Happy Camping Tips

The more experience you have, the smoother your camping trip goes. Beginners are almost certain to make a few mistakes and forget to bring some needed supplies along. It's an inconvenience but that's how we gain knowledge and make our vacation better the next time. Sometimes, you can learn from other people's blunders and avoid things that can make your trip less enjoyable. This page gives you some camping tips and know-how for planning, gear, clothing and food.

Planning

  • Let the entire family participate in shopping and trip preparations so they appreciate the time and effort put into planning the vacation.
  • Create checklists for items to pack. Start with a basic one, revise it as needed, and save it for your next trip.
  • Pack your items in an organized manner. Items that you will need last can be placed in your vehicle first. First-needed items should be packed last for easy access when you arrive at the campgrounds.
  • Always bring along reading material, crossword puzzles, and a deck of cards for travel and rainy days.
  • Try to reach your camping destination long before sunset so you have plenty of time to get organized and set up your tents and equipment.
  • Make campground reservations well in advance, particularly during the busy season. Going in the off-season? Make your reservations anyway and ask for a discount. If you're taking an RV, ask for a place in the sun in cool weather and shade in warm weather.
  • Plan on getting delayed and bring along maps and GPS that cover all areas you will traveling in.
  • Be prepared for rainy and stormy weather with waterproof equipment, clothing, rain ponchos and boots.
  • When hiking and backpacking, always mark you trails and don't leave without taking the weather into consideration.
  • Cell phones are great for communication and emergencies but keep in mind that you may often be out of tower range and your phone will be useless during those times.

Gear & Clothing

  • Before you go shopping, determine what you need and make a list. Skip the expensive extras for now and decide later on if you really need them.
  • Check your equipment for wear and tear before leaving especially your bug screens. Always dry everything out before storing.
  • If you've purchased a new tent, perform a trial run and set it up in your backyard first.
  • Let the kids have their own tent. This gives everyone more privacy and space.
  • Learn how to use your equipment and cool gadgets before you leave on your trip.
  • For varying climates, layer your clothing so you can strip down to the basics and be comfortable when the temperatures rise.

Food & Cooking

  • Don't eat or drink anything unless you know exactly what it is and that it's safe. Clear water may look refreshing but can be loaded with harmful bacteria.
  • You may want to bring along your own bottled water. Even safe water from the campgrounds can cause digestion problems.
  • Bring along some breakfast or granola bars for snacks to keep your stomach happy until mealtime.
  • Food takes longer to cook in the winter. Pack along some prepackaged, precooked and canned food for quicker meals.
  • Pack ingredients for warm drinks such as hot chocolate and coffee for cool-weather camping.
  • Store all food securely and tightly sealed to avoid attracting wildlife.
“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.” - Henry Ward Beecher