Big Agnes tent on Kenosha Pass. Photo: Koru Foto/Alan Szalwinski
Colorado, what a breath-taking place to camp. With the most scenic views and stunning wildlife, you’re sure to have an incredible time. Great choice!
As long as you know how to keep safe in this state that’s home to bears, moose and the scariest of them all, mountain goats. You should have tons of fun. In case you’ve never been though, you should certainly give this a read to avoid any mishaps.
Beginner Camping Tips in Colorado
The last thing you want is 276 lbs worth of fat, fur and muscle trailing around your tent. Therefore, you should take a look at everything you’re going to need and do before you set off on an adventure in the Rockies.
How to not attract a bear
First things first, bears. Bring with you sealable bags or travel bins that will keep any smells at bay. This, unfortunately, won’t prove to completely deter the five-mile radius smell of a bear’s nose, but it will help mask the scent. Then always store your food, sunscreen, anything with a scent in your locked car at night. If backpacking, it’s best to hang it high in a tree, away from your campsite.
Take this to an even higher safety-level and use bear-proof containers and double bag your rubbish. In any case, never leave your trash lying around, not only to keep the bears away but also to keep the campsite clean, furthermore you can always find great advice online on how to deal with wild animals while you’re camping.
If you’re travelling with kids, teach them how to be SMART around animals. It’s a handy idea to make a hand-held poste and take with you on your trip to Colorado. You can then let your kids revise it while on the journey.
What does it mean to be SMART according to Colorado Parks & Wildlife?
Make yourself look big
Announce firmly ‘leave me alone’
Retreat away slowly
Tell an adult
Invest in a comfortable night’s rest
Take a look at a range of decently sized family camping tents, before making a purchase. This will give you better value for money instead of buying the first you see. Once you get your tent, set it up at least once before drive all the way to your campsite.
A good bed to sleep in is essential when you’re camping because of the physical toll the daily activities will have on your body. Think about it, you’re hiking all morning, rafting all afternoon, you need to rest up ready for the next day ahead. Inflatable sleeping pads are most common, followed by air mattresses if you got the space. Combine that with a warm sleeping bag and you’re good to go. Don’t forget a pillow!
You can also buy cots for camping outside, which means you’ll have an elevated and comfortable bed to sleep in, however you’ll be in the elements and a bit colder at night. It not only means you’ll be far from creepy crawlies, teeny insects and bitey spiders, it also gives you the proper back support. And you’ll need good back support.
Plan for the Colorado weather
Spring is an opportune time to go camping in Colorado because you’ll miss the summer crowds and the season offers an average temperature of 50 to 60° Fahrenheit. From late March through May, the season is beginning to change from winter to summer, which makes it a great environment for campers.
The screenshot below shows the average temperatures around the year in Steamboat Springs. The elevation there is 6,732 feet, so decrease the temperature if you’re heading higher and add a few degrees if you’ll be lower. The temperature decreases 3.3°F for every 1,000 feet up you go in elevation.
To prepare for the weather fluctuations, make sure you bring all-around wear that can protect your skin from the sun and keep you warm if the weather takes a turn. If you’re looking at camping out in the mountains keep in mind that the temperature will drop, especially at night.
Bring the right gear for big adventure
Due to Colorado being a huge state full of wild animals and high mountains, it’s worth doing your research on the place. You can find loads of books on camping out in Colorado, as well as articles online. So, there’s no shortage of recourses.
You should bring a compass with you along with a distress whistle, a guidebook or map, and a first aid pack. Whatever you’re planning on doing out in Colorado, you need to plan for the worst-case scenarios to take place, so you should probably check that you have everything you’ll need for camping in the wild.
Don’t let that deter you though, Colorado may be a dangerous place to visit when you’re not accustomed to the environment, but as long as you keep safe and educate yourself on the possible dangers, you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.
Have you ever been camping in the Rockies?
If you’ve camped in Colorado before, please give the newbies here some advice as it would be much appreciated. And if you are yet to go, we hope this article has been helpful for you! Let us know how your holiday went when you come back.
Remember to enjoy yourself, but do so with precautions and stay safe. Happy camping!