How to Camp Like a Pro This Summer
Climber, filmmaker, and camping ninja Cedar Wright shares his favorite car-camping tips, including his secret weapon for keeping the bugs away
Summer camping season is officially here, which means there’s no better time to perfect your car-camping setup and get out there. Whether you're new to car camping or are looking for a few new tricks, Cedar Wright has five simple tips that will help you elevate your camping game.
1) Location, Location, Location
Campsites can run the gamut—from overcrowded and uninspired to peaceful and Instagram-worthy. A little research on the front-end at home will go a long way. For starters, you want your campsite close to what you like to do: hiking or mountain-biking trails, a river or lake to paddle on, or climbing spots. You’ll also want to make sure there’s a large flat area for tents, a grill, and a picnic table at your site. Need some help? Check out apps like Camp and Tent, Hipcamp, or Tentrr, which can help you quickly find the best spots at nearby parks or campgrounds.
2) You Don't Have to Rough It
Since you’ll have your car nearby, you can bring items you wouldn’t normally carry into the backcountry. This is a great excuse to bring luxuries—such as extra pillows and blankets—along to ensure you’ll be cozy and warm when you’re by the fire and when you go to sleep. You’ll also want to get a comfortable mattress for your tent, like the Therm-a-Rest Dreamtime Sleeping Pad, a 2.5-inch thick self-inflating mattress with contour-hugging foam. Combine that with an oversized sleeping bag and a spacious tent, like the Homestead Roomy 2 one from the The North Face, and you’ll be living like a king under the stars.
3) Step up Your Cooking Game
Let’s be honest: One of the best parts about car camping is getting to bring tons of good food and drinks to enjoy around the campfire. The key piece of gear here is a two-burner stove, like this one from Camp Chef, which lets you cook just about anything you can whip up at home. You can simmer rice while cooking chicken at night and boil water for coffee while making pancakes in the morning. You can even bring cream for your coffee if you've got a fancy cooler like one of Yeti's Hoppers. Thanks to is super-insulating powers, ice lasts way longer, which means you won’t have to drive into town every day to restock ice.
4) Bring Your Favorite Toys
One of the best things about camping is… not doing much of anything: staying off your devices, chilling, sitting by the fire and reading, and relaxing around in the campsite. Board games, glow-in-the-dark frisbees, Cards Against Humanity, it's all fair game. Being a climber, Cedar likes to set up a slackline, like this one from Slackline Industries, at his campsite and practice his balance. But you don't have to be a climber to enjoy a slackline—kids love goofing around on them, too. Another way to entertain your kids is with a Connect Tree Tent from Tentsile, which is a spacious tent suspended above the ground.
5) Keep the Bugs at Bay
Few things can ruin a camping trip or outdoor excursion like mosquitoes. Although the sprays, lotions, and candles might work OK, they can be unpleasant and messy. Cedar’s secret weapon is Thermacell's Trailblazer Mosquito Repeller Camp Lantern, which uses a butane heat source to release allethrin, a synthetic copy of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum plants. All you have to do is push a button, and within minutes you’ll have a roughly 15 X 15 ft zone of protection from mosquitoes. It's silent, odor-free, and, in addition to mosquitoes, also helps keep sand flies, black flies, and no-see-ums away.
Turn it on, mosquitoes gone. Themacell repellers create a 15ft zone of protection against mosquitoes without messy lotions or sprays. Tested and proven in the backcountry, Thermacell has sold millions of repellers around the globe. See for yourself why so many outdoor enthusiasts would never head out without their Thermacell.