Essential Camping Gear, Places, and Hacks
If you’re a camper from way-back, then you don’t need to know the basics, like essential gear (tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, headlamps/lanterns, water filtration, paper maps and a first aid kit!), but there are hundreds of other gadgets you might not have and didn’t know you needed! Plus, if you want to switch things up and glamp a little this summer, we have some hacks, tricks and places to investigate for the ultimate glamorous camping experience!
Best and Most Beautiful Places
If you’re camping in Colorado, you have lots of great choices to enjoy great outdoor destinations camping under the stars. When it comes to natural beauty, it’s hard to beat the incredible surroundings we have access to, just a few minutes and hours from our front doors. Visitors to our state have a Campendium of affordable choices that we consider our backyard – Sedalia, Larkspur and Woodland Park campgrounds.
But for a taste of mountain camping further away, Trip Savvy’s 2019 list of the most beautiful places to camp includes Aspen’s Maroon Bells – about three and a half hours from Castle Rock. With Aspen so nearby, if you need supplies, you’re not far from food and other essentials.
Closer still is Pike National Forest’s Guanella Pass, just over an hour’s drive from Castle Rock and with hiking up Mount Bierstadt or Mount Evans, fishing in nearby Lake Georgetown and relaxing at the campsite, with spectacular views.
Turquoise Lake Recreation Area in the San Isabel National Forest near Leadville is another option with thick pine forests and a 1,800 acre lake as well as eight different campgrounds. You can bike, hike, go four-wheeling or fish from this spot that offers both RV and tenting camping.
For even more possible camping locations, visit Beyond the Tent and scan the places and pictures of the amazing state of Colorado – an outdoor enthusiast’s nirvana!
Hacks, Gadgets and Knick-Knacks
If you’re a coffee drinker and can’t live without your java in the morning, The Wirecutter recommends a $45 French Press from REI. Personally, we’re all about the coffee – camping or not – in fact, as much as the food/cooking gear! There is also a $30 AeroPress that’s lighter, smaller and easy to clean up. Make sure you grind your coffee in advance, or you can always bring along some instant (easy-to-pack!) instant coffee.
With all the fires we see in Colorado during the summer, lots of people spurn the campfires and opt for the ease and safety of a camping stove like Coleman’s array of easy-to-use propane models. They range in price from $40 for the classic stove to the Powerhouse model for $180. If you want to pack REALLY light, there’s also the tiny MSR Pocket Rocket for $35, or the all-purpose Jetboil MiniMo for $130. If you’ve never camped before, start cheap – says Lifehacker – and work your way up.
The Other Essentials
Don’t forget to pack any prescription medications you need, hygiene items (toilet paper, soap, a small towel, WetOnes®, and hand sanitizer), as well as sunscreen and insect repellent. And as for food, you can always go with boxed or canned entrees and side dishes or a combo. And don’t forget the fixin’s for s’mores! Remember that wildlife – think bears – are good at raiding garbage receptacles so don’t leave any food or stinky discards laying around overnight. Lock it in your car or truck and check the local regulations. Bears have been known to break into vehicles!
For the REI essential checklist, check out the expert’s advice on what to take to have the best camping experience the first time, and every time!
RVs, Cabins and Glamping Options
RVs are currently experiencing the biggest boom in camping vacation history, having hit a record $20 billion in sales after eight years of steady grown. With eight types of RVs, from the fold-up trailer to the monolithic motorhome, you can rent your favorites at RVShare (the camping world’s equivalent of Airbnb) for as little as $100 a night. The typical campground, where you can access water and electricity, costs around $50 – so to try before you buy is easier than ever. Cruise America is another (the largest) rental company in North America with a fleet of nearly 5,000 vehicles. Because RVing has become so trendy, the lure of the experiential vacation seems to be as much about digital detoxing as it is about bonding with family and friends.
But if glamping is more your style, with all the luxury, comforts and conveniences of home, but still under the stars (sort of) and away from it all in the beauty of nature, check out the Glamping.com website. You’ll find ranches, resorts and lots of “Under Canvas” places to spend a night, weekend or week in breathtaking and secluded surroundings, some in close proximity to fun attractions for the whole family.
Camping Near Crystal Valley
You can drive a short distance to find a campground near Crystal Valley and enjoy the natural playground of Colorado. Living in one of the brand new homes in Castle Rock’s premiere master-planned community, you’re always surrounded by nature. Explore all the beautiful models and move-in ready homes from Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton – ranch and two-story designs, priced from the $300s.