My family and I go camping every Memorial Day weekend. It has become a tradition. Over the years, we have found ways to make camping easy and less stressful.
Create a Packing List
A packing list helps you prepare for the trip. It becomes a guide for items you already have and what you need to shop for. Afterward, you can mark each item off as you load your vehicle. Most importantly, this will ensure you do not leave anything behind.
Here is a list of items I recommend bringing if you have never been camping.
- A Tent. Or, if you’re brave enough, a tarp to hang from a branch to sleep under.
- Pillows and sleeping bag(s) or blanket(s).
- Cutter or Off bug repellent.
- A cooler for food and drink
- Food and drinks
- A backpack. (You can’t go wrong with this if you plan to leave camp)
- Fishing pole(s) and tackle box if you plan on fishing. Don’t forget the bait.
- Sunscreen or sunblock
- Marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate to make s’mores.
- Bear Spray (if you are camping in an area with bears)
Setting up the Campsite
When you set up your campsite, you want to find the flattest surface to pitch your tent. At the same time, be sure to clear the area free of debris like rocks and sticks. Not only would they be uncomfortable to sleep on, but you would risk putting a hole in the bottom of the tent.
Also, keep in mind which direction the sun will rise and fall. If you enjoy sleeping in and sunlight will wake you, try placing your tent where a tree or hill will block the sunrise during the morning hours.
Furthermore, keep an eye out for hazardous plants like poison ivy or poison oak. You don’t want to camp too close to these if you don’t want to be miserable. Calamine lotion will become your best friend if you do.
Almost every time I have gone camping, some critters made their way into the campsite. Luckily, we are short on bears here and don’t need to worry about them running loose in the camping area.
Raccoons are the primary visitors of the night. They search for food that might be left out. And the cooler that you brought could get broken into. Consider placing a heavy log or rock on the lid to avoid the loss of food. Or, if your vehicle is close by, toss the cooler in there for the night.
Another visitor to watch out for are snakes. You might want to learn what snakes might be in the area you will be camping in. Some are harmless and should be left to wander away. However, if there are harmful snakes, such as copperheads or rattlesnakes, keep your distance. If it were to happen to me, I would attempt to move them away from the site with a long stick.
Keeping your area clean of trash and food will help prevent unwanted visitors from entering your campsite.
Camping doesn’t have to be stressful, especially if you make a plan beforehand. Remember to make a list to check off. It never hurts to be prepared.
Also, make sure to pick a good spot to place a tent. Nobody likes sleeping on sticks or rocks.
And lastly, remember to learn or think about the wildlife you may stumble upon on your trip. If the food tastes good to you, animals will most likely want it as well.
If you’ve ever been camping, please comment about your favorite camping experience or things you wish you had packed before leaving the house.