Planning a Camping Trip

Planning a Camping Trip

Planning a Camping Trip

Planning a camping trip is worth while.  Even though the most memorable camp outs are when everything goes wrong.  You always want to plan for your camp outs.  Don’t go planning every single minute of your time.  Camping is about fun and relaxation.  You should however plan meals, a few activities, and maybe some sites to see.  The question where to start planning?  What do you bring?  How long should you camp?  Plus many more things to consider

How Long Should You Camp?

The length of your camping trip really depends on how you have to camp.  If allowed some people would camp for weeks.  There is nothing wrong with a month-long camping trip.  If you love the out doors, have the time it’s a great idea.  Although your first camping trip should be shorter.

Some of the best camping trips are a week or less.  With the most common trips starting after work on Friday night and ending Sunday afternoon.  To truly reset your biological clock to nature it takes a week.  Most of us don’t have a week to get away from the world.  A weekend trip is enough time to get relax and enjoy yourself.  Many times going for just one night can feel rushed.  The work it takes to set up camp for just one night can seem almost too much work for some people.

What Activities will you do while camping?

Everyone has some reason they love camping.  Many people love hiking.  Thus they camp where there is good hiking trails.  Others go fishing or hunting.  Those people will want to camp where there is good fishing or hunting.  If your whole idea of camping is to get away from society.  You may not want to go camping in a busy commercial camp ground.

Always plan the activities you want to do before you pick a camping site.  There’s many things you can do camping.  Fishing, hunting, boating, swimming, hiking, games, or just relaxing.  Many times you can do lots of these while camping.  Other times, the places you go will let you fish but not hunt.  Maybe you can swim but no boats.  Make sure you know what you want to do before you plan where to go.

Where to go camping?

It’s easy to set a tent up just about any where. You can even call it camping if you stay in a tent in your own backyard.  The question is where is the fun in a backyard camp out?  So where do you go camping?  You’ll have to do some research to good camping spots.  Like most things a good Google search can save you a lot of time.  If you want to stay in your state type in your state and camping.  The more specific you get the better.  Sometimes it’s good to be less specific.  You may find something you didn’t know even existed like this camp site on I-80.  If you don’t like using the internet, you can always contact your state game and parks.  Many states have a great state parks for camping.  You can also look into the national parks.  If all else fails ask around.  Anyone involved in Boy Scouts will know about local camp grounds.  You may also find someone who has land that will let you use to camp.

Check Weather report.

Always check the weather before you go camping.  If you are going camping more than an hour from where you live, it’s easy to miss the potential for huge storms.  Just because it’s the perfect temperature where you live doesn’t mean it will be a few hours away.  It can almost ruin a camp out if you planned for 80 degree weather and it’s 40 the time your are out.  Since you will be out in the elements you should always know what to expect.  However you should always prepare for the worst.  It has snowed in July.

Plan your meals.

Camp fire cookingUnless you whole idea is to live solely off the land you will need to bring food with you.  Plan your meals before you leave.  This way you can have everything you will need to enjoy a full stomach.  There is nothing worse than forgetting the bacon when you wanted eggs and bacon.

When planning meals consider 3 things.  How easy is it to make.  The amount of time it will take to cook.  The effort it takes to clean up.  You can get into nutritional value, calories needed for the activities you’ll be doing.  Honestly, those only matters if you are going to be going hiking for extended periods of time.  What you really want to think about it ease.  If you know you’ll be wanting to be on the lake fishing before light.  The idea of cooking biscuits and gravy from scratch over an open fire isn’t going to work.  Maybe planning for a quick breakfast bar, or cereal and coffee would be better.  On the flip side if you are hiking all day long. The idea that you’ll want to spend a couple of hours waiting on food to cook seems like a bad idea.

Plan your means according to what you will be doing on the camp out.  Then consider doing things to make it easier for you cook.  If you want hamburgers make them ahead of time.  If you like hash browns buy store-bought so you don’t have to spend a lot of time.  A favorite meal is call a hobo dinner.  You take meat vegetables, and spices and wrap it in tin foil.  Then cook it on a fire.  You can prepare everything at home, with only the tin-foil to clean up after you eat.  Another thing to look at is Dutch Over cooking.  They are very easy and clean up is a breeze if you don’t burn it too bad.  Of course sometimes burning it a lot makes it, easier to clean up.

Equipment to bring.

Even the guy who wants to live off the land will bring some equipment with him.  Granted a knife, flint and steel, and a roll of duct tape, isn’t enough for most people.  Which means you’ll want to come ready to camp.


You’re going to need a shelter of some type.  The most common is a tent.  Some people will use a tarp some rope and a hammock but this only work if you camp in a bug free place.  When looking for a tent consider how long you’ll be camping.  Along with how many people you’ll be camping with.

Tents are rated by number of people they can fit.  This number works if everyone is a midget (no offense to little people).  A good rule of thumb is that you take the number of people you’ll have in the tent, times 1.5 then round-up to the nearest multiple of 2.  That is the minimum tent size you need.  So if you have 2 people you’ll need a 4 man tent.

Keep in mind the longer the stay in the tent the more space you’ll want.  This is due to the amount of gear you’ll have.  You want the be able to have room to keep stuff dry if it rains.

Cooking Equipment

You’ll need things to cook with when camping.   Of course you’ll need pots and pans depending on your menu.  You will also need ways to heat your food.  At minimum you’ll need to have wood for a campfire.  The better choice is a campstove .   If you are going to use a Dutch Oven you will need charcoal or wood for that.

The best thing to do is look at your menu for the camp out and have everything you need for cooking.

Misc Gear

Other things to bring is light, chairs, bed roll, and a good first aid kit.  You’ll need some sort of flashlight or lantern.  If you bring a battery-powered flashlights or lanterns bring extra batteries.  Gas lanterns will need to have extra fuel.  Chairs and bed roll or personal choices.  It’s what is comfortable for you.  Many people like to have a cot, others like air mattresses.

Clothing and personal items

Even though you may not shower for the weekend of camping, having clean clothes is a must.  No one wants to spend two or more days living in their own stink.  Thus you should bring extra clothes.  Plan to enough clothes to change every day.

It’s better if you have an extra set, of everything.  Always bring extra socks and underwear.  Clothes can be worn damp but socks and underwear take a lot longer to dry.  Not to mention the comfort factor.  On the same idea bring an extra par of shoes.

For personal hygiene bring a tooth-brush.  Have deodorant.  A wash cloth seems pointless without a shower, but you’ll  happy to have one just to clean your face.  Baby wipes are always a good thing to have.  Even if you don’t have access to clean water you can wash the dirt off.  Always consider bringing a roll of toilet paper.  Some times you’ll run into out houses that are maintained.

Things to do before you leave.

You’ve planned your whole trip.  Everything is packed and ready.  Have you forgotten anything?  Did you miss something?  It isn’t a camp out if you didn’t forget something.  Most the time you didn’t even realize you would need it.

To prevent forgetting something, make a list and check it off.  You should write it down but even doing it in your head helps.  Double check the weather.  The weather forecast can change over night so check it before you leave to just make sure you have packed everything you need for the weather.

Let someone know your plans and when you’ll be back.  In this day an age there is cell reception almost everywhere but who wants to chance that you can’t get a hold of someone if you are in trouble.  At least if someone knows you are late getting home they can go looking for you.

Last but not least double-check that all the bags and stuff you packed made it into your vehicle.  It’s been known to happen that you have everything ready to go.  All laid out.  Yet, somehow left by the door in your rush to pack and leave.

Enjoy the trip.

Even with the best planning in the world things happen.  Stuff gets left behind.  You will think of things that would have made the trip better.  No matter what happens just remember to have fun camping.  Next time you’ll forget something different.  The weather will be different.  And the adventure that is camping will be just that an adventure.

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