Camping 101: Top 7 Prep Tips


CampfireCamping is one of our favorite things to do and I’ve done a lot of it. In fact, my family just got back from a camping trip in Maine if you would like to read about it on my other blog. The most important advice I have to offer: be prepared! Camping takes organization, preparation, and motivation to do the former two. Hopefully this list will help you have a relaxing and wonderful time on your camping trip.

  1. Plan your meals. Think of every part of the meal: food, condiments, preparation utensils, and if you prepare it there or at home before you go. For example, I make potato salad and macaroni salad before we go and store them in airtight Tupperware. I freeze some foods like sausage, burger and chicken to keep them longer and help keep the rest of the items cold.
  2. Make a list. Think through your typical day and write down everything you will need: underwear, socks, pants, etc. are obvious but don’t forget bathing suit, sandals for showering, washcloth, towels, shampoo, flashlight, marshmallow sticks, bug spray.
  3. Pack for ALL weather. When a tiny shower happens at home, it’s not a big deal. When it happens camping, no matter how intense or light, it’s a big deal. It soaks everything that isn’t under cover. Pack the tarp even if it stays in the trunk. Pack the sunblock even if it’s supposed to be cloudy. Pack the sweatshirt and pants even if it’s supposed to be in the 90’s. Pack the shorts even if it’s supposed to be chilly. Trust me, you will be happy you aren’t going without.
  4. Keep a reserve. I always keep a few things in my car. I’m not sure if you would call this cheating but it’s nice to know I have a clean and dry change of clothes and sneakers, dry matches in the glove box and a couple pieces of dry wood on standby if needed.
  5. Plastic bins. I pack many of my food items in see through plastic containers so they stay organized, dry, and clean. Bread, rolls, paper towels, plates, silverware, salt, pepper, etc. all fit in these bins and because they are see through, there is minimal rummaging.
  6. Two coolers. Have one cooler for food and one for drinks. The food cooler should be opened the least amount possible to preserve food and keep it cold.
  7. Ice, ice baby. I do two things the week before camping that saves us tons of money and trips to the store! One, I freeze ice cubes and empty them in to paper bags to store in the freezer. The paper bag keeps them from freezing together and typically the ice you buy at the store doesn’t last as long as what you make at home. The second thing I do is freeze gallon jugs of drinkable water and various soda bottles full of drinkable water. The gallon jugs stay frozen ALL weekend and the soda bottles can be placed in the drink cooler. REMEMBER to leave at air at the top of the bottles since the water expands as it freezes.

There you have it. Those are my top 7 recommendations for preparing for a camping trip. The more you do before, the more time you will have to relax on your camping trip. No matter what, it will be fun if you go with a good attitude and the ability to take things as they come. If all else fails, just eat S’mores!

What’s your best camping story? What’s your favorite camping recipe? Tell us in the comments below!

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