Whether you’re a seasoned camper or this summer is going to be your first, everyone can enjoy a better camping experience with a little planning—and sometimes thinking outside the box. For example, car camping has become increasingly popular. This is largely due to the fact that vehicles like the new, quality Hyundai offer more space and indulgences than ever before. Why camp in a tent when you can curl up in your very own vehicle and be soothed with heated seats and state of the art sound systems?
No matter what kind of camping you have in mind this summer, make the most of it. Here are five ways to ensure the best campout yet:
1. Get your permits in advance
This sounds like a no-brainer, but the permit regulations for campsites are always changing and can be highly competitive. You don’t want to risk “seeking if there are any left” when it’s possible to get these permits in advance. This is also your opportunity to look beyond your usual campsites. For example, in some places it’s possible to camp in spaces like the sand dunes of the Oregon coast. You’d never think this was allowed, but it’s actually a little-known secret. If you don’t ask (or research), you’ll never know.
2. Forego the booze
If camping and alcohol have always gone hand in hand for you, you might cringe at the idea of a night under the stars completely sober. However, it’s a truly back to basics experience that you need to revisit. This is what the heart of camping is, or used to be. As an added bonus, you decrease the odds of an emergency. Nothing is worse than being away from civilization and suffering an alcohol-induced emergency. This will also better help build a positive memory for children if they’ll be part of your camping crew.
3. Borrow equipment
Major retailers like REI offer rental programs so you can take advantage of the best camping equipment without having to shell out big bucks. No matter what kind of camping you have in mind, why not go into the experience with top of the line equipment? You can rent just about everything from tents to fishing equipment and snowshoes. This also lets you test out equipment you’ve been thinking about without making a commitment.
4. Check discount sites for guided camping trips
If you think sites like Groupon are dead, think again. They’ve just become such an ingrained part of our lives that they’ve lost that “new appeal.” Where these sites are really flourishing is with experiences. That makes sense. Increasingly, people are committed to paying for experiences instead of tangible items, and camping is one of them. Check out what kind of deals are available near you (or wherever you’re willing to travel) and take your camping to the next level. If you’re not an experienced camper, no problem. Let an expert take the lead. In some cases, they may even bring or pack in all of the equipment for you. Remember the old days of Scouts or Girl Scout Camp when you had the adults take care of all the nitty-gritty for you? It can happen again.
5. Take it to a treehouse
There’s camping, and then there’s glamping that takes it up a notch. Not all treehouse rentals are luxurious, though many are. Plus, there are more treehouses available to rent than you probably think. This is a truly unique form of “camping” that you’ll want to check out at least once. With such a variety in terms of type, location, and available activities, treehouse camping might just become your new addiction. You can go as rustic or upscale as you like.
Ready to make this summer one you’ll never forget? Camping is an American tradition, and you can customize it however you like. What camping goals do you have for the summer?