If you are planning on going for a mountain camping adventure, there is no better place to start than with mountain camping in North Carolina.
Located in the southeastern part of the United State, this state is a beautiful destination with plenty attractions and activities to explore for outdoor enthusiasts.
From breathtaking landscapes, stunning beaches and rugged mountains, North Carolina does not fall short of natural wonders and outdoor activities to delve in for an outdoor enthusiast.
Mountain camping is one of the best adventures that you can explore as a family in NC. This state has spectacular towering mountains such as the Blue Ridge Mountains, Springmaid Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains, among others.
Most of the North Carolina Mountains have these nice campgrounds where you can pitch your tent or park your RV to enjoy a great outdoor experience while interacting with nature.
Before heading for camping in the lofty terrains of North Carolina, you should know a few things.
The tips that I will share here will ensure that you remain safe while out there and you will enjoy your trip.
Tips for mountain camping in North Carolina
Usually, except preparing for the cold weather, yes, even in summer, mountain camping is not so different from regular camping. However, due preparation is absolutely necessary if you aim to get the best out of your experience.
Research about your campsite before booking
Before you make a booking for your preferred campground, do a thorough review of the campsite first.
Look for the map of the campground and study the place well prior to booking. Different campgrounds in North Carolina have different rules and regulations.
Familiarize yourself with the campsite rules and with any other important information. If you will be bringing your children with you, you need to be more thorough in your research.
Things a campsite must have
- The kinds of facilities offered
- The check in and checkout time
- Whether barbecues or light fires are allowed
- Find out whether pets are allowed
- See if they provide a place for rubbish disposal/recycling
- Electricity or you can bring your generator
- Whether there is a nearby place where you can buy supplies, in case you run out of some things etc
Avoid choosing a site that is too close to drop offs or water especially if you are camping with your kids. Consider the distance from your tent to the restrooms.
Your tent should be near enough but not too near in such a way that your tent neighbors them. The reason for this is that there will be a lot of foot traffic to the restrooms through the night. You need your sleep!
Look for a campsite that has some healthy trees. The tree cover is really helpful when it rains.
Avoid choosing a site that has dead trees because they might end falling on your tent ruining what could have otherwise been an awesome camping trip.
Best campgrounds in North Carolina
- Black Mountain Campground
- Bear Den Family Campground
- Ash Grove Cabins
- Blue Bear Mountain
- Pisgah National Forest
- Mountain Stream RV Park and Campground
- Creekside Mountain Camping Campground
- Smoky Mountain Campground
Invest in a good camping tent
When planning to go for mountain camping in North Carolina, the next thing you need to need is buy a good tent.
First, consider a tent that is big enough. Remember that you need ample space to sleep, put your camping gear and keep your food and other belongings. You do not want to be toppling over your things every time you have to get out because your tent is too cramped.
Weather in the higher altitudes can at times be very unpredictable. One minute the sun is up and the next minute it is raining. Therefore, when choosing a tent for mountain camping, consider a nice all season tent.
Such tents come with a full rain fly that keeps water out. In addition, consider a tent that is fitted with a mosquito net and one that is well ventilated too.
Always carry a tent footprint or tarps to put under or over your tent as it keeps moisture from getting in.
Waterproof your tent for mountain camping in North Carolina
While it is beautiful and scenic over there in the mountains, Mother Nature can give you quite an unpleasant surprise. You should always be prepared in case of an unexpected downpour.
When preparing for your mountain camping trip, waterproofing your tent should be among your first priorities. This will help to keep you warm and your belongings dry even when it rains.
Waterproofing a tent is quite a simple DIY task. All you need to do buy a silicone sealant. After setting up your tent, spray the whole of it with the sealant including the zippers. Ensure that you have sprayed every single inch of the tent and you are good to go.
Watch the weather
When planning for your mountain camping in North Carolina, always check out the weather forecast for the specific period of your trip.
When you are intending to tag your kids along, you cannot afford to ignore the forecasts. Be prepared for any in eventualities. Sunny and warm weather can drastically change to severely chilly weather.
Now that you will be camping in higher altitudes, be prepared for unexpected downpours, strong chilly winds or even snow.Bring your outdoor coffee mug with you so you can have a hot drink all the time.
Learn how to set up your tent prior to your trip
Setting up a tent might look like such an effortless task but it might not be as easy as it looks like. If you are not a camping pro, take some time and practice setting up your tent before you head to the woods.
You might look like a clown before the other campers if you getting into a fighting contest with your tent; which can be very embarrassing.
Days before your trip, take your tent at the backyard and practice putting it up. Do it for a couple of times until you perfect the act of doing so.
This will also help you to learn to set the tent up speedily without wasting a lot of time. It could save you a lot of trouble in case you reach your campground moments before the sun goes down.
Make a camping checklist
As with any other trip, ensure that you come up with a check list of everything that you need for your mountain camping in North Carolina.
This list will help to make sure that you pack all the things that you need for your trip without leaving anything behind.
Here are some of the most essential camping items that should be included in your checklist:
- Clothing and footwear
- Cooking equipment
- First aid kit
- Cleaning equipment
- Sleeping bags
- Sleeping pads
- Camping chairs and table
- Insect repellent
- Cool box
- Plastic bags
- A big umbrella and so on
Proper clothing for mountain camping in North Carolina
It can become chillingly cold in higher altitudes. Therefore, when you are planning to go for a mountain camping trip, it is good to pack layers of warm, water resistant and breathable clothes. You can add layers when it gets too cold and take them off once the sun comes up.
If you want to stay comfortable when camping especially at night, layer up. Go for synthetic, wool and fleece clothing and avoid cotton as much as possible.
Here are some of the essential clothing items that you should bring along:
- Winter jackets
- Winter caps
- Base layers/ thermal underwear
- Dry socks and extra shoes
- Water and wind resistant jackets
- Winter boots
If you want to enjoy your camping trip, ensure that you have sleep comfortably. Nights on the mountains can get intensely cold. Thus, you need to be warm if you want to catch some sleep.
Bring along a sleeping pad, enough pillows depending on your preferred comfort and of course your sleeping bag.
All the three items are crucial in making sure that you remain warm and comfortable by insulating you from the cold earth.
Energy packed foods is an essential part of your packing list. They give you the strength you need for the other intense activities you will engage in during your trip.
When choosing the food to take with you, consider the ones that do not require a lot of cooking or any cooking at all. In addition, consider the foods that do not require refrigeration hence won’t spoil easily. Such include
- Canned beans
- Granola bars
- Drink powders
- Peanut butter
- Beef jerky
In addition to these foods, do not forget to carry enough clean drinking water. If you intend to drink the water at the campsite, boil it well or treat it using water purification tablets.
Pitch your tent on the leeward side of the mountain
When you are camping on a mountainous area, always choose a spot on the leeward side. It makes you less vulnerable to strong winds. It also saves you from being affected by smoke from your fellow camper’s campfire.
Be on the lookout for bears
Stay safe always when camping. It is not unusual to see black bears when mountain camping in North Carolina. However, this should not intimidate you from exploring the mountains.
Bears are naturally timid. They barely attack unless you get too close to their cubs or make sudden movements.
Ensure that you clean your tent and that you keep your food well away from the tent especially when sleeping.
The bears can be attracted by the smell of food. In case a bear attacks, make a lot of noise and fight it back with stones and sticks.
Protect yourself from the sun
Sun rays tend to be a bit intense at the mountains, which can wreak havoc on your skin. Before stepping out from your tent, always wear your sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. In addition, stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of clean water.
Always proceed with caution when walking on the mountainous terrains since it’s usually rough and rocky. Don’t forget to put on a good pair of hiking shoe and always carry your first aid with you.
Beware of bugs
Avoid setting up your tent in a spot with high grass. In addition, use insect repellent and put on high socks to protect yourself from bug’s attacks.
In case of a sting, use tweezers to cautiously pull the sting out without crashing it. Wash the affected skin with clean water and soap immediately.
Carry extra ropes and stakes
Always expect some strong winds in the mountainous areas. Therefore, you might be required to secure most of the things with ropes and stakes. For this you will need to pack extra ropes and stakes just in case the wind grows stronger and you will be required to secure most of your things.
Mountain camping in North Carolina can be very enjoyable if you employ some of the tips that we have shared here. In fact, you may employ them for any mountain camping adventure, not only in North Carolina.