So, you don’t have an RV, a fifth wheel, or a motorhome. That’s fine, neither do many of us. our That’s when a car camping trip comes in. Nature will call you to go out and get to know her a little better no matter what kind of vehicle you have, even if it’s a little old Honda or A sleek Jaguar. Whatever your camping vehicle, make sure to get a Fort Collins car service on your vehicle before you load up the tent and sleeping bag.
There is something so primal and relaxing about leaving behind our amenities and comfortable beds and well equipped kitchens for a night or 5 on a mountain. And, Colorado is a prime place for sleeping outdoors, might as well go camping and enjoy what other folks will travel from other countries to be a part of.
First, it helps to have a solid vehicle. Get a handle on overall car health before packing the cooler. You do not want to break down 20 miles up a forest access road where there are no amenities and no call phone service. If you are not confident about your car’s health, run it by your Fort Collins mechanic, or if your taking the Jaguar,first stop by your Fort Collins foreign car service shop. Get your radiator and fluids checked. Have your local auto shop look at your brakes. If you’re heading up, (which is what we do in Colorado), you will also eventually be heading down. Most car break downs on the mountains occur because of overheating, and faulty brakes. How many times have you been making your way down Loveland Pass, or Rabbit ears, and smelled that burning metallic order of seizing brakes, or watched your engine heat climb up a bit more than makes you feel comfortable. A good first step before actually going camping, if you have not had your car recently serviced, is taking the car to your Fort Collins mechanic. Once your car is good to go, the fun can begin.
Image courtesy of Ross Harmes via Flickr
If you’re going for an extended trip, find out about campgrounds and service areas along your route ahead of time. KOA has campsites just about everywhere, but also look at private sites (I have stayed in several private camping sites where a large teepee was available instead of your tent.) Look into state camping grounds in our national parks and forests. If you want to rent a cabin or get a bed in a bunkhouse (good back up plan for bad weather), Estes Park is an excellent choice. I have camped up there au natural a few times, and it was not unusual to be run out of my tent and up to the YMCA by summer storms.
Here are some general tips on what to bring if you’re planning on a car camping trip.
- Bring toilet paper and baggies, no further explanation needed. Likewise, pack a few disposable garbage bags
- Bring a rope to suspend both food and any garbage you produce from a tree. Bears are hungry, and they will raid your camp if they smell meat. fruit, or other food odors. Tie your trash up high as possible and away from your camp to prevent bears, coyotes, mountain lions or other animals from raiding your camp. At the worst, they can inflict mortal damage, at the best, they will trash your camp and scare you to death. Do not store food and waste products in your car or trunk. The bears will smell it, and rip your vehicle to pieces to get at the food. Some camp areas offer storage lockers for food, and bear proof waste containers for your trash. Use them.
- Be sure you can sleep comfortably. An air mattress or yoga mat under your sleeping bag is well worth carrying up to your camp. I absolutely bring several pillows for my poor tired head when I camp. It will be colder than you’re used to, sleeping in the wild, so have a good sleeping bag and extra blankets.
- Bring a fire starting gun. For the camp fire (which you need not only to cook, but to keep warm) relying on matches or a lighter may not be enough. If you don’t know how to start and maintain a fire, please watch a YouTube on the topic or ask a knowledgeable friend before taking your camping friend. If the area you’re camping in is subject to a campfire ban, bring along a portable cook stove.
- Bring lots of appropriate clothing, prepare for anything.
Other than this, bring a good camp kit, a first aid kit, and make sure you have chargers for your phones and other devices in your car. Be sure to come by Fort Collins Foreign Car service for a maintenance check on your car before heading up! Have a wonderful time, we just might see you up there!