The Things You Need to Do Before You Go Camping

You know that you need to pack a tent and a sleeping bag before you go camping. Those are no-brainers. But that’s not all that you need to do before you load up the car and head for the wild. There are many other things that you have to consider when preparing for an over night camping trip. Here are a few things that you need to do before you go camping.

Check the weather

Weather determines much of what you need to bring. Be sure to pack appropriate shelter, clothing, and bedding for the temperature, cloud coverage, and precipitation in the forecast.

Choose a destination and do your homework

There’s something to be said for an adventure, but you don’t want to be ill-prepared. It’s especially important to know things like park and property boundaries, campground closures, animal activity, if dogs are allowed, campground rules and regulations (maximum party size or maximum number of nights you can stay), etc.

Make sure your vehicle is in good condition

Fill your tank with gas, check air levels in the tires, bring an an inflated spare, etc. You don’t want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere because of car troubles.

Make reservations

Reservations aren’t always necessary – or even an option – but you should always make reservations if they’re available. The busier the season, and the more popular the campground, the more important it is to reserve a spot.

Brush up on camping etiquette

Know how to be a considerate camper.

Plan your meals

Make plans for snacks as well as meals. Do you need a cooler? Do you need to bring a camp stove, or are you going to rely on a fire to cook your food?

Bring the fire

Be prepared if you’re planning on building a campfire, especially if you rely on fire to cook your food.

There’s usually plenty of fallen firewood at remote backcountry campsites, but maintained campgrounds are often picked clean. Bring cash if you’re going to buy firewood at the campground or at honor system dropboxes with bundles of firewood. Many grocery stores and gas stations sell firewood, or you can bring your own firewood. Don’t transport firewood over 50 miles to help prevent the spread of invasive species.

Make sure you have matches, a lighter, or fire starter to get your fire going.

Bring lots of water

Make sure to bring plenty of water, especially if your campsite does not have running water. There’s not such thing as bringing too much water when car camping. If you’re backpacking, bring a water filter. Don’t just think about hydration, but cleaning dishes, hygiene, and putting our your campfire as well.

Let someone know your plans

Always share your plans with someone. Not to brag, but to make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you will return. This ensures that people know where to look in case something goes wrong.

Inspect your gear

Your camping equipment could be in rough shape after a few seasons of use, especially if you don’t give it the TLC it needs. Make sure that your first aid kit is complete, your tent doesn’t have holes, and your headlamp batteries still work. Look over all of your gear and replace what needs replacing.

Pack, check, and double check

Once you’re confident that your gear is in good shape, load it up! Be sure to double check and make sure that you have everything you could possibly need. Here’s a list of camping supplies that people forget.


Be sure to stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters in Fayetteville, Arkansas for any last minute camping supplies!

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