Glamping or glamorous, more luxurious and comfortable camping methods seem to be all the rage nowadays. But it’s sort of a wussy approach to enjoying the great outdoors. It’s almost like, what’s the point, where’s the challenge? Part of the fun of camping is roughing it, living off the land, overcoming challenges and kicking some serious outside ass.
So let’s leave most of the fluffy stuff at home, ditch our omnipresent screens (aka handheld electronic devices), and go Jamping (Jammin Jeep camping) instead of more traditional trips. In this light (hopefully by the campfire), here’s our ultimate guide to getting your camp on in a 4×4 when we’re off-roading overnight.
Laying a Course For Comfort
We’re not saying you shouldn’t bring some comforts of home along for the ride, however, one of the best advantages of camping with an off-roader is… well… going off-road. Jeeps and other 4x4s are notorious for their ability to boldly go where no one has gone before and to explore strange new worlds. Sorry for the lame Star Trek reference, but it’s true.
Which begs the question, when did camping include overcrowded sites full of RVs that stock literally everything including the kitchen sink? Where’s the fun in that? So instead, let’s plot a new course with adventures and accessories that embrace the 4×4 lifestyle to the fullest. Let’s start off with a few accessories that are specifically designed to accompany a Jeep Wrangler during these outdoor activities.
Wrangling Pony Parts
The fine folks over at CJ Pony Parts posted an excellent article about Jeep Wrangler Camping with a list of recommended ways to get the most out of the outdoors when driving our vehicles to their ultimate overnight destinations. Among their recent roster of posted potential parts include this trio of add-ons specifically designed for Jeep JKs and/or JLs circa 2007-2018:
- Best Top Tailgate Organizer for RoughRider Jeeps for perfectly packing smaller accessories in the rear that won’t interfere with your ride
- Smittybilt Vehicle Canopy Instant Trail Shade that provides 10′ of comfy outdoor space to escape the harsh rays of the sun
- Jammock Jeep Hammock allows riders or drivers to chill atop their raging ride to recline and relax in style when not riding or driving
Space: The Final Frontier
Another lame Star Trek reference, but as any happy camper knows prior to partaking in the journey includes packing and space is essential. When loading up and dealing with limited areas often available in the interiors of smaller 4x4s, the first thing we’ll likely do is to ditch the back seat (duh) depending upon the number of passengers.
A cargo or roof rack and taking advantage of Jeep’s towing capacities and capabilities are always excellent options when it comes to cramming our crap into every square inch that’s available. When packing put the largest and heaviest items (like coolers or ice chests) into place first. Then put smaller things into the nooks and crannies with the lightest items packed on top. Bungee cords come in handy to help everything stay put when traveling over rougher terrain.
Taking and Leaving Nothing
As Jeep enthusiasts, we love the great outdoors and want to make sure we preserve the environment for future four-wheeling generations to enjoy. There are a few expressions that come to mind from hikers, like “You pack it in, you pack it out,” and that includes trash. There’s also this saying that we’ll slightly alter for Jeepers, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but tire tracks, and kill nothing but time,” unless you’re fishing or hunting.
Before we go bashing on trophy hunters or ripping on this practice, let’s take a quick look at the top three, common misconception about hunting for sport or just for “fun” when you consider:
- Eating the Meat: Do you ever wonder if there are vegan hunters (that ironic concept gives me a headache)? Many hunters participate in the sport because they want to know exactly where their food is coming from. For those who don’t consume the fruits (okay meats) of their labor, it’s actually illegal not to take and eat the meat. In some cases, it’s given to friends, family members or those who are less fortunate. Hunting laws in Africa require a substantial portion of the meat to be given to local villages and communities.
- Extinction and Dwindling Wildlife: Almost everyone cringes when they see a picture of an animal on the verge of extinction that has been killed in the name of hunting. These are not hunters, they’re poachers. It’s illegal to hunt these animals and we’re being misinformed by the media if they’re saying it’s Kosher to kill a member of an endangered species. For example, big game hunting in Africa is expensive costing $100,000+ in some cases and a portion of these proceeds go towards animal preservation and conservation efforts. These funds also allow local communities to help improve their economy including hiring people to prevent the practice of poaching.
- The Trophy Aspect: Some people believe trophy hunting is all about having something to hang on the wall or send to a taxidermist for display. For many hunters who do later display an animal, it’s more about a memorial for both the hunter and their prey. It’s more than a simple memento of the experience, it’s also a symbol of the challenge of the hunt, the food the animal provided for friends and family.
Just like offroaders, Jeep and 4×4 lovers, the vast majority of hunters are also outdoor enthusiasts who want to preserve and protect the environment as much as humanly possible. Many of them participate in hunts that help to control the overpopulation of predators in the wild who have become a problematic part of the ecosystem.
Protecting the Forest
Another expression associated with the great outdoors offers, “You can’t see the forest for the trees,” is meant to convey a person who is too wrapped up in the details of a problem rather than finding the best solution. Speaking of trees, when camping in wooded areas be sure to include a tree wrap in your supplies to protect the forest when it’s necessary to use one of them for pulling purposes.
Ropes can not only damage the tree’s bark, using these harsh cords could be killing the tree itself. Protecting the tree will ensure it’s there for the next Jeeper to potentially use if they get stuck. Using a tree wrap is also another way to leave no trace of our presence behind and if that tree were to fall due to premature death, there’s no telling what it could damage or destroy.
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