There are many things to do in preparation for a camping trip. First, you have to decide where you want to go. Do you want the mountains, the seashore or a lake campsite? Do you want to fish, swim, hike, or just sit around the campfire. Then you have to decide what type of clothes you will need. Will it get chilly at night? Is there rain in the forecast? Is there swimming nearby? One of the most important considerations will be: what will I eat and how will I cook it?
One of the first things you should do is to make a checklist. It should include the following categories.
- Tent and accessories including sleeping bags
- Cooking equipment
- Utensils and cooking aids
You need to be smart about what you take. Figure out what the weather could be and prepare accordingly. If it might rain, small plastic ponchos could be invaluable and are easy to pack. If you are worried about cold, it’s better to think in layers rather than one large jacket. Sweatshirts, hoodies, flannel or wool shirts are great. Wool will continue to warm you, even if you get wet. Take some extra socks. If your socks get wet, you will get blisters if you walk very far in them. If you are hiking, it’s nice to have some comfy shoes to put on when you get back to camp. Don’t be afraid to wear your jeans more than once. It’s okay to be a little grungy on a camping trip. Just remember that denim jeans take a long time to dry. Light cotton pants would probably be a better choice.
If you are tent camping, you will probably remember to bring the tent. But don’t forget the rain fly, the stakes, poles and ropes. It’s always good to bring a waterproof ground cover. If you have a pop up camper or an RV, you don’t need to worry about tents, but you might have a screened dining room. It’s always nice to throw in a couple of folding chairs. The kind you take to the beach and your children’s games are just fine. Sleeping bags are another item you don’t want to forget. Down bags are great, but if they get wet, forget it. Synthetic bags are heavier, but they don’t lose their insulating properties if they get wet. So check out the weather forecast.
If you don’t already have one, consider purchasing a portable camp stove. I have discovered an extremely versatile portable propane gas grill on Amazon. It is the Coleman Road Trip Grill-Blue/Black.
I’ve written a lengthy review which might help you if you are in the market for a grill. This stove uses disposable propane canisters, or with a special accessory hose, you can hook it up to the propane tank on your trailer or RV.
Utensils and more
It is convenient to have a set of dishes and pots and pans and utensils just for camping. I got mine at a thrift store. It was a mix and match situation, but it did the trick. You can keep your camping kitchen equipment separately. When you are ready to camp, just pick up your box of camp stuff and you’re ready to go. Some items you might want to include are:
- Potholder- a bandana can be an alternative
- Sponge with scrubbie side and a small container of dish soap. Try to get one made especially for camping. Save our streams.
- A plastic table cloth
- Manual can opener – They are very small and usually have a bottle opener on them
- Sharp knives for food prep
- Measuring cup – sometimes a coffee cup will do
- Cooking oil spray
- Foil for foil wrapped meals. Extra plastic bags for trash and garbage are essential.
- Paper plates and paper towels
- Bag for hanging your trash and food in a tree. This is very important if you’re in bear country, and it might save you some nighttime visits from hungry critters.
- A mesh net is great for hanging your dishes after they are washed. Who wants to dry dishes on a camping trip?
- A sturdy cooler
Try to precook your first night’s meal before you leave. Perhaps you could freeze it, or just keep it in your cooler. Here’s a tip. Block ice lasts much longer than ice cubes so get it whenever you can to keep your food cold.
Make a detailed menu and a list of the ingredients you need. Take just the right amount for your meals. Package each item in a zip lock bag and label it. Maybe put everything you need for each meal in separate bags. You have so many options on your supermarket shelves now, that you don’t need to purchase specialty freeze dried meals at an outdoor store. There are many kinds of dried soups, macaroni and rice dishes that you can use. Just add canned meat or fish and you can have a terrific meal. Don’t forget to bring along some fun food for the kids, like hot dogs, marshmallows and s’more makings.
Well, now you have a list of things to remember. It’s time to get packing. Have fun!