The Ultimate List of Workcamping Job Resources

I've decided to find and create the ultimate list of workcamping job resources. Feel free to comment with any resources you're aware of, so we can truly make this a go-to resource for full-time travelers to turn to. Together, we can help a lot of people!

This will be updated when new resources are available. So help me help you so we can help each other help others!

The Facebook Post That Sent Me Searching

Last night, someone posted to the "Full-Time RVers" Facebook page that prompted me to search workcamping resources and help people find "good deals".

This was her post:

"I have a question for those who workamping, I've applied for a workamping job for the first time, they are offering $9.50 an and $2.00 credit for every hour worked towards sight rent, the site is $600 a month, is that how it usually works? Is it a good deal? Never did this before so would love input!"

The vast majority of people said "No! This is not a good deal!" Most followed up with comments like, "the campsite should be free!" or "you shouldn't have to pay taxes on workcamping income!" As a financial planner, this sent me on a tailwind spin.

Based on various threads I've read over the past year, I was under the impression that most workcamping positions simply offered a free place to stay and required 15-20 hours of work per week. And even if they were paid positions, it wasn't enough money to earn a living.

Many said that because the $2 credit didn't fully pay for the site, it wasn't a good deal. However, it seemed to me that it was just a technicality. Because the $2 credit wouldn't fully pay for her site even if she worked 40 hours per week, she would essentially be earning $11.50 per hour.

So I did the math. Asssuming 20% in taxes and a $600 campsite fee, she would be taking home about $7.75 per hour after site fees if she worked 40 hours. If she worked 30 hours, she would be taking home about $6.50. No rent and somewhere between $6.50 and $7.75 sounded like a pretty decent deal to me!

I think it's worth noting that workcamping jobs normally don't pay enough to earn a full-time living or support a family. Workcamping is designed to be cheap wages for the campground owner and provide cheap living expenses for the worker.

My Personal Workcamping Experience

The post got me thinking about my current position as the campground host at Stone Mountain Park.

I get paid $9.00 an hour and I have to pay $250 in rent. This is a $500 discount off retail. Since the campground fees are such a high priority, I wanted to find out what the real value of my workcamping position was. There are 2 different ways to look at this.

The first way is to look at at what I'm taking home after campground fees. In my case, I'd essentially be earning $5.88 per hour if I worked 20 hours per week. If I worked 30 hours per week, I'd be making $6.91 per hour. And if I worked 40 hours per week, I'd be making $7.44 per hour.

($9.00 per hour * monthly hours worked) - site fees / monthly hours worked

The second way to calculate this is to look at the discount as income. After saving $500 for the site, I'd be earning $15.25 per hour if I worked 20 hours, $13.17 if I worked 30 hours, and $12.13 if I worked 40 hours per week.

($9.00 per hour * monthly hours worked) + discount on site fees / monthly hours worked

Typically, people want to think they're getting a good deal, so they'll calculate using whatever method makes them feel best. However, although the $500 discount off my site is nice, there's no way we'd be paying $750 per month when we can drive 10 miles down the road and pay $450 per month somewhere else.

The discount on your campground site doesn't mean you're saving if you could camp somehwere else cheaper. But this is the formula people like to use because it makes them feel better about working for less.

Diving a Little Deeper

I was shocked by the responses to the original Facebook post but I only had my wages to compare with. So, I dug a little deeper and asked the same Facebook group another question.

"A recent post has got me curious about workcamping wages and discounts. If you've ever workcamped, how much did you get paid, how many hours did you work, how much was the site discounted, and where did you work?"

Out of 30 comments (which I know doesn't carry too much weight), about half were working between 10 and 20 hours per week for no wages and a free campsite. Most were taking home somewhere between $6 and $8 after deducting site fees.

The small percentage on both sides of the "paid" bell curve were as follows: On the low end, you had a few people making well under minimum wage; most between $4 - $6 an hour after factoring in campsite fees. And on the high end, you had a few who had free camping PLUS they were earning between $10 and $11 per hour.

So What Should You Look For?

When it comes to workcamping, you want to make sure it fits your lifestyle. For some people, flexibility and minimal work is the biggest priority. For others, they'd like to earn an income as well.  

Most of the state parks and national forests are set up as volunteer programs. You volunteer your time and in exchange, you can stay on site for free. The work is minimal and normally it's for 3 to 6 months at a time. You stay for free, work for free, and you're typically not taxed on earnings. When you're finished with your term, you simply move to the next location.

With paid positions, you're typically an independent contractor (1099 employee) or you're on their payroll (w-2 employee). For these positions, you want to make sure you're earning a competitive wage.

Based on the Facebook comments, a competitive wage is between minimum wage and $11 per hour after deducting your campsite fees (if applicable). These positions are less flexible, normally requiring longer term commitments or an indefinite commitment. Typically, hours are longer and the work is more demanding.

Sidebar: A lot of campgrounds will offer you a "package" deal where a certain dollar amount or time goes to pay for your campsite. For example, campgrounds may offer $9 an hour and an additional $2.50 per hour that's credited to your campsite fees. Or, the first 15 hours of every week goes to pay for your campground fees.

In some cases, campgrounds will also offer a bonus for completing a contract. For example, after fullfilling your 6 month committment, we'll give you a bonus of 10% of total paid wages.

These are great incentives. However, don't let the complexity of the package fool you. Based on the Facebook comments, these "packages" often sounded good but they often paid less than a competitive wage. That said, work the numbers carefully.

Always remember, when it comes to paid positions, the real value is how much you're taking home. Don't let discounts and park passes determine whether you accept the gig. While those perks are nice, it doesn't always equate to the same monetary value you might find elsewhere. 

List of Workcamping Resources

I will update this list as people comment and share their ideas, but here is what I have so far:

Be sure to also check out job listings for:
State Park websites, National Forest websites, and CraigsList.

  • Sandy Rae Machado-Smith

    I’ve worked as a campground host and manager. Love it! Trying to get another job now as a matter of fact. I’ve been out of it for the past 9yrs due to knee injury then a surgery gone bad 6 yrs ago that literally crippled me. 4 surgeries later waiting for it to be bk to normal I’ve found that won’t happen and I can’t wait around any longer & I’ve got to get bk to doing what I love & live my life. My knee is permenitly damaged but I know I will still work as good as I ever did, I put 100% into all I do. Would love to start working in the northern California area.

    • Well I hope the list is helpful and if you happen to stumble across any other good resources, feel free to share!

  • Jeanene Fisher

    I was part of that discussion on FB. Thanks for making things a bit clearer. I am relatively new to all of this. My first workamping job was for Amazon Fulfillment in KY. Site paid, hourly plus overtime wages, 40 hrs. per week, bonus for fulfilling commitment, hard work, lots of great people. Now I am someplace for only my site. My next gig will be paid site plus pay for every hour worked – my favorite!

  • Mike Wyant

    We do mobile gas line surveying. Typically we work 40 hors a week, make $11 an hour, get $200 per week per person campground allowance ($400 a week if both of you work), and mileage for your personal vehicle while working. Also relocation mileage when traveling between jobs.

  • Dana Wallis Taylor

    Workampingjobs.com
    And we use fbo.gov to find the paying government places like Army Corp of Engineers

  • Lindsay McKenzie

    I pinned this for later. My husband and I are about to hit the road full time in our 5th wheel next month. He works remote, but I quit my job as a teacher and am going to be looking for workcamping jobs. This was super helpful! Thanks!

    Lindsay
    FollowYourDetour.com

  • Kevin Lathrop

    I do appreciate your offer of food for thought. I totally wasn’t aware of the number crunching cosmetics ( if you will) with lack of a better word. But, I do thank you! I was under the impression that I wanted to seek out what I know of as an F.H.U. camphosting position with a salary. Is there such a thing or position? I do apologize for my lack of, but I’m very green into the exact’s of just how this completely huge move toward my future goes forward. Thank you all for your time and I do look forward to hearing and learning more from you all.

    • Derek Cobia

      You may be able to find a managerial camphosting position but most that I’m aware of are hourly, if anything. If you have any special skills that could benefit a campground, contract work is probably your best bet. I’ve found that most private campgrounds are “mom and pop” outfits. You can call those campgrounds, speak to the owner, and pitch your offering. A lot of people wait on a job post to show up online but with few resources, calling them yourself may be your best bet. Let me know how it goes!