If you’re considering camping in America but have no idea where to begin, we can help. We’ve broken planning your camping trip down in six easy steps, so the planning process is as stress-free as possible.

Step One: Check Your Calendar

Camping with the whole family? Consider both you and your spouse’s vacation time. Ensure you and the kids don’t have any special events planned. If you’re traveling with family or friends, consider asking them over for dinner to hammer out the preliminaries. Figuring out what works for everyone may very well be one of the hardest parts. But once you’ve all agreed on times and dates, the rest is a little bit easier.

Step Two: Decide on RV, Trailer, or Tent

This next step determines how you’ll and where you’ll look for campsites. If you’ve never been camping in the great outdoors before, consider roughing it out with a tent. This is the best way to get in touch with nature.

If using tents isn’t your cup of tea, consider buying (or renting) a trailer or recreational vehicle (RV). If you’re purchasing or renting a trailer, ensure your car has the correct hookups so you can safely drive with it.

Step Three: Research Campsites

Deciding which method of camping is best for your trip plays a significant role in determining which campsite to use. Research which national state park works with your camping style. Some campgrounds don’t allow trailers or RVs, so make sure to pick the best park for you. Check the campground’s maximum number of days per stay as well as the cost of fees. Some campsites are available for reservations while others are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

If reservations are possible, check to see if there are photos of the site available. Sites near rivers or swamps are a recipe for mosquito bites. The more trees there are, the easier it is to pitch a tent with a rain fly. Plus, they add a veil of privacy.

Step Four: Make a List for your Camping Trip

Sit down with your camping partner and come up with a list of necessary items for your camping trip. Your list depends on the length of your stay. Make sure you have a food checklist that covers every meal. Also plan an emergency pack in case something goes wrong.

Consider necessities for your camping arrangements: tents, lanterns, bungee cords/rope, stoves, blankets, etc. There are other necessities you’ll need when you’re at the site such as ice and bait (if fishing), to name a few.

Step Five: Vehicle Pre-Inspection

Two weeks before heading out, make sure you’re vehicle is in tip-top shape. If you can do it yourself, check fluids and tire pressure. Otherwise, take it to the shop for a once-over from a professional. Then, take a peek in the trunk and assure you’ll have enough room for all of your gear.

Step Six: Packing

Take the day before departure to pre-pack for your camping trip. Cut up plenty of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and anything else you like for an easy salad when you arrive. Wash up some fruits for snacking such as peaches, apples, grapes, and cherries. Marinate your meat in a sealable container, so it’s ready to hit the grill at any time.

When it’s time to pack the car, place heavy, boxy items like the cooler and grill on the bottom. Lighter, softer things, including clothes, blankets, and sleeping bags, should go on top. Remember to place your tent, tarps, ropes, and other must-have items within reach.

Camping Tips

Plan out your camping area if you’re setting up a tent for specific areas: sleeping, cooking, and eating. Lay down and secure a tarp beneath your tent for an extra layer of protection. Speaking of protection, always protect your feet! Dedicate at least one pair of your thickest socks for sleeping. That way, you’ll always have a good night’s rest.

What are some of your camping tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below!


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