How To Start A Primitive Campground

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Published Date: December 29, 2020

Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by

Primitive campground refers to remote sites that lack basic comforts like electricity, cellphone reception, flushable toilets and running water.

You can set up a campground to be simple just like a primitive backcountry area, with a paved road with pads that can be accessed by recreational vehicles.

Setting up a primitive campground does not require lots of sites and utilities like a regular campground would. However, to start up a primitive campground, certain guidelines need to be followed and met.

Although setting up a primitive camper may not be as financially demanding as a regular campground, it still requires certain input from you. Today, we’re going to look into how to start a primitive campground.

How To Start A Primitive Campground

Steps To Building A Primitive Campground

To get the design of your campground, you can hire a licensed and reputable landscape architect. Then submit the landscaping prints and park blueprints to county and local officials to get their approval.

This approval may take some time so it is recommended to submit the plans at least one year in advance before the opening of the park.

The waiting time for approval in different areas differs and some areas demand a public hearing before you can start construction. This provides the community with enough opportunity to weigh in on the submitted plan. Note that there will be certain permits and costs you will need to start this business and they vary from one municipality to another.

The securing process and price of the permits will also vary across the state. If the land is completely zoned it needs to be completely researched.

If you open your campground in a good location, you can earn six figures easily. This is for a campground that operates privately. There are pros and cons of Owning a primitive campground but it has to be located at the right place, which is beneficial for your business.

Aside from the financial advantage, there is also an entertainment factor that comes from owning and managing a primitive campground.

There should be primitive concepts around your campground including all other major attractions where campers can spend and enjoy their trip.

You can setup Activities such as luaus, decorating contests, scavenger hunts and exciting things for adults and kids as a form of entertainment.

Also aside from the operation and management of the campground, there will also be low-cost ongoing expenses especially if you want it to fully equipped with underground services.

But you should keep in mind that this is expensive due to the financing needed. You also need to be aware of changes and demands that might occur while you own your campground.

You also need to know that the campground must be fully capable of upgrading its sewage stations. You may also be required to pay a huge down payment when starting a primitive campground.

You must also learn how to finance a property as It may be difficult to analyze the market value of a park property

In a nutshell, owning a primitive campground is a very profitable investment but it still comes with its downs.

>>> Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Rotten Egg Smell In RV Water Heater

Steps To Building A Primitive Campground

1. Choose A Serene Environment

Many people who go camping do so just to unplug from the stress and noise of everyday life, so you want to set your campground in a serene environment, like at the end of a dead-end street or any area that’s way off the road.

You also need to ensure that your campground is filled with trees as they are also great noise blockers. This is also necessary as most campers don’t really have much to block out noise or heat, other than their tent which is just a piece of nylon cloth with zero sound deadening properties.

2. Set Up Water And Electricity Utilities

Although most owners of primitive campgrounds don’t really put this in place but setting up water and electricity for Your potential customers will make their camping experience much better.

You do not need to create a sewer connection as your potential customers will be able to make do but you will need to place gravel or concrete on the areas that will be walked upon, this way campers don’t track mud into their tent which is placed on the grass next to the concrete/gravel pad

3. Mark Out Camping And Utilities Sites

To prevent your potential customers from setting up their tents in the wrong area, ensure to clearly mark the space number as well as the space number on the utilities.

Ensure to use signage of professional-grade that doesn’t wash away easily. Do not try to spray paint a number on a sheet of plywood, or directly on the power riser as they will only last temporarily.

4. Provide A Picnic Table And Fire Pit

Although most primitive campgrounds don’t usually provide utilities providing something as simple as a picnic table will help to a point of social contact between campers. A picnic table is very functional, durable and also very cheap.

You can also set up a metal fire pit that contains the fire, this helps to improve safety, and it also tells the customers the right place to build the fire. To take this up a notch, you can put a grill on top of the fireplace for hot dogs, etc.

5. Mark The Camp Site Boundaries

To mark your campground boundary try to make use of an attractive and decorative fence. Not only is it a great hallmark of your site’s boundary but they look good, too. You can make use of a split rail fence which is normally about 10’ in length and can be made of white PVC vinyl, or real, rustic wood.

To create a great impression, be sure to do a good job of installation and maintenance because although the fences help to improve the look of the area, they won’t do their required function if allowed to fall into poor repair.

6. Place Firewood Out In The Campground

If you placed a fireplace in your campground you also need to leave enough firewood out there at each campsite so that campers have plenty to make a campfire. You can make use of any dead trees on the site, as It does not have to be fancy wood just something that will burn.

Having wood at each site is a really great incentive for campers, and they will appreciate your courtesy. And when you make your customers happy, they are bound to return and even do a free advertisement of your campground to their friends

What You Need To Know About Creating A Primitive Campground

What You Need To Know About Creating A Primitive Campground

1. Getting Back to Nature

As a primitive campground owner, you create an avenue for your customers to leave the modern environment for a while and get back to nature.

this is highly desirable by most people as well as a chance for adventure. That is why it is ideal for a primitive campground to be quite far from the city. Which means you’d have to either live in the outskirts or away from cities.

This is the first condition that has to be met if you are going to have a successful investment.

2. Business and Permit and Registrations

Like any other campgrounds, there are certain registrations that apply to primitive campgrounds. They are necessary and a must to start up the business.

However, you should note that the permits, as well as registrations, vary from state to state. And There may also be applicable to federal or local laws.

It is recommended that you contact local authorities for further clarification

3. Required Maintenance

owning a campground is quite profitable because primitive campgrounds are largely maintenance-free.

So, therefore, you have to create pristine camping conditions, this gives adventure seekers an added excitement.

4. Map Out The Area

Creating a Map of the campground is very important as they make navigation around the camp easy.

So before you open your campground for business, you should ensure that a detailed map has been created beforehand. Then you can hand out these maps to campers as they check in to enable them to know their exact location as it relates to their starting point.

If there is a dangerous wide life in the campground area you should do well to warn campers of this and it should also be included in the map.

5. Running Costs

For operating any business there will be running costs and managing a primitive campground is no exception although the required amount may vary from business to business. There will be some financial engagements to ensure the smooth operations of your camp.

In the case of a primitive campground, the running cost is quite minimal, because, asides from the initial cost of purchasing the land there is little to no maintenance required.

However, if you happen to hire staff there will be a wage bill involved. This is an important part of running costs. But because a primitive campground requires little maintenance you won’t be needing a lot of employees therefore there won’t be a lot of expenses that result.

6. Equipment And Gears Sales

Most primitive campers usually come prepared but there’s still room for uncertainties. That’s why most campground owners tend to open a shop that sells primitive camping equipment and gear and it is a great way to expand your income.

You definitely find some campers who come to buy camping or hiking gear and equipment from you. You can also put the items you have on sale on Your website so potential customers already know items they can get from you.

This is a great marketing strategy that will help to sell your business. If you love primitive camping yourself, you are bound to perform well in this area and in case you don’t, you can ask friends or family what types of gear to sell. Or better still go on The internet for such information.

However, this isn’t a must, if you have a tight budget you can simply stick to just running the campground.

Precautionary Tips And Measures To Running a Campground

Establishing a primitive campground comes with lots of responsibility as you need to ensure the safety of your potential customers. Therefore there are certain precautionary measures you should follow

Encourage Gear Testing

If you happen to open a sales shop for hiking gear and equipment you should try to encourage your campers to test them out before heading out as primitive camping equipment isn’t fail-proof and There will be times when these gears may develop faults.

to prevent this from having when they are already out you should warn your clients and tell them to test all equipment including those they brought from home. This little action can be a lifesaver.

Always Moving In Groups

Advising novice hikers to go with those with more experience will help to create a greater level of safety especially during an emergency.

Uncertainties are not predicted but they can be better handled collectively rather than individually.

So when you run a primitive campground, you can try to group campers and this will help to reduce the likelihood of danger befalling them.

>>> Read Also: Pros And Cons Of Owning A Campground


Due to the high profitability of setting up a Primitive campground, many people are beginning to divulge into it. They are a great source of income and require only a  little capital investment to build or maintain.

If this is a business you would like to venture into and want to learn how to start a primitive campground, you should note that there are a lot of factors to consider before buying and owning a campground.

Although it is usually very profitable in the end, it requires lots of work. So, consider your options properly before making a huge commitment.

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