Some of us are better at upholding the old Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared.” We’ve found that being prepared for camping, especially planning camping trips, is essential to get the most out of your camping season. Doesn’t it just seem like it was summer a few weeks ago? Maybe you were left feeling unprepared, as if summer snuck past you on a fast run where you barely had enough time to catch its fleeting image pass over the horizon. It happens to the best of us, but with the start of a new year closing in, you can get a head start on planning 2016 camping trips.
So where do you get started? Don’t worry if you aren’t the most organized person in the woods. Most of us at 50 Campfires are run-and-gun, spontaneous people who move with the wind. We created this list for people like us: Campers who know how to build an upside down fire but struggle when it comes to planning camping trips that are months down the road. Follow these steps to get the most out of your next adventure.
Decide Where to Go
This is the most straightforward thing you need to start planning. Where you will be camping will dictate what you bring, how many days you’ll stay, expenses, etc. Early in the year is a great time to book popular campgrounds and sites for days that work best for you and your schedule.
Go Somewhere New
We make it a point every year to camp in a new place where we have never been. We invite you to consider getting out of your comfort zone and camp in a new place. Now is the time to make some plans, schedule out vacation days for work, and work out the logistics of going to a new place. Online services, such as Hipcamp, allow you to explore great campsites in a single, seamless interface. This is a great resource for planning a trip because you can breeze through tons of destinations in a short amount of time.
Check any updates to your favorite sites
Whether it’s a campground or National Park, campgrounds and sites are constantly changing and being updated. Do a little legwork online to see if anything has changed where you plan on going and if any rules/regulations have been updated. Maybe your favorite park added a new trail to explore or additional campsites.
Make a List
This step goes beyond having all the items in your campbox that you will need for camping next season and digs deeper into the gear you already have and gear that you don’t have yet. Think back to your trips over the summer and fall. What gear do you need to replace? What were you itching to have but haven’t added it to your campbox? Figure out the specifics now and you won’t have to scramble last minute to track down that waterproof lantern you’ll need for your weekend at the lake come June.
Take someone new
Sharing something that you love with someone else is, as cliché as it sounds, a truly rewarding experience. There’s something about watching your passion infect another person. Turn someone you know into a camper next year. In return you’ll have another buddy to hit the campsite with and the reward of sharing the outdoors with someone new.
Don’t rule out spontaneity/Forget planning
With all the planning, making lists, and booking campsites it can sometimes feel more like work that fun. Don’t forget to be spontaneous. Some of the best trips we have taken were spur of the moment. The best part is if you have your campbox packed and organized you just have to load everything in the car and hit the road. Camping is supposed to be fun; a detachment from the day-to-day grind of work and other responsibilities. Pack everything in the car and decide where you are going on the way. Seize the weekend.