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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 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.

List Get the Gear @

camp tools

sleeping bags

camp chair

camping coolers

camp communication

gourmet camp kitchen

camp tents

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
item description cost
Sleeping Bag Sleeping Bag for warmth $30 - $150
Camp Tent Dome tent - sleeps 2-6 $30 - $200
Camp Stove 2 burner propane camp stove $50 - $120
Flashlight Dual purpose lantern type $3 - $50
Ice Chest Rubbermaid or extreme temp recommended $20 - $50
Dufflebag Storage for clothing, etc. $10 - 30
Firewood Bought in large quantities can be less expensive $10 - 25
Newspaper Kindling free
Matches / Propane Cooking Fuel $6
Easy Prep Food Boxed / Canned Food, Veggies $10 - 50

Metal Container or Fire Bucket for ground camp fires; Parks such as Anza Borrego Desert State Park require it.

Helpful 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.