How Do You Prepare For Camping

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Jay Elliott

Chief Camping Officer

How Do You Prepare For Camping

Preparing for camping

Camping is a fun and exciting adventure that you should get to experience at least once in your lifetime. In 2018, 41.67 million campers packed their belongings and ventured out for a day or two.

It is a great way to make memories and come up with stories to tell. Exploring new places, enjoying outdoor activities, and marveling at nature’s beauty are just some of the many benefits of going on a camping trip with the family.

However, a fun journey can quickly turn into a devastating experience in just a blink of an eye. You might end up forgetting the basic essential things to bring during camping. Fortunately, there are several actions you can take to prepare for a camping trip and have a fun outdoor experience.

Firstly, decide the kind of camping you are going for:

There are many different types of camping to choose from, and knowing which one you want to go for will dictate whether you need to bring more or less with you on your trip. These are:

  • RV camping, where you spend the night at a caravan park with your RV as shelter.
  • State park camping, where you can buy firewood, have access to water, electricity, showers, and toilets.
  • Tent camping in a field or woods where there are no amenities except what you bring.
  • Backpacking, where you would need to carry everything you need on your back.
  • Thru-hiking, which is a long-distance end-to-end backpacking expedition. 

Create a checklist

A checklist will serve as your guide to ensure that you don’t forget your camping essentials behind.

Check the weather

Before going out, it is essential to check the weather forecast so you can prepare to bring the necessary apparel to shield you from elements.

Because the weather is likely to be unpredictable, it is best to wear clothing appropriate for all seasons. Even if the sun is shining when you start the day, the weather can swiftly turn inclement in a matter of minutes or hours, so make sure to prepare for that.

Pack early to arrive early

When you pack early, this means you can get to your destination sooner, preferably before dark, as it might be challenging to set up things when there isn’t enough light.

Arriving late at a campground to hunt for an unoccupied space is a stressful situation, and this is not a pleasant start to the trip. When you prepare your belongings ahead of time, you can avoid last-minute packing where you will likely end up forgetting a thing or two because you’re in a hurry.

Check the campsite

Before leaving for the trip, make sure to check the available amenities offered by your chosen campsite. This will help you plan more efficiently on what to bring.

If your campsite already provides firewood, tables, and chairs, then you can lessen your load and opt not to carry such items. There are also instances where your campsite does not offer any amenities, and you would have to bring your own.

Get a map

You may end up getting lost on your way, so make sure to carry a map of your campsite location, including a compass, to prevent unwanted circumstances from happening.

Also, having a map of the campsite will allow you to explore more about what the place offers. You may find a good spot ideal for your preference, and a map will help you get there.

Check your equipment

The last thing you would want on your camping trip is damaged equipment. Check the tent to see if it is in good condition. Make sure that it has no holes or broken poles since your tent is your first line of defense against the elements.

Also, make sure your tools and gear are in good working order and free of damage, as they are essential for your comfort and safety in the outdoors.

Your safety

The importance of car travel safety and camping safety cannot be overstated. Along with weather-appropriate outerwear and boots, bring hats, scarves, gloves, socks, especially a first-aid kit.

Sunburn, insect bites, food allergies, sickness, accidents, and campfire burns, are all potential hazards, so always prioritize your safety above anything else.

Have a plan

In camping, planning is essential. Always consider what might go wrong when you go on the trip and prepare a plan to deal with it as soon as possible. Prevention goes a long way.

Ask the experts

If you’re new to camping, it’s usually best to seek advice from seasoned veterans who have experienced the majority, if not all, of what the great outdoors has to offer. If these camping experts are from your area, they will guide you better on your trip.

What to prepare for camping?

Now that you know how to prepare for a camping trip, it’s time to learn exactly what to prepare for it. For first-timers, it can be challenging to plan for a camping trip since you can’t predict what will happen.

While planning and preparation might be complex, they are very crucial. It is important to stay organized and ensure that you have everything you need since this can widely affect your comfort and safety. Here are the bare camping essentials you must never leave behind during your trip:

Food and Water

There is no doubt that food and hydration are the most important things to prepare during a camping trip as this is the fuel that gives you the energy to survive in the outdoors.

If you are camping in the woods, restaurants are not easily accessible. If you’re backpacking or hiking, you will need enough energy to be able to walk for miles. Always consider your health as a priority, so you should bring lots of food and water, both for cooking and drinking, to sustain you. 


Clothes that are durable, lightweight, and quick-drying are preferable. Since you never know how fast the weather can change, consider bringing weather-appropriate clothes and those that can shield you from insects and bugs during the night. Bringing in an extra set of clothes is also a great option, especially if you plan to camp longer.

Cooking utensils

If you plan on camping out for a few days, you would most likely have to cook your own meals. Do not always rely on pre-packaged meals since they contain preservatives that are not good for your health.

One of the joys of camping is cooking over a campfire and experimenting with new camping-friendly recipes. Bringing the necessary cooking utensils, such as a camp stove, pots, pans, and knives, will make meal preparation faster.


Bring a suitable tent, sleeping bags, sleeping mattress, and pillows with you. Without a doubt, establishing shelter is one of the most crucial things to consider before camping because it protects you from the elements while also providing privacy and security.

First aid kit

A lot can happen outdoors. In case of emergencies, always bring a first aid kit with you. Your kit should contain these things:

  • Gauze and bandages
  • Scissors and tape
  • Wound cleaning essentials
  • Gloves
  • Medications
  • Alcohol or sanitiser
  • Whistle

Trash bag

Maintain a leave-no-trace mindset when you’re out in nature. A responsible camper will always bring their own trash bags.  


It is important to stay organized when you’re camping. In the end, you will be the one benefiting from it. Investing in storages to store your foods or things will free up more space to move around in your tent or car. It will be easier to locate the items you need when you sort them correctly, saving you time and effort. 

Pro tips to prepare food for camping 

Cooking over a campfire is truly one of the most fulfilling things to do during camping, but it certainly is not the easiest. Cooking can be a time-consuming challenge, especially if you don’t do advance preparations and planning at home. Here are some tips for preparing food for camping: 

Pre-cook your meals

Many campfire foods may be prepared ahead of time, and some can even be finished before heading out. Pre-cooking your meals at home will save you more time and effort later on. 

Make easy to cook foods

There are times when you forget to prep your meals overnight at home, so consider trying one-pot camping recipes that are easy to make on the spot. Easy to cook foods also means easy to prepare and clean up, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the outdoors and less time worrying about the next meal. 

Use cast iron skillet

A cast-iron skillet is an excellent investment because it is nonstick, long-lasting, and chemical-free. You can use it in any type of cooking, and the best part is that once it’s hot, it remains that way; their heat lasts longer than other pans, allowing you to enjoy your meals better. 

Cook like cooking at home

Just because you’re out in the woods without complete kitchenware doesn’t mean you should settle for less. When you cook your meals, think of it as if you’re cooking at home. Get innovative with what you have and experiment with them.

Freeze-dried meals

Freeze-dried meals are one of the most popular choices among campers and hikers. They are convenient, calorie-dense, light, and taste good. Add boiling water, wait a few minutes, and then enjoy it straight from the bag. Cleaning up is nonexistent with these meals.

Meal plan

Creating a meal plan before camping is a great way to prepare ahead of time on what ingredients you’ll need to buy and whether or not you’ll need to prep your meals ahead of time. A meal plan also makes the trip less stressful, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the outdoors and less time worrying about the next meal.

Can I go camping without making any plans?

One of the best things about camping is that it allows you to be spontaneous and enjoy nature as it is. The easy answer is yes. You can go camping without making any plans.

This will be the best time to be adventurous and to live in the present. However, you should still make sure to prepare the essential things you might need if you want to have an enjoyable and stress-free vacation. Keeping a camping checklist at hand will help you avoid leaving behind any camping necessities.