I love backpacking. The idea of hiking 10 miles with a pack and a rifle to chase animals in the backcountry is the ultimate type two fun. It is the marathon in the hunting world. You train for it, it can be tough going when you’re doing it, and afterwards, you feel like you’ve really accomplished something. Sometimes, though, you want to get the camping experience while not quite working so hard for it. Car camping is sort of the 5k race of the outdoors world. You don’t have to train a whole lot, anyone can do it, and it’s laid back and enjoyable. Enough with the running analogies. Let’s talk about why car camping beats any hotel room you’ll ever find.
While car camping, you literally have your car right next to your tent. This gives you the ability to bring all sorts of gear you can’t bring when you are counting ounces and living out of a backpack for two weeks. Larger camp stoves, full-size camp chairs, and Yeti coolers are all things you get to bring. If you’re hunting, you have the ability to put the game you harvest on ice at your campsite. This means that you don’t have to end your camping trip the minute you get a deer. Also, you can plan more elaborate meals like shish-kabobs and s’mores and enjoy them in front of a roaring fire every night. In cold weather, especially, car camping means you won’t have to be uncomfortable for the whole trip.
Another great aspect of car camping is that you have your car. It’s easy to take a long drive to hunt that faraway section of the national forest or fish a new stream. One of my favorite things to do when camping near my vehicle is to go for long drives at night and look for deers, bears, and any other animals that may be more active at night. Also, if the weather gets really bad you can always sleep in the car. This allows you to push your comfort level a bit more.
Bring The Family
It is much easier to convince your wife and kids to go for an adventure when you are car camping. Especially if you have young children, it is much less difficult to plan a camping trip when you stay close to your car. If someone gets hurt, you can drive to the doctor. If it gets too hot or cold, you can get in the car and turn on the AC or heater.
I like to think of car camping as having a cheap hotel on wheels. For $15 a night, or less if you camp in national forests, you get to travel around, sleep under the stars, and enjoy the outdoors while still getting to relax and have fun. There are some amazing places you can car camp and it allows you to travel cheaply with your family or while you’re on an out-of-state hunting trip. I work hard to prepare for backcountry backpack hunts every year, but always look forward to relaxing and car camping a couple of times each season too.