It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for all year! The summer has come around, and you’re looking for a good way to spend it. You don’t want to sit around in your house throughout the summer, so what do you do? You grab all of your friends or family together, and you plan your next camping trip.
Next thing you know, you’re planning what tent to buy, or what BBQ food you absolutely must have for the trip of a lifetime. You may be feeling a little in over your head – the perfect camping trip requires a lot of planning and foresight, after all. Thankfully, we’re here to make the planning process just a little easier for you. Here are a few tips and activities for the camping trip of a lifetime.
Camping is about more than just laying a tent down in a forest and calling it a day. No – you need to be more prepared than that. Here are some of our tips to make your trip a success.
Have A Packing List Pre-Camping Trip
Don’t leave it until the night before to pack your bag ready for the big trip. You’ll end up finding yourself frustrated when you can’t find what you need, or when you realize halfway to your destination that you forgot to pack something vital.
The best thing to do before you head out on your camping trip is to have a packing list in place. When creating this list, think about a couple of things. First, how long is the trip going to be? You’re going to need to pack more stuff for a week-long trip than you would if you were only going away for a weekend.
In addition to that, you should also think about where you’re going. This means considering the weather – are you going to need an extra pair of thermals to keep yourself toasty warm because you’re going somewhere super cold, or are you going to be too warm in this place so something light will be better? Consider the campsite that you’re visiting – what amenities do they have? Is there any gear that you can leave behind because the site already has you covered?
One thing is for sure. It doesn’t matter where you’re going, there will always be some things that you absolutely must bring with you in order to have a successful and safe trip. We’ll cover many of these more in depth later in the article, but in the meantime, here’s a brief list of some of the things that you should think about bringing with you.
- Sleeping bag
- Tent and pitching gear
- First aid kit
- Cooking gear
- Weatherproof clothing items
- Laundry bag
- Tent repair kit
- Seating and tables
- Lighter or matches for a fire
- Cutlery and plates
- Trash bags
There are many more things than those mentioned on this list that are certainly worth bringing, but this is just the basics. Your personal list may also have a few extra items on it, so keep that in mind. It may be a good idea to look online for a camping checklist to help you out.
Buy A Bigger Tent Than You Think You Need
There are a lot of things that you need to think about when it comes to buying your tent for the excursion. You need to think about whether it’ll withstand the weather conditions in the area and if it’s comfortable, and is it durable enough for your stay? These are all important things to think about, but there’s one more vital thing that you need to think about when you’re buying your tent. That’s the size of the tent.
In most aspects of life, size isn’t that important, but it certainly is when it comes to camping. You need to ensure that you have the correct tent size when you go camping. If you think that you need to get a certain size of tent though, it’s always worth getting something a tiny bit bigger.
Why is this? Why should you get a two person tent when you’re camping alone? Well, first of all, it’s worth thinking about the future. Are you going to be camping alone every single time that you go camping? If not, get a bigger tent size to accommodate any guests that you may have.
In addition to this, it’s a good idea to get a bigger tent even if you aren’t going to be going with other people later on. That extra space will go a long way in ensuring that you don’t feel cramped when you’re camping. After all, it’s not just your body that’s going to be in the tent. All of your stuff is likely to be in there too, such as your suitcase and any other items you’ve brought with you that need to go under shelter for the night.
It may cost you more money to buy a bigger tent, but it’s worthwhile to get that extra space. It’ll make your trip much more comfortable too.
Check The Weather Forecast In Advance
When it comes to camping, being prepared is worth its weight in gold. That is especially true when it comes to the weather.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible for us to control the weather. If we could, it would probably be sunny much more often than it actually is! We would all love for the sun to be always shining when we go on a camping trip, but the reality is that it’s not always going to turn out that way.
So, if you can’t control the weather, what can you do? Well, you can make sure that you are prepared for the weather conditions. If you notice that there are going to be a few days of rain while you’re out on your trip, then bring gear to help you to manage it. This means bringing a tarp under the tent, and bringing waterproof clothing so you don’t get caught in the rain like a pina colada. If the weather is likely to be particularly bad in the rain department, then make sure that you have a location on higher ground to pitch your tent so it doesn’t get flooded.
What if it’s warm though? Well, bring cold foods and drinks with you to keep you cool even in the hottest of temperatures. Make sure that you have some clothes with you that will allow your skin to breathe, or make sure that you have a trip planned to your nearest swimming pool so you can have a dip in the pool to cool off. If you prepare in advance, then you are less likely to get caught off guard by unexpected weather, and it’s less likely to ruin your trip.
Always Plan For Bad Weather
As we’ve already mentioned, nobody likes bad weather. Unfortunately, there’s always the chance that you may end up being caught in bad weather when you are out on your travels. You can’t predict every single thing that’s going to happen. Even the weather forecast can be wrong sometimes. This is particularly true if you’re going somewhere in the northwest US, where things like rain and inclement weather are very common.
So, make sure that you are prepared in the event that some sudden rain or a heatwave does crop up. This means bringing warm layers, and waterproof clothing. If you’re camping in the colder months then make sure that you have things like a warm coat, a hat and a scarf – maybe even some gloves. For the warmer weather, it’s good to have some sun protection and insect repellent on hand. Bugs are pretty good at making a trip miserable, so it’s best to prepare so they have fewer chances of doing so.
Plan Your Activities In Advance
It’s always good to have a little bit of flexibility when you go camping. After all, camping can be a great way to see and do things that you wouldn’t normally experience. For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep at least a little bit of your schedule open when you go camping to allow for those spontaneous moments.
With that being said, It’s always a good idea to plan some of your activities before you leave for your trip. This will help you to ensure that you can do all of the things that you want to do when you’re on your vacation. If you don’t plan the activities in advance, then there’s always the chance that they may be fully booked before you arrive.
The best thing to do is to do some research before you go. Check what attractions are in the area. Check how much they cost, and whether they’re likely to be particularly busy. Check whether you need to book in advance, as this can sometimes be the case with particularly popular attractions. This will also help you to feel even more excited about your trip before you go. It will help you to avoid any boredom too from just sitting outside of a tent for a few days. If you have a smaller budget then you also don’t need to worry – there are plenty of activities that you can do without spending a penny, but it may mean that you need to prepare some extra things to bring with you in advance. By preparing in advance, you are making the trip even better for yourself!
Take A First Aid Kit
It’s also a good idea to make sure that you take a first aid kit with you when you go on your camping trip. You never know when you will be caught in an emergency situation, especially if you are doing things like hiking on a regular basis while you are on your vacation. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
In most cases you can find ready made first aid kits that will work perfectly for your excursion. You can get them in most outdoors stores or you can look for some online. With that being said though, no first aid kit that you buy outright is going to give you the best option to keep you safe on a hike. That’s why it’s usually better to make your own, so then you have it for long term use and hopefully never have to use it.
So what should you put in your first aid kit? Well, start out by packing medicines. If you have severe allergies, then make sure that you have an EpiPen on hand. Have things like anti inflammatory medications and antihistamines too. Plant and insect repellents are a good thing to have on hand too.
Of course, you can’t forget the bandages! Make sure that you have some fabric and synthetic bandages in your first aid kit in the event that you or someone with you ends up getting into a scrape. Bring some antibiotic wipes and spray too, alongside some alcohol rub for any wounds. It’s also a good idea to bring a gauze, tweezers, medical tape, burn cream, latex gloves and some needle and thread. Some scissors and an electric heat blanket are a fantastic thing to bring too.
Arrive At Your Campsite During The Day
When it’s finally that exciting day when you get to arrive at your destination, you will want to make sure that you are arriving during the day. A lot of people will try to get to their camping destinations at night once they finish work, and while this can certainly work out fine for veteran campers, it’s not the best idea for beginners. You’ve probably seen it before – millions of videos of people having huge arguments as they try to put up a tent. Well, it can be hard to put up a tent when you’re a beginner, so can you imagine how difficult it would be to try to pitch a tent when it’s pitch dark outside? Spare your future self the worry and stress and try to arrive during the day instead.
Check And Double Check The Ground You’re Pitching Your Tent On
It’s a good idea to check the ground beneath the place where you will be pitching your tent before putting it up – another reason why it’s a good idea to arrive at the campsite in the daytime! If you don’t pitch your tent on the correct type of ground then you may find that you have problems later down the line. Ideally, the ground for your camping location needs to be even for the most part. This helps to ensure that you aren’t on a slope where the tent can slip down. Also double check that you don’t have any garbage, stones or rocks in the camping location, since it can feel super uncomfortable for you and it can also end up permanently causing damage to the groundsheet. This is certainly not a good thing, since it may end up preventing you from using the tent in the future or you may need to pay to buy a new groundsheet.
Don’t Pitch Your Tent Under A Tree
This may seem like a strange thing to say. What have trees got to do with it? Why should you be robbed of a gorgeous Instagram photo opportunity to wow your friends with? Well, for the sake of your comfort and the longevity of the tent, it’s best to avoid pitching your tent beneath a tree. For starters, you may end up in a situation where branches fall onto your tent when it’s windy outside. This can end up damaging your tent. In addition to that, you may end up getting bird poop all over the tent since birds like to hang out in trees. Just don’t do it – you’ll thank us later!
Don’t Forget Lighting
Camping is a lot of fun, but it can also be quite scary when it’s dark outside. If you’re in the wilderness and you can’t see, it may freak you out and be a bit of a tripping hazard. For that reason, it’s a good idea to make sure that you bring some lighting with you to guide the way. This could be something like a torch or a headlight for when you need to move around at night. You can also hang a lantern next to your tent for when you’re staying in that vicinity.
Pack A Portable Charger
One problem with many campsites is that they don’t always have the best phone signal. You may think that this makes your phone redundant when you are on your vacation, but this isn’t actually the case. Actually, having a portable charger is a good choice, since it means that your phone can still stay charged so if you do end up getting caught in an emergency you can ask for help.
Consider What Entertainment You Will Have On Your Trip
This is the time for fun, so bring lots of cool entertainment with you on your trip! This is when you can get away from tech, and instead you can enjoy other fun things like outdoor games, books, board games and cards. There are so many tech free options out there, and this is your perfect opportunity to use them.
You don’t want to smell like a sewer when you’re enjoying your vacation, right? In that case, it’s a good idea to bring some toiletries with you when you embark on your trip. It doesn’t need to be your entire bathroom cupboard contents. Just make sure that you have shower supplies, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hair brush and anything else that you may need in order to look and feel your best. You’ll certainly end up thanking yourself for it.
Pack Your Car In A Considered Order
When it’s time for you to start packing up your car, it’s worthwhile doing so in a specific order. For instance, the things that you know you are going to need almost immediately should be the things towards the front of the trunk. Pack those last so you can access them easily – this should include things like snacks, your tent and things like them. If you can’t envision yourself needing the item for a while, pack it first.
Check The Rules of Your Campsite
A campsite is generally owned by someone else and it has regulations that need to be followed. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to check the rules and regulations before you head out on your trip so you know what to expect.
Don’t Leave Valuables Unattended
We all like to think the best of people, but sometimes people will take any opportunity to get a little bit of extra money or gear. For that reason, it’s best to always be cautious when you are camping and to make sure that your valuables are secure and away from any potential camping thieves. You never know who you’re going to encounter on your travels, so it’s always better to be safe.
Prepare For Camping With Your Dog
Are you taking your dog with you on your camping trip? If so, then you are also going to need to make sure that you have made provisions for him and her. This begins with checking that the camp site you have chosen is dog friendly. Some sites won’t allow pets, so it’s important to keep that in mind. You will also need to bring all of their essentials, like their bowl and their leash with you. There are plenty of articles online giving guidelines on how to deal with camping with your dog, so it’s certainly worthwhile to do your own research.
Plan Your Meals In Advance
You may be sensing a theme in this article – preparation is best. While you can go out on a whim a little more when you have a hotel room, this isn’t necessarily the case when you are camping. One thing that you need to consider here is ensuring that you have plenty of food for the journey. The best thing to do is to plan out the different meals that you are going to consume before you even leave. Consider whether you have the equipment for certain meals – you’re not likely to find a stray microwave in the wilderness, after all! Make sure that you bring some things that are easy enough to cook, like tinned foods, rice and bread. If you plan the meals before you go then you can rest easy knowing everything is covered. You’ll also be covered for some fantastic feasts!
Fun Camping Activities
So what are you going to do when you’re on your camping trip? Well, there are a couple of options! You don’t need to just be sitting outside of your tent for the entire vacation. Here are a couple of fun camping activities that you may enjoy when you are on your trip.
If you love being out on the water, then it’s definitely worthwhile making sure that you do some kayaking when you’re camping. Actually, there are even designated kayak camping trips that you can take if you want to experience the cool waters and the wind in your hair in a structured way.
Of course, if you’re going on a kayaking trip then there are some extra things that you will need to bring with you. Make sure that you have all of your kayak camping gear prepared – though on some designated kayaking trips the equipment may be provided for you, in which case you may not need to worry. Make sure that you bring some waterproof clothing with you too!
There are a lot of benefits of kayaking, too. For instance, it’s a fantastic cardiovascular workout for your arms. It’s a good way to experience the open water, and you can even go fishing while you are kayaking. It’s a perfect way to spend a camping trip both for the thrill seekers and for those who are looking for a more relaxed vacation. This makes it ideal for a wide variety of different people, so it’s worth giving it a try if you want to experience a new activity.
When you’re hanging out back at camp, you’ll want some low key activities to enjoy. What is better for a camping trip than letting your competitive streak run wild with a good old fashioned card game?
There are a lot of different card games that you can play too, such as poker, blackjack, go fish, and more. You are sure to find something that will suit the whole group – though group is the operative word, since card games aren’t really something that you can do on your own. You can play card games pretty much anywhere too – you don’t have to sit outside of your tent to do it.
There’s nothing like warming up around the campfire when you’re on a camping trip. You can make some s’mores, toasted marshmallows – it’s pretty wonderful. You can also enjoy some campfire stories as a group. If you have some trouble thinking of any, look some up before you go. They can be lighthearted, scary, funny or anything else you can think of. This can be a great way to bond with your group and flex your creative muscles. If you have some musical skill, you could also try playing the guitar and singing some songs with your group. It’s a lot of fun and you’re sure to have a great time as the evening is beginning to draw to a close!
Glow In The Dark Frisbee
By the time the night rolls around and it gets dark, you may begin to struggle to see things like card games. That’s why glow in the dark frisbee is such a great game to play when you want some late night camping fun!
As the name suggests, glow in the dark frisbees light up even when it’s dark. You can throw them to your friends in a large open area near the campsite for a lot of evening madness. You can make it into a competition if you want to – just be careful that none of you fall, which is a potential hazard when you’re being physical in the dark!
Tag isn’t just a game for children, you know! You can have a lot of fun playing tag even when you’re an adult on a camping trip. Of course, your regular daytime tag may not excite you very much, since it may not be as fun for you to be able to see all of your friends and family out in the open. That’s why flashlight tag can be such a great choice of activity to enjoy. With this, you have to catch your fellow players with the flashlight in order to see them and tag them. Otherwise, you’re running around mostly in the dark, and so are they! It may be a good idea to make sure none of them are wearing luminous clothing, since they’ll stick out like a sore thumb. You could make it into a mix and match version of hide and seek too, which is a lot of fun.
And that’s everything that you need to know in order to have a successful camping trip! With a little bit of preparation in advance and vigilance when you get to the site, you’ll have a time to remember for definite. Now, grab your friends and family and get ready for some fun!