If you’ve got an upcoming camping trip with a group of friends, family, or a combination of both penciled in on your calendar, you’re undoubtedly looking forward to the adventure. However, you may also be wondering how to help ensure that the experience is enjoyable for everyone involved. Here’s what you need to know about planning and preparing for a successful camping trip that will create lasting memories:
1- Discuss Expectations
Unless your group has gone camping many times in the past, it’s likely that everyone will have different expectations of what the trip will be like. The initial discussion phase is particularly important if your group includes those with little camping experience.
2- Choose the Right Campsite
The wrong campsite can make what would have otherwise been a perfectly pleasant outdoor experience into a tedious ordeal that everyone just wants to end as quickly as possible and then forget ever happened. When choosing a campsite, keep the individual needs and preferences of everyone in the group in mind, and try to balance the selection so that there’s at least one appealing feature for every participant.
If young children are included in the group, look for a campsite with family-friendly amenities such as a small playground, on-site bathrooms, and picnic tables.
3- Pack Efficiently
The key to packing for a camping trip is striking a balance between having the necessary gear and personal items and packing so much stuff that you’re overburdened. Start with a checklist of essential items such as tents, sleeping bags, suitable clothing made from sun-repellant fabric, outdoor cooking equipment, toiletries, and any medications that you may need.
4- Plan Delicious Meals
Just because you’re roughing it doesn’t mean you have to make do with substandard meals. Even if you don’t want to pack along an elaborate and hefty camping stove, you can still create delicious cuisine while cooking over a campfire using standard camping cookware. For instance, you can make baked potatoes, nachos, tacos, breakfast skillets, and much more with a campfire, some tin foil, and a cast iron pan. Naturally, you’ll want to include S’mores on your menu — no camping trip would be the same without them.
5- Plan Outdoor Activities
To keep everyone active and entertained, be sure that the outdoor activities that you plan are appropriate for all interests, ages, and ability levels. Hiking, birdwatching, stargazing, and fishing provide excellent options for enjoying natural beauty during a camping trip. Don’t forget to bring a few board games and a deck of cards for evening entertainment around the campfire.
6- Be Prepared
At least one person in your group should be tasked with bringing along a comprehensive first aid kit complete with a book on how to deal with minor injuries and medical emergencies, an actual Forest Service map of the area, and an old-school compass. Keep in mind that you may wind up in an area that doesn’t have internet capability, so you may have to depend on these basic tools to help ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in your group.