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4 Tips for an Epic Last-Minute Camping Trip

Photo by AleksandarNakic via iStock

You know the feeling…

It’s Friday afternoon, you’re sick of work, and you can’t stop thinking about the fresh air and beautiful scenery you experience while camping.

The problem is, you’re totally unprepared. You don’t have time to pack everything. It’s just a lot of work, so you think, “It would be nice to go camping, but I better not.”

Well, I’m here to tell you that last-minute camping trips can be a lot of fun, despite the time you need to plan and prepare and get loaded up.

If you’re itching to take a quick trip, use these tips to get ready for a spontaneous adventure!

Last-Minute Camping Trip Tips: Have as Much Gear Pre-Packed as Possible

Last-Minute Camping Trip Tips Have as Much Gear Pre-Packed as Possible

Photo by Dean Mitchell via iStock

One of the best things you can do is have as much of your camping gear packed already as possible, that way it’s a simple matter of throwing it in your car or camper and heading out.

You can pack pretty much everything but food that needs to be cold or frozen. That means when you get off work you can rush home, pack a cooler or the fridge in your camper, and you’ll be all set.

I keep a “go bag” of clothes and toiletries in my closet, a box of non-perishable food in the pantry, and all my camping gear (tent, rainfly, tarps, fire materials, etc.) in a big plastic tub. I refill/repack these things after each trip, that way they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice for a last-minute camping trip.

Minimize What You Need to Do to Get Your RV Ready

minimize what you need to do to get your rv ready

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If you have a camper or motorhome, getting it ready for a camping trip can be the biggest drain on your time…

Though it might not seem like a huge chore, things like sanitizing your water lines, getting food in the fridge, ensuring the tires are at the right PSI, and filling the water tanks can end up taking quite a long time.

Again, when you’re trying to take a last-minute camping trip, minimizing how many of these activities you need to do can help you get on the road faster.

For example, I sanitize my RV water system at the start of the season, at the mid-point of the season, and again at the end of the season, that way the trips I take in between don’t require the sanitation process. During the season, I empty the water tank, that way the water doesn’t get funky in between outings.

I also keep some food in the fridge, as the trailer is plugged into power and the fridge is cool. Things like condiments that have a long shelf life are perfect candidates for living in the RV fridge.

After each camping trip, I also restock the camper with toilet paper, paper towels, sheets, blankets, towels and washrags, cleaning supplies, and so forth. That puts a lot of the time that’s needed to be ready for the next trip at the end of the previous trip so I can get out of town faster.

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Last-Minute Camping Trip Tips: Have a Plan, But Be Open to Change

Last-Minute Camping Trip Tips Have a Plan, But Be Open to Change

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I’m not the world’s most spontaneous person, so when I want to take a last-minute trip, I already have several different locations in mind for where I’d like to go.

But…depending on the time of year, my first choice might not work. For example, the road might not be open yet due to snow (or conversely, closed early due to snow in the fall). So having three or four options is critical, that way you can assess the situation and choose one quickly before hitting the road.

I’d also recommend staying relatively close to home for a last-minute camping trip. While long adventures can be tons of fun, they can also be really stressful, especially when you’ve basically run out the door and hit the road at a moment’s notice. If you camp within a couple of hours of home, it also means that you won’t have to drive deep into the night to get to your destination.

Don’t Travel With Just Anyone

Don't Travel With Just Anyone

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From a practical standpoint, last-minute camping trips should only be taken with travel partners that are okay with being spontaneous.

While I appreciate that many people are like me and aren’t terribly into flying by the seat of their pants, when I get a wild hair, I want my travel partners to be okay with not having a definite plan. It makes the trip that much more fun!

So, if you have a friend that’s really laid back and just goes with the flow, they might be a better companion for a last-minute camping trip than your other friend that needs to plan every moment of the day.

Use these simple tips to make it more likely that you follow through with your last-minute plans. Remember – even if you forget something or the timing isn’t ideal, a so-so weekend camping is better than a weekend not camping at all!

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