Workamping: A Day in the Life of a Work Camper

Have you ever thought about hitting the road and quitting your full time job? Have you dreamt of early morning fishing on the Thousand Islands in New York and never having to commute to an office? Have you come across short social media videos with someone camping and hiking every day near a national park and wondered how they pulled it off?

Many folks are doing just this by workamping. 

Never heard of it? We’ll give you everything you need to know in this blog. 

A Day in the Life of a Workamper

Table of Contents
  1. What is workamping?
  2. What is a workamper?
  3. What is a day in the life of a workamper like?
  4. What are the most rewarding aspects of workamping?
  5. What are the biggest challenges for workampers?
  6. How to find workamping opportunities

What is workamping?

Workamping (also written as workcamping or work camping) is exactly what you think – work plus camping. It’s a category of job that is usually short-term or seasonal, on-site, and can often be in some of the country’s most beautiful locations.

For the purposes of this blog, the term workamping simply means living in an RV (or mobile accommodation) while working at an RV park or campground.

(The term is sometimes used more broadly to describe part time jobs done on the road, but today we’re focusing on the narrowed definition of workamping by living and working at a campground or RV park.)

Workamping is a phenomenal way to combine your love of a nomadic lifestyle with the need to make actual money, and it’s more common than you’d think. 

We’ll be honest, it’s not always easy or glamorous, but neither is driving across state lines in a 40’ RV for your first time. But you did it, and you loved it! And the freedom of not having a standard desk job pairs quite nicely with an outdoor lifestyle for people opting in to a minimalist life in favor of exploration and adventure.

What is a workamper?

A workamper is a person who is choosing to work at a campsite or RV park instead of a traditional office, and you’d be surprised how diverse the workamping community is.

They come from various backgrounds and range from retirees to young couples that have young children. 

Retirees often choose workamping to stay active and supplement their income, while those new to the workforce choose the option in rejection of the standard hustle and grind life.

Many come from skilled trades like carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, or maintenance, while others often come from hospitality and customer service backgrounds.

Workampers’ goals are just as diverse as the community, with some planning on remaining workampers long term, and others jump into it as a temporary phase in life to enjoy freedom and adventure before retiring or transitioning into a different lifestyle.

Regardless of where workampers come from or where they go, what all have in common is the thirst for a more free life as they discover new passions and gain new experiences. It’s not a conventional career path, but if you’ve read this far, you’re probably not a conventional person (we can relate).


What does a day in the life of a workamper look like?

The average day can vary widely depending on the employer, location, and specific job duties, so let’s talk about typical scheduling scenarios, responsibilities, and work-life balance.

First up, what responsibilities might a workamper have?

Assigned tasks vary from campground maintenance, cleaning cabins or restrooms, landscaping, organizing and putting on community events, checking in guests, answering phone calls and emails, social media management for the employer, office administration, you name it. If something happens at a camp site or at an RV park, it’s something a workamper might be tasked with.

Work schedules vary, so how does that typically work?

Schedules are typically set and there are daily hours and days off. The work is sometimes full-time, and sometimes part-time, depending on the employer’s needs.

It is common for a workamper to work five days a week, but sometimes the arrangement will be working longer shifts for several days in a row, then having consecutive days off.

Workampers traditionally live on-site and are dedicated for a certain period of time to that site, regardless of responsibilities. Many employers expect that their workampers will attend any social community events and be interactive in the community when possible, even if organizing them is not in the workamper’s purview.

What are the most rewarding aspects of workamping?

Personal circumstances are different for every single human, and we all bring different backgrounds and goals to the table, but let’s talk about the aspects of workamping that people absolutely love.

1. First up is freedom. Freedom and flexibility is why people choose a mobile lifestyle to begin with, and workamping offers just that. Sitting at a desk from 9-5 with a two-hour commute each way is a lifestyle more and more people are walking away from, realizing that watching the sunrise in a gorgeous setting doesn’t have to be restricted to vacation days.

Workampers can be nomadic, so some employers offer a long-term arrangement, while others know you might be ready to bop over to another site for another experience altogether.

2. The second most rewarding aspect of workamping is cost savings. Compensation can include a campsite, utilities, as well as pay, which is especially advantageous when looking to minimize costs of living.

3. Next, let’s talk about camaraderie. Workampers typically choose to join the local community of long-term residents mixed in with vacationers and workampers. Not only are there ample online communities to join, but sites often have community events to take part in, and of course, the Escapees RV Club, a well-known and well-loved RV membership organization that is one of the oldest and largest in the world, providing a comprehensive support network for all RVers.

4. Quality of life is a tremendous reward for workampers, with ample opportunity to enjoy nature and recreational activities while still getting to be a valued member of society and interact with humans (so we don’t become completely feral). Living a slower pace of life is a huge draw for many, so workamping is becoming a popular option.

What are the biggest challenges for workampers?

Workamping is wildly rewarding, but it is not free from challenges. There are four primary difficulties some people may encounter:

1. Safety and physical demands are the biggest challenge. Many workamping opportunities include physical labor which may sound great, but if done without local knowledge can quickly become unsafe. For example, if you’ve never been in a West Texas desert and you don’t hydrate properly because you don’t feel thirsty, you might be in for a nasty heat stroke. Further, campsites don’t do background checks, so you don’t always know who is enjoying the space with you. Basic safety awareness is recommended for folks new to the lifestyle.

2. Secondly, much of the work is seasonal and not always promised. It’s not always as stable as a conventional office job, and if a site is not seeing enough visitors, they may choose to end a workamper’s contract. Additionally, the most readily available roles are the temporary or short-term workamper opportunities. That is not to say that a full time or long-term opportunity is impossible to find, it’s just more rare since they are snapped up so quickly today.

3. Another challenge some have to overcome is potential social isolation. The transient nature of workamping can lead to feelings of isolation in some folks, especially in more remote locations, which can impact social connections. While some sites have social events, and there are ample online communities and offline events (like Xscapers Convergence), that is not always enough for extreme extroverts. Many people travel with a partner and even share workamping responsibilities and shifts, but even that still feels too isolating to some people.

4. Shifting environments is a challenge for some workampers. Living in a smaller RV necessitates creative space optimizations and resource management, which can be cumbersome to someone who is new to the experience. There is an adjustment period. Further, moving between different RV parks and campgrounds requires adjusting to new environments, new supervisors, and new coworkers. None of this is impossible or a dealbreaker, but something to consider if you don’t like change.


How to find workamping opportunities

As you research, there are five primary ways to find workamping opportunities:

1. Online job boards: There are websites that cater specifically to workamping opportunities and provide job listings and resources. For example, RVer Job Exchange has a feature dedicated specifically to workampers

2. Campground and RV park websites: If you’ve narrowed down where you want to start workamping geographically, you can start visiting the specific sites’ websites and look for sections like “employment,” “workamping,” or “careers” for info on positions.

3. Direct contact: Some workampers may take the initiative to directly contact campgrounds or RV parks they are interested in working at, reaching out by phone or email. This approach might not work for larger organizations (they’ll just point you to their website), but can be helpful for small, independent sites that might not even post workamp opportunities anywhere online.

4. RVing and workamping forums and groups: Whatever your favorite social network, there are niche groups for workampers. For example, there are tons of Facebook Groups, one of the largest being Workampers where employers post open opportunities and individuals post what they are looking for next as they all expand their nomadic networks. One of the best known forums is the Escapees RV Network, and you’ll find great groups on LinkedIn, endless conversations on Twitter if you search the hashtag #workamp or #workamping. You get the gist. 

5. Networking and word-of-mouth: Networking within the workamping community is hugely beneficial, so attend RVer gatherings and connect with fellow enthusiasts when you can. Build relationships and engage in conversations offline and online, as it makes finding your next opportunity infinitely easier. The community is tight, but welcoming, so join in as soon as possible. 

Now that you know how workamping functions, the risks and rewards, and how to get going, what are you waiting for? Get started now, friends!