The Ember Owner’s Guide to Camping With Harvest HostsDec 9, 2022
All of the RV’s in Ember’s growing lineup are built for adventurous travelers that like to explore a wide variety of camping options. The Ember Overland Series is built to go off-road and off-grid–but it will also look great at an RV resort. While Ember’s recently launched Touring Edition is not built to go off-road, it is also incredibly well-equipped for camping off-grid and will fit right in at the most luxurious campgrounds in the country.
The product design team at Ember knows that many RV owners love to camp at private campgrounds with full hookups. But we also know that many campers are looking to escape the crowd and explore other options. We build each model and each floor plan with that rapidly evolving “other options” category in mind. We want to help you reach those places in comfort and style–and with the right equipment to make it all happen.
If you are interested in the “other options” category then you should definitely consider getting an annual Harvest Hosts membership. Ember’s standard and optional solar packages and large tank sizes (among other features) make camping without hookups at a Harvest Hosts’ location an absolute snap.
So what is Harvest Hosts, and how does it work?
Harvest Hosts is an annual membership program that allows those with self-contained RVs to stay overnight (for 24 hours max) at over 4085 wineries, breweries, farms, museums, aquariums, and other unique attractions. For your RV to be considered “self-contained” it must have an interior toilet, water tank, and inside cooking facilities. You may use a porta-potty if it stays inside your trailer at all times. Harvest Hosts does not allow the use of tents of any kind (including rooftop tents) and host locations do not provide hookups, bathrooms, or shower facilities.
We think a Harvest Hosts membership is a terrific option for most Ember owners. Here are 9 great tips for making the most of a Harvest Hosts membership if you do decide to join!
Tip #1: Use Harvest Hosts To Break Up Longer Drives
Because an official Harvest Hosts stay is limited to one night, most RV owners use them as stops on their way to and from destinations. Staying at a Harvest Hosts location is a great way to rest up after a long drive, or to extend a great vacation just a little bit longer. Some locations may even invite you to stay longer than one night, but that will vary from location to location.
Tip #2: Use Harvest Hosts for Quick Getaways Close to Home
A Harvest Hosts’ stay is also great for a quick overnight trip close to home. You may not want to travel very far for a one night stay–but there is a pretty good chance they have some awesome locations within striking distance of your home. Why not escape for a quick night away and check out a winery or a brewery within a few hours of your house? Because your overnight stay can last for 24 hours, you can linger in the morning and enjoy the location for a while before heading home.
Tip #3: Always Check in With Your Host
When camping at a Harvest Hosts’ location you are required to check in with your host–and for good reason. The farm or winery you are visiting is not a campground with defined sites. You need to get specific information about where you can (and cannot) park for the night. One of our team members recently visited a Harvest Hosts location and they were told not to park in a location where a bird was nesting. If they hadn’t checked in with their host first this could have led to a very awkward situation.
Tip #4: Consider Staying Hitched Up for the NIght
If you don’t plan on exploring the area in your tow vehicle after setting up camp, then we recommend staying hitched up for the night. It will save you some time and effort upon arrival (and the next morning) if your rig stays hitched up and ready to go. Just make sure you unplug your RV’s seven pin connection from your tow vehicle–and plug it back in when it is time to drive home.
Tip #5: Learn Something New If Your Host Allows It
One of the best parts about visiting a Harvest Hosts’ location is that many hosts will invite you to take a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of their operation. During that aforementioned stay at a Harvest Hosts’ winery, our team member was invited to watch their hosts make a special, limited-edition cranberry wine. Watching them crush the cranberries and learning about the wine-making process was a real highlight of the trip.
Tip #6: Make a Purchase Before You Leave
Harvest Hosts recommends that you purchase 20 dollars worth of wine, produce, or gifts from your host’s gift shop before you leave. Of course you are welcome to spend more to show your appreciation for an awesome and unique overnight camping experience.
Tip #7: Don’t Assume You Can Cook Outside
Most Harvest Hosts locations do not allow you to cook outside of your RV. This is why your RV must have an interior kitchen of some kind. However, some locations do allow you to cook outside but you must receive direct permission from your host to do so.
Tip #8: Dogs are Typically Allowed–But Check Guidelines Before You Go
Dogs are typically allowed at the vast majority of Harvest Hosts’ locations. However, it is incredibly important that you ask your host about their specific guidelines. There may be areas, like a section of a vineyard, where your dog is not allowed. Know before you go so you can avoid inadvertently breaking a rule–and ALWAYS keep your dog on leash when they are outside of your RV. That rule never varies from location to location.
Tip #9: Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
An official Harvest Hosts’ stay should be for one night, and for no more than 24 hours. To stay longer without the direct invitation of your host would be to overstay your welcome. Please don’t wait for your hosts to ask you to leave. They have a business to run that is entirely separate from hosting RV owners–and they tend to be very busy people.
If you left your RV hitched up like we recommended you should be able to pack up and hit the road very quickly. Just don’t forget to make a purchase before you go!