Friday, February 25, 2022

2021 Camping Roundup + Camping Gear

Happy Friday!

Today on the blog, I'm rounding up the campgrounds we stayed at in 2021, as well as the camping gear we used during these trips, and even some modifications Michael has done to the GX. 

Unfortunately, we didn't camp much at all, which is why it's all going in one post. I'm hoping we'll be camping much more this year, so I will likely do individual blog posts for future camping trips. At the end of the post, I'm linking everything we use. 

Hope you enjoy!

McCown Valley Campground on Lake Whitney - Whitney, Texas

We visited McCown Valley Campground May 1 - May 2. This was our first time getting to use our new tent + car awning while camping, which was super exciting for us. The car awning is hands down one of the best purchases we've ever made. We have used it a ton - it's crazy how many times we've been somewhere and wanted shade and bam - we have it lol. It was especially great during this trip because it did actually rain the night we were there, and this covered us if we needed to get something from the car. 


Reservations at McCown Valley Campground are required and can be made on the Recreation.Gov website or app. Nightly rate while we stayed there was $12 and we stayed at site 51 (arguably the best tent camping spot).

Here was our overall camping setup during this trip. We had our car awning, regular tent,  bathroom tent, and large canopy out. This provided us plenty of shade, and a very convenient bathroom during the night. We weren't too far from the actual restrooms, but this was still helpful.

We don't love air mattresses, so we have two cots. I don't think during this trip we had our foam padding yet, but our cots were still comfortable enough for one night. 

Here's Daisy in my lap after getting wet from the lake + the rain. Camping while it rains is certainly not ideal, but we still enjoyed sitting under the canopy looking at the view regardless. 

The next morning, we had pretty views from inside the tent. While Michael slept in, Daisy & I enjoyed peeking out the tent windows. The main reasons we love this tent is for the windows and because it's a pop-up tent - meaning we don't have to assemble/disassemble poles at any point during camp setup or breakdown. It's very quick and easy, which we love. 


  • Pretty views! We loved being right on the water. It offers such beautiful scenery and I couldn't have been happier to see the above view in the morning.
  • Bathrooms were conveniently nearby.
  • Campground was fairly clean.
  • Drive-up site. Since we rely heavily on our vehicle for things we need + the car awning, we like spots that we can drive up to and park how we want, versus parking in a designated parking area/having to walk to set up camp.
  • Affordable rate.


  • There were a lot of ant mounds - some very large in size. We had to be mindful when we walked and take that into consideration before setting up camp.
  • While our site was fairly clean overall, there were some cigarette butts left from whoever was at our site previously. I'll never understand people who don't throw away their trash.
  • Lastly, like most campgrounds in Texas, reservations are required. Michael and I definitely wish there were more places in Texas that we could just go to spontaneously and find our own camping spot.
None of these are deal breakers though - definitely a place I would recommend visiting.

After we packed up our stuff on Sunday, we moved the car a little (since there was hardly anyone else there) and had the awning out while we enjoyed lunch before leaving. Overall, it was a nice and relaxing visit and we thought it was a nice campground. Our official Campendium review can be found here.

Loafers Bend East Campground on Lake Whitney - Whitney, Texas

We visited Loafers Bend East Campground May 22 - May 23. We didn't take many pictures this trip. It rained off and on while we were at this campground - kind of a common theme when we camp, lol. 


Reservations at Loafers Bend East Campground are required and can be made on the Recreation.Gov website or app. Nightly rate while we stayed there was $12 and we stayed at site E35.

We had a typical camp setup with our awning, canopy, and tent. We enjoyed being right on the water and that there was only one other person camping nearby.


  • Loved being super close to the water. If we had brought our swimsuits and it had been better weather, it definitely would have been great for a swim.
  • Quiet campground. At least during our visit, there was only one other camper consistently around.
  • Drive-up site - same reasons as previous campground.
  • Affordable rate.


  • The campsite was much rockier than we expected it to be, and it was also not very level which made it a little diffcult when trying to designate a place for our tent.
  • Bathrooms weren't super close to our campsite + they were not very nice. And there was a MASSIVE spider in the sink. 
  • There was literally spiders everywhere. The campsite water faucet was covered in them at the bottom. And when we woke up, there were spiders all over the outside of our tent. Probably not ideal for anyone, but Michael is also allergic to spiders so it definitely wasn't the best fit for us.
Would we go to this location again? Probably not. Our official Campendium review can be found here.

Sulphur Springs Campground on Colorado River - Bend, Texas

We visited Sulphur Springs Campground August 28 - August 29. We actually found this campground through West Texas Rambler on YouTube. It was through this camping vlog that we learned about this spot. Coordinates: 31.0701167, -98.4787795.


One of the main things that attracted us to Sulphur Springs Campground is that we didn't have to make a reservation ahead of time - you can just show up and pick your favorite camping spot! There are not many places like this in our area, so this was the best selling point. Cost is $6 per person per day, so $12 like the other campgrounds we visited.

At Sulphur Springs Campground, there is 3 miles along the Colorado River that you can camp at. The above coordinates are actually at the end of the 3 miles. You definitely need a FWD vehicle to get to this spot. Michael lives for this kind of thing, so he really enjoyed the drive to get to this spot. It was well worth it, especially since we were by ourselves majority of the time.

Here was our camp setup - very similar to previous trips. We opted out of bringing the canopy because it is so large, and the awning was all we needed. We did add the blue beach blanket above the grass because the grass was rather thick. They definitely mow this area, but it was starting to get high at the time of our visit. The blanket made things more comfortable for us.

Pretty view + solar panel + cute puppy exploring :)
Our view of the river while sitting under the awning.


  • No reservations required.
  • Being able to pick our own camping spot.
  • Beautiful views! 
  • More adventurous journey to find camping spot. This may be a con for some, but it's definitely a pro to us!
  • Being practically by ourselves & away from any lights besides the night sky.
  • Affordable rate.


  • No cell signal. This is a bittersweet thing. While I love the idea of unwinding in nature like this, I also would prefer to have some sort of signal in case of an emergency. We plan to get a signal booster at some point, just haven't got that equipment yet. Also plan to download a playlist in the future because we couldn't have music lol.
  • Campground wasn't super level which made it a little difficult on selecting a spot.
  • Was a little difficult to access the river due to overgrown grass/bushes + it was steep/super muddy in the area we could use to access the river so it wasn't exactly convenient. 
Overall, I'd say none of the cons are deal breakers and we would definitely like to go back. There were SO many cool spots we could have camped at that we would love to go back and try!

I camped a ton when I was younger, but it's been nice to explore this as an adult. Michael and I really enjoy doing this together, and I can't wait for many more trips. We've got lots of parks and campgrounds we want to visit, but Big Bend National Park has been at the top of my list for several years. It's 7 hours away, so it's going to take a little extra planning but I'm hoping either this year or next, we can finally go. 

This weekend we're going to Oxford Ranch Campground in Llano County. This is another location we've come across that we don't need reservations for and we can pick our own spot. It's supposed to be cold and rainy this weekend, but Michael finished building a folding platform in the back of the GX so we'll get to sleep in the car. We're super excited to try it. I'll be back with another blog post soon recapping that campground too. 

For those who may be interested, GX470 Current Mods:

Camping Gear for these trips (shop the post below):

  • Magellan Outdoors Pro 4 Person Tent (ours is currently not available, linking similar)
  • Academy 10' x 10' Canopy
  • AstroAI 55L Fridge (yes - fridge, not cooler - highly recommend investing in one)
  • Jackery Explorer 500
  • Jackery SolarSaga 60
  • Sportneer Cots
  • G4Free Camping Chairs
  • Coleman Ultra Compact Aluminum Table (outdoor table for eating, cooking, etc.)
  • Outry Camp Table (we've kept this one inside the tent between our cots to play cards at night)
  • GasOne 1 Burner Butane Stove
  • BLUU GEMINI Backpacking Propane Stove
  • MalloMe 35° Sleeping Bags
  • 8" Rechargeable Fans
  • Solar Inflatable Lanterns (perfect for tent lighting at night)
  • Reliance Aqua Tainer 7Gal
  • Bucket Toilet Seat/Commode Liners
  • GigaTent Pop-up Pod (where we put our toilet bucket if we want to use it lol)
  • Wekapo Beach Blanket

Note: This list is the main camping gear we took on each camping trip. This does not include minor gear or our emergency preparedness gear. I have considered rounding up every single item we have (including kitchen supplies, bug supplies, etc.) in a more in depth blog post, so if you're interested in that, let me know. :)

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if purchases are made through such links, at no extra cost to you. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as I will only recommend products we use and love.*

Have you been to any of these campgrounds? Or do you have a favorite campground in Texas? Let me know!

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