Camping can be some of the most enjoyable and memorable times with family and friends. However, being prepared is what makes the difference between a great trip and a disaster. These are a few tips to help your trip go as smoothly as possible.
1. Explore the Facilities
You should always know what you’re getting yourself into and how much you will be removing yourself from civilization. View the campground map before booking, call ahead and ask questions, and check out the Yelp! Reviews. Also, ask for information on the particular camp site you are reserving, and be aware of the amenities they provide for campers so you know how to prepare.
2. Bring Extra Everything
Your toilet paper will inevitably get wet, your weekends worth of food will be gone the first night, your flashlight batteries will die, and your sleeping bag wont be as warm and cozy as you thought it would be. It is better to be over prepared with extra everything, especially marshmallows, than understanding the real meaning of roughing it.
Click Here for a great checklist for your next trip!
3. Clean as You Go
It sounds like a no brainer but cleaning as you go will make things a lot easier. A light breeze can stir up the trash on your picnic table and you’ll be running around the campground trying to not be one of those campers. Also, pretend that every campground has an active bear population and keep everything super clean. Put your coolers away at night, throw your trash and recycling away in the appropriate containers, and leave the place cleaner than you found it.
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4. Go with the Flow
Things may not go the way you envision them to go. It may rain. You may get stung by a bee. The family near you may be extremely loud. You may buy damp fire wood. Just go with it and focus on the fun things you are able to do. Every camper has had enough adventures that didn’t go smoothly. However, people will still go camping, because the good always outweighs the bad.
5. Watch the Weather
The weather will probably be wonderful. However, nature has been known for unexpected flash floods, freezing nights, and blistering hot days but that should never stop a good time. Being aware of the weather and pack accordingly. And always make sure to bring extra blankets, dress in layers, and bring rain gear just in case.
Use these Weather Links to plan your next adventure:
6. Practice Makes Perfect
No one can set up a tent their first try, do not be discouraged. If you are worried, practice what you plan to do there. Set up your tent in the backyard a few times, cook a meal in your new dutch oven, and go fishing in the neighbors pond. Also, the more you camp the easier it becomes, just keep camping!
7. Nature Doesn’t Judge
Some find it hard vacation without modern conveniences and indoor plumbing for a whole trip. Just let it go, nature does not judge if you look like you are homeless.
Bring comfortable and weather appropriate clothing, thermal clothing is a great investment. Pull your hair up and leave the makeup at home, it will sweat off anyway.
8. Do a Scavenger Hunt
Make a Scavenger Hunt and take pictures of items on a list. It can be as easy or as complex as you want. If you’re looking at your camping trip from a photographer’s prospective, you are more likely to notice all the beauty around you and hopefully forget about all the bugs. And it gives you something you can take back and show people about your awesome camping trip!
9. Make a survival bag
For the non-outdoorsy person that loves nature, there are a few things you can bring to make your wilderness survival weekend easier.
- Biodegradable Baby Wipes – you will be amazed the uses you find for these
- Burt’s Bees Bug Bite Relief
- Nutella or Peanut Butter – it makes anything taste better
- An extra pair (or pack) of socks– they love to disappear and get soaking wet
- Sunblock and bug spray (not pictured)
- Notebook or sketchbook – for when creativity strikes
- A book – for those lazy afternoons
- A camera
- A few art supplies for your notebook or sketchbook
10. Prepare for the Drive
You’re likely driving a couple hours away to get to your camp site. Make the drive easy on yourself with a few necessities.
- Music – your radio stations are not making it that far so bring CDs, FM transmitters, AUX cords or if you’re really fancy a friend with a guitar
- Travel Journal – You will be doing so much it will be hard to keep track, jot down your adventures in a notebook
- Games – question games and travel games work best
- Lunches – it is time consuming and expensive to stop and eat meals on the road, pack a lunch box so you can snack on the way
- GPS and Back up Map – you do not want to get lost
- Pit Stops – Find fun stops a long the way to stretch your legs
- A sense of adventure!
11. Things to Pack
Many things are obvious, such as: clothing, sleeping bag, food, etc. However, if you have not been camping or have not been in a while there are a few necessities you might be forgetting!
- A lot of Large Trash Bags– You will need these for garbage, dirty clothes, wet equipment, and anything smelly that needs to come home.
- First Aid Kid – We all have that friend who will run into a tree, trip over a rock, or hook themselves while fishing, be prepared for the inevitable.
- Matches or Lighter – You will probably need something to start a fire, unless you want to try the old fashion way.
- Fishing Rod – If you can fish you should, whether you are a beginner or a pro you will definitely want your fishing gear
- Pocket Knife – These are extremely useful, you will be amazed the amount you will use it
- Duct tape – Again, extremely useful, be sure to throw it in your bag
- Rain coat – At some point it will probably rain, just be prepared
12. Preparing for Backpacking
You may get the itch to go backpacking or hiking. There are a few things to keep in mind for these adventures.
- Know the area – Most places have rules, check out the camping rules about what you can and cannot do
- Know your limits – There is no prize for being air lifted to the ER, take your time, know the weight you can carry, and know when you need to rest. Five miles on a cardio machine and five miles hiking up a mountain with a backpack are COMPLETELY different. Be sure to pack light but efficient for backpacking/hiking.
- Plan before and after – Plan where you will be staying every night and where and what you will be eating.
- Check for Permits – Check the locations rules for permits and whether or not you need one
13. Last Minute Tips
A few last things to help you enjoy your trip.
- Turn off your Phone – Actually turn off all of the electronics, except maybe a GPS
- Clean your car – It makes your trip a lot more comfortable and you never know if you will have to sleep in your car
- Give it a second try – Nothing goes right the first time, learn from what went wrong and try again, no camper ever got it right the first time
14. Reward Yourself
Camping can be hard work but at the end of the day sit back in your fold out chair, put your fuzzy slippers on, make a s’more, and enjoy the company of your family and friends!