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Tips to Prepare For a Long Camping Trip

Spending time in the great outdoors has a number of benefits, which is why so many gravitate toward camping as their preferred means of relaxation. Especially in the spring and summer, when the weather is warm and water is cool, families and individuals alike will flock to campgrounds, state parks, and hiking trails to enjoy time in nature. Although these folks may seem like a happy-go-lucky bunch who fly through life without many worries, preparing for a successful camping trip is no walk in the park. There's considerable planning and preparation necessary to have all the gear to stay warm and dry and all the food and water to stay full and hydrated. If you're thinking about diving into the woodsman life, then you'll want to keep a few things in mind before you take off on your first big camping trip.

What to Bring

If you stuck a pair of long johns and a men's fleece jacket in your pack, then you're off to a good start! You will, however, need more than just practical clothes to get through your first camping trip. Most of your camping and outdoor stores might offer checklists for you to use as a guide of what to pack and what to bring in your car for a relaxing camping trip. These lists might include everything from clothes and toiletries to kitchen equipment or tools to make your campsite feel just like home. Aside from all the bells and whistles you might opt for in a car camping situation, there are seven basic items all campers should bring wherever they spend a night in nature:

  • Warm clothes are a must, even if you're camping in the summer time in a warm region. Night time temperatures can sometimes drop unexpectedly, and you don't want to risk any negative effects of a chilly evening.
  • Extra clothes and rain gear are both a must when camping. You never know what will happen on your day hikes or outdoor excursions that might ruin or damage your clothes, so having extras is always a smart way to ensure you have clean clothes to wear. Rain gear should always be in your pack in the event a downpour sneaks up on you. This can keep you and your tent from getting soaked.
  • Always pack a roll of trash bags to collect your waste while you're camping. You want to follow the "no trace left behind" rule by bringing all of your gear and trash with you when you leave a site.
  • Means to start a fire is always nice to have in the wilderness. Despite your confidence with primitive fire making, it's still smart to bring a fire starter or some matches with you in case the flames need a little extra help to get going.
  • A cell phone charger is another important tool to have on the trail or in the forest, especially if you're planning to be out there for an extended period. Having a means of communication can be extremely helpful in emergency situations or just nice to have so people know you're okay.
  • Flashlights are one more must have when you're living in a tent because, far from city lights and the glow of freeways, nature can be incredibly dark. Navigating your campsite or through the woods at night can be almost impossible without a light, plus it helps to ward off critters that might sneak into your space.
  • Finally, don't leave home without a first aid kit. Depending on where you're camping, you might be hours away from the nearest medical attention and could need help fast if an accident happens. Having at least the basic necessities for a medical event can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

General Prep

The type and amount of preparation you need will be heavily based on what type of camping you're planning on doing, but a few overall principles apply to all long-term camping excursions. The first is to invest in a quality tent. Your tent will be your home away from home, so you want to make sure it's comfortable, spacious, and effective at keeping you out of the elements. Top-notch tents can get pricey, so keep an eye out for used ones as well. If your local outdoors store has an annual yard sale or open box discount, you might be able to find a great price on the tent of your dreams. You also want to make sure you know how to set it up, so it's recommended to always practice erecting your tent at home before hitting the road. This can save you lots of time and hassle once you make it to your campsite.

Just like you never want to go camping without rain gear, you always want to waterproof your tent. There's nothing worse than waking up to rain filling your sleeping bag in the middle of the night! There are a few different ways to keep precipitation out of your shelter, such as a tarp strung up overhead or a rain fly that attaches to the top of your tent and is staked into the ground. Some people even opt for tents with small porch coverings for a little added protection in their entryway. No matter what option you choose, you'll be glad you took this extra precaution if a drizzle turns into a deluge.

Picking your campsite can be important for your first long camping trip because you want to make sure there's enough fun things to do in the area to keep you entertained for each day you're there. A good way to choose a campsite is to look at the activities the spot offers or to make a list of activities you want to do. For example, if you want to go white water rafting and fishing on the same trip, you might choose a state park with a river running through it. If you're more interested in hiking and bird watching, you could choose a spot nestled far in the forest. State and national parks are also great spots for people who like cycling or spending a day in a boat because they often include some paved roads and an easy-to-access boat launch.

Finally, if you're staying in a controlled area like a park or privately owned campground, book your campsite in advance. Many places allow you to do this online or by calling the ranger's office. Booking in advance assures you a spot for the weekend or week you're planning your trip and can sometimes even give you a chance to schedule other activities. When you don't call ahead, you run the risk of showing up to a full park and having nowhere to pitch your tent—literally! When you have an advance reservation, it can even speed up your entry because you don't have to figure out your total, pay the ranger, and get all your paperwork done on the spot. Just show your reservation and you'll be ready to get camping!

Food and Water

The whole point of camping for most people is to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, which means there probably won't be a supermarket close to your campsite. Packing food and water for a long camping trip can be stressful. After all, there's no fridge to keep raw items cold and no kitchen to prepare elaborate meals. This is why camping meals are often simple, packaged, dried, or otherwise don't need to be cooked. On a day hike or single overnight trip, you might be able to get away with putting some hamburger patties or hot dogs in an ice chest and cooking them over your fire for dinner, but with longer trips this just isn't feasible.

The easiest way to pack for a long camping trip is to focus on densely nutritious packaged snacks and easy-to-make meals that don't require cooking. You also should remember that during the day you're likely to burn more calories and expend more energy than you do in your normal life, so always err on the side of more food when filling your bag or ice chest. Great camping snacks include energy bars, granola bars, beef jerky, and fruit or vegetables. These all lend their own types of nutritional value like high fats, high proteins, or high in natural sugars to keep your body fueled throughout the day. For meals, you can do things like peanut and butter jelly sandwiches, bananas with honey and avocado, or even instant oatmeal in a cup you can add hot water to. If you're feeling bold, you could even bring along a cheese that doesn't need to be refrigerated, like a sharp cheddar, and try your hand at making grilled cheese over your campfire! These meals might not be as fun as spaghetti and meatballs in your dining room, but they have all the nutrition you need to feel full and satisfied after a long day of activities.

While you're packing up all those delicious snacks, don't forget about water! Just like with food, you're likely to need more water while you're camping than you do on a normal day, so you want to make sure you pack plenty for yourself and any companions. The only problem is water can start to take up a lot of space in your car, backpack, or campsite and can also add considerable weight to your gear. If you're camping for a long period, a great way around the hassles of carrying all your water is to purchase a water purifier. These are lightweight options that make it possible to drink from almost any source of natural water. They come especially in handy if you're staying somewhere near a lake, river, or stream because you'll be able to either filter the water into one reusable container or drink straight from the source, depending on the type of purifier you have.

Backpacking vs. Car Camping

There are two general schools of camping: car camping and backpacking. Car camping is when you drive out to an area and have your vehicle near your campsite for the entirety of your stay. This is the option most novices choose because it allows you to bring more items and make your stay a little more comfortable. Backpacking, on the other hand, requires more planning because you need to consider weight and the size of your bag since all of your items will be carried in it on your back. Although all the tips mentioned in this article are easily applicable to both forms of camping, remember they each have their own quirks too.

Planning for a long camping trip can feel overwhelming, but if you know the general tips for all camping trips, bring plenty of food and water, and prepare for the type of camping you're doing, you'll have a fun and relaxing trip.

About The Author

Extremely helpful post! Will bookmark this for future camping trips. :)
B | Melbourne Pool Cleaners

camping one of my hobbies since i was young, this info really useful for me. live with nature, really makes me calm.
Bobob | Antioch pool cleaning service

We should carry all necessary things like food, tent, Stove and water for the camping. If we should have our own food then 50% of expenses will be decreased. Thanks for sharing GACHA NOX with us.

Preparing for a long camping trip requires careful planning. Research the location and weather conditions to pack appropriate gear. Test and repair camping equipment beforehand. Create a detailed checklist for food, cooking utensils, and essentials. Pack lightweight and compact items to save space. Don’t forget a first aid kit and extra batteries. connections unlimited



Thanks for sharing these tips. They helped me a lot while i planed to travel hills. Thanks Gacha Nebula

I really liked the article. Author, thank you very much. I look forward to your next articles. Gvibe.