death valley camping
Death Valley & National Parks Service Missions
Death Valley National Park dedicates itself to protecting significant desert features that provide world class scenic, scientific, and educational opportunities for visitors and academics to explore and study.
The National Park Service mission was clearly stated in the 1916 Organic Act: “…the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
We'll be camping in Death Valley's Furnace Creek Campground. We'll pull our cars directly up to our campsite, meaning you'll only have to carry your belongings around forty feet, from your car to your tent.
Death Valley campsites feature potable water and bathrooms with flush toilets and running water. There are no showers, but no biggie.
Dinner Friday, breakfast/lunch/dinner on Saturday, breakfast/lunch/dinner on Sunday, and breakfast Monday will be provided.
We’ll eat tasty hot meals for breakfast and dinner, and this will also be your opportunity to get hands-on practice using a variety of camping stoves. The group will share in cooking and cleanup responsibilities, and you'll be on meal duty and dish duty at least once.
For on-trail lunches lunch, we'll have picnic-style food that's easy to pack and carry (think PB&Js, apples, bars, nuts, dried fruit, and jerky for meat eaters) but if you’ve got any favorite trail treats, feel free to bring them.
Each Trail Maven should plan on bringing:
- Lightweight shoes/sandals for hanging out at our campsite that can be worn with socks (like Crocs/Tevas/Chacos rather than flip-flops)
- Sunscreen/sun hat/sunglasses
- Health insurance card & ID
- Tampons/pads as needed
- Personal medications
- Glasses/contacts with solution
- A pen
- (Trail Mavens alumnae only): previous Field Notes
- Optional: hiking poles (esp. if you have knee issues), small pillow, earplugs, camera, bandana or Buff to keep sun off your neck, small hand sanitizer
- Sleeping bag rated at 40° or colder
- Sleeping pad
- Headlamp with fresh batteries and/or spares
- Sleeping bag liner (if borrowing Trail Mavens sleeping bag)
- National Parks Pass, if you've got one
- Personal clothing (see below)
- Day pack to carry while hiking
- Sturdy, broken-in hiking/walking shoes
- Water bottles and/or hydration bladder with a minimum 4L capacity (we prefer to bring both - a bladder for hiking, a water bottle for drinking at camp)
Items in bold will be provided for those women who indicated they needed them during registration.
SHARED ITEMS, PROVIDED BY TRAIL MAVENS: Tents, lanterns, food and wine, stoves, fuel, cookware, camp chairs, utensils, firewood and basic First Aid.
This trip is a great opportunity to practice your minimalist packing skills! We recommend the following:
- One pair shorts or capris
- One pair long leggings or pants
- One pair long pants for warmth at night (we love fleece pants)
- Two tanks/short-sleeved shirts (one to hike in, one for sleeping)
- One lightweight long-sleeved shirt
- Lightweight fleece for warmth
- Heavier fleece or down jacket for warmth
- Waterproof jacket for rain/wind protection (it's Death Valley, but you never know)
- Two pairs socks (one pair on your feet, one pair in your bag)
- Two pairs underwear
- Warm hat/lightweight gloves
- Swimsuit and towel
- Sun hat (wide-brimmed, floppy hats are the best!)
Please use your own judgement when packing: if you’re always cold, pack heavier extra layers. Keep an eye on the weather forecast linked below!
Click here for the Death Valley weather forecast as we approach our trip! Late fall, winter, and spring are the most comfortable times to visit the park; it's warm during the day, and chilly at night (but hey, that's what campfires are for).
Leave No Trace
Trail Mavens is committed to following and teaching Leave No Trace principles. To get you started, watch this video on LNT Outdoor Ethics from the National Parks Service. We'll cover this material again on our trip!
Trail Mavens often enjoy wine or whiskey together around the campfire in the evenings. Participation in drinking is welcome but of course not mandatory. We ask that Trail Mavens leave recreational drugs at home. If you’re a smoker, please be respectful and partake in a manner that doesn’t bother other group members, and adheres to Leave No Trace principles.
This is an internet-free weekend (plus, we won’t have cell service)! If you’d like to share your pics on social media, go for it, but only after we get backhome. Then, feel free to go crazy tagging @trailmavens on Instagram or Twitter.
Trail Mavens provides its adventurers with $1000 of fantastic camping gear. Read on for a couple tips on how to keep gear in like-new condition for future Mavens:
Your tent is your home for the weekend, so you want to keep it clean and tidy! Keep the door zipped shut unless you’re getting in or out to avoid six- or eight-legged visitors. Consume only water inside your tent to keep it scent-free, and store everything smelly, including toiletries, in the bear bins. We have spotted bears in this campsite on previous trips!
High-end tent fabric is very delicate; keep shoes and anything else dirty or sharp outside.
Set up your sleeping bag inside your tent to keep both your bag and your tent clean.
Our pads are inflatable, meaning they’re a) quite comfortable and b) can pop if they meet a sharp rock. Be sure to unpack, inflate, deflate, and pack your pad inside your tent, away from anything sharp. This will ensure a comfortable night of sleep for you, and a clean tent.