Hipcamp is an online travel service designed to help people discover and book camping experiences. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 2013 by Alyssa Ravasio. Hipcamp enables users to search for available campsites based on location, natural landscape, activities offered, and amenities. Since its launch, the company has worked toward national expansion and creating an engaged community of campers.
Founder Ravasio grew up camping and adventuring in Northern California, where she was born. In 2012, Ravasio was concerned when it was announced that 70 of California's state parks were potentially closing due to lack of funding. If discovering and booking campsites were easier, Ravasio believed the California State Park system would benefit from an increase in traffic and funding. This idea came to a head when Ravasio was attempting to find a nearby campsite on the beach for New Year's Eve in 2013. In her search, she found the online research process tedious and scattered. Eventually, she found a campground on the coast, but had neglected to bring her surfboard because none of the online data mentioned this particular beach was a popular surfing spot.
Ravasio then enrolled in Dev Bootcamp, a 12-week coding crash course in order to launch her web company idea. In Spring 2013, she took a Lean Product Development course through Femgineer and was awarded their Github scholarship in June 2013 to fund Hipcamp's launch. After learning to code, Ravasio was able to create the beta version of Hipcamp by herself that went live in June 2013.
Bach joined Ravasio as co-founder in July 2013. The two bonded over the outdoors and a desire to solve the "camping problem." In 2011, Bach, an avid backpacker and world traveler, won ABC News's wilderness competition Expedition Impossible (TV series). He then worked with Jeff Church to develop Nika Water, a start-up which leads clean water projects in developing countries.
In December 2013, after winning the Ideation Nation's "civic hacking" competition, sponsored by Code for America and MindMixer in search of the best idea to improve government use of technology, Ravasio was given a cash award to continue the development of Hipcamp. MindMixer felt Ravasio's idea was a clear solution to the proposed problem and that it could easily be expanded across the nation.
In September 2014, Hipcamp raised $2M in seed funding led by O'Reilly Media's AlphaTech Ventures and Slow Ventures, with participation from Dave Morin, Sam Shank, Gregg Brockway, AngelList's Syndicate Fund and Maiden Lane Ventures.
The current version of the site launched in February 2015. Hipcamp now has eight full-time employees, a data team, a team of freelance writers, and several interns. Hipcamp is currently working on a national expansion project, and they intend to have information on parks across the entire country by the end of 2015. They also plan to release a mobile app in the future.
Hipcamp allows users to search for campgrounds based on location, natural features (beach, waterfall, forest, etc.), activities (biking, hiking, rock climbing, etc.), and amenities (showers, pets allowed, RV hookup, etc.), personalizing the camping research process. It also enables users to search available sites based on requested dates. Users can "favorite" parks and save them to their Hipcamp account or share them through connected social media sites. Hipcamp also encourages users to upload their own photos and reviews for each campsite.
Hipcamp runs a blog, or Journal, which features gear reviews, camping trips, tips and tricks, and photographer spotlights. They also write reviews and contribute material for other news publications. The website has a presence on several social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
In March 2015, Hipcamp launched a booking product, which enables users to book at select campsites directly through Hipcamp's website.
According to Alexa, Hipcamp is ranked at 42,122 in the U.S. Hipcamp started with campground coverage in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has expanded to cover all of California, Texas, Florida, and Oregon as of March 2015.
Hipcamp works closely with the Access Land coalition. Access Land works to increase access to public lands by advocating for open data and APIs for all public lands.
In 2015, Hipcamp partnered with Stamen Design and GreenInfo to develop caliparks.org. CaliParks is a statewide, parks search engine that brings together park boundary and management data with social media content from Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. Hipcamp provided activity data on the largest parks in California. The project was made possible by the Resource Legacy Fund via the State's Parks Forward Commission.