How to completely screw up car camping!

Earlier this week I published a post on my trip to Colorado.  The trip wasn’t a backpacking trip.  It was a full blown, car camping, glamping trip.  I took a tent that stood 6’7″ tall so I could stand up to change clothes, a queen sized cot, a queen mattress, side table, and floor mats.

And it was almost all useless!

What I bought

Oh Amazon, you are my friend….and my enemy.  I bought almost all the items on Amazon after doing a little research.  One item came from REI and I had a few things already.

The Good

EcoCamp Mess Kit

This thing was actually pretty good….when I ate at the campsite.  I only used the saucepan, wooden spoon, and hotplate though.  This is too heavy for backpacking so I’d leave it at home.  But it was decent for car camping.

Image Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling Fan

Holy cow, what a lifesaver.  I loved the small fan and the really bright light.  I bought a small s-hook to hang from the top of the tent and this sucker worked perfectly.

LE Headlamp LED

I only used this once: when it was about to pour down rain and I need to get packed up in the early morning darkness.  However, it was very bright and did a great job.

Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack

I can’t say this enough: I LOVE this daypack.  It has plenty of room for the things I wanted to carry and has a receptacle for a hydration bladder.  This was the main pack I used for daily excursions.  My only complaint was getting my camera in and out of the pack.  Although, I believe that’s more of a camera size issue than a flaw with the pack.

The Bad…or Average…or Unused


This really isn’t a bad product.  My only real complaint is that it weighs a metric ton.  I think the shipping weight was just under 40 lbs and the dry weight is like 36 lbs.  It’s just too heavy.  But it will work perfectly for a house guest.


DONMEY Parachute Camping Hammock with Tree Straps

I had only one opportunity to use this hammock and I decided it was a bigger pain in the ass to set up than to just sit in my camp chair with a footrest.  I never even pulled it out to look at it.  I decided my time was better spent sightseeing than lounging around in a hammock in beautiful Colorado.


The Ugly

Goal Zero Flip 10 Recharger, Charcoal Grey

This thing is a colossal piece of shit that worked exactly ONCE.  My advice? Pony up the bucks and buy a solar charger.

I learned a lot of lessons on this trip.  Mainly that I packed too much crap and really need to downsize.  I wasted so much time and energy getting ready and then it turned into a pain in the ass to take it all down.

If you want to car camp, here’s my advice.

  • Buy a decent tent to fit your group size.  If it’s just you and your partner, but a 3/4 person tent.  Don’t worry about standing up.  It’s camping.  Be uncomfortable!
  • Leave the air mattress at home and buy a decent sleeping pad.  Then use a sleeping bag, NOT a queen sized air mattress with full bedding.
  • Buy food each day or you’ll spend half your budget buying ice for the coolers.
  • Dump the frills.  I didn’t need the hammock, three coolers, the large stove, hiking poles (my big hike was rained out), or a fraction of the clothes I brought.
  • Remember, the campsite is a place to sleep, like a hotel, not a playground.  You’ve traveled to an exotic location.  Go see exotic things.  Don’t sit around the campsite all day.  If you get out, you won’t need all the useless junk I packed.
  • And lastly, have fun, be dirty, make friends with your fellow campers, and enjoy the trip.  I met some cool people, even if for only a few minutes.

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