Camping can mean a lot of things. It can mean using an RV, setting up a tent, or sleeping in your car. It can mean going to an established campsite with some amenities or it can mean going to the middle of nowhere and finding a flat enough place to set up a tent. It can be in the woods, the desert, on the beach, anywhere, really!
For us, we tend to find known campsites that are more of the beaten path. Clearly others have been here before, but they’re fairly far from other sites, and there are no amenities. [Either that, or we go to Disney World 😉]. We recently got a MASSIVE tent, and we like to bring an air mattress so we don’t have rocks digging into our bodies as we sleep. We also recently got a two-person sleeping bag, and it’s great for using body heat to keep warm. We also bring pillows and extra blankets, because you never know how chilly it’ll get!
In addition to the kitchen gear I talked about here, we also bring fold up camping chairs and tables to put near the fire for meals and just hanging out. I’d also recommend bringing some sort of emergency gear, like a car kit and first aid, just in case. Hopefully you won’t ever need to use it!
Depending on your activities, you may decide to bring a number of other things. We saw so many cars towing ATVs, motorbikes and/or mountain bikes. If you plan on hiking a bunch, hiking poles can be nice, and a Camelback backpack is convenient for carrying lots of water easily, plus food and sunscreen. There are lots of canyons around which require climbing gear, so rock climbers can have a lot of fun, too. If you’re a photographer, bringing lots of gear can be great - just be careful of dirt and sand! Night photography is great here, because of the lack of ambient light.
This trip we went to the San Rafael Swell. Our first night we spent near Goblin Valley, at a site we call Vader Rock because the shape of the huge rock reminds us of Darth Vader’s helmet. From this site we can walk up to a nice little notch and look over at the canyons on the other side, or climb Vader Rock itself. We also hear a lot of people on ATVs and motorcycles. You can also quickly drive to Goblin Valley, which is worth seeing!
The next two nights, we went a little further and camped near Cistern Canyon, which we could walk to from our campsite. In order to make it all the way through and out Ramp Canyon nearby, though, you need mountaineering gear - it’s a bit more technical, and we didn’t do that. We did make it all the way to the chokestone in Cistern Canyon, though, which makes for some fun photos.
The next day we drove to the Muddy Creek hike. This water really lives up to its name! There were some dogs with us and they got FILTHY swimming in this water. It would be good to bring water shoes (like Tevas or Chacos) on this hike, because you will get wet! I think we got about knee deep at one point, but if you go even farther, you might get even wetter! Also, entering this hike you get to pass by an old mining area, with some dilapidated wooden buildings. It’s amazing that this land used to be utilized for mining so much, and now it just sits there. Do NOT go into any mines, though. That could be super dangerous both because they may not be stable, and because they aren’t cleaned up and you could get radiation!
A lot of people go farther south to Moab and Canyonlands, but we really like this area around Green River - I think it’s a little less off the beaten path, and it’s not far from Moab anyway, so it could be fun to mix things up a little bit.
(edit: reviews.com reached out to me about their reviews of the best air mattresses - check it out if you're in the market)