Camping in Montana
Camping Gear Guide

A Guide to Camping Gear

A cute black bear cub. Harmless enough - until Mama bear shows up!
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Ah! Camping in Montana. To many, camping in Montana is what dreams are made of! The clear skies, the wonderful air, the beautiful sunsets, the mysterious wildlife. That is the image of camping in Montana for most.

Well, those dreams do occur, at least until the mid-summer snow arrives. Or until the cold June rains set in for days at a time. Or until the local insect population carries away your first born. Or until your friendly local grizzly bear decides to pay a midnight visit your encampment.

All in all, camping in Montana - gotta love it - as it is always diverse, beautiful, crummy, exciting and unpredictible, all at the same time.

As most people who visit this site are not from Montana but do plan on visiting it at some future time, I thought it would be helpful to put together a "Camping Gear Guide" for people. At a minimum, this section of Big Sky Fishing should help a Montana camper or wanna-be do two things. The first is to better prepare oneself for the rather unpredictible nature of camping in Montana. And the second purpose is to help people properly outfit themselves for a camping trip in Montana. Without the proper camping gear, a camping trip in Montana is doomed to disappointment.

Also, it should be noted this section covers the gear and techniques needed for enjoyable camping. If you plan on hiking, you will want to visit the Hiking Gear section for some helpful tidbits of information, like how to avoid a broken leg while hiking, prevent blisters and a few more nuggets of information learned through misadventure.

Camping Gear Essentials

Well, lets start things off with, what do you need for a camping trip in Montana? The bad news is that there is no "set answer" to that. The type of camping gear you really need boils down to what you plan on doing (backcountry camping or car camping). As most people who camp in Montana are frequently never more than 50 feet from their car, this section of the site will cover camping equipment needed for enjoyable car camping in Montana. A seperate section (still a work in progress) will cover in detail the specialized equipment needed for backcountry camping (where you backpack in all your gear needed).

So, here's my list of "car camping" gear essentials.

Tents : Unless you plan on bringing the RV along, or staying in rather expensive hotels, you'll need a tent. Plain and simple. Read this section to learn what type of tent to bring on your trip to Montana. More about Tents.

Sleeping Bag : Do you like to shiver all night long? If not, get a good sleeping bag - it's the difference between feeling good in the morning and feeling worn out and old. Read more on what type of sleeping bag to get.. More about Sleeping Bags.

Sleeping Pad : The humble sleeping pad. So important. Yet so forgotten. Without a good sleeping pad, you are destined for a bad night sleep - regardless of how much you spent on that fancy sleeping bag of yours. So read more on why you need a good sleeping pad.

Camp Stove : Campfires are great. Or, they're great until you're out of wood. Or it rains. Or there are fire restrictions. Thus, be smart and bring a camp stove along. It cooks better, works better and is less of a PITA in general. More on Camp Stoves.

Camping Essentials that are also Hiking Essentials

The gear below is profiled further in the hiking gear section of this site. Happily, this gear below performs two great functions - it makes both hiking AND camping more enjoyable! Thus, by getting the right gear, you can save money by having gear that pulls double duty for both camping and day hiking.

Rain Jackets : Yes, it rains in Montana. Having a good rain coat makes all the difference in the world between having the rain be a nuisance and a life threatening challenge. More information about Rain Jackets.

Fleece Jackets : Montana generally gets VERY cold at night, even during the summer. Happily, fleece jackets will help keep you warm and comfortable, both in camp and on the trailMore about Fleece Jackets.

Hiking Pants : These specialized pants are designed for hiking. Yet, they are the ultimate camping pant too - full of pockets, quick drying, lightweight, convert to shorts on hot days and easy to clean. And did I mention they were inexpensive too?? More about Hiking Pants.

Socks : Do me a favor please? Leave your cotton socks at home! They work miserably for both camping and hiking. Instead, do your feet a big favor and get a pair of warm, wool socks (like Smartwool Socks). Your life will be forever changed in a positive way if you do. More about Camping and Hiking Socks.

Sunglasses : Sunglasses are essential for hiking in Montana or where ever else there may be lots of sun, such as on the beach, at high elevations or in the desert. In this section information about Sunglasses and the Sun's harmful rays is provided. Learn more about Sunglasses.

Camping in Montana - Articles

These are some helpful articles I've written up that hopefully someone somewhere might find useful on their camping trip to Montana, or elsewhere for that matter.

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