Car camping vs. backpacking. They’re two wildly different experiences and they generally attract two different types of outdoor enthusiasts. Both have their own set of perks and drawbacks and serve different purposes. Backpacking, generally speaking, takes quite a bit of planning, knowledge, gear and commitment but you get to explore wild and secluded places. Car camping, on the other hand, you can easily over pack, bring coolers filled with fancy food, music and excessive amount of beer while you hang outside each weekend.

There’s no right or wrong way to spend a few nights outside. But there’s one option that usually seems forgotten.

The base camp.

It has all the perks of car camping with the added benefit of awesome places and adventures. It’ll serve as your outdoor home and away from home. It’ll be there after a long day of adventuring. Best part? You don’t have to carry it on your back.

Sounds sweet, huh? Through many base camp adventures of my own, here’s the (not so foolproof) way to basecamp like a badass.

Tent at base camp

1. Pick the ideal campsite – Picking the best campsite is a science. You’re going to want a location that’s the perfect balance of a central location, seclusion, and a free place to sleep. It should be central to all your adventuring desires. It should also be secluded enough to not be annoyed by throngs of car campers. And while you’re at it, make sure it’s free. If you haven’t already, you should give dispersed camping a try. Sure, you’ll lose the facilities but you’ll feel like a badass while peeing on the ground.

Dispersed camping colorado

Dispersed campsites are the best. Drive your car up and have no one else in sight.


2. Pack all the food – With all the available day-long adventures just outside your dispersed campsite, you’re going to become hungry. Possibly even hangry. So you’re going to want to pack every spare inch of car space with the best food possible. Eggs, bacon, sausage, peppers, onions, bagels, sandwich meat, cheese, burgers, tacos, fruit, more veggies, more fruit, s’mores and beer. Don’t forget the beer. You won’t regret packing so much food. You’re not carrying this weight on your back, so use this chance to eat like kings. Outdoorsy kings.

3. Adventure daily – Since you picked the ideal campsite, you’re now just footsteps to an endless supply of trails, crags, streams, or whatever it is that you need to do your thing. All you have to do is roll out of your tent, put the coffee on, grab your gear from your car, drink said coffee, and adventure on.

Biking from campsite

When trails are just feet from your tent, you’re guaranteed to basecamp like a badass.


4. Pack some non-essentials and embrace it – After 8 hours of hard-charging in the sun and a few beers, you’re going to be crying out for some comfort. Pack camp chairs. Pack a hammock. Hell, pack your biggest, thickest sleeping pad. Bring non-essentials to make your experience more comfortable—just don’t go too far and into the glamping side of things. ‘Cause then you won’t be able to call yourself a basecamp badass anymore. I’m pretty sure that’s in the rules.

Camping in Maine

Hammocks while camping are always clutch.


5. Repeat – The best part about setting up a kickass base camp is that it’s so easy to repeat. Once you’ve got your skills locked down, all you need to know is where you’re going next. Take your basecamping skills hiking, biking, climbing, paddling and more. Take them out each weekend. Explore new places. Adventure more.

Seriously, an adventure base camp is a wonderful thing. It blends the best of car camping and backpacking and easily lets you get outside in a new place every time.

Just give it a try. Learn to basecamp like a badass.