Any successful camping trip requires a bit of preparation and planning. Part of the fun of camping is the small-scale problem solving involved when things inevitably go awry – maybe the weather turns, a tent pole snaps or you forget a vital piece of equipment. Being well-prepped for every possible eventuality means your camping trip will run much more smoothly, allowing more time to get out and explore the great outdoors.
Here are three ways to prepare for your next camping trip so you can avoid potential camping disasters.
1. Do Your Research
While just setting off into the sunset and seeing where the road takes you certainly has its appeal, if you’re on a tight timeframe, travelling with children, or have specific things you want to see and do, a little bit of online research goes a long way.
There are lots of online resources available to help you plan activities for your camping trips, such as local council and National Parks websites, as well as apps like TripAdvisor for local attractions and eating out. Try The Bushwalking Blog’s Trail Finder for local walking tracks suited to all abilities. The Geocaching app is also a great way to find unique hidden spots that you might not come across otherwise.
For camping spots, apps like WikiCamps use crowdsourced information to direct you to both free and paid campsites, with extensive filterable listings of the facilities and amenities available at each site. Decide what you need from a campsite in terms of amenities and location before you head off, making sure to book ahead if necessary, especially in peak times such as school holidays; there’s nothing more frustrating than researching and planning your perfect trip, only to arrive and find there is nowhere to set up camp.
2. Stay Informed
If not being able to get a spot is one of the biggest camping disappointments, finding out that everything you planned to do is off the cards comes a close second. Conditions in outdoor areas are known for rapidly changing. That glorious hiking trail you’ve read about might be closed by a landslide or water over the trail, for example. We once arrived at a campsite all ready to spend two days hiking beautiful mountains, only to discover that hazard reduction burning was taking place and all the trails were off-limits. A quick call to the Visitor Information Centre the day before we left would have let us know that our hiking couldn’t go ahead as planned, which could give us time to either change our plans or research other activities to do.
Keep a close eye on the weather forecast as your departure date approaches, too. While you might not necessarily want to change your plans just because it’s raining, it might inspire you to pack a few more card games or download some movies to watch, just in case you’re stuck in your tent for hours on end. Knowing about impending inclement weather will also mean you pack for rain jackets, especially since they are easy to forget.
3. Pack Well
The true key to a good camping trip is packing well, planning your site, and knowing what you might need throughout your stay.
You’ll find that the more you camp, the better your site will become. This is because each trip will reveal a small improvement, piece of equipment, or vital supply that will ensure your set up, pack down, or day-to-day camping life will be smoother and more enjoyable. Remembering to add a roll of duct tape to our supply box has been a lifesaver in many situations–from temporarily patching holes in inflatable mattresses to fixing those broken tent poles. Investing in some good quality outdoor matting has meant a less dusty campsite and an easier-to-clean tent when we need to pack down. Buying a second camp table for cooking has meant fewer ants, better meals, and less jostling for space when we are trying to make breakfast.
Having a comprehensive camping equipment list that you can tick off as you pack is an excellent strategy for not forgetting things. It will also mean less time running around packing things before you leave. For ease of packing, keep all your camp gear in one spot, and consider investing in some big plastic tubs to hold the essentials. Working on organising your camping gear at home almost feels counter-productive, but in the long run, it will make your camping trips much smoother and easier, which means you will feel inspired to get out and about more often.
Putting the time into preparing for camping can be a satisfying and interesting way to fill the time between camping trips – dreaming about being out there is almost as good as doing it. There’s no better feeling than knowing you truly are prepared for any eventuality, and won’t be doing a late-night run to the supermarket for torch batteries anytime soon. Even for more experienced campers, a little bit of preparation is the best to ensure you will spend less of your camping time problem-solving, and more time exploring.
Got any other tips for camping trip preparation? If you have updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.
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