Sure, city life is great, but it’s no wonder Troop Beverly Hills packed up their pumps for a wilderness adventure when you consider the number of awesome camping destinations in L.A.'s backyard. Drive an hour or two in either direction, and you’ll find beauty unlike anything at the mall. But you'll need supplies to survive a few nights in California's backyard.
To help you out, we've rounded up the raddest camping gear on the market and organized it according to the three main types of camping us Angelenos (should) do on the regular: beach, desert, and mountain. If you’re destined for a night under the stars in Malibu, Joshua Tree, or Big Bear, consider this your ultimate shopping list. Because as Phyllis Nefler knew, camping is a whole lot better with the right merch.
Photo: Getty Images.
Desert Camping: Joshua Tree This desert oasis stands out amongst the many places to pop a tent because of its jumbo rocks, Seuss-esque trees, and expansive sunsets. Drive due east a couple hours from L.A., and you’ll be secluded in the untamed land of scorching days and brisk nights. While we recommend staying in the national park, you can also squat in the Black Rock or Cottonwood campgrounds to enjoy the comfort of running water and flush toilets. A scramble up the rocks and a cookout under the stars is the perfect way to spend the day in Joshua Tree. But make sure you bring the following goods.
Don’t be fooled by Joshua Tree’s desert terrain: The nights are undeniably chilly. Be as prepared as a Boy Scout with this Navajo-print sleeping bag.
Rambler 15/25 Siesta,
Your love for shiny brass need not be left at home with your Netflix addiction. Illuminate your campsite all night long with this solid brass hurricane lamp, so the fun doesn’t stop at sunset.
Solid Brass Hurricane Lamp,
Kill two birds (booze and bling) with one stone (flask).
Object & Totem
All that time perfecting your slingshot game as a kid will come in handy this camping trip.
Neon Green Slingshot,
Why bother with those pesky tent poles when you can set up your tent with a simple puff of air?
The Wedge Tent,
Life is a highway, and you’re going to need some matches along the way.
Because roasting a marshmallow with a coat hanger is so not ideal.
Light My Fire
Any park ranger will tell you: Keep it near (think about it).
Clubhouse Water Bottle,
Beach Camping: Malibu This popular destination is more than just roadside fish tacos, Caitlyn Jenner sightings, and the winding PCH. Venture beyond the pier and avert your eyes from the shops at the Country Mart , and you’ll find a coastal wilderness only true Southern Californians know. While there are many places to camp in the coastal mountains, we recommend Point Mugu. The state park is at the northern edge of Malibu and boasts five miles of shoreline, 70 miles of hiking trails, two river canyons, and plenty of sandy beaches for surfing and sunbathing. Book your campsite soon and prepare to totally vibe out.
Printed in Los Angeles, this tote bag perfectly expresses why you’re camping in Malibu in the first place.
Sisters of Los Angeles
Surf Sand Love Tote,
You’ll be amazed how fun a puzzle is once you’ve gone off the grid. Bryce Wilner
Gradient Color Puzzle, $20, available at
As Ron Burgundy always said, “You stay classy.”
Sur La Table
Stainless Steel Martini Glass,
If going without your morning coffee is a suicide mission, make sure to pack this collapsible coffee drip. You (and your fellow campers) will thank us.
Collapsible Coffee Drip,
Not only does this camping stove cook your dinner with just twigs, it also generates electricity for you to charge your phone, lights, or other devices you simply can’t live without.
This new mini camera’s built-in wi-fi allows you to stream and sync to your phone. Plus, it’s tough enough to take surfing, hiking, rock climbing — you name it. Your post-vacation slideshow is going to be very engaging.
Cube Lifestyle Action Camera,
When you're camping by the beach, your towel is not just a towel, it’s also a blanket, scarf, seat cushion, etc. Therefore, making an investment in a luxury oversized towel like this is completely warranted.
Mountain Camping: Big Bear When it comes to camping, you may be more of a classicist, and we don’t blame you. If pine trees, log cabins, fish-filled lakes, and the smell of Jiffy Pop are what you're after, then pencil in a trip to Big Bear. We recommend making a reservation at the more popular campgrounds, like Serrano , but you can also drive out and find a place to land if you’re feeling spontaneous. Wherever you end up, make sure you’re by the lake and all its activities. From fishing to wakeboarding , you won’t ever be bored in Big Bear (new slogan?).
Few people realize that the OG trendsetters of fluorescent colors were actually campers, not hipsters.
Acrylic Watch Hat,
Straight from Japan, this mug can clip right onto your pack and will come in handy all day, from your morning coffee to your nightcap. midnight
Camper Mug Cup II,
Show that lake you mean business: Tote around some rainbow trout before you even throw out a line.
Come on, baby, light my (camp) fire.
Fire Lighting Kit,
If boys can pee standing up, why can’t girls? Come on, people, it’s 2015 (#equality).
Female Urination Device,
You’ll be amazed at how compact this stool can become when it packs up — and also how much you appreciate having a stool to sit on.
The Canvas Camp Stool,
You know when you wake up in the morning and it’s really cold outside and you can’t fathom getting out of your sleeping bag but the coffee smells so good? Well, now you don’t have to! Unzip the side zippers on this sack to stick your arms out, unzip the bottom to stick your feet out, and instantly your sleeping bag becomes a parka!
The Napsack in Furry Camo,