Anyone can go car camping, but you’re not just anyone. If you enjoy something more when you have to earn it, hike-in campsites are where you want to be. Hiking to your campsite allows you to escape popular camping spots and enables you to enjoy nature without the crowds.
Now that you’re ready to leave the car behind, here are a few things to consider. Hike-in camping is in the blurry middle ground between car camping and backcountry camping. Sure, you don’t want to bring too much gear, but unlike backpacking, you don’t need to leave your favorite luxuries at home.
Find out what amenities the campsite has. Will there be a picnic table? A fire pit? A grill? Potable water? Once you know what’s available at the campgrounds, think about what you’re willing to carry all the way to your campsite. Rather than overloading your arms, haul your gear in a big, reliable backpack.
Pack smart and bring a baselayer, a fleece, and an insulated jacket. Don’t stress too much about packing light on clothes, you never know when you’ll need to add or subtract a layer. If you’re covering several miles, you’ll want to cut weight on your tent, but for a short hike-in campsite you can carry a larger tent. So, if you’ve got a bigger group, or just want more space, bring a 4+ person tent. And of course, you’ll need a toasty sleeping bag.