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Are you open to adventures while being perfectly safe and comfortable? Keep reading – the easy camping road trip checklist is for you. Camping is not for everyone. Is it for you? Do you need to convince your significant other about the camping benefits? Check out the questionnaire below.

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Why camping? Check the list:

The questionnaire: how many YES do you collect?YesNo
Spending warm nights under the stars? YES/NO🔲🔲
Felling asleep with a quire of cicadas? YES/NO🔲🔲
Waking up with the bird songs? YES/NO🔲🔲
Hitting the road without a definite travel plan? YES/NO🔲🔲
Bounding with your significant other? YES/NO🔲🔲
Exploring the nature with children? Grandchildren perhaps?🔲🔲
Sleeping without air conditioner? YES/NO🔲🔲
Making significant savings? YES/NO🔲🔲
Can you tolerate mosquitos, ants, flys and bugs? YES/NO🔲🔲
Are you ok with communal facilities? YES/NO🔲🔲

Camping is not as challenging as you might think and it’s never too late to start. Pick the country/state with the sunny climate to begin with. I have spent quite a few nights camping as a child and on canoe trips with my children. The camping alone was my first experience recently. I picked Tuscany as the most beautiful destination pure based on epic pictures and some stereotypes. Browse through my Tuscany road trip, it really is as spectacular as the pictures. Needless to say that you don’t have to worry about the rain too much in Tuscany as seeking a shade will be your biggest challenge:)

This article and the items listed are for active people moving around to explore beautiful spots. By no means I am able to cover extreme hikes or camping on a glacier. Campervan equipment or accessories required to settle in one campsite for the whole summer is not part of the article either. Ready for the important stuff?

Before you hit the road

  1. Establish the vision for your dream vacation: beach, mountains, cities, relaxed, active….
  2. Pick the location: read the travel guides, research internet …. 
  3. Open google maps and search for the campsites around your points of interests. Read the comments that people left, it will give you the feel if it’s right for you. Browse the pictures and categorise the campsites, objects, places to visit with labels.
Camping Road trip checklist
This is how my google map looks like. I admit the Internet is one thing that is not great in Italy and you might struggle when travelling remotely in any other countries. You will not be able to research much when on the road and saved places will be handy to pick up on the go.
Good preparation is essential to give you flexibility to adopt to the local circumstances. It is much easier to make the travel itinerary later if you have plenty of collected information handy.

Road trip checklist for bare minimum camping 

The most important item is tent. The tent must be comfortable and reliable. You will get the money back by staying in the campsites instead of hotels. Waterproof quality is the must. Also ventilation plays important role to avoid the dripping condensate right on your face in the mornings.

Below you can see the major variations of tents available on the Amazon. Note: the blog is using Amazon affiliated links providing small commission to the author if you purchase the product through the link. You can buy a cheap tent in supermarkets as well that will last for couple nights if you are not sure if camping is your “thing “. However, I would recommend a tent that is easy to put up and is full heightstand-up height. The most practical solution is inflatable tent with ample storage place.

Inflatable and full size tents

Large family tent will accommodate 6-8 people, always buy a size bigger to count for the extra storage space . The plus side – you can afford the inflatable or foldable bed in the full size tent.

Both tents are very popular for festivals and family camping while the Grand Canyon tent is typically used to set up glamping accommodations at the festivals or you can surprise your guests with glamping offer in your backyard.

Easy camping road trip checklist 3
Example how to set up glamping in your backyard.

Heimplanet inflatable dome tent is my favourite. It’s perfect for quick set up with one inflation procedure. It is very stable and wind proof with the geodesic structure. The inflatation erects the frame, inner tent and flysheet. Be careful when buying, check the inner tent option choice for 3 or 4 seasons.

Easy camping road trip checklist 4

Check out the very comprehensive article describing benefits of inflatable tents Click here for the link.

Off-ground tent

OFF-GROUND TENT: The tent is far away from the ground and makes the stay more pleasant, so that you no longer feel the rain and the cold on the floor. Down side – you cannot stand up there and you would need a shelter or gazebo to secure comfortable outdoors space.

The tentsile tent is also called a stingray or tree tent. Tentsiles are suspended off the ground, using 3 trees as anchor points combining the comfort and versatility of a hammock with the security of a tent. Unlike traditional hammocks, our Tentsile Tree Tents and Hammocks are great for front, back and side sleepers as they don’t sag in the middle. Check out for more information.

Setting up the tentsile is really easy, if in doubt watch this YouTube video.

The cot tent above is slightly unusual concept for Europe while it is very popular for fishing trips in USA. The downsize – you can hardly sit in there, cannot stand at all. The plus side – it is off the ground and easy to climb in and out.

Car roof tents are also classified as off-ground tent where you don’t have to worry about the surface. However there are two cons: those tents are quite expensive and they are not practical if you wish stay in one place for a longer period of time and use your car for a day trips. You will need to remove the tent every morning.

The pickup trunk tent is much cheaper but you would need to remove all your stuff out of the trunk to free up the space for tent.

Travelling light

Travelling light – the pop-up tent is four you. The Coleman lightweight tent is when space matters. For example when you are backpacking, hiking or biking. I would suggest the bigger pop-up tent when travelling alone even for one person. The pop-up tent unfolds automatically, folding back takes some practice.

Other essentials

You don’t have to sleep on the ground unless you want to. Kingsize inflatable bed is at your disposal. Or single foldable bed if you prefer.

Do not forget about the rechargeable pump from Coleman that operates on batteries as well to inflate your tent or mattress. And light led lantern with Bluetooth speaker.

Festival gear for standing out

While searching for the tents, I came up with jazzy selection of festival gear from Coleman. The combination of black and red colours will make you to stand out from the crowd. And you can always supplement the collection with other black or red items maintaining the cool look. The Dome tent in the center is full stand tent while remaining compact. It remains the most comfortable and popular tent among Coleman products with many great reviews. Unfortunately the black and red issue is sold out on Amazon.

Easy camping road trip checklist 5
Colman festival collection

Pick from the recommended Coleman selection above or search type Coleman or any other search word in the box below to check the items without leaving the page.

I hope this post is making your tent selection easier and is inspiring you for the next trips. Have a fun camping trip, enjoy!

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Coming next:

Road trip checklist – Camping survival gadgets

Road trip checklist – nice to have for an extra camping comfort 

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