What type of car camping will you be doing?
The two types of car camping are primitive and campground camping. This site will primarily talk about primitive camping. Primitive camping is an area that has little to no amenities.
- No Showers
- No Bathrooms
- No Garbage Disposal (Carry In, Carry Out)
- Less People Nearby
- First Come/First Serve (No Reservations)
- Garbage Disposal
- More People Nearby
- Reservations (usually)
- Rent Spaces Nightly/Weekly
When do you plan to go?
Determining when you go, determines what type of equipment you will need. The type of clothing you bring will vary, as well as the type of bugs that will be out. (e.g., Blackflies are prevalent from May-late July in the North East.) You may not want to plan your trip in certain areas or you may want to wait until a period of time has passed. As far as weather is concerned, sometimes the only time when everyone is free is not the best time to go. That’s when you ask yourself if it’s worth going, if it’s going to be raining most of the time. The answer to this is: Maybe! Only you can determine that. If you do decide to go, or get stuck in inclement weather, make sure your car and tent are in areas away from hazardous trees. More on that under, Setting Up Camp.
Where do you plan to camp?
- National Parks
- National Forests
- State Parks
- State Forests
Do additional research for up to date information as well as rules and regulations. You don’t want to do something and find out you’ve been breaking some rules/laws that can get you fined. Find out information like:
- How long are you allowed to camp at the campsite?
- What type of wood are you allowed to collect and use as firewood?
- Are you allowed to collect the wood around your campsite?
- in many parks, you are NOT allowed to collect firewood.
- Can I bring my own firewood?
- Do I need a fishing permit?
Go to: USDA Forest Service for an entire list of National Forests by state. Click on the state you’d like to camp in and then on the left hand side click on “Recreation”. Read that site and after you’re done, again on the left hand side, click on “Camping and Cabins”. Then choose the type of camping you’d like to do and go from there.
Another site with a wealth of information on free campsites is: FreeCampsites.net
How long will you be camping for?
Our camping trips usually last between 3-5 days. Know that there’s a limit of how long you can stay at a campsite. (e.g., In Vermont, in National Forests, you’re allowed to stay for up to 14 days in a 30 day period.) Check with the area to see how long you’re allowed to stay.
What time will you leave?
Our group usually leaves after everyone gets out of work, around 7 or 8 o’clock P.M. We want to get as much camping done with the limited amount of time we have (i.e. With our work schedules, we usually only have the weekend). Now, I can only recommend this if you’ve been to the area that you’re going to camp. If you know the area and can get there in the dark and setup, then by all means do so. I’ll cover what we do and how we set up camp at night.
How many people are going?
Check with the area to see if there’s a limit to how many people are allowed to camp together. With larger groups (10+ people), a permit may be required.