stunning views and a memorable experience, the number of locations is considerably less.
Which is The Better Deal?
It’s hard to say which of these two services is the better deal because it will depend on different things. How much you visit and how much you spend will be the determining factor between the two. If you spend a great deal of money on purchasing products such as wine, farm goods, or other things offered by Harvest Hosts locations, you may end up spending more than you would if you had just booked a location through Hipcamp.
I prefer to have both options in my bag so that no matter where I travel to, there will likely be someplace that I can stay and enjoy.
You can purchase a membership through Harvest Hosts here and receive a 15% discount.
Sign up for Hipcamp using this link and receive $10 in Hipcash that you can use towards future trips.
Who is Harvest Hosts Best Suited For?
People Who Like to Meet and Mingle With Others
If you have an outgoing personality or are just ready to talk with others and enjoy some company, this may be a good option for you. You will find yourself in wine tastings, beer tastings, and other events with others. You’ll probably meet others, make new friends and enjoy a good evening socializing with other campers. Not only that but you’ll enjoy talking to the hosts and learning about their business. It will be informative and fun if you enjoy the company of others.
People Who Drink Wine and Other Alcoholic Drinks
If you are not a drinker, you may want to pass on a Harvest Hosts membership. There are other locations but a large percentage of the locations are either wineries or breweries. Since you are expected to purchase something from the business, you may find yourself in an awkward situation if you do not drink alcohol.
People Who Like To Try New Things
Some of the host locations you’ll visit are off the beaten path and are places you would never go otherwise. Beyond wineries, you may find yourself at farms, unique museums, and other attractions. These locations give you the opportunity to truly try something new and take you beyond just the basic tourist attractions.
Who is Hipcamp Best Suited For?
People Who Just Want a Good Camping Experience
If your main concern is settling in for a great camping experience, Hipcamp has you covered. You won’t have to do anything except book your trip, show up, and enjoy! You can pitch a tent (in many locations), start a campfire, and enjoy your visit without worrying about any other obligations.
People Who Want to Be Left Alone
Once you are settled into a camping location, you’ll be left alone. It’s your time and it’s time to enjoy some peace and quiet while you make some truly unique camping memories. The Hipcamp locations that I have been to have given me a great experience and a peaceful getaway. A few of them even had me in locations where I never saw or heard another person the entire time I stayed there.
People Who Have Something Other Than a Self-Contained Camper
If you aren’t traveling in a motorhome or have another type of camper that is self-contained, Hipcamp locations usually don’t require it. Many places cater to any type of camper and it’s easy to see this information highlighted on the listing page.
Either of these options will give you a great camping experience that is something different than a standard campground. You’ll be able to find some stunning locations through both services. I have enjoyed many stays using both of these services and the majority of them have been absolutely wonderful!