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Plan a camping trip

April 3, 2021 Kevin Solorio

A camping trip is usually a very exciting prospect for most age groups. While the adventure of finding a serene spot in nature can be fulfilling enough, there are a lot of different things to think about that go into planning a successful camping trip. When you plan ahead, your camping trip can go off even better.

This article discusses the many ways in which a camping trip can be an amazing experience. It provides readers with suggestions for activities and food, as well as a description of the different factors to consider when choosing where to go. You’ll find everything you need, including quick packing lists and important things to remember about wildlife safety and more!

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Plan the camping trip details.

Camping type.

Before you start planning your camping trip, it’s important to consider what type of camping you will be going on. There are more casual camping, adventure camping, or camping for the family. You might even consider a camping alternative like “glamping”, where you rent an RV and typically stay in more upstyle accommodations with access to water and electricity.

Depending on the camping type you’ll be pursuing, the different things you need might be different. We will focus in this article on the things you should need for any camping trip and adjust where you see necessary.

Time of year.

There are advantages and disadvantages to camping at different times of the year.

Summer is likely the most popular season for camping because the weather is usually warm and dry. However, this means that many people are going camping and the campsites might be very crowded. If you’re planning for a summer camping trip, you’ll want to plan well in advance to be able to get a camping spot that you will like.

Winter camping might offer milder weather but present other challenges, such as snow and other weather. Compared to summer, there are fewer to no flies, mosquitoes, or other more dangerous animals out and about. Plus, campgrounds during the winter are sparsely occupied and tend to be cheaper or quieter.

You may need to get a permit from the Forest Service (FS) or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) for the date of your trip. The FS does not issue permits on weekends or federal holidays, so get reservations weeks in advance for those days-of-the-week trips. Depending on what campsite you choose, there may only be a limited number of permits to make sure to check that in advance.

Along with a permit, you may need to make a reservation on primitive campsites along the trail, and then you’ll need to make reservations at local campgrounds for any stays in.

Campsite location.

Depending on the type of camping trip you’re planning for, the campsite location and your needs will vary. This means choosing the campsite location is very important.

Pick a campsite with the activities you’re looking for. When you go camping, you’re often excited about planning fun outdoor activities, like hiking, kayaking, or swimming. This will help you narrow down your list of campsite destinations by considering the activities they will allow you to experience.

These are some of the best in the United States split by region.

Camping in the southern United States

  • LOUISIANA: Sam Houston Jones State Park
  • NORTH CAROLINA: Pilot Mountain State Park
  • NORTH CAROLINA: Uwharrie National Forest
  • GEORGIA: Cloudland Canyon State Park
  • TENNESSEE: Fall Creek Falls State Park
  • FLORIDA: Ocala National Forest

Camping in the western United States

  • WASHINGTON: Doe Bay, Orcas Island, WA
  • WASHINGTON: The Landing, Index, WA
  • WYOMING: Wind River Mountain Range
  • OREGON: Pacific Crest Trail
  • CALIFORNIA: MacKerricher State Park
  • CALIFORNIA: Big Sur
  • CALIFORNIA: MontaƱa de Oro State Park
  • CALIFORNIA: Benton Hot Springs
  • UTAH: Moab
  • UTAH: Sand Flats

Camping in the central United States

  • COLORADO: Amphitheater Campground, San Juan Mountains, CO
  • COLORADO: Grand Junction
  • COLORADO: Molas Lake Park & Campground
  • COLORADO: Morefield Campground
  • COLORADO: Moraine Park Campground
  • SOUTH DAKOTA: Badlands National Park

Other great camping spots

  • ALASKA: Kachemak Bay State Park
  • HAWAII: Wainapanapa State Park

Budget.

If it’s your first time camping, then it’s likely to be more expensive because you might need to get a specific jacket, shoes, tent, or tarp. After you’ve gone camping a few times, and especially when you’re camping with a group, the cost becomes more reasonable.

If you’re planning a camping trip for a group, you might need to take the burden of the cost upfront for the campsite and other shared camping supplies, like food and drinks. Consider this when planning your camping trip and make sure to split the cost among the group. You can use a tool like Venmo or PayPal to split up the cost for the trip.

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Planning meals for your camping trip.

Water is perhaps the most important thing you should worry about when packing for a camping trip. Of course, you will also need plenty of other food, especially if you’ll be camping for an extended period. However, you must not run out of water and you’ll need water for a variety of different reasons, so pack plenty of it! The rule of thumb is to pack more water than you think you’ll need.

Main meals. Most people like to eat well while they’re out camping, so packing hearty main meals is important. You’ll want to pack items that are simple enough but also filling.

  • Sandwich supplies
  • Hotdogs
  • Hamburgers
  • Eggs, bacon, and other breakfast foods
  • Potatoes
  • Pancakes
  • Oatmeal
  • Tacos

Snacks. It’s important to pack plenty of snacks that you can eat while on the go. You will likely be hiking or walking least and these are extremely useful for eating while out and about.

  • Trail mix
  • Fruit
  • Granola bars
  • Smores

Cold items. You’ll also want to bring a couple of coolers to keep your items cold. Pack your large cooler strategically to keep the important items cold with the more delicate items on top.

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Packing for your camping trip.

Because you’ll be out in nature, you’ll need to make sure to pack absolutely everything you need. It’s often better to pack for more than to run out of food or other important supplies.

Camping essentials. You’re going to want to pack essentials to maintain your sleeping comfortably and have the necessary medical equipment in case a medical emergency were to occur. These are the most essential items but there are plenty of important other things to consider also, like cooking supplies and the necessary clothing so that you don’t get cold.

  • Tent
  • Tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Toiletries
  • Medical devices
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Flashlight batteries
  • Allergy medication
  • Pain medicine (Advil or Tylenol)
  • Bandaids
  • Gauze
  • Antiseptic
  • Ice pack

Camping clothes. Depending on if you’re camping in the summer or winter, the type of clothes you bring might be different. It also depends on where you’re going camping, whether in the dry desert on a mountain somewhere. Regardless of where your camping, it’s typically good to dess in layers because you may experience a range of temperatures.

Some of the important clothes to pack include:

  • Undergarments
  • Shirts
  • Pants
  • Socks
  • Jacket(s)
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Hiking boots
  • Rain jacket

Kitchen supplies. Because you’ll be preparing your meals in the wilderness, it’s important to pack all the items you might need to successfully perform this. Some of the most important items include:

  • Skillet
  • Pan
  • Utensils, like a spatula
  • Lighter
  • Tinfoil
  • Sponge
  • Paper towels
  • Pairing knives
  • Storage bags

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Prepare to have a great camping trip!

This planning template should make your camping trip a lot easier to plan but don’t let all the organization stop you from getting out into the wilderness and having an exceptional time.

Camping can give you a great opportunity to experience the outdoors while connecting with friends and family. Enjoy this and embrace the obstacles that might come your way.

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