Camping while traveling can be a fun and convenient way to save money and experience new places off the beaten track. It can also be such an uncomfortable and frustrating hassle that you run screaming for the nearest hotel. In this section we share some of our experiences from years of traveling and camping. We’ll help you decide whether or not to camp, how to stay comfortable and sane when you do camp, and what to bring with to make life on the dirt a bit more enjoyable.
Over the last six years we have done a lot of camping. From the scorched salt flats of Botswana to the snow caped Olympics in Washington State. Usually, we make camping look easy. RVer's often crack jokes about how we pitch our tents faster than they can park and level their big rigs... Look at us go!
Decide whether to camp based on where you’re going and how you’ll get there. If you’re planning a trip to out of the way places, camping may be the best (or only) way to spend the night. On the other hand, if you’re staying close to civilization, odds are you won’t need to camp and may have trouble finding camping facilities.
Camping gear is the biggest problem. It’s heavy, bulky and expensive. Consider the size, weight and cost of the gear you’d need when deciding if camping is the best option for you. It adds up quickly, especially if you’re limited to a backpack for space. Remember that traveling is always more enjoyable if you have less stuff to worry about.
We went camping everywhere when I was a kid. Every family vacation I can remember involved a Volvo station wagon and a big patch of dirt to pitch a tent on. Optimists would say my parents did this to build character, in reality, they did it because it was cheap. Ten years later, I’m happy to say I’m gleefully following in their footsteps.
The good times I’ve had under the stars, in the great wide open, are among the best in my life. There is something magical about the wild... you keep wanting to come back.
Then, there are the not-so-good times. The it-won’t-stop-raining, I-can’t-feel-my-toes, a-starving-dog-wouldn’t-eat-this-food, there’s-nothing-to-do-here-but-sleep and, I-swear-there’s-a-giant-mouse-in-this-tent type of trips. You know the ones. They make you want to never, ever, ever agree to another night in a tent, for the rest of your life. Period.