Camping is a great way to disconnect from your everyday life, reconnect with nature and bond with your friends and family. Due to the spread of Covid-19, the popularity of camping has spiked drastically over the past months, and many Americans are opting for summer vacation in the great outdoors to stay safe while enjoying themselves. What does it take to actually plan a camping trip? We’re going to outline the four steps to take in order to have a successful and memorable camping trip.
1. Pick a spot.
The obvious first step would be choosing where you want to go, which can sound a lot easier said than done. Thankfully, there are two great resources out there to help you find the perfect spot. The first is Recreation.gov, which has more than 100,000 campsites around the country which you can reserve online just like a hotel.
“Think of us as your one-stop shop - a place with all the tools, services and information you'll need to dream up your next adventure, plan the details, experience it all first-hand and then share those stories. With roughly 3,600 facilities and activities and over 103,000 individual reservable sites across the country, we're confident that you'll not only find what you need, but more importantly create lasting memories and bring home a story.” (Source: Recreation.gov)
The great thing about reserving through Recreation.gov is that you are reserving sites managed by local, state and national park agencies, which are protecting our country’s most beautiful landscapes. You also have the peace of mind knowing that once you have reserved a site it’s yours, no need to worry about showing up to a campground that’s already full. However, this does require some more advanced planning as some of the more popular campsites fill up months in advance.
Another great site to use is The Dyrt, which allows you to reserve sites that appear on Recreation.gov as well as other private campgrounds and “primitive” or “dispersed” campsites around the country. “Primitive” or “dispersed” campsites are areas where camping is allowed without established services such as bathrooms, potable water, fire rings or picnic tables. Typically, these dispersed camping areas are along state roads managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and there is no charge to camp here. Basically, you show up with your gear and pitch a tent along side of the road. Dispersed camping is a great way to camp if you are planning a last minute camping trip and are willing to sacrifice some of the amenities of established campgrounds such as toilets and running water. Dispersed camping is always first come, first serve and you will have to plan a little more carefully when it comes to drinking water and lack of amenities.
2. Get your gear together.
Once you have a spot picked, you will need to get your camping gear together. Not sure what gear you need? Let us take care of this step for you! Simply rent a camping bundle for one or two, which comes with all the basics for your camping trip such as a tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, headlamps, chairs, cooler, stove and cookware. By renting through Big Sky, we do all the hard work for you – your gear arrives to your door via UPS, cleaned and ready to go. After your trip, simply send it back with the pre-paid shipping label included with the shipment.
3. Pan your meals.
Food can make or break a camping trip, so it’s worth spending some time putting together a menu and grocery list to ensure you don’t forget anything. There are several ways you can prepare food for your trip ranging from pre-made dehydrated meals to elaborate recipes that can be cooked over a campfire. Most outdoor outfitters offer complete dehydrated meals, which are small, lightweight and are great for those who don’t really enjoy cooking – just add hot water, wait a bit and enjoy.
Most people bring along a large cooler for their food and drinks as well as a good amount of snacks to eat throughout the day. There are a ton of resources on the internet about how to put together a good camping menu, check the article from Fresh Off the Grid titled “52 Incredibly Delicious Camping Food Ideas” for some inspiration.
Make sure to double check whether or not your campsite has access to potable water, if not you will need to make sure to bring your own water.
4. Plan some activities
Now that you have food and shelter planned out, take some time to plan out how you want to have some fun. Many people enjoy just hanging out at the campsite, relaxing, eating and taking in nature. Hiking is a great way to explore the area and really get off the beaten path. If there is a lake, river or reservoir near your site, consider renting a paddleboard or kayak. It’s also worth checking out local tourism board websites in the area to see what kinds of activities outdoor enthusiasts enjoy doing in the area. Most dogs make great campers as well, just double check to make sure they are allowed at your campsite.
Now hit the road and enjoy!
Although organizing a camping trip can seem daunting at first, breaking it down into these four simple steps should make it a little easier to plan. Renting your gear through Big Sky makes the process even easier! Competitive pricing, high quality gear and free shipping make getting your camping gear together a quick and painless process.