View Full Version : Joy of Car Camping: Base Camping for the Active Outdoors Person

06-20-2011, 09:20

Car Camping.

For many people who love being outdoors, car camping is their first introduction to the outdoor lifestyle. Eating a meal prepared on a Coleman stove, sitting around a campfire, eating smores, and hoping it does not rain so much that they are under a blue tarp (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpfcO4Yfw44) the whole time.

As a person grows older, car camping is often pursued less and less.
Backpacking and getting deeper into the wilderness with less gear strikes their interest. Multi-day climbs and bivvying along a sheer wall holds more allure.

Or 'done-in-a-day- activities' dominate. Getting in a trail run, a ski, a mountain bike ride, a climb or a day hike seem more doable in an increasingly crowded schedule.

Which is too bad. Car camping can be enjoyable, rewarding and still have a place in an active outdoor person's lifestyle

More at:

(With pretty photos of someone considerably better looking than I! :D)

06-20-2011, 10:13
I LOVE car camping. It is a way for me and my wife to compromise. She likes to be out as long as she is comfortable. Read air mattress and enclosed camp potty at least. She has things she likes to do during the day even if its play with her lap top or IPhone. I get to hike some awesome short loop trails. Sometimes we sit and talk:eek:. We use our camp as a base to visit historical sites and museums. The gear available these days is way awesome and cheap. I keep most of what we need in a couple of totes. We can leave, from "lets go" to backing out the driveway in about twenty minutes with a short stop at the local mart for ice food and extras.

06-20-2011, 10:48
Car camping is cool with me and has its place. Great way to get my little one (now 4 years-old) introduced into the outdoors. Is also is a great way to base camp in an area where one could day hike all day, return to base camp (car camp), and so on.


06-20-2011, 13:11
Car-camped with the family when the 2 daughters were about 5-7 all the way through high school years. Did it at Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Mt. Rainier, Olympic, Lassen, Redwood, Crater Lake, Sequoia, and others. Worked out well and they still enjoy the outdoors.

There are a lot of places where you can get into the backcountry in a day's round trip hike and return to your base (car) camp. In the Monongahala National Forest, both Dolly Sods and Cranberry Glades can been seen via car camping. Much of the White Mountains can be hiked via car camping (with an early morning start). Ditto for Shenandoah NP where all of my section hiking was day-hikes from base camps in the Park's campgrounds. My GF are heading to Yosemite July 4 for 2 weeks of car-camping and hiking in the high country (if the snow ever melts).

Lord Helment
06-20-2011, 13:15
how do you say cold beer.....enough said about car camping

06-20-2011, 13:24
What's great is finding those spots off the national forest roads to get away from the commercial places with loud noises and no scenery. We found a great spot near Bryce canyon in Utah in Dixie Natl Forest

06-20-2011, 16:57
Car camping as a teen is how I first was introduced to short 1-2 hour hikes , which then lead to longer day hikes .
I still enjoy car camping with family as I find it to be enjoyable.

06-20-2011, 17:28
I love car-camping almost as much as I love backpacking, my biggest gripe is how expensive some campgrounds can be-- $12-$20 per night for a piece of concrete is rather steep.

These days however I much prefer to camp for free on USFS/BLM land-- my wife and I just got back from Buena Vista were we set up a base-camp and did a bunch of climbing, it was awesome to come back to some "luxury" items at the end of the day-- I am a sucker for an actual chair, the Colman two-burner stove and cold beer.

In fact we leave again on Wednesday for four days of car-camping, climbing and fly-fishing. At this rate I may not backpack again until winter.

Carl in FL
06-20-2011, 17:38
Pretty neat stuff, thank for the link!

06-20-2011, 17:43
how do you say cold beer.....enough said about car camping

....in English? Cold Beer. :)

re: Utah

Many the remote places in Utah are perfect for car camping. Free, no people, and a place that is not really meant for backpacking (slot canyons anyone?) but should still be seen!

As mentioned in the article, we typically like to car camp in the off-season when there is not enough snow for skiing but it is perhaps too much snow up high. With the short days, I'd rather hand in a comfy camp by the campfire with a wonderful meal then in a small tent. :)

So, for us, the prime seasons are Mid-March or so (if in Utah) until about early-mid June. The cycle starts again from early-mid October until about late/November early-December.

Also, I said 'basecamping' for a reason. Though camping for sake of camping can be fun and relaxing, the type of trips we love to do are explore places that do not make the best backpacking destinations (Great Sand Dunes, Pawnee Grassland, Colorado National Monument and others) but deserve to be immersed in for more than a day trip and can really only be enjoyed (IMO) when there overnight.

Works for us anyway!

06-27-2011, 13:37
i plan on hiking for the next three years but, when i'm done, i would really love to take about 6 months and just run around the back roads and trails of zion, bryce, arches, and canyonlands. the redrock district has always fascinated me and i can think of no better way to spend some time. just find a beautiful spot, park the jeep, and decompress....