Camping Tips for Leaving Town Late

The early bird gets the worm. Unfortunately, you’re stuck at work on Friday until 5:00 p.m., so those early birds snatch up all of the available campsites. In an ideal world, you get to leave for your camping trips bright and early. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Last-minute campers have undoubtedly spent an evening or two driving out to a campground only to find that every single campsite is spoken for. This often leads to frustration and a drive back home in the dark. Here are a few camping tips for those times when you have to get a late start.

Pack the night before

Pack as much as you can the night before. Gather your clothes, camping gear, and tent, get your groceries, and fill up on gas.

When you consider driving times, the amount of time it takes to track down gear, and the time it takes to pack, you can easily save upwards of an hour by packing the night before.

Call ahead

Find some time during the day to call and speak to a park ranger or campground host to check on site availability before heading out of town. This won’t necessarily guarantee you a campsite, but it can save you some trouble if the campground is already full.

Reserve a campsite

This won’t really work if you’re trying to put together a last-minute camping trip. If you plan ahead, however, you should always reserve a campsite whenever the option is available to you.

Campgrounds fill up fast on a Friday evening. You don’t want to drive around a campground blinding everyone with your high beams only to find that – just as you suspected – all the sites are occupied.

Have a back-up plan

If you’re leaving town late for a camping trip, there’s a chance your plan A won’t work out. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a plan B.

Do your homework and look for other campgrounds in the area.

Maybe plan on sleeping in your vehicle for the evening and try to snag a campsite the next day.

Be OK with turning back and going home.

Let’s say you’re on a cross-country road trip and going home isn’t really an option. You can sometimes get away with pitching a tent in some open space. You should however speak to a campground attendant before taking this liberty.

Keep a positive attitude

Things don’t always go according to plan. When you’re getting a late start for a camping trip, it’s important to be flexible. Embrace the adventure and go with the flow.

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