Planning a camping trip can be fun, but it can also be stressful. There are so many things to consider before you go. What should you pack? How much food should you bring? Where should you stay? And what should you do once you arrive at your destination?
Camping trips are great because they allow you to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. They provide you with time to relax and enjoy nature. But sometimes, even though you plan ahead, you might run into unexpected problems.
Here are the 50 camping tips to plan a safe and rewarding Vacation
To ensure a successful camping trip, you need to prepare well in advance. This means packing the right gear, knowing where you want to camp, and having a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Here are some ways to plan a weekend camping trip that’s different from the typical one.
1. Consider Your Budget First
The first step to planning a successful outing is deciding how much money you have to spend. It may seem obvious, but this is often overlooked by many people who begin their planning process. The amount of money you will or won’t have available to you when you are actually traveling depends on several factors, such as your job situation, your current financial status, and your plans for the future.
If you’re struggling financially, it may not be possible for you to afford a more expensive camping trip than usual. Instead, take advantage of free activities near your home. Take care of your health needs first, then use the extra money you would normally spend on travel to pay off debts or save money to start saving up for another adventure.
Many people find that budgeting is easier if they break down their spending into categories instead of trying to look at everything all at once. For example, if you think of groceries as one category, you’ll be able to better decide whether or not certain grocery items are necessary for a particular trip. Food costs can add up quickly, especially during longer trips. Therefore, making sure you have enough prepared food to last you will help you manage your overall expenses.
2. Make Sure There Is Enough Money for Transportation Costs
When most people think about going camping, they picture themselves arriving at their campsite and setting up their tent. However, there are other costs associated with camping that aren’t always considered during the planning process. While you may assume that there’s plenty of room for gas money, you should also check the cost of transportation before you head out of town. As an added perk, being prepared will save you money on fuel. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself paying for hotel rooms while you’re gone. Also, keep in mind how long each leg of your trip will take, especially if you are making multiple stops along the way.
3. Decide Where You Want to Go
Before you decide which campgrounds to visit, it helps you to decide where you’d like to spend your vacation. Before you start packing, try to think about your preferences. Are you looking for quiet seclusion? Or do you prefer bustling cities and bustling crowds? Do you enjoy nature, or do you love the feel of sandy beaches? Finding the answer to these questions will give you your insight on what kind of place you want to go to.
Also remember to consider weather conditions, as many places require permits. Some popular destinations that require permits include national parks, state parks, public lands, and wilderness areas. They usually specify when permits are needed, so be sure to double-check beforehand.
4. Choose the Right Gear
You may already own most of the basic tools needed for camping, but you should still have backups in case anything breaks. For example, it wouldn’t hurt to keep spare flashlights, batteries, and even a small tool kit nearby just in case they are needed. Additionally, bring along some duct tape, if only for emergency repairs. The best part about camping is the opportunity to truly get away from technology; therefore, it’s important that you bring your phone charger so you can stay connected. Lastly, ensure you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes, as this could potentially be a hike that lasts several hours.
5. Consider Getting Medical Care
While traveling, there are times when unexpected medical issues arise. Whether it involves cuts, blisters or dehydration, having access to proper care is vital when you are on the road. Make sure that you bring along a first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic, pain medication, a sewing kit, sunscreen, insect repellant, and a flashlight. Plus, it never hurts to have extra cash available for emergencies. Even though we don’t recommend carrying around large sums of cash when traveling, keeping $50-$100 dollars stashed in a safe location can come in handy if you need money for an unexpected expense.
6. Pack Healthy Meals & Snacks
Bringing your own snacks and packed lunches can reduce the amount of money spent on meals and fast food options. By eating healthy meals, you will avoid wasting energy and money by overeating unhealthy options. Bring along a few protein bars and nuts, along with carrots, celery sticks, and crackers. Having them on hand will provide you with quick, portable meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s best to pack dried fruit instead of fresh ones because dried fruits tend to last much longer than fresh produce.
7. Create a Backup Cleanup Plan
During the summer months, chances are good that mosquitoes, flies and gnats will create quite a bit of mess after a rain shower. Be sure to prepare ahead of time for the possibility of needing to clean up quickly. Leave space on your car floorboard so that you won’t waste precious time cleaning up after you wash your vehicle. Keep a trash bag ready to use on the ground beneath your vehicle and be sure to clear off all surfaces that might collect debris. In addition, leave space next to your toilet so that you don’t have to walk through piles of dirty grass and leaves. When using a restroom, be prepared to pick up trash. Take everything into the bushes where it belongs. This way, the area can look tidy again once you’re done.
8. Don’t Forget Your First Aid Kit
One of the greatest fears associated with camping is getting injured. And while injuries happen more often when camping, you can save yourself from potential problems if you take steps to prevent them. Before heading out hiking, check out the trails you intend to visit. Then, try not to overdo it by going too far at once. Instead, slow down the pace and give your body plenty of time to adjust. Also, wear sturdy footwear — such as hiking boots — in order to protect your feet from sharp objects that might be lying on the trail. Remember to put on sunscreen every day. During hot weather, wear lightweight clothing that doesn’t trap sweat inside. Lastly, before venturing outdoors, make sure you apply bug spray and insect repellent.
9. Bring Along Water-Friendly Soap
Many people mistakenly think that soap has no place in nature. After all, animals usually live without it. However, they do make their own version of soap by breaking down vegetable fibers with acids found in their stomachs. Animals that live in cold climates usually rely on this method.
10. Know How to Use a Fire Starter
Fire starters are small devices made specifically for starting fires. Typically, these fire starters consist of three essential components: tinder, kindling, and fire. Tinders are typically made of paper or cloth strips soaked in petroleum jelly. Kindling consists of twigs, small branches, or other flammable material that’s dampened enough to catch fire easily. Finally, fire consists of dry wood.
11. Make Sure Your Campfire Is Approved
While most campfires are perfectly safe, there are a lot of different types of campfires that aren’t. Some campfires require propane tanks while others may need chemical additives known as creosote inhibitors. All of these campfires deserve careful consideration prior to setting up camp. If possible, talk to park rangers about what type of campfire would work best in the site you’ve chosen. They should be able to help clarify the appropriate methods to set up camp.
12. Clear Out Trees from The Site
When looking for a suitable campsite, trees often play a vital role. If the landowner allows it, ask permission first. This will ensure that you and those around you stay healthy and have fun. If the landowner hasn’t mentioned anything, then you’re free to cut away the trees if need be. Just remember to remove only dead plants and not the living parts.
13. Pack Food Wisely for Emergency Purposes
Campgrounds are equipped with facilities designed to keep visitors fed and hydrated throughout their stay. While you’ll likely find plenty of snacks available, the quality of the food can vary greatly. As a result, it pays to bring your own emergency provisions. With this in mind, consider packing a wide variety of items such as: protein bars (like Power bars and even energy and sports gels. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries for your headlamp, flashlights, and radio. Additionally, bring basic medical supplies like bandages, antiseptic gel/wipes, ointments, pain relievers, and thermometers.
14. Consider Using an Air Horn on Your Next Hike
If you decide to go on a hike during the summer months, you’ll want to prepare yourself ahead of time. Even though it may seem counterintuitive to use an air horn on a hike, they actually provide much-needed protection against falls or animals. When exploring new landscapes, it never hurts to bring along backup items in case something happens. With an air horn, you won’t have to worry about having a blowout and losing important gear when hiking through woods and forests.
15. Carry a Solar Lantern During Night Walks
During the day, solar lanterns aren’t too tough to handle. However, at night, many of them become cumbersome. Because they can weigh more than five pounds, it can be difficult to hold onto them and walk at the same time. Luckily, the newest models allow users to detach them so that they can carry them separately. This helps reduce the weight and makes carrying easier.
16. Try to Find Shade in Summer Months
Shade is almost always needed in hot weather, especially during the summer. Without shade, we wouldn’t survive. It doesn’t matter how high a person stands, when they’re exposed to direct sunlight, their body temperature rises. If you live in an area where there isn’t any shade, then you’ll need to get creative with other solutions. Bring sun block to protect yourself and others. Remember to apply sunscreen after you put on clothes, otherwise you’ll absorb the product into your skin.
17. Prepare A Portable Grill Before Going Anywhere
Grilling is a great way to enjoy outdoor cooking, but it requires a bit of preparation beforehand. First off, you’ll need to buy charcoal briquettes. These are ideal because they don’t easily burn down. Second, you’ll need to build a fire pit. You can either do this outside or inside depending on what you prefer. Finally, you’ll need to grill your meat, ribs, chicken, fish, etc. You could do all of these things together, but why not just go ahead and separate each task? By doing this, you’ll be able to cook multiple dishes simultaneously without spending hours waiting for each one to finish.
18. Keep the Cool Towel Close at Hand
The cool towel is a lifesaver for anyone who wants to enjoy a relaxing weekend getaway. While staying home may sound tempting, being outdoors provides us with valuable opportunities for experiencing nature. We should take advantage of this by taking trips every now and again. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, try working up the courage to go fishing. Or maybe you’d rather spend your time getting lost in the mountains. Either way, the cool towel will help keep you comfortable while enjoying your outing.
19. Know What Time of Year Is Best for Your Trips
In order to maximize your experience, be sure to check when the month is best for trips. Some people love going camping in the fall, while others would rather head outside in springtime. Knowing this allows you to find the right time to go so that you can enjoy the most fun possible.
20. Take Water Toys Along
When planning trips, make sure to bring along water toys. These unique tools are a lot of fun for both children and adults alike. Whether you use it as a paddle, a sailboat, or a raft, the toy lets you explore new territory in a safe environment. Additionally, water toys usually come with built-in lights because they are meant to be used at night. They can add a touch of enchantment to your excursion.
21. Bring Along Other Types of Toys
A variety of toys is important for everyone who plans to go camping. Make sure that you include items that are age proper. Children should bring plenty of games, dolls, building blocks, dress up clothes, books, board games, puzzles, and crayons. Adults should bring along backgammon, cards, darts, dominoes, musical instruments, telescopes, binoculars, fishing poles, and golf clubs. Be sure to plan everything so that you don’t end up running out of things to play with.
22. Find Out About Campgrounds Nearby
Many campsites offer amenities such as swimming pools, playgrounds, restaurants, game rooms, laundry facilities, and more. Most also have free Wi-Fi hotspots. This information is invaluable since it helps you decide which campsite will work best for your family. Look around online first, however, before making reservations.
23. Pack Everything Ahead of Time
If you want to stay organized, it’s crucial to start packing things early. Since you don’t know what exactly you’ll need until the day comes, it’s best to prepare at least two days beforehand. If you wait too long, it’ll become difficult to figure out where to begin assembling your equipment.
24. Don’t Forget to Pack A Few Extras
We’ve already covered how many essentials you’ll need. Now, we’ll talk about accessories and supplies. Among them: blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, flashlights, bug spray, toiletries, insect repellent, sunscreen, matches, candles, batteries, a radio, and a book. Bring extras to give away after your trip; this makes everyone feel welcome.
25. Remember to Bring Supplies for Cooking and Clean-Up
You’ll definitely want to stock up on paper plates, plastic utensils, aluminum foil, pots & pans, dish soap, hand towels, wet wipes, garbage bags, trash cans, and other cleaning products. The last thing you want is to wake up to a mess when you return home. Also, try not to forget the duct tape! It can come in handy for several purposes including tucking blankets into tents and sealing cracks around windows and doors.
26. Bring Plenty of Duct Tape
There’s nothing worse than waking up to discover that your tent has ripped or that all of the seams have split apart. All it takes is a few moments of bad luck for a whole vacation to turn disastrous. Fortunately, duct tape fixes almost anything! Learn how to use it here.
27. Choose an Affordable Location
There are dozens of great options for finding affordable locations to camp. Your friends may even have an extra place they no longer use. Before setting up a camp site somewhere, find out whether there are restrictions or regulations. For instance, it might be illegal to set up camps in certain areas. Also, ask questions such as the location’s distance from power sources and sewage treatment plants.
28. Avoid Contaminated Water Sources
Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean that you have permission to pollute rivers, lakes, and streams. In fact, it’s important to take precautions to avoid getting sick. Drink only bottled water, and then treat it with iodine tablets before drinking. Also, wash your hands thoroughly often using soap for 30 seconds. Use non-disposable toothbrushes to clean your teeth, and wear shoes while walking through muddy paths so that you won’t track any dirt back home.
29. Know What Is Illegal
If you really want to explore the beauty of nature, it’s OK to do so. However, keep in mind that camping without permission is illegal, especially in national parks and forests, public and private lands. These areas were designed to supply a safe haven for wildlife, but they aren’t meant for human habitation. Be sure to abide by the laws in order to enjoy the natural wonders of the world.
30. Keep A Journal
It’s always inspiring to look back at old journals, photos, and letters. Keeping a journal or diary keeps memories fresh forever. In addition to writing down your thoughts and feelings, you can include notes about what sights you saw, places you visited, and animals you met. This will add more meaning to your trips in the future. After putting it all down, read over everything again to relive the fun you had during your travels.
31. Consider Bringing Along Things to Do While on Vacation
People get bored easily, and sometimes just having too much free time can be exhausting. When you’re planning a long road trip, consider packing activities to keep you busy during the journey. This could range from reading books, playing games, exercising, or going sightseeing. Some people even bring their favorite CDs or playlists to listen to while driving. Of course, you can’t leave these items behind once you start traveling. So, figure out a way for them to travel with you.
32. Check the Weather Forecast
During the summer months, weather forecasts can definitely affect a person’s plans for a camping trip. Most people prefer to go camping when it’s warm, dry, and sunny. During the cooler spring and fall seasons, temperatures outside can drop below freezing. Try to pick a location where you’ll have access to shelter should rain come pouring down. It would be best to wait until after June 1st to head outdoors in colder regions because chances are the winter season will last into July.
33. Bring Supplies with You
When you prepare for a camping trip, especially a lengthy one, remember to bring supplies. Make a list of things you need to bring along such as drinking water, toilet paper, extra blankets, and other essentials. Pack your bag accordingly. Don’t forget to carry a flashlight because night hiking isn’t easy. As a matter of fact, you might end up missing something essential. And besides, you shouldn’t hike alone!
34. Choose Your Vehicle Wisely
Carrying a tent and other equipment may seem heavy, but they can actually fit inside most cars. Whether you drive a pickup truck, jeep, van, or SUV, there should be enough space for your gear. If not, you may have to sacrifice one thing. For example, you can choose between packing a small trailer or a tent on top of your car. Also, make sure the vehicle has a trunk or storage area large enough for luggage and stuff you’ll take with you.
35. Go Where No Man Has Gone Before… Or At Least Been Recorded
As mentioned earlier, camping can be monotonous. If you’re looking for a new adventure, go where no one else has gone before. Take advantage of unique locations such as lakeside, beachside, mountain peaks, and forested areas. Even though these spots won’t be crowded, you still have plenty to discover. Plus, many of these locations have stunning views that you simply can’t find anywhere else.
36. Get Involved with Local Communities
You can learn a lot by taking part in local events. You can go kayaking, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, picnicking, or anything else that interests you. By becoming involved with a particular activity, you’ll be able to make social connections with others who share similar passions.
37. Be Prepared for Emergencies
While many people enjoy going camping, there are times when emergencies arise that require swift action. A few examples include getting lost in the woods, getting caught in bad weather, needing medical attention, getting stuck in traffic, losing cell service, etc. In these situations, you should always be prepared to meet any challenge presented to you. Learn how to navigate using only your map, compass, and GPS if necessary.
38. Bring Plenty of Water
There’s nothing more frustrating than leaving a campsite without having enough water. If possible, bring along at least two gallons per person. The rule of thumb is to divide the total amount of water needed among the number of people attending the outing. This way you won’t run out of water too quickly. After all, it’s not like you can get added free water during the trip! Remember, you should always keep tabs on how much water you’re consuming.
39. Prepare to Make Food Onsite
One of the main reasons why most people love to camp so much is because they eat great while doing it. However, cooking over open fires can be dangerous, messy, and even painful if done improperly. Unless you use a stove, fire pit, or grills, you’ll simply have to rely on preparing food in advance. Have a good meal planning strategy ready for when you arrive at your destination. This will help save time once you get to the site.
40. Practice Emergency Situations First
It’s important to practice emergency techniques for outdoor activities whenever possible. This includes practicing common maneuvers such as fastening seatbelts, adjusting life jackets, handling injuries, staying hydrated, and treating altitude sickness. It’s also wise to practice basic first aid such as applying ice packs and splints. Some of these skills can come in handy should you ever have an accident outdoors.
41. Wear Sunglasses When Visiting Sunlight Areas
In many parts of the world, sunlight burns very easily. As such, wear sunglasses while visiting beautiful sun-exposed locations. Even if the skies are cloudy or slightly overcast. Sunglasses filter out harmful ultraviolet rays which cause skin cancer. They may also protect your eyes from experiencing light-related eye problems like macular degeneration.
42. Know What Type of Clothing Works Best in Each Location
If you’re going camping somewhere tropical, then you should wear wet suits. These garments work well because they allow you to stay cool and dry, even when entering cold waters. While wearing them, remember not to touch their zipper or neckline. Instead, you’ll want to pull away from the garment’s sleeves instead. This helps prevent chaffed skin from developing.
If you’re heading off-roading with the kids, then consider buying heavy duty boots to last longer. Choose items made of leather or other durable materials. Avoid cheap plastic boots because they tend to break down rather quickly.
43. Pack Lightly
You don’t need tons of stuff when you go camping. All you really need to bring is what you absolutely need. Things like clothing, shoes, cookware, utensils, plates, cups and cutlery, blankets, pillows, and bedding. Beyond this, you might find yourself packing a small flashlight. Then again, depending on where you head and what sort of weather conditions you meet, you might not need anything else.
44. Leave Your Cell Phone at Home
We understand that cell phones are important for keeping in contact with loved ones back home. That said, most areas don’t offer reliable cellular service. This means that it would be best to leave your phone in the comfort of your house.
45. Consider Bringing Pets Along
Pets travel just fine inside vehicles. So why do we suggest against taking them along? Well, pets can be quite destructive if left alone during long trips. Plus, there is no shortage of annoying pests that can pose a threat to your pet.
46. Bring Plenty of Water for Your Kittens
As mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to bring plenty of water wherever you go. This holds true especially for kitties or tiny animals who can get dehydrated fairly easily. You could always buy bottled water at your destination but why not use the convenience of tap water?
47. Make Sure to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before Leaving
Most people feel groggy after only four hours of sleep. If you’re planning on camping, then it is essential to ensure you get adequate sleep prior to leaving your home. Ideally, aim for eight hours’ worth of shut-eye. Remember, you will likely be asleep for much of your journey so make sure to get all the rest you can get.
48. Find A Safe Place to Park Your Vehicle
Whether you drive around town or into the country, parking your car is never fun. It’s a pain in the neck and involves carrying everything out of your vehicle first. Fortunately, most destinations have safe places to park your car. When you arrive at these areas, you won’t have to carry anything out of the vehicle.
49. Use the Right Tools to Cook
Cooking outdoors doesn’t necessarily mean cooking under the stars. Just as you wouldn’t use a BBQ grill on top of a hot stove burner, you shouldn’t use outdoor grills indoors. It creates the risk of creating carbon monoxide gas. Invest in a couple of quality portable propane stoves to keep your meals hot and ready whenever you need them.
50. Take Pictures and Video
Taking pictures and videos while you’re away a great way to relive memories later. Not only does it help to remember moments you wish you had more often, it also helps others to reminisce about their own experiences.
Some trips are well planned, while others simply take place through happenstance. No matter how you choose to explore outdoors, it’s important to know how long each excursion is going to last. Try to calculate how many days you’ll be spending in the woods. Decide whether to spend your weekends in cities or parks or somewhere else entirely. Once you’ve got this figured out, you’ll be prepared for whatever adventures await!
Also read about How to enjoy your Vacation by Camping in the Forest? .