The appeal of car camping is obvious; you get some of the comforts of home while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. Nobody understands that better than Nate and Stephanie Yarborough, the duo behind Adventure in a Backpack, who have spent the last two years traveling and camping across the country. First, they traveled in a 40-foot RV but recently downgraded to a Sprinter so they could be more nimble and explore easier. “We spent three months building out our Sprinter van, but if it’s warm, we’re sleeping outside the van in hammocks,” Stephanie says. “It’s all about sleeping under the stars for us.”
They’ve crisscrossed the country, hitting all of the Insta-worthy locales that are likely on your bucket list, and have decided that the best car camping in the nation is in Southern Utah. “Especially the Escalante area,” Nate says. “The landscape is so otherworldly, and there’s so much BLM land, there’s free car camping everywhere.”
We asked the couple to detail a handful of key items that make their campsite feel like a home. Here are their picks, in their own words.
ARB Refrigerator ($800)
"Coolers are great but this 12-volt fridge is better because it keeps your food cold and prevents the need to refill ice and dump water."
Eno Doublenest Hammock ($70)
"We ditched our tents a long time ago. With a hammock, you don’t lose your sleeping pad throughout the night like in a tent, and you can lay there and look at the stars and take pictures right from your bed."
Kuju Coffee ($25 for 10 pack)
"We used to use instant coffee all the time. We made do, but it was never enjoyable. Once we got turned on to Kuju we never looked back. These pour overs are made for backpacking so you can have a quality cup of coffee in the backcountry without carrying around a French press. It’s great quality coffee and you don’t have to brew it at the perfect temperature. It tastes good no matter what."
Goal Zero Yeti 400 Battery ($600)
"Even if you’re going camping to get unplugged, you’re going to need to plug something in. We have extensive solar power in the van, but the Goal Zero 400 Lithium is great for a campsite to keep all our cameras and drones all charged up. It’s nice not to have to power up your car to charge all of your camera gear or phones. And it can power the ARB fridge too."
Slackline Industries Baseline Slackline ($60)
"We never go camping without a slackline. We love stringing it up and practicing our balance and laughing at each other. We try to park next to someone with a guitar because if you’ve got a guitar, a slackline, and a fire, you have the complete package."