Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Workamping or Work Camping?

I saw a comment on a forum the other day about work camping...that is, staying at a campground in your RV, and putting in a few hours of work at the campground in order to get your site and services for free. And a big discussion ensued about the various forms of work camping and the remuneration involved, if any.

The term "Workamping" was actually coined by Workamper News, which (before the internet came along) was the go to monthly publication  for those wanting to find a job work camping.

Workamping News...

Workamper News is a pay site to join. And they still send out a monthly hard copy. But there are so many free online resources now that it's really unnecessary to pay any kind of a fee to find a job.

Many people ask how to find these work camping jobs, so we thought we'd put all of those resources in one place for you.

I had thought perhaps that the KOA camping franchise had come up with the term workamping because KOA has their own "Work Kampers" program.

We have done two stints of being Work Kampers with KOA. The first was in the summer of 2008 when we spent six weeks at the Cavendish KOA in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Sherman, in his campsite at the Cavendish KOA.

It wasn't hard to work at the KOA. I had to do a couple of shifts per week driving the hay wagon ride while Ruth monitored the campers on the back. A couple of hours per week at the petting zoo cleaning up and making sure kids behaved. Once a week trash duty that took about four hours or so. And serving ice cream every Sunday at the ice cream social. It was certainly not what you would call hard work. I think we put in 18 hours per week between the two of us.

And in exchange for that, we got a free campsite for six weeks.

Many work camping jobs do not include any kind of salary. You are simply working in exchange for the free site.

But if you do the math, you may not be getting very much for your effort. It's one thing entirely to be volunteering at a National Park and getting some personal satisfaction out of it. 

But if you are working cleaning toilets and raking and painting for 20 hours per week, that 80 hours per month in exchange for a $600 a month campsite means you're essentially making $7.50 an hour. You might find that you're better off paying the monthly rate at a campground and going out and getting a part time job.

The Workers on Wheels website is good resource. Mostly listings for the USA, however the occasional one for Canada does pop up.

Many work camping jobs are at government run parks. National Parks, State parks, and Provincial Parks are all great places to check out for work camping opportunities. Most involve being a Campground Host

For example, British Columbia Provincial Parks has a host program. BC Parks Volunteer Program

So does Alberta, and Nova Scotia.

And, the 280 campgrounds in the State of California.

In the U.S., there's a great website for volunteering at the many COE campgrounds as well as National Park, National Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campgrounds...

The Happy Vagabonds website has quite a few listings, as well as a section for Canada.

The Working Couples website always has work camping opportunities listed, as well as possibilities outside the RV'ing world. Some interesting opportunities are out there!

The RV Park Store has a pretty detailed section of help wanted ads for RV'ers.

And is pretty self explanatory!

A fantastic deal of the day today for anyone looking for a small portable generator for camping off the grid. This one is a Yamaha/Honda knockoff, but not with the $1,000 price tag that comes with the big name ones. Great deal on a little 2,000 watt generator...

(Note: The deal of the day price is now sold out.)


  1. That's where we met you guys in June of '08! We belong to several organizations and the one which has proven the best financially and otherwise is
    The single most valuable feature of this service is the daily hot job emails I get - typically 6-12 jobs every day with the first word being the state the job it is in.
    Every position we have had has been through this daily notification, giving us an edge on others not receiving these emails. Yes, one can go with the freebies but one may lose out on a better position. WELL WORTH the $54/year.

    1. Yep, that's where we met you both. And, here we are both still working in the full-timing industry but now we are both making money doing it. Looks like it works out well for us both.

      Thanks for the additional website, although I think in this post Kevin was mostly referring to the "free" site in exchange for work rather than an actual paid job which I think the website you have given is for.

    2. Thanks for the testimonial, Geoff :) - Jody, WKN Editor

  2. Also meant to state the more "desirable" workamper locations, Florida and Arizona, tend to be hours for site specifically. And yes, if you do the math those park owners think very highly of the value of their sites. But many positions offer "pay for each hour worked", my top pay was $23/hr (because of my CDL). Last year and again this Oct-Dec we will be operating a pumpkin and Christmas Tree lot in California....the best situation we've had to date. A fun (but lengthy hours) way to spend a day, great owner and unbeatable pay and bonuses.
    Catch me on Facebook if you'd like a little more info on workamping. Thanks to Kevin and Ruth for the initial post!

    1. Yes, sometimes I think some of the parks require way to much of your time in return for a "free" site. You really have to do your homework first. However it is also nice to have a place to stay for a certain amount of time and still be able to go off and do some sightseeing which is something we can't do where we are now. The two years that we "workamped" at the KOA in Kingston was one of those places that once I worked my required hours I got paid for any additional hours I worked. The second year they wanted us back so they even reduced the amount of hours I had to work for our site and upped my weekly hours. Worked out well for us both because Kevin had two jobs in town that he worked at.

      Glad you enjoyed doing the pumpkin and Christmas tree lot job and that you will be going back there again this year. Guess that will be coming along soon?!

  3. You two know how to do it right---get a campsite AND get paid! So many settle for just the site, which is rarely worth it.

    1. Yes but we also don't get much time to ourselves at this job. Mind you, it is totally worth it to have the winter off. :-)

  4. I've been looking at those little generators lately. It's hard to justify hauling our original 4kW Kohler generator around when we almost never use it (if we've put 10 hours on it in 5years I'd be surprised). But the 2kw would run most ACs when necessary, which nobody seems to have figured out how to do with solar.

    1. It's not hard to figure out with solar. It's just much less cost efficient for most RVers.

    2. In order to run an AC you would have to have a LOTS of solar and a HUGE battery bank along with many hours of sunshine and even then you would be limited to how long you could run it for.

  5. Good work camping info. I will hang onto it, but doubt I will be using it myself:)

    1. Thanks Chuck and Anneke! You may not need it but you may meet people that are interested in doing it and then you can always pass the info along to them. :-)

  6. We have always wanted to volunteer somewhere. But, we still have so many places we want to see. We think it would be an excellent way to meet so many neat people. Thanks for the great list.

    1. You never know, perhaps sometime down the road you will want to do something like this. :-)

  7. Jody from Workamper News here. Thanks for including us and sharing about what Workamping is! I just wanted to clarify how we help Workampers a bit more than what is mentioned above:

    Workamper News ( has been helping RVers find great jobs in great places for almost 30 years. With the largest number and largest variety of opportunity listings, you will find options from working a few hours in trade for an RV site, all the way up to career-like, salaried positions all around the U.S., and some in Canada too!

    In addition to our bi-monthly magazine (which is available online or in print), members can take advantage of:

    - daily email of job listings (and you can select to receive job listings via email just for specific states you're interested in)
    - online resume to go in database searched by employers or email/print it
    - advertise yourself in the magazine and/or online with a Situations Wanted ad
    - Employer research tools - investigate employers you are considering working for
    - Share about your Workamping experience with a specific employer
    - Connect with fellow Workampers using the Member Map
    - Education, education, education -- Through our videos, articles and courses you learn so much about the lifestyle so you feel prepared on how to get started and how to get the most out of this wonderful lifestyle

    There's a lot of great information and resources online for Workampers. I hope you will consider us as a one-stop-shop for your Workamping adventures!

    1. Thank you Jody, for clarifying what Workamper News includes and how it can help many other RVers that may be looking for work, either paid or in exchange for their site.


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