The beautiful Big Bend National Park, located along the border of Mexico and Texas! It is one of the best national parks in the United States and it is only about a 6 1/2 hour drive from Austin, TX. So we headed out on an adventure one October day in 2014.
When we went on our trip it was a spur of the moment decision. We hardly brought any camping gear with us at all, no food, and no water. We definitely were not prepared to say the least. Even though we weren’t prepared, it was still amazing, we learned a lot, and I would do it all over again.
Though we didn’t bring hardly anything with us, we were in luck because they have a restaurant (which also has a gift shop) in the middle of the park, near the Chisos Basin (the best place to camp in our opinion), which is where we ended up camping. They also have gas stations and convenient stores where you can buy water, snacks, and plenty of other items. So even if you do prepare for your trip to Big Bend, and your driving along and suddenly you realize you FORGOT something. UGH this never fails to happen to us. Don’t worry, they offer plenty inside the park itself.
We got to the park extremely late at night, so it was difficult to see and find a good campsite. Yeah, we were those obnoxious people driving around the campsites super late at night, sorry!!
It was actually our very first time hammock camping and all we brought with us were our hammocks and mummy sleeping bags, which was our first mistake. We suffered from cold butt syndrome the entire time, so it was pretty miserable during the night. We didn’t have hammock under quilts or hammock tarps at the time. We also didn’t bring a tent for a backup plan, which you should always bring, too, just in case you can’t find anywhere to put your hammock up.
The next day we had the chance to drive around and look at all the campsites and where else we could go. We checked out a lot of the primitive campsites on the unpaved roads as well. We still decided to go back to the Chisos Basin for our second night just because of how beautiful the mountains are surrounding the campsites. This was our view all around our campsite:You can’t get a much prettier view to wake up to in the morning than this!
Chisos Basin Amenities:
- 60 sites total
- Flushable toilets, they were great!
- No showers nearby unfortunately, but there are showers inside the park.
- Running water
- Picnic tables
If you plan on hammock camping in Big Bend or the Chisos Basin, here are a few things to think about:
- Plan ahead so that you arrive during the daytime, it is much easier overall
- There aren’t many trees in the campsites to hang your hammock on, but you can use the pavilion’s like we did! It actually worked really well.
- Bring a hammock tarp to protect yourself from the wind
- We also recommend bringing an under quilt and a sleeping bag depending on the time of year and where you are camping at.
- It tends to get really cold during the night while in the mountains even though it is really hot during the day. The heat during the day is very misleading, you need to plan to be hot and cold! So beware!
If campsites aren’t what you are looking for, they also have many different lodges you can make reservations for, but you have to make them very far in advance, so you should start planning now!