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I grew up camping. In fact, every weekend my parents and I headed “up north” to our seasonal campsite. I swam in lakes, walked trails, and sat around thousands of campfires and ate even more than my share of s’mores. Now, as a family of four, we just don’t get to the great outdoors as much as I’d like. One of the reasons is that we just don’t own camping equipment, like an RV or a trailer (I think I’m done with tent camping at this stage in my life!)
I’ve recently discovered that doesn’t have to prohibit us from camping anymore. Here are just a few of the ways I’ve found on how to camp when you don’t own camping equipment!
For years, Cruise America has been renting RVs. However, from reviews and friends and family, the experience hasn’t been as comfortable as they would like. Enter Outdoorsy. Outdoorsy is an RV Rental site powered by RV owners. People who own a 5th wheel, a camper, a motorhome, you name it, list their property for rent. Think Airbnb for camping. Here’s what I love about Outdoorsy:
- Cost Savings for family travel
- Qualified RV Owners – Get help from a network of owners
- Insurance for both you and the RV owner
- 24/7 Roadside assistance
- DMV check
Essentially, because you’re renting from the owner directly, they are concerned with making your ride as comfortable as possible. Often your trailers or RVs come fully stocked with everything you need. Be sure to check the description for this.
Additionally, if you wanted to fly to your destination, and then pick up an RV, you can. You don’t have to rent locally.
Also, thinking you might like to own an RV or camper one day, Outdoorsy may be a great way to test the road.
Mighway is another camper RV rental site that offers the same benefits of Outdoorsy. In addition to owner rentals, Mighway has partnered with El Monte RV to offer one-way rentals. Say for example you want to tour the national parks in the southwest. You could fly in Denver and out of Phoenix and drive an RV to the parks in between.
If you want to go camping, but don’t want to tackle driving an RV or sleeping in a camper, look for Cabin Rentals. Many campgrounds offer cabin rentals in addition to their camping sites. When we stayed at CreekFire Motor Ranch, we stayed in a cabin built like a tiny home. It came complete with picnic table, a fire pit, and a lake view. The cabin was fully stocked with everything we could need to camp, etc. With the number of outdoor activities here, we felt we got a full camping experience.
Many of the National Parks offer cabins as well. We stayed in a cabin during our visit Mammoth Cave National Park last year.
In fact, you can even camp at Walt Disney World, and stay in a cabin rental. Check out the rates for Fort Wilderness here.
Many of these places also provide access to traditional camping activities, such as fishing, bike rental, and of course, the makings of a campfire and s’mores!
Where to Camp
Sometimes learning how to camp without a camper is also learning where to camp. Recently I discovered Hipcamp. Hipcamp is a fantastic way to find campsites, ranches, vineyards, public parks and more. Plus, they also have listings for glamping sites. If you’re not familiar with the term glamping, it stands for glamorous camping.
To find campsites for your destination, simply enter your desired location and dates. Again, Hipcamp is very much like the Airbnb search, and very easy to use. If you’re renting a trailer or RV, you can then turn to Hipcamp to seek out campsites. Or, even if you want to camp, but in a cabin, Hipcamp searches these too. They list under glamping, cabins, treehouses, canvas tents, yurts, domes, and RV/Trailer provided. My favorite find so far, a teepee in Colorado.