Base Camping – Camping with a Base Camp

Base Camping: Definition – What is it?

The accepted definition of Base Camping is Camping where your planned expedition has a Home Base, such as a House tent, a Family Tent , a Car or a Van of some sort.

When you go Base Camping rather than Hiking Camping or Through Hiking it gives you the added ability to have a Home Base which you can sleep in, store all your supplies and equipment in, and have a Headquarters where you can be sheltered from the elements to rest up and plan your next day’s activities, not to mention providing you and your group somewhere to eat and socialise.

Is Base Camping Expensive?

I suppose you have to define what other getaway you are comparing Base Camping to to give a definitave answer.

Compared to any sort of a holiday resort getaway, Base Camping is ridiculously more affordable. Especially if you are a group of friends or a family unit.

Possibly, if you are Base Camping for the first time it could be deemed expensive(ish), because of the initial outlay of procuring the equipment, such as a tent, some sleeping bags, a camping cooker, some form of lighting, plates, cutlery, pots and pans as well as all sorts of personal hiking equipment .

All of this equipment can of course be found in your local outdoors outlets. A lot of it can also be found in Army Navy Surplus stores, thrift stores and garage sales.

Here are a couple of tips to make your first Base Camping trip more affordable:

  • You don’t have to buy yourself a whole set of expedition quality equipment for your first trip. You are probably just going to be taking the family or group to a local campsite to play in a river, climb a few trees and watch the stars at night.
  • Unless you plan on setting your tent and sleeping bags on fire, all of your equipment will be re-usable. The next time you plan to go Base Camping, all you are going to have to pay for is food, the campsite and your transportation to get you there.

Is there Another way to Base Camp?

Yes, Base Camping, Home Base Camping, Truck Camping or Car Camping are all literally the same thing and are all a means of providing you and your group with all of the benefits I’ve just pointed out above and more.

Here “Amanda Outside” shares with you her list of essential items that you need as a beginner for a Base Camp. She runs her Base Camp from the back of her car, but the general principles are the same no matter what type of Base Camp you run on your expedition.

Why go Base Camping?

Base Camping gives you the ability to cover an extremely large area of operations thoroughly. You can take with you more than enough equipment for multi day excursions with the ability to leave most of the equipment securely locked away in the home base without having to carry it around with you.

Base Camping can be as basic as leaving your stuff behind when you go off hiking and exploring whilst using a van or tent as your home base, to full on “Glamping” where your home base is a Luxury Family Tent with Rooms, a Kitchen and a Portable Lavatory. The choice is entirely yours.

When does Base Camping make sense for a Hiker?

It makes sense for a Hiker to go base camping when they need a place to return to and rest up after a hard day’s slog on the hills.

Base Camping is usually a far more relaxing and less stressful form of Camping than Wild Camping, Backpacking or Hiking. This is due to the fact that you aren’t carrying an inordinate amount of equipment around with you, but you are able to have all of those luxurious extras waiting for you back at your home base at the end of a long tough hike.

What Equipment should I take for Base Camping?

Usually when we are making kit lists for our expeditions we are cutting back to as many lightweight basics as we can get away with. But, in the case of Base Camping, your imagination is your limit. Take whatever you can fit on your transport and that will make your life more comfortable.

We take part in a lot of DofE Adventurous Journeys and Training Weekends and always have a Base Camp in which to store our equipment, make plans, have briefings, cook, eat and sleep.

If you’re in the UK like I am (at the moment!), and you’re unsure of where to pick up quality Base Camping Equipment there are some great online retail outlets such as one of our favourites “Base Camp Gear” that provide good quality, reliable Camping and Hiking Equipment that will be able to supply you at an affordable price.

What about Personal Hygiene while Base Camping?

Here’s a breakdown of some of the equipment we take for our base camp:

Base Camping Tips

  • Take some Cash with you, just in case you can’t pay electronically
  • Have a Pen in case there are forms to fill in at the Campsite
  • Carry a set of Earplugs, as there are often noisy early risers as well as the odd party tent on Campsites
  • Use your Base Camp to Explore multiple routes over several days in a series of Mini Hikes
  • Leave any heavy or awkward equipment back at Base Camp to make your Hikes more enjoyable
  • You could take a Rest Day and recharge your batteries back at Base Camp
  • Base Camping is an ideal way to introduce kids to Hiking
  • Had a hard day Hiking? Why not relax with a BBQ back at Base Camp
  • Take some solo hikes for me time and confidence building
  • Use your Base Camp to Explore the trails less travelled by others
  • Don’t forget to be a good neighbour if you are staying on a Campsite
  • Take advantage of the luxury of a Campsite Electrical Hookup
  • Lastly, make sure you take loads of photo’s and share the hell out of them when you get back, we want everyone to see how great the Outdoors really is

Is Base Camping Worthwhile – What to look for in a Base Camp?

To me the answer is a resounding yes, but only if base camping fits the circumstances of the trip you have planned.

There are many times that we have returned from extremely challenging and long hikes and our eyes have lit up as we approached the Base Camp and saw the comfort awaiting us, not to mention the times we have been drawn home by the smells of bacon sandwiches coming from the base camp kitchen.