How to Camp When you don’t Own Camping Equipment

How to Camp with a camper on the beach, with blue lake and sailboat

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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!

Rent

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 RVshare and Outdoorsy. RVshare and Outdoorsy are RV Rental sites 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 RVshare and 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.

Related: 21 Camping Experiences Everyone needs at least once.

Use an Outfitter

Sometimes you might fly across the country and can’t pack all your tenting equipment. If you search for a Camping Outfitter near your destination, especially if it’s a popular outdoor locale, you’ll likely find someone who can outfit you with camping equipment.

For example, L.L. Bean offers a Wicked Easy Camping Outfit in Freeport, Maine.

Related: Essential things Every First-Time Camper Needs to Know

Cabins overlooking lake at CreekFire Motor Ranch in Savannah, GA

Cabins

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 a 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.

Read the Full review of CreekFire Motor Ranch Here. 

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!

 Go Glamping

If you want a mix between that cabin experience and tent camping, visit Glamping Hub. Glamping Hub lists exquisite glamping places to rent, such as safari tents, houseboats, yurts, treehouses, glamping pods, and so much more.

Glamping Hub is a one-stop shop for a vacation rental that gets you into the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury or comfort. Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a camping experience on the beach, you can find it at Glamping Hub.

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.

Family with two girls standing outside their Class C RV

11 thoughts on “How to Camp When you don’t Own Camping Equipment”

  1. Pingback: 7 S'mores Recipes for Camping or Beach Bonfires | Detail Oriented Traveler

  2. Pingback: America's State Parks 2018 Photo Contest | Detail Oriented Traveler

  3. Great tips! I love that there are now Airbnb type companies specifically designed to accommodate the camping community. It’s filling an expanding need.

  4. Great tips! I’ve been camping exactly once in my life. We bought a really cheap pop-up camper, and I’m pretty sure I’m past the pop-up camper stage of my life (that stage lasted a whole 48 hours). LOL! I told my husband the person who has given birth the most times should get to pick whether the next camper has a bathroom.

    1. I love that! And I think sometimes just a simple weekend or long weekend trip is perfect for this kind of travel.

  5. I love camping, but my boyfriend has no interest in roughing it! Thankfully, many state parks in California now offer canvas tent cabins so we can both enjoy the weekend getaway!

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