Camping is an excellent way to explore new locations and get outdoors. It is both affordable and Covid travel friendly. So whether you’re a veteran camper or are looking to break the quarantine blues, here are some tricks and suggestions to planning the ultimate camping experience.
How to select the right campground?
- Go to reserveamerica.com to find campgrounds.
- What is your purpose for going? Enjoy camping, go hiking, check out local sites?
- If you want to go hiking or see local sites, look for a campground with good proximity to the things you want to see.
- If you plan on staying at the campground, mostly, look for a campground with things to offer.
- A beach or pond
- Hiking trails
- Playgrounds, pools, etc.
- Convenience stores
- What kind of facilities are your “must haves”? Showers, Pit toilets, flush toilets?
- Balance your budget. Private parks often have amenities like playgrounds and pools but are more expensive than State Parks.
How to select the perfect campsite?
- Look for sites with privacy. (are there many sites around)
- How far are you from the bathrooms? You want to be close but not right next to it.
- Are there water views or possible water access?
How do I fit all of this in the car?
You always want to pack your car in reverse order of when you will need things during set up.
- Pull everything together to make your plan.
- Clean out your car so you are completely empty.
- Pack snacks up front for road trip munchies
- If your coolers are ready, put those in next.
- Next, put items that go inside your tent (clothes/pillows/air mattress etc).
- Make sure you keep a space for your canopy or any long items.
- Put in the items that you need to set up camp: Tent, Canopy, hatchets/mallets, lights, etc.
- Last, if it wasn’t ready or needed last minute ice, are coolers.
If everything fit and you can see out of your windows (even a little bit), it was a win! Don’t worry, coming home is always easier as food gets eaten.
How do I pack this cooler?
- Use frozen water bottles to help keep things cold.
- Keep drinks in a separate cooler.
- Bag everything to prevent water from getting in as the ice melts.
- Put meat and most perishables closest to the bottom
- Layer ice throughout, not just on the top.
- You will need about 40 lbs of ice for a 3 day weekend (1 large cooler).
- If all the ice does not fit, plan to purchase 20-30 lb to start and buy more after your first day.
- Make sure you drain some water out each morning to prevent things from floating.
Setting Up Camp
- Assess your space
- Find a large flat spot, not very close to the fire pit.
- This is where your tent goes.
- Remove any rocks or twigs from the space.
- Lay a tarp under your tent to help water ingress
- Place your table away from your tent closer to your fire pit. Add a canopy or cover to your table if you have it.
- This is where you will most likely hangout if it rains.
- Try to set up to optimize privacy.
- Park your car in a way to help block people’s view.
Can I camp in the cold? Of course you can!
- Check the weather and plan ahead.
- Bring an insulated sleeping pad (the ground is cold) and a temperature rated sleeping bag.
- Limit the amount of ambient space in your tent (helps to trap your body heat).
- Bring hats, gloves, and thermal underwear.
- Keep your boot liners and other items in our sleeping bag to stay warm.
- Use a hot water bottle to stay warm.
- Bring high calorie snacks.
- Remove frost from your tent in the AM.
- Avoid getting yourself or your gear wet (bring extra clothes and layers).
- If you are having trouble breathing or can’t stop shivering. Leave and get help. Frostbite isn’t worth it.
How do I start my fire?
- Always easy to burn to harder
- Start with paper/cardboard or a fire starter on the bottom.
- Add small sticks on top of that. You will need to scavenge these from around the site, they do not come with the purchased wood.
- Then medium sticks. Also scavenge these.
- Then place larger logs in a teepee shape above the smaller stuff.
- Always ensure there is plenty of oxygen allowed (don’t stack sticks or logs too tight).
Food Preparation Tips
- Cook as much food ahead of time as possible. This way you don’t have to worry about eating under cooked food.
- Reheat your pre-cooked food in foil tins.
- Always bring a grill (we use charcoal) or cold food options in case of rain. You don’t want to not be able to eat if you can’t start a fire.
- Cook over a grill if cooking raw meat.
- Plan meals that are simple unless you plan for cooking and cleanup to be a large part of your day.