8 ways to seriously upgrade your next camping trip

Okay, so you’re not interested in glamorous camping, but why not make your next trip into the wilderness better than your last?

Bring some gourmet cooking chops to the campsite for more fun in the woods. Photo: REI.
Bring some gourmet cooking chops to the campsite for more fun in the woods. Photo: Courtesy of REI

If you want to up the ante on your next camping trip, there’s lots of fun to be had by upgrading from minimalism.

We talked to a few experts about ways to bring your A-game to your campsite.

Location, location, location

If you’re camping at a campground that lets you reserve a specific site, find out which spots are the best at The Dyrt, which is like a Yelp for campgrounds. (CannaCamp might not be on the list yet, but hey, when in Rome …)

Bring the noise!

Just kidding. Be considerate of others, but music is mandatory for some get-downs.

As far as speakers for the outdoors go, we love both the Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell Speaker and the Fugoo Tough XL. Both are waterproof, the former kicks out about 96 decibels and the latter is almost indestructible.

Graduate from S’mores

Marshmallow shot glasses. Could a s'mores shot be far behind? Photo: The Dryt.
Marshmallow shot glasses. Could a S’mores shot be far behind? Photo: Courtesy of The Dyrt
“Kick off your camping trip with a toasted marshmallow shot glass,” says Sarah Smith, founder of The Dyrt.

Who’s gonna argue that? (If you’re feeling a little less inspired, though, here are your best options for taking booze into the backcountry).

Make your site more homey, homie

When the lights go down, the party turns up. Photo: REI.
When the lights go down, the party turns up. Photo: Courtesy of REI
“Creating a more comfortable campsite will make you feel more at home. Campsite comfort can be achieved with a cushioned sleeping pad, large and roomy tent, hammocks and other camp furniture,” says Tom Kimmet, general merchandising manager at REI.

Keeping up with RV-owning Joneses

Whether you want to car camp like a king or initiate that special someone into the sleeping-in-the-outdoors world, go big! Tents like the massive Tenaya Lake 8P Fast Pitch Cabin with Cabinets include a room divider (for privacy) and enough space for up to two queen airbeds, all for about $300. And it sets up in about 10 minutes.

Need a plush mattress? Coleman’s DuraRest airbeds are 47 percent more puncture resistant, 25 percent stronger and 45 percent lighter than existing PVC beds and can be inflated using a charger that hooks up to your car. We like the DuraRest High Queen.

Make getting to the woods as easy as possible

“Spend less time packing and more time camping,” says Sarah Smith, founder of The Dyrt, who keeps her car-camping gear in her vehicle from June to November to maximize the ability to be spontaneous.

Think ahead about cooking

A little butcher paper goes a long way when camping. Use it for a table cloth and a place to write down recipe notes. Photo: REI.
A little butcher paper goes a long way when camping. Use it for a tablecloth and a place to write down recipe notes. Photo: Courtesy of REI
Get creative in your camp kitchen. “With the camp kitchen gear that is currently available, it is now more possible for campers to get creative with their cooking. For example, create a gourmet breakfast bar with food that can be cooked over a Dutch oven (e.g., Dutch babies, a sweet popover).

To make it easier at the campsite, pre-measure and pack ingredients before you leave home so all you’ll need to do is combine and mix,” says REI member Aimee Trudeau.

Wanna make your own batch of Dutch babies? Just follow this recipe.

Make it a movie night

The XSories X Project WiFi Pico Projector brings at-home nighttime entertainment to the woods.

This is good for families or groups who camp together with lots of kids. You can play videos directly from SD cards, USB sticks or online sources, or share some photos you shot during the day.

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