The weather report looks good for an incredible camping trip full of fun and memories. Don’t stop your planning there. Getting some things out of the way just before you go and right after you get there can mean the difference between laughing and cringing later when you’re telling your campsite tales.
If nothing else, your laser focus should be on packing. You know what your group needs on a day-to-day basis, so get those on the list. But don’t forget some of that stuff you might not think about until you’re wishing for it later. A poncho isn’t just rain protection. It also works great as a windbreaker, ground cloth or mosquito shield. Trash bags can also double as ponchos, so pack your clothes in them because they will also keep everything from getting damp in the humidity.
Think in layers when you’re packing clothes. Temperatures change so much from morning to afternoon to evening, make it easy on yourself by peeling them off or piling them on. Also, think about grabbing a pair of polypropylene long johns. They’re even great in the summer because they dry quickly and pull sweat away from your body. Pack them as PJs, but keep them close just in case you flip your canoe and need something while your pants dry. And shoes. They’re probably the most important. They don’t have to be stylish, but they do need to be comfortable. No one wants to nurse a blistered foot (or feet, ouch!) on the way down the hill, no matter how short you thought the hike was.
You’ll want some good food to keep your energy up for those beautiful hikes, so plan your meals at home. Measure out dry ingredients, like pancake mix, in insulated cups. Leave room for the wet ingredients so you just have to add, shake and pour. Those containers will pull triple duty by keeping hot things hot, cold things cold and insects out of everything. Remember to label those cups, or you may end up serving up a far different meal than you intended…
Always throw in an extra bundle or two of firewood, just in case it’s tough to find it in the wilderness, or illegal.
Plan to arrive at your campsite early. You’ll have the time you need to search for the perfect place to call home for a few days, pitch your tent, make an incredible supper and relax before the sun goes down. When you’re making that all-important choice on campsites, try to stay at least 200 ft. away from the nearest body of water. There are also some places you’ll want to avoid: narrow canyons (flash floods), open fields (lightning), clay soil (more flooding), cliffs and ledges (nighttime falls) and stagnant water (insects).
Campsite Cleanup Code
The most important thing to remember: clean up everything you bring in, making it look even better than when you arrived. Set aside enough time to get it all done. It always takes longer than you think.