Cowboy Camping 101: Everything You Need to Know

The term "cowboy camping" brings up an older, more traditional way of camping out under the sky. Cowboy camping is an excellent way to maximize the effectiveness of your hiking excursions while dozing off to the sight of the moon and stars. Simplicity is the secret to cowboy camping. By slowing down and adopting a minimalist lifestyle for a while, this camping style is how people in today's world try to recreate these earlier periods.

cowboy camping 101

As you can see, there was less technology or as many ingenious products back then as today. You won't even use a tent to experience real cowboy camping. On this page, you'll learn what proper cowboy camping is and how to start your cowboy camping with the right gear.

What is Cowboy Camping

Cowboy camping is the most basic kind of camping. You can conveniently view the sunset and dawn from your sleeping bag. Conversing with your trail family is easier if you're not screaming through tents. If you're as lazy as I am, setting up and taking down a canvas is one less task. But getting up in the middle of the night is the main benefit of cowboy camping. One of the best things about a thru-hike is observing the stars without getting out of bed.  

Whatever form it takes, cowboy camping is earthy, soul-enriching, and character-building, and there are few experiences as fulfilling as lying in the open as the golden sunsets.

The Pros and Cons of Cowboy Camping

Cowboy camping has many additional experience advantages, such as greater wilderness immersion. Despite this, some people may find it mentally challenging to go cowboy camping. Exposure to the surrounding desert, forest, mountains, or sky causes a profound vulnerability.

pros and cons of cowboy camping

The Pros of Cowboy Camping

This style of camping offers a lot of advantages. Some benefits of roughing it, even though it might seem more of a hardship than a gift.       

  1. Minimalist: Cowboy camping's simplicity is its primary advantage. Less equipment equals less weight to carry and maintenance to do. The ability to connect with the environment and the development of confidence are two more practical reasons.
  1. Time-Saving: The time saved by not erecting a shelter is one of the significant advantages of cowboy camping. It's pleasant to unroll a foam pad on the ground and crawl into your sleeping bag if you are logging the miles and arriving at camp after dark each night.
  1. Enriched Experiences: Many of us reside in urban areas where light pollution prevents us from seeing anything but the moon, Venus, and Jupiter on rare occasions. The ritual of drifting off to slumber while the Milky Way is visible above you is almost primordial.  
  1. Close to Nature: There is a much stronger connection to the environment when you cowboy camp. The sensations, noises, and sights are all improved. When you are sleeping under a shelter, you cannot experience the feeling of being able to see the entire sky and the wilderness at night.
  1. Build Yourself: After going cowboy camping a few times, even if it wasn't the most incredible experience, you'll gain confidence and see it's easier to camp with a tent. More vulnerability can be felt during cowboy camping than in a conventional tent.

The Cons of Cowboy Camping  

Cowboy camping can occasionally be awful. Even though it might seem fantastic, there are sometimes negative aspects. The most common concerns are about the extreme weather or the animals that could be dangerous to us.

  1. Severe Weather: Sleeping outdoors without shelter from the elements is not advisable in extreme weather conditions. Cowboy camping does not provide this level of weather protection, and if not handled correctly, prolonged exposure to the elements can become uncomfortable or even dangerous.  
  1. Uncertainty: If you go camping without a shelter, you will feel a level of vulnerability that you may have never felt before. While for some, this is thrilling, for others, the exposure is quite scary.
  1. Bugs & Wildlife: In some places, bugs can be a significant issue. Most of the time, insects on the ground aren't a big problem, but mosquitoes and other flying, biting insects can be a real pain. You may occasionally come across wolves, bears, or other ferocious creatures.

The Cowboy Camping Gear

The essence of cowboy camping is simplicity. You'll need some supplies even if you camp like a real cowboy. Those prerequisites will change depending on your level of expertise, where you're camping, and the season. The following are the cowboy camping gear for a starry night:

  1. Ground Cloth: A ground blanket will keep you and your equipment off the exposed soil, grass, or sand, keeping it clean and dry.
  2. Sleeping Bag: A sleeping bag is necessary because staying warm and dry is crucial to remaining healthy.
  3. Water:If you are near a water source, you can bring a water filter instead of the necessity of water for cowboy camping.
  4. Food: The secret is to pack as much nutrition as possible into as little space.  
  5. Lighter or Fire: A dependable fire starter will give you access to light, heat, protection, and the possibility of cooking.  
  6. Portable Power Station: Jackery portable power station are the most reliable tool to power your devices if you have no electricity for a phone, lighter, or other essentials.

>> Check Cowboy Camping Gear Checklist PDF

Jackery empowers outdoor adventure by enabling clean charging efficiency and accessibility on or off the grid. Jackery is the leading maker of solar utilities. Jackery portable power station could be your first choice in cowboy camping since it has multiple charging ports to power all your gear. Jakery Explorer 240 and Jakery Explorer 300 are highly recommended for cowboy camping due to their easy-to-carry and lightweight.

Jackery Explorer 240

How to Start Your Cowboy Camping

You will only use a tent, hammock, or even a tarp if you want to experience real cowboy camping. How detailed you enjoy your experience to be is entirely up to you. Check out this step-by-step guide for cowboy camping to get started on your journey.  

Step 1: Pick A Camping Site

First of all, choosing the right location can help prevent condensation. You can lessen the condensation on your sleeping bag in the morning if you camp far from any bodies of water and under a tree. In any case, you should pick a campsite with a private restroom; ensure it will conceal you while getting dressed. Even if you're part of a big gathering, you can still locate enough coverage to do whatever you need, like change clothes.

Step 2: Check the Forecast

It's essential to regularly check the weather for your campsite as you prepare for your big journey to determine whether there will be any precipitation there. Overall, the most crucial factor is protection. Therefore, consider rescheduling your trip if you have less than a day until it and all you can see in the forecast are thunderstorms. We all know how fast the weather can change, even if it appears favorable. Just make sure to have a fallback strategy.

Step 3: Have A Backup Plan

Making a backup plan in case bad weather strikes is a fantastic idea before you leave for your weekend camping trip. Even though tarps aren't typically used during authentic cowboy camping, you can still carry one as a last resort. When it comes to weather safety, tarps can be incredibly helpful. Additionally, if something unforeseen occurred, you could bring a portable power station to power your devices.

Step 4: Make Fire or Take A Lighter

When you have a fire, you have access to clean water, warmth, protection, and the ability to prepare sustenance. By studying and perhaps even practicing if you have access to a safe area, you should prepare to start a fire. Finally, be careful to research the fire restrictions at your campsite. Some places have rules on camping, including possible fire prohibitions. A lighter would have been preferable at that time.   

Step 5: Take Protection Tools

Any well-equipped cowboy is aware of the importance of always carrying safety. In the good old days, a rifle might have been a part of that. Average campers like you don't have to be relatively well-armed. Most campers choose to carry a knife for defense while out in nature. Multiple blades are suitable for camping. 

Step 6: Keep Hydrated

In addition to being crucial in everyday life, you were staying hydrated while camping is particularly essential. Because camping, hiking, and other outdoor pursuits are physically taxing, you should continue to drink more water than ever. Since there isn't an RV or a sink close when you're cowboy camping, getting access to water can be challenging. However, you can take steps to ensure that you're adequately moisturized. 

Step 7: Learn First Aid Knowledge

Since many ranchers camped out in the desert, they had some knowledge of snakes. To the greatest extent possible, many people seeking the authentic cowboy experience choose to camp in hot, arid regions. Keeping snakes out of your campsite should be easy since there will be few things. Many cowboy hikers store their sleeping bags and blankets when they wake up.  

Jackery Portable Power Stations for Cowboy Camping

Although cowboy camping should keep everything simple and take as few things as possible, a portable power station could be a backup plan when you get in trouble or face something dangerous. Jackery is the top solar brand, which takes sustainability and green in the first place. They can keep your equipment charged, including lights, cellphones, laptops, CPAP machines, and appliances. They also have AC outlets, DC carports, and USB charging connections.

There are over 12 Jackery power stations, which vary in dimensions and capacities. As for cowboy camping, Jackery Explorer 240 and Explorer 300 are highly recommended.

jackey portable power station

Jackery Explorer 240

The Jackery Explorer 240 has a 240Wh (16.8Ah, 14.4V) lithium-ion battery pack. It features 1* AC outlet (110V 200W, 400W peak), 2* USB-A ports, and 1* DC carport. This power station contains a pure sine wave inverter that can power various devices, including a phone, notebook, light, fan, mini cooler, etc. The sturdy handle on the compact Jackery Explorer 240 makes it simple to carry. No matter where you go, it is straightforward to use due to its push-button operation.



Recharging Time



Jackery Explorer 240


SolarSaga 60W 9.5H

1* AC outlet

2*USB-A ports

1*DC carport

Drone(60W) 4Charges, Laptop 3.5Charges, Fan(15W) 15H, Camera(10W) 11Charges, TV(60W) 3H, Light(5W) 40H

Wall Outlet 3.5H

Car Outlet 5H

Jackery Explorer 300

The Jackery Explorer 300 offers the most affordable, lightweight, portable power station with USB Type-C, USB-A, and AC outlets. Its rechargeable lithium-ion batteries provide 293Wh of energy capacity. Pack light for your cowboy camping with a Jackery portable power station, and keep powering your devices in case of an emergency. The Explorer 300 is suitable for recharging cell phone, tablet, laptop, drone, GoPro, mini cooler and other small appliances.



Recharging Time



Jackery Explorer 300


SolarSaga 100W 3.5H (0-80%)

1*200W AC outlet

1*12V DC outlet



Drone(60W) 3Charges, Laptop 10H, USB Fan(5W) 30H, Camera(10W) 6.5 Charges, Light(5W) 29H

Wall Outlet 4.5H

Car Outlet 5H

Cowboy Camping FAQs

There's nothing to be scared of when cowboy camping. Every year, tens of thousands of individuals do it without any problems. Cowboy camping has a few commonly asked questions.

1. Is it safe to camp without a tent?

Without a tent, anyone considering spending the night in the woods must have the necessary knowledge and gear because risks are involved.

2. Where to go cowboy camping?

Cowboy camping is much simpler in some ecologies than in others. In general, you'll have a lot more fun trying to cowboy camp in the desert or a dry woodland than if you try it in a rainforest or near a swamp.  

3. Is it worth taking a portable solar power station to cowboy camping?

Compared to conventional generators, portable power stations don't require you to be concerned about carbon monoxide. Additionally, you won't need to stress about bringing fuel. They provide electricity when needed, which is another reason you should consider buying a portable power station for camping. With Jackery, the leading brand, you can spend a peaceful night in your cowboy camping.

Final Thoughts

Cowboy camping can be a thrilling, enjoyable activity that resets your mental balance and re-establishes your connection to the natural world. One of the most life-changing experiences you can have is sleeping outside in the wilderness with no shelter and few provisions. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to completely unplug from the stresses of contemporary life and forget about the outside world, even if only for one night. Take a Jackery portable power station if you face up to extreme conditions.

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