A few months ago I made plans to visit three national parks in just a few months time. This weekend I’m heading out to Joshua Tree National Park. This trip is also going to be first time since high school that I have been camping. While I acknowledge that this is no backpacking camping trip, I am starting from the ground up when it comes to compiling camping gear. This should be fun!

Joshua Tree National Park: My First Time Camping In Years

Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California. The park was famous for its, well, Johsua Trees. But, also its desert landscapes and incredible starry skies at night. While backpacking can be done in the national park, it is close to modern civilization so camping can be done for those people who are inexperienced such as myself.

Camping Gear Basics

I haven’t owned any camping gear since I moved to San Diego in 2002. While I’ve always loved the outdoors, camping always seemed somewhat out of reach for me. Needless to say, it really isn’t, and I’m finally glad to be getting out and unplugged for a weekend. I’ll be honest, I don’t call this blog, The Simple Hiker for no reason. When it comes to acquiring camping gear, I’m completely new to this. I couldn’t tell you the best brands of tents out on the market but I do have a list of things I’m having to compile for my first camping trip:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Tarp: to put the tent on
  • Air mattress
  • Cooler
  • Single up coffee pour over brew cone (can’t forget the coffee)

Joshua Tree Camping Plan

The plan is really quite simple. This isn’t a fancy backpacking trip. My girlfriend and I are driving up into Joshua Tree National Park from San Diego on Friday afternoon. We have a camping spot that we had previously reserved and there will be three other people joining us.

  • Sleeping: Tent, sleeping bag, air mattress
  • Food: We’re keeping the food options pretty simple. We’ll be stopping to grab a bite to eat before entering the park but everything else is all planned. Hot dogs and sausages for dinner on Saturday night for the camp fire and everything else is mostly snack food including trail mix, cliff bars, peanut butter jelly sandwiches, protein shakes, carrots, celery sticks, veggie chips, and hummus. For water, we’ll be bringing that in with us.
  • Camp fire: Each person in the party is responsible for bringing two bundles of firewood.

All in all this is going to be a rather simple and short camping trip. It will feel great to be out under the stars and a reminder of what it used to be like for those times that I went camping when I was younger. I’ll be posting an update of how the camping trip went shortly.