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When many people think of camping, their first reaction is an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.

Experience tells me that women campers and men campers are about the same when it comes to feeling a bit apprehensive.

Geek Tip #1: From now on when you think of camping, remember what your yoga instructor would say....and I quote...."take a deep breath in to a count of three. Hold it in for a moment and exhale to a count of six."

Geek Tip #2: When in doubt, pick up the phone and call us at (303)699-6944 or email at

How To Camp

It’s funny isn’t it. I know that some people who are viewing this information are thinking “how to camp”…..are you kidding me? On the other hand, the questions we answer most often focus around the whole “how to camp” idea. Go to our backpacking information page if that is what you are looking for.

There are all kinds of questions tied up in the whole “how to camp” question. I have included information and links that will help you answer the question in the way that it directly pertains to you. Take a few minutes to look things over and if you have additional questions, and trust me I have heard them all, drop us an email at or call us at (303) 699-6944. We want to help you have the best outdoor experience possible.

Nationwide Hiking Link

What Will i need to take camping?

One way to get ideas is to go to either our purchase gear area and browse products (you can also rent directly from this area) or go to our rental packages area and check out the items that are in the rental packages. 

List of possible items for base or car camping

If your base camping, you have a lot of options and some of what you take will depend specifically on what you or your group/family are interested in. For instance, if you're a family that loves baseball or softball, bring your gloves or bases or wiffle ball and bat. Allowing your group or family to enjoy things they are familiar with will help insure a great outdoor experience.

On the other hand, bringing everything including the kitchen sink is a big pain in the butt for a number of reasons. I recommend taking a few things of interest, but not trying to bring everything. You will generally have the best outdoor experience if you include time spent doing things you don’t otherwise get to do. So go for a hike, roast some marsh mellows, break out the fishing poles, enjoy the time spent under the stars, kick back, and let the fresh air sooth your soul.

Here is a base camp or car camping list of the “basics” I like to take

  • Tent - Make it big and roomy in case it rains and you need to spend some quality time in it. If you are a family or group of four, consider an 8 man tent that can divide into two or three rooms for a little privacy and changing area or a second tent dedicated to gear and it can double as a changing area. If there are just two of you, check out a 3 or 4 person tent, but my wife and I often take a six person tent for camping.
  • Sleeping Pads - A good pad may make or break your trip….or your spouse’s trip. I luv luv luv a two inch thick sleeping pad for a good night’s rest!
  • Sleeping Bag - You will not sleep well unless you are warm. Upgrade that Barbie sleeping bag before your trip.
  • Lighting – We carry head lamps that will turn your night into day. If you have not used head lamps in the past, give them a try. It’s nice to be hands free with a light that goes where your eyes go when you’re out in the wilderness.
  • Stove and/or Grill - I’d take both so you can cook over the fire and have a back-up in case of rain.
  • Camp dishes -We carry 2 or 4 person sets.
  • 7 Gallon water container - These can be really handy if you are more than 100 feet from a water source.
  • Several other portable water containers - Consider some 2 liter water bladders if you plan on hiking and the 96 oz canteen is really handy and multi-purpose.
  • Camp Chairs – If you have the room, chairs are a key to comfort. We also rent camp chairs and tables.
  • Water filter - I always like to take a water filter so I don’t have to worry about having enough water. If you are being active at higher altitudes, you may go through a gallon of water per person per day. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s what you need to stay healthy and active in the high country
  • Camp Food – Bring it from home or buy from us. You may want to buy just a few meals from us and give them a try. Dehydrated food is very good now-a-days and our breakfast items are quick and easy.
  • Bear Canister – if you are like most people your thinking you will just put your food in the car and it will be safe. Don’t count on it. Bears have torn apart plenty of cars to get to tasty smelling food. No need to panic, just get a canister or two and be safe.
  • Snacks – Hey, this is car camping. No need to rough it too much. We carry some awesome dried apples if you want a nice healthy snack.
  • Beverages – I only included this to remind you that if you are planning on drinking alcohol and you are camping at altitude, be very careful. Alcohol has an increased impact at altitude and high altitude hangovers are not fun.
  • Shovel – Most of us need to dig a hole at some point when we are camping. We provide a hand trowel free with our rental packages.
  • Saw or hatchet – If I have to choose, it is saw all the way. A saw goes a long way when it comes to working with logs for the fire. And, you can't chop a hole in your foot with a saw.
  • Multi-tool – Or a knife. But let’s face it, a multi tool is much more practical.
  • Side arm? – Only if it is legal where you are camping and you know how to use it. Check this information also.
  • Compass / GPS – I like to have both with us. A compass is a must and a GPS can be just as important if you are hiking.

Where can i camp?

That’s a good question for the forest service in general. The other question you might be thinking about is "Where should I camp"? Most national forest areas have free camping areas along the roads. Many of these areas are great base camp and family camping areas. Here is a very nice link for camping information in Colorado.

Where should I camp?

The first thing to consider is that you have choices.

1) You could camp at a campground with facilities

This is a great “pay to camp” choice especially if you have young children and/or you are just getting started camping. You have some extra support and you’re not way “out there” if you need a little help.

2) You could camp in a more primitive national forest designated campground

These are often “pay to camp” places like option one, but probably have fewer amenities. They may have a port-a-potty and they often have a well for water. You will likely be camping close to others on busy weekends, but some of these areas have a few nicely secluded spots.

3) You could camp along the road at “pull-off” areas along the road that are typically in national forest areas

Now you’re talking. Although I’m a backpacker by trade, if you find me car camping, it will be pulled off the road somewhere where no other campers can keep me up at night. These types of spots are common in the mountain west. They are free and you really get the chance to do your own thing without being way far away from some other people. My family has had a really nice time in spots just like this in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, on Weston Pass just south of Fairplay, Colorado bordering the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Area, near the trailhead leading to Mt. Quandary south of Breckenridge, and near the Spruce Creek Trail just south of Breckenridge, Colorado. In Colorado alone, there are literally hundreds or areas like this just waiting for you!

4) You could camp at a lake or reservoir that allows camping

Some of these areas are pay to camp and some are free. The most popular state park in Colorado is Cherry Creek State Park right in the Denver Metro area. Seriously, this is a great place for a first time camper or for folks who don’t want to spend the time traveling. Or, another nice spot not too far from Denver is Green Mountain Reservior. The nice thing about Green Mt. Reservior is there is a ton of good hiking close by in the Gore Range. Call or email us and we will be happy to help you with hiking in this area.

One more spot I can’t help but mention is the lake below the trailhead of Mount Quandary. There are actually a couple of lakes in the areas and a ton of “pull-off” camping spots. My wife and I spent a very nice night in this area before climbing our first 14er. And you might even catch a few fish.

5) How about trying a short hike and camp…..not too far from the car. This may be good if you have done some camping and have some confidence in your abilities.

I mentioned the Spruce Creek Trail earlier and this is a really nice hike and camp spot. It’s just south of the Breckenridge area. The hike in is maybe a mile to the Mayflower Lake area. It’s an authentic little hiking trip and don’t forget your fishing pole. My son caught his first cut-bow trout in a little stream near by not that many years ago.

who do i ask for help with camping spots?

Ahhhhhh, me?  Or, if you are coming to Colorado, check out this link for a ton of great information. I can usually tell by talking to you and looking on line myself if the area might suit your needs.

My Partner is not a camper, how can i make sure she/he has a good experience?

Number one is to take a great sleeping pad for night time comfort. I’m serious as a heart attack about this. A good nights sleep will make all the difference. Number two, take it easy. You can push for a day, but don’t do a killer trip right off the bat. Smell the roses instead and save the challenges for later. You will be best served by base camping in an area where you can either hike or ride four wheelers. If you are coming to Colorado, check out the Westin Pass area and the Rich Creek Trail. Let me know if you would like more information about these areas.

Will I be able to figure out how to set up the tent I rent?

Yes, because we include the directions for every tent we rent. Most directions are just inside the tent bag. Or, in a pinch, call us and we will walk you through it. Most tent set up issues happen because the directions are consulted half way thru set up.....instead of right away :).

What if it rains?

Oh the rain. If you are base camping, this is why big tents, a good book, playing cards and board games are a must. And, it’s also why a top quality tent is critical. Nothing sucks more than a river running through the middle of your tent.

How do we find hiking trails?

Decide on a destination and zoom in on your web searches based on that area. Here is a really nice nationwide hiking link. If that doesn’t yield any results, call a local outfitter or we have had good luck stopping in a local sporting goods store and asking for advice. Or, call us and we will help you find a good spot. Our phone number is (303) 699-6944.

What should we take to eat?

The good stuff. Especially hot dogs and marsh mellows baby. If your base camping and you didn’t fly in from out of town, you better be eating well. I mean, cook those brats and roast those weenies. And we sell oatmeal for an easy breakfast or lunches that keep things simple. Give our freeze dried dinners a try and you may be surprised how good they are. We also rent coolers if you are traveling out of town.

Do I need to take firewood?

You might. Especially if you are going to a camping “area” that concentrates people in one area. If you hike in or camp in a pull off area there should be plenty of dead wood in the area. One thing you should do for sure is check the local regulations to make sure fires are legal at that time and place. And take a saw so you can saw things up into reasonable sizes. Geek Tip: Leave your axe and hatchet home. Hatchets cause injuries and are really not needed. 

You didn't answer my question.....

Well call the Geek then! Our phone number is 303-699-6944 and our email address is