“Now I see the secret of making the best person; it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”-Walt Whitman.
Camping has always been seen as one of the best outdoor adventures.
It allows you to unplug and disconnect from the world to better connect with nature and appreciate its bounties. However, camping requires keen and meticulous planning. While there are campsites that are relatively near, there are some that may require an early start. This is especially true if you intend to visit several campsites instead of settling on just one place.
That said, sleeping in your car near a trailhead may be a flexible and efficient alternative to setting up camp. Car camping may not be as spacious and comfortable as kipping in a tent, but if you are trying to save time on setup and when there is no space for tents, this is a viable alternative. However, it should be worth noting that car camping is not only reserved for those who do wish to save time and space; people also do it for fun. After all, spending the night in your car offers an extra layer of additional protection from the elements, so it is inevitable for some outdoor enthusiasts to prefer it over a tent.
If car camping is an alternative you have been wanting to explore, read on below to discover what this outdoor activity is all about:
WHAT IS CAR CAMPING?
Generally, there are two accepted definitions of car camping. The more widely known definition of the activity is to camp at a location where you can drive your car.
A common misconception among people is thinking that car camping literally means just sleeping in your car. Also, another misapprehension people have about car camping is thinking it is more comfortable and safe than sleeping in a tent. However, high-quality tents complemented with high-quality sleeping bags are more comfortable than sleeping in your car.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CAR CAMP?
Car camping means loading up all of your gear for the trip in your car, pulling into a campsite, and setting up a tent in a tent in a designated area. Other individuals would refer to camping as base camping or tent camping. However, the beauty of car camping is the accessibility of your tent site. As your tent is practically in proximity to your vehicle, there is no reason to limit yourself on luxury items that can elevate your camping experience and make it more enjoyable.
This is a stark difference from backpacking to a campsite. In the latter, you want to have the lightest load possible. To ensure that you would not be weighed down by your load, there are probably items you will find unnecessary to bring at camp, such as a propane stove or an iron dutch oven. When you are car camping, however, you can bring all these and more and make the experience more memorable and enjoyable. This is especially true for novices who have just begun their journey into the world of camping.
HOW CAN I GET STARTED ON CAR CAMPING?
Car camping can be as simple as preparing your camping gear that you have borrowed or curated from camping gear shops and hitting a local campsite where you do not have to hike to reach your destination. However, if this is your first time, it is recommended to have a more experienced camper accompany you. In this way, the seasoned camper can assist you with anything you may be unfamiliar with, show you the ropers, and even provide you with some of the necessary camping gear to ensure your experience is as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. More importantly, camping with experienced campers will help you quickly learn the basics and etiquette of camping.
THREE IMPORTANT TIPS AND ADVICE ON CAR CAMPING
For most people, car camping can provide a false sense of safety which is unwarranted in most cases. This is because you have your car, which means you have a small source of luxury and comfort. However, this does not mean you should take adequate measures to ensure that you will be safe and secure. To have a safe and enjoyable camping trip, below are some of our trusted tips and advice:
1.) Be prepared
You need to prepare for a camping trip just as you would for any other trip. This means that you should have the right food, shelter, and clothing, as these can make all the difference between a good and bad day at camp. As car camping does not restrict the weight that you have to carry to camp, pack accordingly to cover any weather situation. As you gain more camping experience, you will learn what your personal camping essentials are. This way, you will have an easier time packing what you need and leaving items you do not.
2.) Test gear before getting to the campground
Waiting for the day you leave to try out camping gear is a bad idea as it will leave you with no time to change them should it turn out that they have defects. More importantly, testing the gear beforehand ensures that you know how to use and set it up at home BEFORE getting to the campground.
3.) Get to the campground early
Setting up camp is easier when you have natural light. You can pack all the lanterns and headlamps you have, but they only provide so much light in the end. Also, getting to the camp early means you can find the most optimal location for setting up camp. First, find the most level area of the site and look for a spot that is not under a tree. From there, clear the space of rocks, sticks, and any other debris that may damage your tent. Lastly, position your tent door away from other campers to give yourself more privacy.