Getting away from city life can be a relaxing time and an amazing adventure. Or even some mix of the two. Unless you’re a seasoned camper, there are some steps you should take to ensure you have the perfect camping trip with little to no slip-ups. Here is a simple guide to give you an idea of what types of planning you should do for your next camping trip.
Research Camping Types
The first step in planning your perfect camping trip is understanding the different types of camping. You could ask 10 different people and hear 10 different answers for what their definition of camping is. Here are some of the common definitions of camping to help you decide which is best for your trip. Keep in mind, these definitions are basic and can still be interpreted slightly different from person to person.
Tent Camping: Tent camping is when you’re sleeping in a tent on the ground. You could bring an air mattress if you have a power source to blow it up, or you can sleep in the ground in sleeping bags. Your car may be at the campsite with you or nearby for easy access.
Car camping: This type of camping means either your car is very close by or is where you have set up your campsite. You may even sleep in your car for this type of camping. It may involve folding down the back row of seats to lay down or sleeping in the bed of your pickup truck.
Backpacking: Backpacking usually means you have hiked several miles and are not near civilization. The only amenities you’ll have are ones you brought with you. This is a rigorous form of camping because you are carrying everything on your back until you find a place to set up camp.
RV camping: If you own or rent an RV, you can drive it to many places to camp. Campsites sometimes offer RV hookups so you can take advantages of your personal plumbing, cooking, and electrical features. You can also drive your RV into the wilderness to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Cabin camping: You probably wouldn’t think sleeping in a cabin is considered camping, but to some it is. This type of camping is one of the more comfortable forms. You’ll probably have easy access to amenities in town that are a short drive away as well as be able to enjoy nature right outside the front door.
Depending on what type of camping you decide to do, there are plenty of accessories that you can consider to make your trip perfect. Your basic camping accessories that you’ll most likely have on every trip are sleeping bags, lanterns, and fire-starter kits.
The season you decide to camp can mean you’ll need additional items. For winter camping, you may need to purchase snow tires or snow chains for your vehicle to navigate through icy areas. Sub-zero sleeping bags are a better option for winter when temperatures can get below freezing, whereas you can get away with some light blankets when camping in the summer.
You’ll also want to think about the off-season and where you’ll store your items. For example, if you end up purchasing an RV or camper, you might invest in an RV step cover to keep it protected when not in use.
Check the Weather
As you’re packing, check the latest weather forecast. You do not want to be stuck in the middle of a forest when it starts pouring rain, and you don’t have any umbrellas or tarps for cover. If the weather is sunny, you might want to pack extra sunscreen to ward off any sunburns. Even if the sun isn’t out, you can still get burned if your skin is exposed too long when it’s cloudy.
Knowing the weather will also help with packing clothes for your trip. If it’s chilly, you’ll know to not waste space by backing shorts and tank tops, unless you’re planning to use them for layering. Regardless of the temperature, it is smart to pack at least one pair of pants and one long-sleeved shirt. These help keep the sun and any bugs off your skin even better than sunscreen and bug spray.
Know your Amenities
It’s important to know what amenities you will or won’t have access to when camping. This will help determine what items to pack regarding food and hygiene. You may pack differently if showers will be available to you or if you plan to bathe in a nearby lake or river. Also, check to see if laundry is available and decide if you’ll do laundry. For longer trips, you can pack less clothes if you plan to wash them halfway through your trip, or you’ll know to pack enough clothes for each day if you won’t have access to washing facilities.
If you plan to eat at nearby restaurants to your campsite, you can probably leave any cooking supplies at home. For those who enjoy campfire cooking, you’ll want to bring the proper materials to make sure your food is cooked safely over the fire. You may even opt to bring a generator to use an electric grill or griddle instead of the campfire.