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part of the grand canyon national park

Best Camping In The U.S. | 8 Must-See Destinations

Camping is one of the best ways to truly see the natural world in all of its glory. Camping in some of the most gorgeous areas in the world will give you a new perspective about what is surrounding us in regular life.

But what about in your own “backyard?” What are the best camping spots in the U.S.?

Through all 50 states, there are certainly many amazing areas to explore. Although we cannot get to all 50 in this article, we’ll cover some awesome camping opportunities for you to consider below.

So, without further adieu, let’s cover the best camping locations in the U.S. right now!

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park boasts not only majestic mountain views, but 13 campgrounds as well.

Located in a gorgeous part of Montana, Glacier National Park is one of the most underrated camping destinations in the country. With incredible mountain landscapes and other natural features, you will be surrounded by beauty.

Over the course of the huge national park, there are 13 campgrounds and hundreds of individual sites to enjoy. So, there is plenty of room for everyone. If you like hiking, there are over 700 miles of hiking trails stretching through many areas and ecosystems.

Overall, this is a quiet, serene location to camp in the United States that has so much opportunity for fun.




Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park, in Utah, is famous for its beautiful natural rock structures and great hiking.

Due to the natural rock structures and mountainous areas, Arches National Park is a site to behold. This is one of the more exclusive camping opportunities as there are only 50 campsites at the Devils Garden campground.

However, Moad, Utah is known for its other camping opportunities, but they will be off the main property. The park gets its name from the natural rock arches that are all over the property. This is a great place to hike and explore while taking in this area’s natural beauty.





Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park is an absolute must-see location, but be sure to plan ahead!

No list of the best camping locations in America is complete without mentioning one of the natural wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon is certainly one of the most impressive places in the entire world.

Camping in Grand Canyon National Park can happen in four developed campgrounds. If you would rather rough it, you can enter the backcountry on a permit if you are able to secure one.

Now, all of these opportunities fill up quickly, so the earlier the better in terms of planning.




Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park has over 100 individual campsites.

Joshua Tree National Park is a great camping destination for a number of reasons. The biggest of which is the location. Located in California, this park is a few hours drive from cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.

When you can get away from the big cities easily and access natural beauty like this, it is a game changer.

In terms of parking at the actual park, there is plenty of room. There are over 100 individual sites with a few off-site places offering spots as well.

Temperatures in this part of the country get insanely high in the summer, so plan your trip in the other three seasons to get the best experience possible.



Assateague Island

horses running on assateague island

Looking for an island with wild horses… Assateague Island is the place to see! (photo credit: National Park Service)

Located off the coast of Maryland sits Assateague Island. This is a natural paradise with nearly 40 miles of coastline and plenty of beach camping available.

Assateague Island is a place not too many people away from the east coast know about, so it is a bit of a hidden gem, at least on the national level.

A super unique factor of Assateague Island is the population of wild horses that inhabit it. These are gorgeous horses that roam the island and frequent the various campgrounds on the beach. This is a really unique experience that does not happen much in the United States, especially on the east coast.




Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

The Florida Keys may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering camping locations, but they are home to the beautiful Biscayne National Park (photo credit: Biscayne National Park Institute)

Further down the east coast and around the tip of Florida sits Biscayne National Park in the Florida Keys.

The Florida Keys is a series of gorgeous islands and land masses connected with one major road down from the mainland. As you work your way down, there is so much natural beauty to enjoy.

One of the focal points along the way is Biscayne National Park. There are not many areas where you can see a large city and also have the natural features such as this park. With downtown Miami off in the distance, you can pitch a tent and enjoy southern Florida life all in one location.

There are two campgrounds in the park, but both are on individual keys and have to be accessed by boats.



Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is a great location for backpacking and seeing incredible views like this.

In order to make the Top U.S. Camping Spots list complete, we need an entry or two in the midwest. One of the most impressive of which is Badlands National Park in South Dakota. This is a large park that harbors incredible views and hiking opportunities.

In terms of camping, there are two campgrounds on the property and one of them is only accessible through the backcountry. So, if you would like to do some backpacking, you are covered in areas that cannot be reached by RV travellers and others.



Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has three drive-in campgrounds. (photo credit: Tim Trombley)

Michigan is a very underrated destination when it comes to natural beauty. However, it’s home to the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Here, there are three picture-esque campgrounds that are actually drive-in sites. This means that you pull your vehicle into a spot and enjoy the park.

Between the three campgrounds, there are a total of 65 sites and each one requires a reservation to secure the spot. The gorgeous pictured rocks are a short paddle or boat ride away.



Closing Thoughts:

Although these are several of the top camping locations in the United States, this really only scratches the surface as to what there is to explore. However, this is a great starting point.

Each of these locations brings something unique to the table, and camping on-site puts you in the very best position for enjoying it all fully, whether solo camping or with friends and family.

Enjoy these best camping locations in the United States! Good luck, and happy camping.


hunting video gear

Start Filming Your Hunts | A Self-Filming Checklist

I sat there stunned at what just happened.

I had traveled 500 miles for this particular moment, only to sit and watch this big Kansas buck walk right out of my life.

And, it wasn’t because I didn’t have the opportunity to let an arrow fly.

I actually took aim, settled my pin, and painfully watched my arrow hit right in front of his body.

big kansas buck

When you film your own hunts, moments like this will be captured indefinitely to not only relive yourself, but share with others.

I could not believe my eyes! I’ve made that exact shot in my yard 10 out of 10 times.

As I sat there 20 feet up in that oak tree, trying to figure out what happened, I heard something behind me coming down the same trail. I turned to catch a glimpse of a wide Kansas buck heading my way.

I couldn’t believe this was happening so soon after I had missed the other deer.

This time, I was even more determined to settle my pins and connect on this nice Kansas buck! 

As I released the arrow, I watched intently as it found its mark and sent the buck bolting through the woods to certain death.



Finally, after two years of hunting in Kansas, I was able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. It was a very exciting moment for me, as I anxiously texted my hunting buddies… “Big Buck Down.”

What makes this hunt even more special is the fact that I got it all on video.

Videoing my hunts allow me the privilege to watch them anytime I want to.

The scenario above happened almost a year ago. I went back and watched it five minutes before I wrote this article.

When I’m having a bad season and not seeing very many deer, I can always go back and watch the moment I killed my first Kansas buck.

Talk about a very rewarding experience.

With today’s technological advances, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get started filming your own hunts. Keep reading for two things that you will need to get started…



First thing you need to film your hunts: Video Equipment

Choosing the right equipment is going to be a critical piece of the puzzle for creating quality footage of your hunts. This equipment can be as expensive or as cheap as you would like, depending on what you are after.

Let me just assume that most of us are on a limited budget but would still like pretty good equipment to capture our hunts.



The below list is certainly not all of the things that you could buy for filming your hunts. However, these are all of the things that you should buy for filming your hunts.

These pieces of equipment will help you be able to effectively tell your hunting story verbally and visually. 

There are five pieces of video equipment that are critical to getting started filming your hunts… and they won’t break the bank. Read on for specifics of each…

  • Camera
  • Camera arm
  • External microphone
  • Fluid head
  • Remote control

Video Camera

video camera for filiming hunts

The Canon 6D Mark 2 is a good camera for capturing your primary video while filming your own hunts.

Obviously, you cannot film hunts without a camera, but what camera do you choose? That’s a great question that gets asked often.

First, It is very important that you choose a camera that is “High Definition” and has good low-light capabilities. The high definition will help you have clearer footage and the low light capabilities will help you get a few extra minutes of film time in the morning and the evenings. After all, you never know when you’re going to see something so rare that you’ll wish you had footage of it later on.



It is also important that you get a camera that has an external mic jack. If you are self-filming, it is important for you to choose a camera that has a good auto focus setting.

We currently use a Sony Ax-53 ($800) and a Canon 6D Mark 2 ($1500.)

Secondary cameras are also a big help to capture extra footage, such as GoPro, Spypoint or Tacticam.



Camera Arm

fourth arrow video camera arm for hunting videos

It’s important to be sure you have a camera arm with enough length to film in some of the awkward positions hunting can put you in.

It wasn’t until a recent hunt that I realized how important stabilization was for a camera.

We were on a hunt and managed to forget the arm plate, so I had to free-hand film the hunt. A doe came into our location and circled around the tree and put me in an awkward position while filming.

When we watched the footage back on the TV, I was shocked at how shaky I was. This one experience made me even more of a believer in good camera arm.



It’s important to choose a camera arm that has some length to it. This will help when the deer puts you in an awkward position of filming across your body or around the back of your tree.

Fourth Arrow has some amazing camera arms that are affordable, ($100-$300) adjustable, and easy to use. Muddy also has some great camera arms that are reasonably priced ($100-$300) and easy to use.




External Microphone

rode external mic for filming hunts

An external mic will help you capture sounds from farther away than if just using the mic on the video camera.

Every camera you buy comes with a built-in microphone, and they work decent most of the time. However, they are just not as clear or as sensitive as they need to be when capturing the sounds of the woods.

There’s just something special about being able to hear the leaves crunching under the deer’s feet when you are watching your hunt on TV or on social media. You will hear a lot less of those types of natural sounds without an external microphone.



Another problem with not having an external microphone is when you put distance between the camera man and the hunter. An external microphone will give you a lot more range of distance than your standard camera mic.

It is true, most people will watch bad footage with good audio before they will watch good footage with bad audio. Rode Mics offer a variety of microphones for most cameras.

Trust me when I say, you will want to get an external microphone!

Fluid Head

sony 4k video camera for filming hunts and fluid arm and remote

The fluid head, as seen here attached to the tripod, helps you make smooth, controlled camera movements. The remote allows you to operate the camera with one hand, freeing up the other for your bow or gun.

Yeah I know, I thought the same thing when I heard about “fluid heads.”

So, what is a fluid head?

It’s an attachment that fits onto your camera arm that works by hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic fluid head allows you to make smoother movements with your camera. This creates better, higher quality footage for your viewing.

Pro Am has some very good fluid heads at reasonable prices. ($100-$300)



Remote Control

A remote control for your camera is very important, especially if you are self-filming. It enables you to basically do everything with one hand so you can use your other hand to grab you bow or your gun.

Most cameras have remote controls that can be purchased for them. I prefer to use the remote controls that are wired and plug directly into the camera.

Camera remotes are made to attach to your camera arm handle and can be a lifesaver when a deer walks into range. They help you minimize movement while your target animal is close.

Second Thing You Need: PASSION

hunting video equipment

Getting started videoing your hunts is not as expensive as you might think. There are many affordable options available for you to begin capturing those unforgettable outdoor moments.

Passion is nothing more than a strong desire for something. And, if you are going to film your hunts, you are going to need a strong desire to do so.

I promise you there are going to be moments when you will wake up and you are already late to your stand and taking time to get camera gear to the tree will make you even later.



Then, there will be times when you will forget pieces of equipment and the thought will run across your mind, “I don’t know why I even mess with this junk. I’m not doing this anymore.”

Possibly, even worse than that, you will have a big buck bust you because you were reaching for the camera instead of your bow. It’s during these moments that it will take passion to help you keep going.

To successfully film your hunts, the second thing you need is to have passion in the following three areas…

  • Passion for hunting: Passion for hunting is probably the most obvious one. You have to love the hunt! Passion for hunting is what is going to keep you in the woods experiencing all of the things that are film-worthy. If the idea of being perched up twenty feet in a tree with a bow in your hand anticipating a big buck coming near gets you excited, then congratulations, you have a passion for the hunt!
  • Passion for telling the story: I had a man tell me once, “You tell stories really good.” That’s because I have a passion about telling stories. When I tell a story, I want people to feel what I was feeling, hear what I was hearing and see what I was seeing. Being able to take your camera and video everything that you are experiencing in the woods is being able to tell your story. It gives the viewer an opportunity to see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel what you felt. You will need a passion for that in order to overcome the difficulties that come along with filming.
  • Passion for new challenges: It is an understatement to say that filming your hunts is a challenge. It is actually beyond a challenge to be able to put it all together and film a successful hunt, but it sure is fun trying. One of the hard parts is learning all of the new things that make you better at filming your hunts. Anything from positioning your camera to learning how to edit your videos. Each one of these things can provide its own set of challenges, so you will need to be excited about learning new things. If you have a passion for new challenges then you are going to love filming your hunts.


 Conclusion

There are so many more things that can be written on the subject of filming hunts.

The further you dive into the process more questions will come about camera equipment, editing, producing episodes for social media, etc. However, if there was one more piece of advice I could give you on this subject, it would be to remind you to have fun.

The camera is just a great way to share the memories of the love of the hunt, it is never meant to replace the love of the hunt. Sometimes the pressure of trying to get it all to work out on film can rob you of the fun of the sport of hunting.

Make up your mind before you begin the journey that you will always love the hunt more than you love the camera.

Casey Johnson of Huntreal Outdoors
Casey Johnson is the founder of Huntreal Outdoors. Follow their Instagram and you can also follow Casey’s story on his YouTube channel.
backpacker standing on mountain top

Best Backpacking Tents For Your Big Adventure

One of the best ways to experience nature in a unique way backpacking. Packing up your gear and hitting the backcountry will put you in places that you could only imagine and that pictures just won’t do justice!

So, let’s cover the best backpacking tents in the game right now. Investing in a quality backpacking tent will transform your experience and put you in the best possible position for backpacking success.

Here are the best backpacking tents right now!

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 – Best 2-person Backpacking Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 weighs just over 1 lb and can sleep two people comfortably.

No list of the best backpacking tents is complete without the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 making an appearance.

It’s acclaim and reputation is why it landed in the top spot on our list. Weighing just over a pound and being able to fit two people comfortably, it is hard to go wrong with this one.

This tent compacts down super well and is one of the best backpacking tents for two people. It covers pretty much any situation in which you would need to bear the conditions and hold up for a night.

There are doors on both sides with vestibules created by the rain fly to provide ease of use for everyone.

Pros of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2:

  • Plenty of space for two people
  • Lots of built-in storage
  • Lightweight despite the size

Cons of the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2:

  • Small foot taper
  • Can be considered pricey to more budget-conscious backpackers




REI Co-op Passage 2- Best Backpacking Tent on a Budget

REI Co-Op Passage 2 Tent

The REI Co-Op Passage 2 is great for the budget-conscious backpacker and is very user-friendly.

REI is one of the leading outdoor retailers in the game, and over time, they have developed a great deal of their own equipment. The REI Co-op Passage 2 is one of the best backpacking tents on a budget.

Coming in at 5 pounds 7 ounces, this is a steady option for those who cannot spend a ton of money on a tent that is lighter and pricier. If you fall into the middle of the road in terms of wants, needs, and budget, this is an excellent option.

There are just two poles and two doors that open all the way up. Overall, the user experience with the Passage 2 is incredibly consistent and user friendly.

Pros of REI Co-Op Passage 2:

  • Very affordable
  • Roomy enough for two people, with doors on both sides
  • Super functional

Cons of REI Co-Op Passage 2

  • Does have cheaper, more mass-released materials
  • Has a heavier weight than some backpacking options


Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2

The Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 is perfect for the backpackers who are looking to shave every ounce possible off the weight, yet have a high ceiling.

As one of the best lightweight backpacking tents, the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2 is an awesome option for those who really want to trim the fat on the pack’s weight.

Once again, Big Agnes makes its appearance on the list as the product is of extremely good quality.

Coming in at just 2 pounds, 9 ounces, this is the best lightweight backpacking tent listed today. Outfitted with a tall ceiling and a very compact size when packed down, this tent is a great option for the hardcore backpackers who fret over every ounce.

Pros of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2:

  • Super lightweight and compact to allow weight ot be dispersed in other ways
  • Fairly durable despite the weight
  • High ceilings to provide for easier movement

Cons of the Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL2:

  • Can be a bit tricky to set up
  • Build causes water to sometimes breach the walls



NEMO Dragonfly 2

Nemo Dragonfly 2

The Nemo Dragonfly 2 is lightweight, comfortable and durable.

One of the most balanced and well-rounded options is the NEMO Dragonfly 2. With a light weight, high comfort and great durability, you really have it all. Now, this will come at a higher price, so keep that in mind.

This is the tent that probably has the best vestibule setup. When you get the rain fly affixed correctly, you will have a good amount of covered room to get ready before hitting the elements outside. The pole design also is there to provide a ton of durability in high wind.

Pros of the NEMO Dragonfly 2:

  • Very well-rounded and covers all the bases
  • Super durable to withstand many situations
  • Build creates for the maximum water and weather resistance

Cons of the NEMO Dragonfly 2:

  • Pricey
  • Can be difficult to find in stock in some places




MSR Hubba Hubba NX1 – Best 1-Person Backpacking Tent

MSR Hubba Hubba NX2

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 1 weighs just under 4 lbs and is spacious and durable.

The best 1-person backpacking tent today is the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 1. Coming in at just under 4 pounds, you are getting a very durable tent that is for those who know they don’t need to waste effort on extra space.

The design is unique in the sense that it is made to maximize the space given. 1-person tents are known to be very tight, but the Hubba Hubba is known to be quite spacious. Plus, there are doors and vestibules on both sides for ultimate ease of use.

Pros of the NSR Hubba Hubba NX1:

  • Lightweight and spacious
  • Very durable and outfitted with dual vestibules to escape the elements

Cons of the NSR Hubba Hubba NX1:

  • Slightly heavy for just 1-person usage
  • Quite expensive



Sea to Summit Telos TR3 – Best 3-person Backpacking Tent

Sea To Summit Telos TR2 backpacking tent

The Sea To Summit Telos TR2 has extra headroom and high quality craftsmanship.

Sea to Summit has been a steady brand in the outdoor space for a long time. So, it is only fitting that it makes today’s list of the best backpacking tents.

The Telos TR3 is a fantastic tent that is one of the best backpacking tents for three people. With the extra room and relatively low weight, you really get a good value with this one. 

One aspect that makes it a great 3-person backpacking tent is the high ceiling. The pole structure allows for some extra head room, which is a really nice perk. Although the price is high, the space and quality are of a really high caliber



Pros of the Telos TR3:

Cons of the Telos TR3:

  • Can be considered pricey
  • A little heavy


Closing Thoughts

Those are the best backpacking tents on the market! With all of the various aspects to consider, you cannot go wrong with any of these options.

Now, it’s up to you to weigh the options and see what will work best in your backpacking arsenal. So, good luck, and happy camping!

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