When I remember the camping trips my family went on when I was a child, one thing that sticks out to me is just how easily a trip that started out fun could turn into a disaster.
There was the time my dad forgot to pack the tent poles. There was the time our rooftop carrier popped open, and our bags were strewn for miles down the highway. And then there were the many times when we arrived at the campsite in the middle of the night, after hours of driving, and had to fight through our yawns and frayed moods to get everything set up.
But as time went on we picked up a few camping tips that made things a lot easier. So if you’re planning a camping trip of your own, learn from our mistakes. Follow these simple camping tips to avoid a total camping catastrophe and get the most out of your camping adventure.
1) Plan for the weather. Camping in severe weather conditions is not fun, trust me. Check out the forecast for your campground, if possible before picking your reservation. Keep checking it up until you leave and reschedule if things start to look bad. After all, sitting around the campfire swapping ghost stories isn’t so fun when it’s pouring down raining.
2) Before you leave to go camping, pull all your gear our and make sure it works. This means putting up the tent behind the house and checking your sleeping bags for holes. Doing this will require a little of your time, but it can save you hours of stress and tears later on. The last thing you want is to get to the campground and only then discover your faulty gear. But remember when you’re done checking everything out, don’t forget to pack it all up again.
3) Be prepared to wage war on bugs. This is the one part of camping I’ve always hated the insects. The worst is mosquitoes, but those aren’t the only creepy crawlies you’ll encounter. One time I camped by Diamond Lake in Oregon, and there were flies the size of baseballs dive-bombing my head. The way to handle bugs is with bug repellant and, if necessary, mosquito netting.
4) Bring duct tape. Before you decide this is the silliest of the camping tips, think about it. It’s an old joke that duct tape can fix anything, but when camping, it’s not a joke it’s a simple truth. Whether your tent poles break, your tent rips open or your sneakers start to fall apart after a long hike, and duct tape can fix it.
5) When you’re first deciding where to camp, be sure to check out campsite reviews online to see what other people’s experiences have been and whether people have posted any camping tips for the particular campsite you’re considering. Two excellent resources for this is CampRate.com and camping.about.com (where you can find more camping tips as well).
In the end, no amount of camping tips can guarantee you a successful camping trip. But the more you prepare better your chances and, the more fun you’ll have! Do you have some camping tips of your own? Write it in the comments.