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7 Tips for the Perfect Summer Camping Trip

Photo by Solovyova via iStock

Summer is just around the corner, and for many outdoor enthusiasts, it’s time to start thinking about camping!

Camping is a fantastic way to enjoy nature, spend time with friends and family, and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, planning and preparing for a camping trip can be overwhelming, especially if this summer will be your first one camping.

No worries, though – let’s discuss a few things you need to know to get ready for summer camping!

Table of Contents

Choose Your Summer Camping Destination

choose your summer camping destination

Photo by AzmanJaka via iStock

The first step in planning a camping trip is to choose your destination…

Do you want to stay close to home or travel further afield? Do you prefer a more remote location or a campground with amenities like showers and toilets?

There are plenty of online resources available to help you find the perfect spot, such as ReserveAmericaRecreation.gov, and Hipcamp. Once you’ve chosen your destination, make sure to book your campsite well in advance, if the location offers reservations. Better to plan ahead and reserve your ideal spot!

Of course, some areas don’t allow reservations. In that case, plan your departure time such that you arrive prior to checkout time at the campsite. Some parks offer sites on a first-come, first-served basis, so getting in line early will help you get the best spot.

There are also many areas where reservations aren’t needed, and an early morning spot in a waiting line isn’t needed, either. This is especially true of more remote campgrounds. Still, it doesn’t hurt to load up and head out as early as possible to maximize your time on your summer camping trip.

Gather Your Gear

gather your summer camping gear

Photo by mixetto via iStock

The next step for summer camping is to gather all the gear you’ll need. The type of gear you’ll need will depend on the type of camping you’re planning to do, but some essentials include:

  • Tent: Your tent is your home away from home, so make sure it’s big enough to comfortably fit everyone who will be sleeping in it. Also, consider the weather conditions you’re likely to encounter and choose a tent that’s suitable for those conditions.
  • Sleeping bags and sleeping pads: These will keep you warm and comfortable during the night. Again, make sure to choose ones that are suitable for the weather conditions.
  • Camp stove and fuel: You’ll need a stove to cook your meals and fuel to power it.
  • Cooler and ice: If you’re planning to bring perishable food and drinks, you’ll need a cooler and ice to keep them cold.
  • Headlamp or flashlight: You’ll need a reliable light source to navigate around the campsite and inside your tent at night.
  • First aid kit: Accidents can happen, so it’s important to have a first aid kit on hand.
  • Insect repellent: Mosquitoes and other biting insects can be a nuisance, so make sure to pack insect repellent.

Include comfort items, too. For example, I recently discovered Surf Grass Mats, which are hands-down the best camping mats I’ve ever used.

surf grass mats mulligan maxima with boony stomper and zerobreeze

 

These mats (I have the Maxima and the Mulligan Maxima) are perfect for creating a space outside your tent to take off your shoes. But their durable construction makes them ideal for other applications, too, such as a floor mat for your outdoor shower or portable toilet room.

Above, you can see I’ve put one outside either door of the Sunnyside Offroad Boony Stomper trailer I was testing out. I also had a Surf Grass Mat in front of the tent I was testing (shown below).

surf grass mats maxima

The mats come in various shapes and sizes, and all are beautifully made using high-quality synthetic grass. They’re comfortable and natural-feeling under your feet, and the non-slip backing means they’ll stay put regardless of the surface underneath.

Surf grass mats are also lightweight, easy to transport, and easy to clean, too. What’s not to like?!

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Update Gear as Needed for Summer Camping

update summer camping gear as needed

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Before heading out for your summer camping trip, it’s necessary to give your gear a good once-over. The purpose of doing this is twofold: first, to see if any of your gear is damaged, and second, to determine if there is any gear you need to add to your kit.

Here’s a great example of this…

When I got my Turtleback Expedition trailer, it came with two 100Ah AGM batteries. However, I knew that AGMs weren’t going to be the best option for my needs, considering I spend a great deal of time off-grid. I needed a battery that offered a longer lifespan, a greater depth of discharge, and that had a smaller footprint.

So, upon reviewing my current gear, I did some research and decided up upgrade my batteries to Ultimatron 100Ah lithium-ion batteries. I’m glad I did…

ultimatron lithium battery review

These batteries offer a ton of features beyond what I mentioned above. For example, there’s a built-in heater to protect against chilly temperatures, which is helpful given that I do a lot of cold-weather camping. These batteries also come with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty to give you peace of mind.

ultimatron 1

Another awesome feature is that these batteries have a built-in battery management system. Combined with Bluetooth connectivity and a smartphone app, I’m able to monitor the batteries for charge level, output, and protect against overcharging, overheating, and overvoltages. Nice! Learn more about these batteries in my video below:

Now, obviously, not everyone goes on summer camping trips with a trailer or RV. But the point remains the same – updating and upgrading your gear from time to time can help you have a more comfortable trip and improve the functionality of your setup.

Pack Smart

pack smart for camping

Photo by Pekic via iStock

When it comes to packing for a camping trip, less is usually more. You don’t want to be weighed down by unnecessary gear, but you also don’t want to forget anything essential. Here are some tips to help you pack smart:

  • Make a packing list: Write down everything you’ll need for your camping trip, and cross things off the list as you pack them.
  • Pack strategically: Pack the items you’ll need during the day, such as your water bottle, sunscreen, and hat, in an easily accessible place. Pack your sleeping bag and pajamas at the bottom of your backpack or duffel bag.
  • Use compression sacks: Compression sacks are great for packing bulky items like sleeping bags and clothing. They’ll help you save space in your backpack or duffel bag.
  • Don’t overpack: Remember, you’ll have to carry everything you bring, so don’t overpack. Stick to the essentials and leave unnecessary items at home.

sportsrig trailstomper micro trailer on the trail

If you have a lot of gear like I do, having a camping trailer is a great way to help carry and organize your gear. Not all trailers offer the same level of storage space, though…

For example, the SportsRig TrailStomper is a compact off-road trailer that maximizes usable storage space to help you pack. The TS Pro model is particularly well-outfitted with dual aluminum side boxes, a tongue-mounted gear box, and a large Chuck Box, all of which give you plenty of room for organizing your camping gear.

Heck, SportsRig even outfits the TS Pro’s Chuck Box with a 450-pound slide-out tray so you can more easily access the items you’ve stored inside. It’s also the perfect spot for your fridge/freezer!

The point is that you don’t have to travel in discomfort with a car packed to the gills with your stuff. Get an affordable trailer like the TrailStomper, pack all your gear in it, and have some room to breathe in your car without adding a huge amount of weight and size for it to tow. What’s not to like about that?!

Plan Your Meals for Summer Camping

plan your meals for summer camping

Photo by GMVozd via iStock

Food is a big part of any camping trip, but planning and preparing meals can be challenging, especially if you’re camping for several days. Here are some tips to help you plan your meals:

  • Keep it simple: Don’t try to cook elaborate meals while camping. Stick to simple, one-pot meals that are easy to prepare.
  • Bring non-perishable foods: Non-perishable foods like canned goods, pasta, and rice are great for camping because they don’t need to be refrigerated.
  • Pre-cook some meals: Pre-cooking some meals like chili or stew before your trip can save time and make mealtime easier.
  • Pack snacks: Bring plenty of snacks like trail mix, granola bars, and jerky to keep you fueled throughout the day.
  • Don’t forget the cooking utensils: Make sure to pack all the necessary utensils like pots, pans, utensils, and plates. Don’t forget the can opener and a bottle opener.

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Be Prepared for the Weather

be prepared for the weather

Photo by Nina Hilitukha via iStock

Summer weather can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for all types of conditions. Here are some tips to help you be prepared for the weather:

  • Check the forecast: Check the weather forecast for your camping destination a few days before your trip. This will give you an idea of what to expect and help you pack accordingly.
  • Bring appropriate clothing: Pack clothing suitable for the expected weather conditions, including rain gear, warm layers, and hats and gloves.
  • Bring extra tarps: Tarps can be used to create extra shelter or to cover your tent in case of rain.
  • Stay hydrated: It’s important to stay hydrated in hot weather, so make sure to bring plenty of water and electrolyte drinks.

Leave No Trace When Summer Camping

leave no trace when summer camping

Photo by Inside Creative House via iStock

One of the most important aspects of camping is leaving the campsite better than you found it. Here are some tips to help you leave no trace:

  • Pack it in, pack it out: Whatever you bring with you, make sure to take it back out with you.
  • Use designated fire pits: If fires are allowed, use designated fire pits and follow all fire safety guidelines.
  • Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and don’t feed them.
  • Leave the campsite clean: Before you leave, make sure to clean up your campsite and dispose of all trash properly.

Final Thoughts

summer camping planning tips

Photo by stellalevi via iStock

Summer camping is a great way to connect with nature and make memories with friends and family. It’s also a fantastic option for escaping the reality of the world and decompressing in nature.

The key to a great trip is planning. Sure, planning, organizing, and packing aren’t much fun, but the more diligent you are about the predatory phase, the easier the trip will be and the more fun you’ll have.

So, what are you waiting for?! Start planning your summer camping trips today, get out there, and enjoy the beauty the world has to offer!

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