How To Get Started In Car Camping

June 10, 2022

If you’re looking for a new hobby, especially one that you can do on your own or with friends or family, camping can offer a lifetime of enjoyment.

Whether you’ve been wanting to recreate fun camping trips from when you were a kid or you’ve never spent a night under the stars in your life, car camping is a great way to ease into outdoor recreation. The car portion doesn’t mean that you sleep in your car but that you drive to the campsite as opposed to hiking in. However, figuring out everything that you need in order to get started can be overwhelming. The tips below can help.

Know Your Budget

It can be easy to go gear crazy when it comes to camping, hiking items, and backpacking, so it’s a good idea to know how much you have to spend to start with. You may want to borrow or rent equipment for your first outing just to make sure that you enjoy the activity. When it comes to actually deciding on your purchases, be careful about where you cut corners. There’s no need to shell out for top-of-the-line equipment, but if you get the cheapest sleeping bag you can find and go camping when it’s cold, your nights are likely to be miserable.

If you’re like many, you might need to look for ways to cut back on your spending and save up for outdoor equipment. You might do that by getting rid of some streaming services and watching what you spend on eating out. You could refinance student loans, turning your existing rate and terms into one that is easier on the budget. Your payments may be lower with a new loan, and you can put the savings from that aside into your sleeping bag or tent fund.

Developed or Dispersed

Most people will want to start out at a developed camp site. This type of site has such amenities as toilets and showers and sometimes even a restaurant or other facilities. You can reserve and pay ahead of time online as easily as you would book a hotel room. The drawback is that these campsites can feel crowded and noisy at times. If you’re looking for more of a wilderness experience, you may want to look for a dispersed campsite. This will offer fewer amenities and a quieter environment. These are generally found in state or national parks or other public lands.

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You’ll need a tent. In addition, you need a sleeping bag as well as a sleeping pad, unless you like sleeping on rocks. One of the biggest drawbacks of cheaper tents is that they’re bulky and heavy, but this won’t be an issue if you’re driving to your site. Check the temperature rating on the sleeping bag you buy to make sure it will be warm enough. On cheaper bags, this may be unreliable, so lean toward a bag rated for much lower temperatures than you need. If you want to cook, you’ll also need a camping stove and something to cook in. Finally, since space and weight are not an issue, you may want to bring chairs or other items that make hanging out at camp more comfortable.

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