Planning for your first camping trip can seem like a daunting task, so we have put together some easy-to-follow tips for you to use this winter.
1. Pick a location
This is the most difficult part of the process, simply because there are so many options out there. Our advice is to start by deciding how far you want to travel to the location. Next, figure out what landscape or amenities you want to be around. Do you want to be close to a creek so you can listen to it at night? Or do you want to be close to good hiking trails? Or maybe you want to have that mountain view when you wake up?
We recommend staying at a state park or national park. All of these options are easy to reserve online.
We also find ourselves feeling safer when we stay at one of these options because we have the protection of the park rangers and camp hosts. Feeling safe and comfortable is KEY when camping, so put that above everything!
We recommend reserving before heading out, and it’s even better if you can reserve several weeks in advance. Now that we have the location squared away, let’s talk about another subject: GEAR.
2. Let’s talk gear.
You can be super minimalist and only bring the essentials, or you can be extra and bring your entire house with you. On some level of realness, we believe that you should keep a list of essentials items in your notes so you don't forget the important things.
Here’s what’s on that list:
• sleeping bag
• sleeping pad
• camp chair
• water receptacle
• first aid kit
• cooking stove + fuel
Now that you have the essentials down, you can add luxury items as needed, like a sleeping pad, a packable camp pillow, or a waterproof speaker. You could also bring a stove rather than just the fire (plus many locations often have campfire restrictions).
These few extra items make all the difference when you’re away from the comfort of your home. It’s not necessary to have the best of the best gear when just getting out for car camping. It’s great to start building up your gear inventory one item at a time and finding out what brands and prices are right for you.
Once you get started on inventory, we recommend carving out a clean and dry place in your home to store and organize all of that gear. It makes planning and executing a camping trip so much easier when you know exactly where everything is located.
It always makes people anxious when talking about this because there are so many options out there, and they don’t know the many cooking techniques that can be used in the outdoors. We totally get it.
The best plan of action with food is to plan in advance. Write down what you will be having for each meal, including snacks, and then list all the ingredients that you’ll need. With many recipes, you can even prep some of the food prior to traveling to the campsite, so half the work is already done.
We personally recommend you to stick to the basics with all meals. For example, dinner is usually one meat, a vegetable(s), and a starch like potatoes or rice. Then fill in the rest with snacks like chips and dip, fruit, and cheese. You can even get more basic than this and stop at a grocery store on the way for a grab-and-go meal from the deli section.
Whichever method you choose, just make sure to have a plan!
Now you’re probably ready to get out and do something new! We hope that something new will be camping, and that our suggestions you will feel empowered and have a good time.