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Firing Order: What Is Your Preferred Method Of Camping?

Posted in Features on July 17, 2017
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A long time ago, my wife and I were on a wheelin’ vacation in Colorado and we set up camp for the night at a deserted Forest Service campground near Guanella Pass outside of Georgetown. Camp was pretty darn easy to set up. We parked our ’77 International Scout, set up our small tent, tossed our sleeping bags in the tent, and camp was made. Since there wasn’t anything to repair on the Scout on that particular night, the majority of the evening was spent lounging by a campfire. The smell of pine was intoxicating, the mountain views incredible, the air was cool (the campground was over 10,000 feet in altitude) and I “entertained” my wife with some tunes on my harmonica. It was a picture-perfect campsite, but I never took a picture.

We went to sleep around 10 p.m. but awoke freezing cold about 2 a.m. After a quick, groggy conference regarding the abominable frigid temperature, we unanimously decided to sleep in the back of the frost-covered Scout where it was somewhat warmer. We pitched two weeks of supplies and gear out the back of the Scout, tossed our sleeping bags in, and went to sleep. It was actually a vast improvement. The minor hassle of cold temps aside, that campsite was awesome and remains one of my favorites of all time.

Over the years I’ve camped in a variety of ways and places while at 4x4 events. One of the most memorable (in a good way) was in a tent next to the Rubicon River while wheeling the Rubicon Trail. Stunning scenery, the white noise of the river, and the mountain aroma was amazing. Another memorable camping experience (in a not so good way) was crammed into a new Chevy Tahoe Z71 with former Four Wheeler staffer Ben Stewart in the Arizona desert prior to a trail ride outside of Phoenix. Earlier in the evening we had a spicy food mega marathon. ’Nuff said. The most unforgettable camping was during the thrashathon we called H2our De Force, where former Four Wheeler Tech Editor Sean Holman and I drove a Hummer H2 SUT through nine states in nine days, wheeling each day and sleeping in a different campground almost every night.

The Trails & Tents Tour was a wheeling event we did a few years ago. Visits by wild javelinas were the only thing out of the ordinary at this Arizona campground.

I’ve been in the off-road publishing biz for almost thirty years and I’ve stayed in far more hotels than tents while working. The funny thing is, I remember every work camping trip like it was yesterday. The hotels, not so much. The camping is just more fun. It can also be much more work when it comes to working at the end of the day. With the advent of digital cameras and other tech stuff required for the job, the inside of my tent often resembles a quasi NASA Mission Control Center with cables and electronics gear everywhere. On one memorable trip my borrowed tent leaked profusely as it rained, which translated to a valiant but failed effort to keep electronics dry. RIP iPhone 4S.

Wheeling and camping go together. One look at the sea of RVs and tents at events like King of the Hammers and the Easter Jeep Safari are proof of that. And I often bump into overlanding-type rigs while wheeling at remote locations.

This got me wondering: How do you camp? Are you into overlanding trailers or rigs? Do you pitch a tent? Is an RV or travel trailer your chosen method? Or do you simply sack out wherever you can chip away enough room in your 4x4?

Drop me an email at the address below and tell me about your camping setup and if you have a photo, include that too. Or, tell me about your most awesome 4x4 camping trip ever. Or maybe the one where everything seemed to go wrong. If we get enough submissions we’ll put together a special story with your experiences!

–Ken Brubaker

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