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10 Tips For A Great Camping Experience

Updated on May 17, 2012

Great camping trips very seldom just happen. They require some planning and preparation.

As a camping enthusiast I like to leave nothing to chance. It doesn't matter if I'm going on a ten day back country canoe trip or a weekend trip to the lake in my holiday trailer; I follow the same basic plan.

Here is a list of the things that I feel you need to have in order to experience a great camping trip.

  1. A positive attitude. It all starts here. You need to be excited and your family needs to be excited. Yes, it's a lot of work loading the camper, packing food and clothing then trying to cook and clean in the confines of a camping unit. Think of it as a break in your regular routine, a change of scenery. Who knows - you may even get a chance to relax.
  2. Puzzles, games and books (but leave the TV at home). If you are camping with kids you can add toys to that list. You can't predict the weather so you should have something that you can do in the trailer if it cold or rainy outside. You might even enjoy reading a book in the afternoon sun or playing a game inside in the evening when the mosquitoes chase you indoors.
  3. Cooler. Pack a big, insulated cooler to hold your drinks. Put a couple bags or blocks of ice in it and fill it with your favorite beverages and water. Store the cooler under the trailer during the day when you are near and inside the vehicle or trailer during the night (to keep thieves of the two and four legged variety away). Many camping areas have ice available for purchase should you need to refill it.
  4. Water container. Fill a big water cooler with water from home. Use this water for drinking and/or cooking. Fresh water storage tanks on camping units are only so big and by the last day or two we are usually rationing. By packing your drinking water (and refilling it at the campground if they have potable water) you will be able to preserve your stored water for washing, cleaning and the toilet.
  5. Variety of shoes. At the very least you should pack some sandals that you can get wet and a pair of solid, sturdy runners. The sandals are great for when it's warm, rainy and wet or playing in a creek or lake. Runners are necessary if you plan on doing any hiking, walking or sitting by the fire in the evening (mosquitoes really like feet!)
  6. Clothing for all weather. In the spring and fall particularly. I've left home in the spring when it was hot and sunny and woke up under a foot of snow the next morning. Be prepared for cooler weather and super hot heat - it can go either way fast.
  7. Swim suits. Don't forget the swimwear. Even if you don't plan on getting wet. You may find the heat unbearable and find yourself sitting under the water spigot in the campground trying to cool off.
  8. Well-stocked medicine cabinet. Don't forget the meds both prescription and all the other stuff. Be sure you have: headache relief, sunscreen and sunburn treatment, allergy medicine, basic first aide kit with bandages, antibiotic creams, etc. bug repellent and bug bite relief, needle and tweezers for slivers, antacids lotions and lip balm.
  9. Variety of foods and snacks. Even if you don't snack at home pack a few things for the trip. Mix up your staples as well. Don't plan on eating hotdogs and hamburgers everyday. Include a basic supple of spices and condiments as well.
  10. Research you location. Even if you are going to the same place you visit every year - do a quick internet search and see if anything has changed. If it is a new location look to see what attraction are in the area. If there is hiking or a big lake find some maps of the trails or lake.

In the end, camping is what you make of it. If you enjoy the outdoors and have a well-stocked trailer/tent/camper, you will probably enjoy yourself. You can't control the weather, the bugs or the other creatures that invade but you can be prepared.


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