Planning on off-roading this year and making a trip of it? Most off-road events across North America are full day, or full weekend activities. This means that you’ll need accommodations, and there may not always be a Hilton nearby. Some off-roaders choose to tow a camper for the excursion, while others take the old-fashioned route with tents and fishing poles. Whatever you choose to do, the basecamp setup is an important step toward truly enjoying the off-road experience.
Before you set off toward the next event, do a little recon and determine where the best nearby camp zones are. Whether you choose a paid site, or you’re off the grid and setting up home base in the deep woods, you’ll want to know that you have the space to do it. You don’t want to be too near the event, due to noise and excessive crowds, but you also don’t want to be so far away that there’s a long commute between camp and fun.
When you book your space in an event, call and speak with one of the organizers, determine if there’s already an area selected for participants to setup camp if they choose. Often, off-roaders will gather in one area to camp out. This can be particularly fun because you meet like-minded people and can share stories about personal experiences with your truck.
Bringing the Essentials
Even if you’re lucky enough to learn that there is a set basecamp in play, don’t assume that the essentials will be provided. Bring water, food, first aid, and plenty of toilet paper. Remember the reason you’re at the event is for off-roading, so don’t forget to bring the safety and repair essentials for your vehicle either.
If there’s a body of water nearby, don’t forget to include a lighter, matches, and pot in your rucksack. If you use water from a lake or river, it will need to be boiled, or you could risk ingesting bacteria. Boil the water for at least five minutes, cool, and then proceed to drink, brush your teeth, and cook with it.
Finding the Perfect Spot
Even if you know where you’re going and how to get there, once you’re on site, you need to pick a space. Think about the size of the spot you choose; you need to park your truck, set up a camp, and build a fire, all within this space. You should also consider the view; don’t get yourself stuck behind a row of tents, or situate yourself facing the outhouses. Choose a spot that gives you a nice view, plenty of stars, and a clear route out of the campsite when it comes time to head to the event.
If you can stop at your camp space before visiting the event, be sure to do so. The earlier you set up your site, unhitch your trailer, unload some of the added weight in your vehicle, the better. Remember not to leave any valuables unattended at your campsite, but the basics should be safe if you’re in a designated event area.
Setup and teardown can take a while, and you really don’t want to be caught doing this at night, or if bad weather is on the horizon. Getting your tent pitched, or trailer parked before nightfall, will put your mind at ease, and leave you with nothing to do but relax when you get back from your first day at the big off-rad challenge.
Not all off-roaders choose to camp out. Some people rent cabins, find nearby accommodations, or choose only to stay for the day, and head home at night. Whatever you decide to do, remember to be safe, and bring all the necessary first aid and survival gear you’ll need. Dress and pack for the weather, especially the cold. Even in warm states like Nevada, Arizona, or California, temperatures can drop at night, and all that mud won’t seem so fun in the cold and dark.
Never go off-roading, or camping alone, and bring some form of communication to get in touch if something goes wrong. Otherwise, have a good time, enjoy the sights, sounds, and of course, the raw power of your vehicle as you thunder down the road.