Urban camping is a great compromise for travelers who want to spend the night outside while still being close to the amenities and culture a new city offers. This new trend allows travelers to find shelter in parks and on rooftops. You may not be able to stargaze, but the twinkling lights of the city will do in a pinch.

1. Find the Right Rise

It’s important to do your research before heading out into the urban wilderness. Search to see what campsites are available in your city and check availability. If you want a nice view, look for rooftops, but if you want something that resembles actual camping, seek out a park that offers camping permits or special camping events.

2. Research Your Site’s Perks

Many urban camping programs will offer communal meals, public restrooms, guided hikes, or in some rare cases, electricity! It’s important to know what is available so that you can pack and plan accordingly. Call ahead or research online to see what facilities will be available to you.

3. Pack Wisely

After considering what will be available to you, make a list of all the things you still need. Consider the weather, environment, and activities when packing your bags. The key is to get everything you need, but still pack lightly. (Unlike backwoods camping, you’re probably not going to need an axe or snowshoes in the city.) Get everything together a few days before in case you think of last minute additions or realize you don’t have something you thought you did.

4. Bring Your Friends

A friend is a great addition to a camping trip. Besides company, they can help carry shared items like first aid kits and cookware. Coordinate your packing lists so you don’t have redundant items weighing you down – it’s unlikely you’ll need three tents.

5. Plan Your Menu

You probably won’t have access to a fire-pit, so the meals will have to get a little creative. Dry foods like oatmeal are ideal and great for breakfast. Jerky, protein bars, and bagels are great to help you through the day. If you don’t want to go without a hot meal, there are some flameless cooking devices on the market you can check out.

6. Combat Hard Concrete

If you’re bringing a tent to set up on concrete, you will have to find a way to keep it firmly on the ground. Try using rocks or sandbags to weigh down the tent on all four corners.
To ensure comfort, extra bedding between you and the ground is a must. Find a mat or egg crate to lay down under your sleeping bag. It’s important that whatever you bring does not take up too much space or weigh you down.

7. Pack an Extra Phone Battery

You have a better chance of finding an outlet in the city than in the middle of the woods, but it can still be a pain. If you want to keep a charged phone handy, consider bringing a backup battery or even a backup cell phone. If you have a friend with you, you can alternate turning your phones on and off.

8. Spruce Yourself Up

You might not have access to running water, so consider alternatives until you can get reach a shower. Baby wipes and dry shampoo will help you stay fresh while you camp out on the concrete. For oral hygiene, try disposable toothbrushes that don’t require water.

9. Plan for the Weather

Even if the forecast looks good, always bring along your rain gear just in case. Make sure to bring a rain jacket and a waterproof bag for your valuables. For added protection, try packing everything in two black garbage bags before putting it in your backpack.

10. Make Use of Your Surroundings

Since this isn’t the wilderness, there is plenty of architecture to take advantage of when building your campsite. Look for structures that can provide shelter. Overheads and ledges are great for providing shade and shielding you from the rain in soggy weather.

11. Always Have a Plan B

You never know when something can go wrong, so make sure you have a backup plan ready – it never hurts to know where the closest hotel rooms are.

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