it recently came to my attention that my childhood camping expeditions were not instigated by my dad, as i assumed, but by my mom. (the long days in the van, on the other hand, were definitely instigated by my dad.)
that aside, let’s talk about the benefits of car camping. first, spending a week in your RV or pull-behind is not camping. that is glamping. you may be in a “campground” but there is nothing about the RV that says roughing it.
so you’ve got to have a tent and a sleeping bag at the very least. i don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some sort of sleeping pad. and there are some tenters who would argue that the only way to tent is by hiking it in. but i would disagree!
here’s what’s great about car camping.
- you can throw everything in one vehicle, head out without something on a hitch, and not worry about hauling stuff around on your back. (if you’re specifically planning a hike or canoe trip, that’s a different matter.)
- you’ve got your car with you – you can set up camp and then drive to various places to explore.
- in case of emergency or severe weather in the night, you can wait it out and see what happens.
- you don’t have to super duper rough it. just moderately rough it. because you’re hauling in your car, you can sleep on an air mattress or cot and not have to worry about weight you have to carry around.
- you can go either way: set up in a campground right next to the loud, obnoxious RVs or do a cart in site or carry-in site (generally all tents there, and your car is right down the lane in a parking spot).
- it’s a pretty inexpensive way to travel if you want it to be. getting a middle of the road tent is just fine (no keltys for me – i’m fine with coleman hahaha), and it’ll last you a while. sure, there’s some up front cost with the gear – cot, sleeping bag, stove, etc., but it’s a much less expensive up-front cost than an RV or staying in a hotel for 6 nights.
- people are impressed when you tell them that camping is tenting for you. and you don’t know why, because you think everyone should be tenting when they go camping. (like i said, RVs are glamping, not camping.)
- it’s probably much better for the environment. (gotta do the research.)
- it builds character. nothing builds character like having to pop a squat behind your tent because the bathrooms are half a mile away. also, brushing your teeth outdoors is liberating.
- it’s fun. just do it!