Summer camping is all about s’mores, being around a fire, and remembering to bring the toilet paper. However, there are a lot of other things to consider to make your camping trip great. Here are some basic tips to get you started.
Campground owners: You might want to print these Tips and make them available to your camping customers. Copy and paste them onto your own letterhead.
Plan ahead prior to your trip
Being prepared for your camping trip is important. If you forget something, you can’t just run to the nearest store to grab it. You could be miles from anything. Following a camping checklist is a great way to ensure that you will remember everything you need.
Before you leave, set up your tent first. You can make sure all of the working pieces are there and won’t collapse on you in the middle of the night. If you have a trailer or an RV, make sure to do a quick run through with everything you’ll be setting up outside as well.
Traveling with a pet? You need to know what the campground rules are for pets. You should confirm ahead of your arrival that pets are allowed and what is expected of you and your pet.
Select a good campsite
When selecting a tent campsite, choose an area that is more open, away from water (at least 200 feet away), and not close to any downed trees. You would not want to be close by when the next one falls. Pick an area that is flat and stable when setting up your tent. You also want to make sure your campsite is elevated so rain drainage doesn’t soak up your camping fun. If you’re camping with a large number of people, do a little research ahead of time as many areas have maximum group size regulations.
If you’re camping in bear country, it’s a good idea to select a site that has bear resistant food storage lockers. You don’t want to tangle with a bear over a bag of chip. These lockers should be big enough to hold all of your food and coolers and should be easily accessible. Ask the campground if it uses Certified Bear Resistant food lockers like the Pilot Rock units. A certified food locker will protect both the campers and the bears.
Prepare your food
Preparing your food beforehand will make your life much easier. Your typical camping food is always a good go-to like hot dogs, hamburgers, & s’mores. For breakfast you can mix up pancake batter and put it in a Ziploc baggie beforehand. Once you’re ready to use it, you can cut off one corner to squeeze out your quick and easy, soon-to-be breakfast onto a griddle. Bring any spices, condiments, and cooking utensils all packed together in a tote to make it easy to find and get to when you’re ready.
If you don’t want to haul around a clunky grill, a lot of campsites will be equipped with campfire rings with grates that you can cook on. Most campsites will also have charcoal grills available as well. Bring a wire brush or other tool to clean the cooking grate or perhaps aluminum foil to cover it. You should also consider bringing fire starters or charcoal. The campground store may also sell firewood and charcoal. You can help prevent the spread of invasive insect species like the emerald ash borer by not transporting firewood. Buy local burn local.
Clean up your campsite
A good rule of thumb for cleaning up your campsite is to leave it better than you found it. Between food, drinks, and anything in between, you may accumulate a good amount of trash. If you’re not close to a trash receptacle, make sure to have a garbage bag handy to put trash in during your camping trip. So once you’re done and ready to go, it’s easy to simply grab the trash bag and throw it in the closest trash receptacle on your way out. In bear country your campground may have bear resistant trash receptacles. Be sure to use them to keep the big guys from rummaging through the garbage.
Putting out your campfire correctly is crucial. First, drown it with water and stir it around with a stick to get it muddy looking. After that, take some time away from it and break down your tent, or pack up a few other things. Then, come back to it and pour more water over it. Feel it with your hand, as it should be cool enough to touch. As Smokey the Bear says, “If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.”
If you are camping with a pet, be sure you completely remove all pet waste from your campsite. The next camper doesn’t want to find what your dog left behind, so pick it up and dispose in a trash receptacle.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Have a safe trip to your next campground or back home.
Got more tips?
Did we miss something? Let us know what other easy camping tips you would suggest. Let your experience help other campers.