2024 Camping Guide: #1 Gear, Tents & Trends

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2024 camping guide. gear, tents, destination by outdoor tech lab

Camping is an incredible way to get outdoors, connect with nature, and make wonderful memories with friends and family. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or just getting started, 2024 is shaping up to be an exciting year for awesome camping adventures.

In this current Outdoor Tech Lab 2024 camping guide, we’ll cover everything from tips for first-time campers to the top camping destinations in the US, hottest camping gear trends for 2024, and answers to frequently asked camping questions.

2024 camping guide
Amazing camping spot

First-Time Camping List & Tips

If you’ve never been camping before, the idea can seem a bit daunting. But with a little preparation and the right mindset, your first camping trip can be the start of a lifelong love of the great outdoors.

Top 3 camping gear best sellers and deals are at the bottom of the guide!

Here are some tips to help make your first camping experience a success:

Start Small
For your first trip, consider starting with a short 1-2 night camping trip fairly close to home at a drive-up campground with amenities like toilets and potable water.

This will allow you to get a feel for camping without going too extreme right off the bat.

Borrow/Rent Gear at First
Before investing in all new camping gear, consider borrowing equipment from friends or family, or renting it for your first trip. This will let you get a sense of what you like/need before buying.

Choose a Developed Campground
Developed campgrounds with pre-established campsites, fire rings, picnic tables, and bathroom facilities will make things much easier for newbie campers compared to primitive camping in the backcountry.

Be Prepared for Any Weather
Even if the forecast looks perfect, be sure to pack layers, rain gear, warm clothes, and supplies to handle cold, rain, wind or other adverse conditions that can pop up, especially at night and in the mountains.

Test Your Gear
Whether you’re borrowing, renting or using new gear, do a practice run and set up your tent and other equipment in your backyard before the trip to work out any kinks.

Start With Car Camping
Keep things simple for your first trip by car camping at a drive-up campground rather than backpacking or hike-in camping. Car camping allows you to bring more gear and supplies without having to carry it all on your back.

2024 camping guide, destinations
Amazing destinations

Top Camping Destinations in the US for 2024

One of the greatest things about camping is the ability to explore incredible natural places. The United States has no shortage of amazing camping destinations to discover.

Here are some of the top spots for camping in 2024:

Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier’s rugged mountains, pristine lakes, incredible hiking, and famous Going-to-the-Sun Road make it a bucket list camping destination. Try to snag a reservation for developed campgrounds like Apgar or Glacier Meadows.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
With both rims offering exceptional camping opportunities, the Grand Canyon provides awesome star-gazing, day hikes into the canyon, and breathtaking vistas.

The North Rim tends to be less crowded. On the South Rim, Mather Campground is very popular.

Olympic National Park, Washington
From misty rainforests to scenic coastlines, Olympic National Park provides a diversity of landscapes perfect for camping.

Top campgrounds include Sol Duc, Ozette, and Kalaloch.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina
With its gorgeous, densely forested mountains bisected by scenic drives, the Smokies are a camping paradise. Elkmont, Smokemont, and Cades Cove are excellent campgrounds to consider.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
The Rockies offer stunning alpine scenery with ample hiking, wildlife viewing, and rugged camping. Try to get a reservation at Glacier Basin, Moraine Park, or one of the other campgrounds within the park.

Hot Camping Gear Trends for 2024

As ultralight backpacking continues growing in popularity and new technologies emerge, 2024 is sure to bring innovative new camping gear to the market.

Here are some of the top trends to watch for:

Ultralight Gear is King Now
With more campers gravitating toward long-distance backpacking on iconic trails like the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, the demand for lightweight tents, packs, cooking gear, and sleep systems will only increase.

Expect more models made with cutting-edge yet strong materials like Dyneema composites.

Versatile Outdoor Apparel
Look for new camping/hiking apparel made with advanced technical fabrics that insulate, breathe, block sun, and resist moisture in one versatile garment to handle rapidly changing weather conditions on the trail.

Solo Camping Systems
Whether due to the rise of solo hiking or a desire to reduce weight, more people are wanting minimal but highly efficient sleep, camping tent shelter, and cooking systems optimized for solo use.

Enhanced Durability
As more people take up camping and use their gear frequently, equipment designed for enhanced longevity with ruggedness and repair provisions built-in will be a major priority.

Smarter Tech Integration
Devices and apps allowing campers to check real-time conditions, crowdsourced intel, navigation and more will grow in popularity. Battery systems, solar integration, and other smart tech add-ons for camping gear are emerging as well.

Expanded Sizing
With greater attention on inclusivity and accessibility, more gear designers are expanding size ranges to better accommodate plus-sized campers and backpackers.

2024 camping guide, gear and tips
Camping gear up

Camping FAQ

Do I need a permit or reservation to camp?
Most developed campgrounds require a reservation and permit that should be booked well in advance, especially for popular parks during peak seasons.

Backcountry camping may require an inexpensive permit from the local ranger station, but no reservation.

What are the most essential camping supplies?
At minimum, you’ll need shelter (tent), a sleeping bag and pad, a camp stove with fuel, cookware, food, plenty of water, a headlamp and/or flashlight, toilet supplies including a trowel for burying waste properly, navigation equipment, first aid kit, and the ten essentials.

How do I stay safe from wildlife?
Keep a clean camp by storing food and anything smelly in a bear canister, hanging it properly in bags, or inside a bear box.

Don’t feed wildlife, and keep pets leashed and under control.

Use EPA-approved bear spray as a last line of defense if needed.

How do I find free places to camp?
Many National Forests and BLM lands allow dispersed primitive camping for free if you have a self-contained camping setup.

Apps, websites, and resources to find these free campsites are growing in popularity.

Just follow Leave No Trace principles.

What are the best camp shoes?
Lightweight camp shoes allow you to air out your feet and relax after wearing hiking boots or trail runners all day.

Options like sandals, slip-ons, and lightweight athletic shoes pack small and are perfect around the campsite.

What type of camping stove is best?
The best stove depends on your needs. Integrated canister stoves are lightweight, affordable, and easy to use.

Liquid fuel and alternative fuel stoves may be slightly heavier but can burn many fuel types and work better in cold weather.

2024 camping gear guide tips by outdoor tech lab
Camping and backpacking tech

Camping Guide Resources

National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/index.htm
Find campgrounds, get park passes/permits, discover activities and more for national parks.

Recreation.gov: https://www.recreation.gov/
Make campground reservations on federal recreation lands like national parks, forests, and more.

Leave No Trace: https://lnt.org/
Learn about the 7 principles of Leave No Trace ethics for camping and hiking responsibly.

Bureau of Land Management: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/camping
Find free campsites and other camping opportunities on BLM public lands.

National Forest Service: https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/nfsnearme/camping-hiking
Locate campgrounds and camping information for national forests across the US.

US Forest Service Ranger Districts: https://www.fs.fed.us/about-agency/contact-us/districts
Contact specific national forest ranger districts for permit details, conditions, and backcountry info.

Whether you use these or other trusted resources, always verify the most current camping rules, regulations, and guidelines before heading out on your adventure.

Safe travels!

There you have it – a comprehensive camping guide to help you get ready for an amazing 2024 filled with outdoor adventures!

Whether it’s your first time heading out or you’re a seasoned pro looking for new destinations and gear, we hope this guide provides plenty of useful tips and inspiration.

Now get out there and start making camping memories!

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