One of the great things about camping is that you're generally away from the major cities and the night sky opens up for you to enjoy. I've been an amateur astronomer for the past 20 years and now serve as one of the Directors for the Table Mountain Star Party here in WA. I thought I'd share a few of my ideas and suggestions for those interested in learning and/or enjoying the wonder that can be the night sky. First, a telescope not required. In fact, unless you're an avid stargazer like me or your camping trip is specifically for doing astronomy, I'd suggest not buying/taking one with you. You already have a decent set of observing tools with you: your eyes. Take a chair, find a spot away from any lights that you can get away from with a clear view of the sky, sit back and look up. Let your eyes adapt to the darkness; your night vision improves dramatically away from white lights after 20 minutes or so. If you live near any major urban area, I promise that you're going to see many more stars than you've ever seen at home. Start learning the night sky. You don't need to be an expert - unless you want to be. Just learning some of the major constellations, where they are and what time of the year you can see them will add to your enjoyment. A simple planisphere can be a great aid for this; they're inexpensive, easy to use and fit in a drawer. Or you could use one of the many phone apps to guide you through what you're seeing when you look up. (tip: turn the brightness down on your phone screen to save your night vision.) I am of the opinion that if you're going to use a viewing aid while camping, a pair of binoculars is about as good as you can get. Most everyone has a pair lying around, and even a pair of modest 7x35's will add to the enjoyment. They take up very little space and have other uses ("No uni-taskers!", according to Alton Brown). If you've brought your chair, you have a more stable base to hold the binos and get better looks at those fuzzy patches you may spot. If you want to expand your binocular viewing knowledge, I highly recommend the book Binocular Highlights by Gary Seronik. My wife is a binocular observer exclusively, and this is one of her go-to books for using her binoculars (10x50's, 15x80's and giant 25x100's). Take someone with you - the spouse, SO, kids, friends.. Not only is it safer, but it's more fun when you're sharing the experience! The night sky is something we all share. It's part of our history, full of lore and inspiration, and best shared with those around you. If you want more information about getting out and enjoying the night sky, contact your local astronomy club; most are affiliated with the Astronomical League. Enjoy!