Camping is an escape from the hustle of our everyday life and with these camping tips, you will be able to disconnect and relax.

In order to have an enjoyable time on your camping trip you need to have at least an idea of what you are doing and you also need the right gear for your area. With the wrong gear or the wrong knowledge, a camping trip can easily become a nightmare.

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Ultimate Camping Tips

Camping Tips

-A Perfect Campsite-

The spot that you choose to camp can really make or break your entire camping trip. Learn what to look for and what to avoid with these camping tips.

1. Research The Area

Do a little bit of research on the area that you will be camping in. If you are staying in a campground, learn about the facilities and if you need to make reservations or not. If you are headed to the mountains learn about the terrain and potential water sources in the area.

2. Choose Your Campsite

Plan where you are going to camp before you even start your trip. Are you going to be camping in a campground with a reserved spot headed into the woods and just going to wing it?  By knowing where you are going to be pitching your tent you can avoid the terror of trying to find a level spot quickly before the sun is going down.

3. Don’t Go Overboard On The Tent

When purchasing a tent, consider your basic needs and don’t get swept up in getting the largest tent with the most bells and whistles. Larger more complex tents require alot more time and effort to put up and take down when you are packing up. Try to go with the smallest tent that still fits your needs. It can be very difficult to find an area large enough for some of the bigger tents. Having a smaller tent will give you more options on where you can put it around your campsite.

4. Understand Wind Direction

Keep the wind direction in mind when deciding on a location to pitch your tent. If you accidentally end up downwind from the campfire you will be in for a smoke-filled tent during the night.

5. Look Up Before You Set Up

When choosing a campsite always remember to look up and check out what is above you. Avoid camping under dead trees because they can fall at any time without warning. Dead trees are called widow makers for a good reason. You can also look around the site and if there are alot of limbs and debris that have fallen it may be a good sign to choose another spot.

6. Which Way Is East

Know where the sun will rise when you pitch your tent. If you are not an early riser don’t face the opening of your tent to the east. Or if you want to be up with the sun, then optimize your tent position for that.

7. Set Up Your Tent Before You Go Camping

Practice setting your tent at home at least once before you begin your adventure. It may look super easy on the box but some tents can get a little confusing, especially when you are trying to build a fire, cook and pitch the tent all before it gets dark. If are a pro at putting your tent up before you even go camping then you can spend your time at the campsite relaxing instead of fumbling with tent poles.

8. Bring The Right Sleeping Bag

Don’t sacrifice good sleep because you are camping. Make sure that you have a good sleeping bag that will work for your climate. If it is hot where you are camping then there is no need for a heavy duty down sleeping bag that is made for cold weather.

9. Don’t Sacrifice Comfort For Sleep

Always use a sleeping pad or inflatable mattress to ensure that you get a good nights rest. Even if the ground looks nice and flat without a sleeping pad of some kind you will feel every pebble and dirt clod under your tent.  You can even find sleeping bags that have sleeves that a sleeping pad slides into so you wont be sliding off the sleeping pad in the middle of the night.

10. Air Mattresses Are Nice

If camping with the family, try out an inflatable mattress pad that can keep the whole family comfortable at once.

11. Hammocks Are Awesome For The Minimal Camper

If you are a solo camper consider using a hammock instead of a tent. Hammocks are useful in a wide range of temperatures and conditions and are perfect when backpacking or hiking.

12. Don’t Bring The Pillow From Home

Pillows take up alot of room on a camping trip. Instead of bringing the ones from home use a stuff sack filled with some clothes as a pillow.

13. Put The Next Days Outfit In Your Sleeping Bag

If the mornings are cold it can be very hard to crawl out of that warm sleeping bag and dress into those chilly clothes that have been sitting out all night. Always put your clothes for the next day into the bottom of your sleeping bag. Not only will they help keep your feet warm but they will also be toasty warm in the morning. With a little wiggling you can get dressed right in your sleeping bag and you are ready for the day.

14. Use Water To Keep Your Bed Warm

Another way to warm up those sleeping bags is to fill your Nalgene or water bottle up with hot water and throw it in your sleeping bag before bedtime.

15. Always Put On The Rain Fly

Always attach the rain fly to the top of your tent even if there is no forecast of rain.  You don’t want to be caught off guard at 4 am because of a surprise rain shower that leaves you scrambling to figure out how to tie on the rain fly.

16. Give Yourself Some Time Before Dark

Try to arrive at your campsite with at least two hours of sunlight available. Your first time setting up your campsite might take you an hour, especially if you skipped practicing puting your tent up.

Ultimate Camping Tips

-Camping Food-

Cooking over an open fire or grill puts a rustic spin on our traditional meals. Just because you are cooking in the wild dosent mean it cant be enjoyable. Use these simple meal camping tips to help elevate your camp food.

17. Plan A Complete Camping Menu

This is the most important of these camping tips. Think about the activities that you will be doing during your camping trip. Is your family going to a water park one day, or maybe you have a day hike planned.

Figure out how many breakfast, lunches, and dinners you will need to prepare for your entire trip. Plan out each meal so you can make sure you don’t forget any of the ingredients. You might not be able to run into the grocery store if you forget hamburger buns.

18. Pick Easy Meals

Keep the prep time of your meals in mind when planning your menu. How much time do you want to spend cooking on your trip? Most of the time it is best to have planned meals that requre just a few easy steps to prepare.

If you get in later than expected from your daytime adventure you dont want to have to spend the entire rest of the evening preparing food.

19. Choose One Pot or Grill Options

You can make tweaks to existing recipes that you love to make them more camping friendly. Dishes are a pain in the rear when camping, so try and stick to one pot or grill ready food.

No one wants to be stuck doing the dishes on vacation.

20. Take Advantage Of Canned Food

Cooler space is very valuable while camping. Trying to keep coolers full of ice can be hard in the warm months, so take advantage of canned options. You can still come up with some delicious dinners with some canned side dishes.

21. Meal Prep To Save Time

If hotdogs and baked beans arent going to cut it for every night of your trip then plan meals that you can easily prep at home before you embark. Cut some chucks of chicken or beef and marinade them for kabobs, or precut some veggies to saute over the fire.

Chop, dice, measure, and mix what you can in the comfort of your home kitchen. Doing as much meal prep as you can before the trip will save you lots of headaches later on.

22. Don’t Use Nonstick Pans

Leave all your nonstick pans at home when camping. If they are used over open flames they can easly get hot spots that will release yucky chemicals into your food.

23. Use Cast Iron

Cast iron really is the best option when it comes to camp cooking, as long as your not backpacking into your campsite.

It would be a bit heavy to go in a hiking pack. But in most camping senarios cast iron pans are going to be your best option. They are durable, versitale and easy to clean. A few meals on a good cast iron pan and you will learn to love it.

24. Don’t Forget Salt & Pepper

Spices are easy to forget about when packing up for your camping trip. You want your meals to be tasty so dont forget to spice it up a bit. Those spices can take canned baked beans to the next level.

25. Divide The Coals

If cooking over a fire dont just throw the pan or grill grate over the open flame. You will end up with food that is burnt on the outside and raw on the inside.

Start the fire on one side of the firepit and leave the other side clear.  Once you have a nice fire going, use a shovel to drag some nice coals over to the clear side of the pit. This will give you a nice level bed of coals to cook on.

26. A Camp Stove May Be The Way To Go

If you are going to be camping more than just once or twice you should consider investing in a good camp stove. Cooking over a campfire, while nistalgic, is tricky even for camping pros.

A camp stove gives you control over your cooking temperature. They also give you more flexability in choosing skillets, griddles or pots.

27. Hand Temperature Test

If you are cooking over the campfire you wont have a built in temperature gauge to tell you the coals are ready. But it is easy to use the “hand test” to gauge the temperature of your coals.

Hold your palm about 3 inches above the grill or coals where the food will be cooking. Count how many seconds that you can hold your hand over the heat before pull away. 1-2 seconds is very hot (450-500F), 2-3 is medium high (400-450F), 4-5 is medium (350-400F), 6-7 is medium low (300-350F).

28. Bring Good Coffee

You dont have to try and chug down grainy cowboy coffee if that is not your thing. And just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you can’t have coffee that tastes just as good as the cup from your favorite cafe.

You can bring a French press, a pour-over setup, or buy yourself some instant coffee that is more on the fancy side. It will be worth it to you to have that good fuel first thing in the morning.

29. Have Multiple Coolers

Try to have seperate coolers for meat/vegetable and drinks. The drink cooler will be accessed alot more often than the cooler with the dinner meat in it. Have a cooler just for your proteins and veggies and store them in the shade until you need to prepare a meal.

30. Remeber That Ice Melts

In hot weather ice melts very quickly. Opt for larger ice blocks instead of cubes. Blocks last alot longer than just cubes. Also, don’t drain the melted ice water. That water is ice cold and will contiune to keep your drinks cool.

31. Skip The Mixing Bowls

You can save space in your camp kitchen by leaving the mixing bowls and utensils. Instead, just bring a few sizes of plastic zip lock bags. Place the foods or liquids that you want to mix in the bag, and ensure that the zipper is well closed before mixing.

32. Plastic Totes Will Keep Ants Out Of Your Food

Store all you dry goods in large plastic totes. This will keep all the ants and other bugs from moving in on your campsite. Also you want to avoid any larger animals being drawn in my an open bag of chips.

33. Common Ingredients

Try to plan meals that use some common ingredients. A big sack of poatoes can be turned into hash, camp fried potatoes, hashbrowns, or fries. It is easier to bring these common ingredients than a bunch or smaller random ingredients.

34. Know How You Will Wash Dishes

Washing dishes takes a bit of forethought. Usually you can get away with two or three wash bins. A soapy wash bin, a rinse bin, and a final rinse that has a drop of bleach to kill all the remaining germs.

The last thing you want to do is get sick from not washing the dishes well enough.

35. Bring Extra Food

It is always a good idea to pack enough food for one extra day. It is better to have brought to much food than to run out before your trip is over. Also, bring extra snacks. Snacks are always the first to run out.

36. Pick Up Your Garbage

Keep a few garbage bags tied around your camp so that clean up is easy. If it is convenient for kids to toss their garbage in the trash they will be more likely to do it.

Most campgrounds have dumpsters onsite and all of your garbage can be discarded when you check out at the end of the trip.

Ultimate Camping Tips

-Build A Camp Fire-

Finally onto the campfire. Nothing is as relaxing at the end of a day of adventuring as a nice warm campfire. But sometimes they can be a bit finicky to get right. With these camping tips your fire will be sure to burn into the night.

37. Keep The Fire Contained

Make sure your campfire is in an open space and far enough away from brush or trees so you don’t run the risk of a stray spark catching them on fire. Always use the designated fire pits if there is one. If not dig a shallow hole and surround the firepit with stones to help keep it contained.

38. Have A Shovel On Hand

A shovel is essential for digging out a fire pit, moving coals around, adjusting logs, and covering the smoldering fire with dirt when you leave.

39. Never Leave The Fire Unattended

Most importantly, never leave any campfire unattended. If you need to leave for any reason, make sure the campfire is extinguished completely.

40. Use Gloves For Moving Rill Grates

Fire resistant gloves come in handy when moving grates or cast iron pans.

41. Learn How To Start A Fire Before You Go

Try and master the art of starting a fire before your first camping trip. Some conditions make it harder than others so have a few different techniques available to use.

42. Take Multiple Fires Starters

Cotton balls with a smear of petroleum jelly make great fire starters.  Store them in a plastic resealable bag for easy access and to minimize the mess. Fill cardboard toilet paper rolls with dryer lint for a fire made easy. Firestarter sticks can also be purchased in the section of the grocery store where you find charcoal

Camping Tips

Ultimate Camping Tips

-Everything Else-

There is so much to think about while planning a camping trip. Here are a few more camping tips to keep in mind before you adventure out.

43. Go During The Week

This camping tips can save you the headaches of an overcrowded campground. If you can work it into your schedule try and plan your camping trip during the week.

Campgrounds are usually packed with people on any summer weekend because everyone is looking for the escape from their busy lives. If you’re looking for a more quiet and relaxing camping trip, see if you can work a mid-week escape into your schedule.

44. Bring Bug Spray

Don’t forget the bug spray on your camping trip. In fact, bring a few different types so you can see what will work best. Find something that works and doesn’t irritate your skin and the less greasy the better.

45. Bring Some Games

After you have gotten back from your day hike or water park you will likely have quite a bit of downtime. Leave the electronics at home as opt for a frisbee or play catch. Cards and dice can also offer fun fireside entertainment.

46. Bring A Portable Charger

Bring a portable charger for your devices. I’m not encouraging screen time on your camping trip but have a charged phone available for emergencies.  

47. Use A Clothes Line

Use a small rope to create a clothesline between two trees.  It’s a perfect way to dry wet clothes and hang coats or boots.

48. Be Courteous At Night

Lights out at most campsites are 10 pm and be considerate that your voices and laughter carry quite a distance. Check with your camp host before you crack open a beer as it is illegal to drink even in your own campsite at some campgrounds.

49. Leave The Campsite As You Found It

This is a very important camping tips to follow not only out of respect for those that come after you but also to protect our beautiful outdoors. Bring out any trash you brought in, and make sure your fire is completely out. Also, be sure you’ve packed up all your own gear and haven’t left anything behind.

Camping Tips

Camping has the potential to create lifelong memories with your friends and family. Your next outing can be a tremendous experience as long as you have a good grasp of camping fundamentals.

By taking these camping tips to heart, you will be prepared to experience the outdoors like an expert.

What are your most useful camping tips?

-Bobbie

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