A Teepee Grows in Brooklyn: an Urban Camping Survival Guide

Jun 15, 2011
Urbanites camping on the Hudson (Photo: Zach Klein/Creative Commons)

The Department of the Interior plans to convert Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field—the one-time launching pad for Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes—into America’s largest urban campground, The Daily Mail reports. If the thought of bedraggled masses pitching tents across wide swaths of land on Long Island strikes you as vaguely apocalyptic, rest assured—the new campground will be run and overseen by the National Park Service. 

But this is Brooklyn, after all, so you should expect that the new campground, slated to be up-and-running within two years, might have more in common with Coachella than with Yellowstone of yore. The new campground might follow that festival’s eco-conscious lead and position itself at the forefront of environmentally friendly camping. 

In that spirit, TakePart presents five ways the Park Slope pioneers and Williamsburg homesteaders of the not-so-distant future can embrace the environment and keep their subcultural credentials intact.

1. Don’t bother with the ironic mobile home. Resist the temptation to invest in a gas-guzzling Winnebago, no matter how high it scores on the irony index—or how badly you want to recite lines from your favorite indie documentary. Bring a recyclable tent and lightweight bicycle instead. (And if you can’t resist the creature comforts of an RV, try one of this company’s products).

2. Bring a reusable water bottle. As much as you’d like to load six-packs of Pabst into a clunky plastic ice box, store your beverages in a glass container or Camelbak.

3. Leave the iPhone at home. Yeah, yeah—how are you going to read the mobile edition of Pitchfork under the stars? But see what a few days (or hours, for that matter) without cell phone stimuli feels like. Wrench yourself from Angry Birds to admire the, y’know, real birds.

4. Avoid insects the natural way. DEET-heavy bug repellants have adverse health effects. Check out this list of safe and green ways to keep ants away from your (locally baked) wheat bread. (And just think—how would you feel if the mosquitoes used hipster repellant?)

5. Collaborate with your neighbors. Help the aging couple pitch their tent. Lend your first-aid kit to the kid with a knee scrape. Camping isn’t necessarily about hiding in Thoreauvian solitude (or Bon Iver-esque hibernation)—it’s about community, too.

Have any urban camping survival tips of your own? Let us know on our Facebook page! 

Photo courtesy of Zach Klein via Flickr.

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