Camping with HATs

Our camping trips revolve around hiking. For a normal weekend trip, we arrive at the campground on Friday and hike on Saturday and Sunday. Variations on this sometimes include a Friday afternoon or evening hike for those who arrive early. Other times, some hikers join us on Saturday morning or leave Saturday after the hike. While no one trip is ever the same, the following is a good idea of what to expect. Read the entire event page for specifics of the trip.

Camping With New Gear

Do you have new camping gear, haven't set up your tent in a long while or are using a borrowed tent? Practice everything up at home so you know you have all the parts.

Traveling with HATs

HATs trips are self-organized. The organizer’s job is limited to assuring a camping space and getting the hike started. You are responsible for organizing everything else you need on the trip. Including transportation, camping gear and food. If you need help or advice, please ask, there is always someone in the group that can help. The earlier you ask the more likely it is we can help.


Most camping trips are to state parks or similar campgrounds where the sites must be reserved in advance and paid for by the organizer. This can be up to $300. Other costs include firewood. We split this cost among all campers by charging in advance from everyone who camps for either one or both nights.

If there is no up front charge, campers may be individually responsible for paying the campground or we will charge at the campsite. Sometimes people don't get the message, so please seek out the organizer and ask how to pay.

In addition to reimbursing the organizer, individuals are responsible for day use and excess vehicle fees. This is paid to the park at check in and may be an additional $25 for the weekend.

Check the event description (you did read it all, didn't you?) or ask the organizer what to do for the specific trip. Please help HATs maintain our good relationship with campgrounds by paying at the earliest opportunity.

Arriving at camp

Read the event page for specifics for the trip.

Camping usually means staying in numbered sites. The numbers will be posted to the event page and/or in the comments. Or tell the park the organizers name. When you arrive at the park, check in at the headquarters and pay the personal entry fee and the excess vehicle fee if asked to. Make sure to note your license plate number for the check in.

Drive to the campground and set up in the site your camp.

Parking is often crowded at camp. Parking off the driveway is never allowed at parks and can result in a fine. If you can't find parking at your assigned site, set up camp and move the car to the overflow parking. The organizer knows where the overflow area is.

Arriving after hours

Since we drive a long way, it is common to arrive at a park after the office has closed. Printing the park facilities map will aid in finding the campsites in the dark. Check the event page for a Google link to the campsites.

Most parks have a gate. The lock code will be posted on the event page and/or in the comments. Enter the code and drive to camp. Manual gates should be closed and relocked.

There is usually someone up around the fire in one of the listed site who can tell you that you are in the right place. If it is late, please try to be quiet as as a courtesy to the other campers.

Visit the park office first thing in the morning to register. Make sure to note your license plate number. Park offices open at 8:00 AM or 8:30 AM. Since we often start hiking at 9:00 AM, arrive at the park office early so you don't get held up in the line.


While this isn't Burning Man, people often bring something to share with fellow hikers.

It may be home-made food, store bought snacks, drinks or whatever is your favorite. Music making, firewood or some other personal contribution all add to the camaraderie. Sharing something personal is an easy way to introduce yourself and feel like a member of the group.

Group meals

Group meals are wonderful and we mostly do this at restaurants. If you'd like to contribute by organizing a group meal at camp, talk to the event leader about setting up a time. Ask for donations to cover the cost or we can organize a pre-paid event.

See the Packing Suggestions page for more information about personal meals.