When the noise pollution and fumy air gets too much, you know it’s time to take a break and connect with nature. What could be better than breathing in clean air, walking barefoot on the grass or taking a refreshing sip of stream water? You can only truly relax like this when you’ve mastered the art of how to plan a camping trip for a great experience.
Once you’ve decided on a date and the campground you want to go to, you have to go grocery shopping, prep your gear and select a route.
The great thing about camping is that it’s such a simple activity that even the planning phase is enjoyable. Plus, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
How to Plan Your Camping Trip
Are you already thinking about your next camping trip to one of America’s beautiful natural wonders? Read on for the simple 8-step process that we follow to effortlessly plan for enjoyable camping trips.
1. Decide on a Date
Unless you’re planning a solo trip, you should consider the schedules of the people you’ll be traveling with. Whether that’s your kids’ school vacation time or your spouses’ available leave days, this is important information that’ll help you narrow down the date options. Also, decide if you’re going to do walk-up camping or you’re going to make a reservation at a campsite.
Make sure the date you pick doesn’t clash with any important events. If you’re traveling with friends, host a dinner party one night to discuss the trip and iron out the logistics.
By the end of the evening, you should have a good understanding of what works for every individual involved. The most important thing is to decide on a date and time of departure.
2. Choose Between an RV or Tent
Next, decide where you’ll sleep during the camping trip. By far, the best way to connect with nature when camping is to set up a tent. Most people’s first experience sleeping in a camping tent is usually so pleasant that they report sleeping better than they have in years.
That’s because you’re literally sleeping on nature, with the only thing separating you from the ground being your tent floor, mattress and sleeping bag.
If you don’t like the idea of sleeping in an SUV tent for some reason, consider renting an RV. Just make sure your car has the hookups you need to connect the trailer.
3. Look for a Good Campsite
The next step is to look around for campsites. Take your time to find a campsite that really resonates with you and meets your requirements. Keep in mind that campsites come with different requirements as well. Some only allow campers to stay for a limited number of days, and most of them will charge you a daily fee per person camping. You should also decide between pull through camping and back in sites.
Be sure to ask what mode of transport they allow. There’s a number of campsites out there that don’t allow RVs or trailers. Some campsites operate on a first-come-first-serve basis while others require you to make reservations ahead of time.
Go on the campsite’s website to see if there are any available photos. If the site is close to a swamp or river and you’re practicing backcountry camping, then you’ll most likely have a lot of bug problems to deal with. Whereas, an abundance of trees means better privacy and you can easily set up a tent using something as simple as a rain fly.
4. Have a Checklist for Things to Take on Your Camping Trip
Have a pow-wow with whomever you’ll be camping with to plan out the items you’ll need for the trip. Now, the amount of supplies depends on how long you’ll spend in the wilderness.
Make a food checklist that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You might be in the wild, but you’re not savages. Pack one of those emergency bags to bring with in case something happens.
Have a checklist for essentials like tents, stoves, lanterns, blankets and bungee cords too. You might also need some bait, a cooler and some ice as well. Get creative and think about what you’ll be doing and what you’ll need to enjoy a reasonably comfortable stay.
5. Inspect Your Car or RV
About two weeks prior to your trip, inspect your vehicle to make sure it doesn’t have any issues. This includes checking tire pressure and fluids.
Make sure there isn’t too much stuff in your trunk because you’ll need it to store most of your camping supplies and tools. Be sure to get your car checked by a mechanic as well just to be on the safe side.
6. Make Sure You Pack Everything
You should pack everything on the day before the trip. When it comes to food, make sure to bring salad essentials like lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives. Fruits such as berries, grapes, apples, and pears are great snacks so don’t leave them behind. Marinate your meat beforehand and put it in an airtight container.
When you’re ready to pack everything in the car, start with boxy items such as your grill and cooler. Then, place softer items on top, like your sleeping bags, blankets and camping clothes. Things that you’ll need from the moment you reach the camping grounds should be placed within reach, including ropes, tarps, tent, etc.
7. Do Some Meal Planning
This is one of the best tips we have. Meal planning and prepping before your trip is a great way to keep your food options interesting because the last thing you want is to eat the same thing every day.
When all of your ingredients have been chopped and seasoned, all you have to do is cook the food and eat it. Be sure to make healthy options and avoid bulky and heavy ingredients that’ll weigh you down when hiking.
8. Make a List of Activities to Enjoy While Camping
Setting up a campsite is just one part of the journey. The real joy of camping is all the activities you get to enjoy. This includes hiking, swimming, kayaking, fishing and more! Speak to the people you’re camping with to plan your itinerary so you know what activities you want to enjoy.
This makes it easier to pack the items you’ll need for each activity and although you might end up doing other activities during your trip, planning your itinerary ahead will make it that much more enjoyable.
Now that you know how to plan a camping trip we hope you’ll use this knowledge to simplify your next camping adventure. Remember, you’re camping to eliminate the headaches, not create them.
We hope you have a great time communing with nature, whether you go alone or with loved ones!