Let’s Go Camping and Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Being outdoors in nature has many different benefits, from stress relief to enjoyable exercise and it even boosts your energy. One of the best ways to truly enjoy the outdoors is to go camping. Although it is a lot of work to get ready for camping, it sure is worth it when you can enjoy the surroundings. Camping is even more enjoyable when you go with a group of friends and sit around a campfire sharing stories, laughs and making memories.

Each year in the US, 40 million people go camping. That means almost 15% of the US goes camping each year. So, if you aren’t a regular camper, odds are a friend of yours is. All you need is a little preparation and a free weekend to enjoy a camping adventure. We’ve got tips to help make your camping trip preparation less stressful.

Let’s Get Ready To Go Camping!

Of course there are the basics of when, where, with whom, and for how long. Once this is sorted, here are a few tips.

When: Consider the weather and holidays (which are usually busier for campgrounds). If you are going during a holiday weekend, be prepared for more people and full campgrounds.

Where: California is near limitless when it comes to campground choices. With 61 state parks, 24 Nation Park Systems and 18 National Forest to explore, some right on the Pacific coastline, you have so many possibilities. You can reserve your site online at http://www.reservecalifornia.com/.

With Whom: If you are camping with people you don’t like, the adventure will probably turn into disaster. For most people though, camping is sheer joy.  Getting together with a group take some extra planning, but is certainly worth it. Camping with kids is great, especially if you have friends that have kids, it keeps them happy and active.

How Long: Most camping trips are 2.7 days long. We always found that if possible, spending Sunday night at the campground was much more relaxing. The campgrounds tend to start clearing out on Sunday afternoon, which means you can enjoy the quietness of nature a bit more.

What To Pack For Your Camping Trip?

One of the most important things you want to pack is a first aid kit. You can find out what to pack in your first aid kit here. Of course you’re going to want to pack your campsite gear, unless you are lucky enough to be camping in an RV:

  • Tent, poles, stakes
  • Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
  • Extra tarp or canopy
  • Sleeping bag for each camper
  • Sleeping pad for each camper
  • Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
  • Pillows
  • Flashlights, headlamps and extra batteries
  • Lantern
  • Extra Blankets
  • Camp chairs

What About Meals?

Write down what you plan to eat for each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner.) Then take the time to prepare what you can at home—marinate the meats, cut the vegetables, wrap the potatoes in foil. You’ll be thankful once you get to camp. You can even pre-make your hamburger patties then freeze them, so they stay cooler until ready to cook.

When you pack the cooler, set out the foods meal by meal, thinking about how you’ll serve each meal so you don’t forget condiments and necessary utensils, can opener, etc.

Fresh off the Grid has 52 camping food ideas you might want to consider.

Other items to consider for your camp kitchen:

  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Matches or lighter
  • Firewood
  • Frying Pa
  • Pot
  • Coffee Maker: French Press or Melita work great
  • Corkscrew/Bottle Opener
  • Tablecloth
  • Roasting sticks for marshmallows (what’s camping without S’mores) and hot dogs
  • Food-storage containers or bags
  • Cooler
  • Lots of ice
  • Water bottles
  • Plates, bowls, forks, spoons and knives
  • Cups and mugs
  • Knife, spatula and cooking spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Foil
  • Soap
  • Sponge, dishcloth and dishtowels
  • Extra bin for washing dishes

Dressing For Camping

Its common to have big temperature swings when you are in the outdoors. It may be warm and beautiful during the day but by nightfall temperatures can fall quite a bit. Make sure you check the weather before you leave so you pack appropriately.

Here are a few items you want to make sure you have:

  • Clothes for daytime
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuits
  • Rainwear
  • Shoes: hiking/walking, flip flops or easy on shoes, water shoes
  • Extra layers for warmth
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Extra Sweatshirts and Socks (they are a staple for our family)

A Few Other Items to Pack for Your Camping Trip

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Prescription Meds
  • Toothbrush and toiletries
  • Soap and hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Camera
  • Maps and area information
  • Bikes and Toys
  • Cards and Games
  • Pet supplies if you are bringing you pet
  • A bucket to fill with water, so you can put your campfire out.

Enjoy The Great Outdoors!

Whether you are going camping to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature, or going to get some great family or friend time, be sure to take the time to enjoy. Keep the great outdoors beautiful, but picking up after yourself, remember “Don’t leave a trace.” Also, don’t forget the stories you can tell around the campfire, either to frighten or entertain.

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