Tips for a Successful Camping Trip

August 29th, 2014

Camping is one of my favorite vacation getaways. It's nice to get away from city life and take a breath of fresh air from nature. The sights, sounds, smells and relaxing qualities make it a perfect break from everyday life. For those of you city-folk, don't worry, you can have you're simple luxuries and still enjoy the outdoors.

Planning Where to Camp

If you don't put an effort into finding the right place to camp, your trip can be ruined from the beginning. Start off right by planning right. The first thing to do is find the general area where you want to camp. I recently camped in Big Sur, CA with my wife and our little dog. We specifically picked a campground that we've had a great time at with good facilities and access to necessities.

What Kind of Camper are You?

If you are a city-slicker and can't live without basic amenities, find a campground with cabins or consider renting an RV and camping at a place with RV hookups. There are plenty of campgrounds that tailor to your needs. If you decide to get an RV, just know that you will be required to learn to operate it correctly. It's not as simple as driving it to your destination and parking it. You will have electric hookups, water hookups, and waste disposal. Do some research and find out if it's right for you.

If you prefer tent camping, decide if you want to be stacked next to campers with no privacy or if you like more of a secluded camping experience. Some campgrounds stack tent sites very close to each other and you're likely to get very personal and possibly make some new friends. Secluded camp sites can help get you away from the busy world we live in and help you relax a bit quicker.

Packing

First thing is first. What do you bring? This all depends on what type of camper you are (tent, RV, cabin, etc). Plan all your meals the best you can. List your toiletries, clothes, cooking supplies, entertainment, fish and game supplies, pest repellent, pet supplies and bedding. If I've left anything off this list, please comment below.

No matter how much you plan, you always forget something. To help mitigate that problem, download a mobile app allowing you to make lists. Put them into the categories listed in the short list above. Only check them off as you pack so you don't leave a planned item behind. When you arrive at your campsite and realize you have forgotten something, add it to your camping list so you won't forget it the next time you camp.

When I camp, I tend to be very organized. I have purchased plastic storage tubs to transport our supplies. They keep us organized and easy to pack as they help prevent your food and other items from being crushed. They also help when packing your vehicle when a bit of Tetris skills are required. There are plenty of other great products to help you stay organized with ready to go camping kits. Lastly, don't forget first aid supplies.

On my last camping trip, I brought my GearPower battery pack. I am in the process of quitting smoking, so I am currently using an electronic cigarette. This was great for charging my e-cig batteries and not going into a nicotine fit rage. It was also great to recharge our digital camera which uses a USB cable to charge. Even though I always unplug myself form the world, I also charged my mobile phone to pull up some local restaurants to eat. Luckily the campground had WiFi service available for this. I also had e-books downloaded onto my phone which allowed me to read in our downtime.

Keeping Warm

The nights can get cold, especially when you are tent camping. I did quite a bit of research on staying warm in your sleeping bag. I picked up some Nalgene water bottles which are BPA free and are great for warm liquids. About 30 minutes before it's time to head in for the night, boil up some water. Get it just to a low rolling boil as you don't want it too hot. Pour the hot water into the bottle and seal it tightly. Throw it into your sleeping bag about 20 minutes before your retire for the night. Your sleeping bag will be nice a toasty by the time you jump into it. Once in your sleeping bag, keep the bottle near your feet or place it in between your thighs. Keeping it between your thighs allows the heat to warm up your blood as it circulates through your body. Just be careful not to burn yourself as the water bottles may become a bit too hot.

If you bring your dog, have them cuddle with you under the blankets. Sharing body heat with your pet or another person helps keep you warm.

Tent Setup and Tear Down

If it's been awhile since you've setup your tent or it is your first time, find some videos on YouTube or other websites for visual instructions. Set it up before you leave as well so you have a good understanding of how it works. This is especially important if there is a possibility you will be setting it up with limited to no light.

Tear down is another area people have trouble with. When unpacking your tent, note how all items are packed. Also note how the tent is folded so it's easier to put back into the bag when you are done. Clean up is also important. Sweep the floor before packing and be sure to wipe off the moisture. You wouldn't want a dirty or moldy tent the next time you camp.

Food and Drink

Prepare your meals before you leave; breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Think about items that are non-perishable and items that you may have to eat quickly before they expire. Make things easy by making food before you leave that can be bagged and easily carried when you're hiking or on the move. You will likely be cooking meat, so don't forget to bring salt, pepper, seasoning and knives.

Some items may be easier to purchase once you reach your destination. If they are perishable foods, consider picking those up at the local market near the campground. However, sometimes you can find better deals closer to home; especially your alcoholic beverages.

Hiking and Fishing

If you plan to fish or hike, check out the fish and game websites for that area. Fishing can be seasonal in some areas and different areas have different fish. Hiking trails can be closed due to high fire risk or other seasonal reasons.

Unplugging

You're on vacation. Unplug yourself from the world. Everyone knows it takes about 2-3 days before you really start to relax and unwind. Try to stay away from social media and be certain to stay away from your work emails. It won't feel like a vacation if you can't really get away.

Entertainment

Don't forget your entertainment! There are times when you are exhausted from hiking or fishing and just don't want to do much of anything. Bring playing cards and board games to keep you occupied. Bring a book to read while soaking up the sun's rays.

Camping Hacks

Below is a list of sites with camping hacks and tips that will spark your imagination.

Leave Your Comments

This is a topic I could go on forever with. Everyone has their own camping tips. Please comment below and leave us your best tips and ideas for camping.




About the Author

Brandon Orth

Brandon Orth

Brandon is a web developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, Javascript, and jQuery and has been developing since 2005. Brandon has been with IOGEAR since 2010. He is recently married with one kid, a Chihuahua, name Cisco (he was adopted with that name). Brandon enjoys playing golf, baseball, programming, science, technology, movies, music, and much more. Always make a side dish without onions and cilantro; he's allergic. Isn't that weird?