5 Ways to Earn Money While Backpacking Across the Country

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The rustle of the wind in the leaves, the crackle of the campfire, the quiet of dawn as the sun rises, nothing compares to the beauty and serenity of camping. It’s no wonder that many of us want to spend more time in nature and less time cooped up in the office. Luckily, we find ways to get away and enjoy nature while we can.

If you’ve ever considered dropping everything and backpacking, car camping, or even hiking across the country, you have probably wondered how others make it work financially. Here are some of them.

1. Take and Sell Photographs

For most of us, it comes naturally to want to capture the beauty of our surroundings. If you hike with a camera or a smartphone, don’t forget to take the time to take some photos. Documenting your expedition isn’t just a great way to preserve your favorite memories, it’s a way to share those memories with others.

If you want to make a little extra cash, you can sell your photos to stock photography websites or to campgrounds to use on their websites. Most stock photo sites will pay you a royalty or a percentage of the price of the photo, so you can make anywhere from $3 to $80 per photo.

You can also find little markets to sell your photo prints to when you stop by towns. If you want to take the time, you can also offer your photos to be printed and sold through photographic art websites. They will often buy the rights to your pictures or pay you a commission when one sells.

Travel photographer

2. Test Outdoor Gear

The latest trend in outdoor gear brands is to show people how durable and helpful their products are through real hikers and campers using their gear to the extreme. They can put a boot in a mechanic step tester non-stop for ten weeks, but nothing beats the real thing. Companies want to show that their products can hold up under real conditions.

Check out some of the big brand’s websites and see if they’re looking for testers. Or try emailing them and asking to test their products. Even if they don’t advertise the need, many will still want you to try out their gear. Even if they don’t pay you, you can often score some free, or highly discounted, merchandise. Most companies want to capture part of the growing outdoor industry.

Outdoor gear
Outdoor gear

3. Become an Adventure Blogger

Share your stories. Share your pictures. Keep your friends and family up-to-date on your progress. As a blogger, you can keep a record of your trip and make a little extra money. All you have to do is register your expedition’s domain name, design your site with a template, and start writing. You can even make a little extra on the same site by selling your photographs.

What should you write about? Write about anything that comes to mind. People want to know what you’re up to. Not many people get to drop everything and getaway. Your experience is unique, so your stories and updates will naturally interest your audience. If you pick up enough followers, you can even find sponsors and affiliate partnerships to help promote the best gear.

4. Be a Trail Guide or Camping Guide

If you tend to get lonely out there in the wilderness, you can become a guide temporarily. These jobs allow you to live outside and enjoy nature and the company of like-minded people.

As a guide, you can teach novice campers and hikers how to survive and make an impact on our natural world by sharing sustainable and Earth-friendly practices. Guides need the know-how of camping and hiking, but they also need to have people skills. Some of the best hikes I’ve been on have been with people didn’t know at first. It’s especially exciting to teach kids and young adventures about nature and survival.

Some trail guides are assigned to distribute information and help campers and hikers learn more about the history of the trails. This will help make you more knowledgeable about the history of our outdoors and wildlife, too. If you’re considering a job as a camping guide look into getting a camping survival kit.

Hiking guide
Hiking guide

5. Take a Break and Host

Backpacking or camping across the country will take some time. Why rush? You can always take a break and be a campsite host for a while. If you find yourself not wanting to leave a particular camp, ask the park or owner if they’re interested in trying out a host.

As a host, you make sure campers are respectful of the property and safe. You can also help struggling campers be more comfortable and confident. This can be a great way to save money by not paying for a campsite and earn you a little extra for food and supplies.

You’ll meet loads of great people and maybe even learn more about the region.

Properly prepare for your trip with everything you need and nothing you don’t. If you don’t have quite as much time, you can always consider car camping across the country.

Hiking across the country truly is a dream that few people get to live. If you’ve considered letting it all go and getting out there in the wild, learn as much as you can before you go. Prepare for emergencies and have a blast. If you find you need to make a bit of cash, try out of these ideas and be as resourceful as you can. Happy camping. Happy hiking. And happy memories!

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Jeffrey Valencia

Jeffrey is our content and customer relations manager here at Backpacker Travel. He looks after most of the new information that appears on the site including guest posts.

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