If you've ever arrived to a camp site to find your expectations were sadly astray, take heart: Now, there's a better way to connect with the wilderness.
Hipcamp is a comprehensive camping resource designed to help streamline the search for an outdoor retreat.
"I’ve been camping pretty much my entire life but just last year was really the first time I booked a site on my own," said Hipcamp founder Alyssa Ravasio. "I had a vision to start the new year with a sunrise on the ocean so I started looking online for a place to camp. And it seemed like a really simple question, but the process was so painful."
When Ravasio arrived at her destination in Big Sur she immediately realized she was ill-prepared.
"Once I finally got there I realized that most of the campers were there for the surfing," she said. "I’m a big surfer but I hadn’t brought my board because nowhere on the government website did it say that there were these amazing breaks, and I realized it was a completely broken system."
Along with co-founder Eric Bach, an avid backpacker and winner of ABC's "Expedition Impossible," Ravasio designed the Hipcamp site so that users could search by region, activities and amenities all at the same time.
"The biggest problem with previous searching modes was fragmentation across government agencies and across other resources," said Ravasio. "The best kind of relevant or timely information might be on Yelp or TripAdvisor but the official rules were only on the state park's website. So we thought, why not collect it all in one place."
To wit, if you're looking for a pet-friendly place to pitch a tent that has access to nearby hiking and wakeboarding, as well as an RV hookup, and a cave you can explore with your kids, you can enter you can enter those specifics to zero in on the perfect weekend plot. And from there you can book a camping reservation.
The caveat is that currently only California-based parks are connected to Hipcamp.
"Our plan is to expand to another 20 states this year and we are in the process of fundraising for that," said Ravasio. "We haven’t actually chosen those 20 states yet but the general calculus is that we will go wherever we are being demanded the most."