||OK, let's get real here. Most of us are not going to be climbing snow-covered mountains any time soon or even be training for a wilderness expedition. All you want is to simply go camping ...in style. You've got the SUV & now need some equipment. We won't need any highly sophisticated pro - mountaineering gear, below freezing anything or overpriced yuppie outdoor wear from trendy shops. This page offers practical advice on inexpensive items for car & SUV camping. Not the latest in a lightweight backpacking options. Not materials for trekking across with the Himalayas or lycra poly-blend specialty socks. Total Escape offers convenient items to make your next California camping trip run a little smoother. Where to find great bargains on-line and off.
Whoever said campers had to rough it? We'll leave that for the backpacker types. In the last 10 years, with new inventions & products surfacing, there is no excuse not to be comfortable out in the wild. Much of the traditional camping gear has been improved. Plus new inventions are so idiot proof & advanced that anyone can take full advantage of all the luxuries while outdoors.
These outdoor gear tips are primarily for basic car campers & off-road campers, but backpackers can utilize some tips as well. Shop around for the best prices. Check the sales at the beginning & end of summer season. As far as outdoor gear retail stores go:
- Target, WalMart & K-Mart have some good inexpensive selection of camping supplies
- Major chain drugstores sometimes have
summer seasonal clearance sales on some items
- Army Surplus Stores are the best for great bargains & weird stuff, but sometimes limited selections & cheap crap
- Sport Chalet, SportMart & Sport Authority are more for the average camper, plus carry sporting goods
- Adventure 16 & REI are more for the serious campers, climber types & backpackers
Camping Gear Basics
Bag for warmth
||$30 - $150
||Dome tent - sleeps 2-6
||$30 - $200
||2 burner propane camp stove
||$50 - $120
purpose lantern type
||$3 - $50
or extreme temp recommended
||$20 - $50
for clothing, etc.
||$10 - 30
||Bought in large quantities can be less expensive
||$10 - 25
|Matches / Propane
|Easy Prep Food
/ Canned Food, Veggies
||$10 - 50
- Metal Container or Fire Bucket for ground camp fires; Parks such as Anza Borrego Desert State Park require it.
Sites & Phone#'s
Customer Services Lines, Repair shops, Hard to find Specialists
Coleman Parts - Stove Replacement Parts & more
Coleman Customer Service - 800/835-3278
- Outdoor Gear Reviews
- Affordable products that last years are hard to come by. No matter what brand, ZIPPERS are the first to break. Why buy an expensive tent, when you only need it 3 times a year & it will end up getting dirty, torn & broken ...just easily as the cheaper ones? Years of car camping experience has served me well: I do not buy over priced top of the line equipment. Unless you are planning severe weather camping or serious mountaineering expeditions, the moderate priced sporting goods you buy should do the trick. Plus shopping the end of the summer clearance sales will save you a bundle.
- never skimp on a sleeping bag - buy a decent one rated for 20º
or less if you are more than a once a year summer time camper.
- buy a large cheap plastic tarp - it's a piece of plastic
that can save your butt during a serious down-pour. You will
care less if you paid $5 or $30 for it. Your dept or local drug
store should have readily available these during summer season.
- tiki torches can be messy, but are a much cheaper source for light, and natural fire light sets a cool ambience. Tiki fuel can be found cheap and last you plenty of camping trips
- inflatable mattresses can save your back, neck &trip. Why feel like you slept on the ground? Invest $20-40 in a thick air mattress & fill it up! And you won't be stiff & achy in the morning.