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How to Plan Your First Car Camping Trip

First time planning a camping trip with your car? Do you need some help? 

Lucky for you we have done the research and have put together a comprehensive guide to help you with your camping trip planning.

Sometimes it can be incredibly overwhelming knowing what to bring for your camping trip. Only having a car, not a truck, adds an extra element of space utilizing as you juggle and play Tetris with your gear.

With some well thought out plans, you will make your first car camping trip experience success and create new memories with your friends or family. 

Planning your first car camping trip made easy

Let us walk you through some tips and tricks to help plan your next adventure to be the best. The first time camping can be daunting when you first start. Don’t worry.

With our guidance, you will be able to take the reigns and lead your group to a camping victory!

Get your gear right

First things first, you need to get the right gear. It’s no good beginning your trip with equipment that is oversized and won’t be able to fit inside your car.

You need to think about the essentials first, and then the luxuries. The tent and bedding are essentials, whereas chairs and camping tables are considered an extra luxury.

For a more detailed checklist of what to bring, check out this list from Adventure Junkies. They give recommendations of great gear that can make your experience better and easier.

Planning your equipment is necessary for any camping experience. But for the first time, it is even more important! Do it right this time around and you will make the other trips to follow even faster to plan.

Food and supplies 

Before you get going, it is important for you to think about your food. Is there going to be a camp kitchen where you are going? Or do you need to take a camping stove with you?

For a first trip, we do recommend you make use of a campsite facility. Campsites now have great kitchen setups, designed to be a home away from home.

First-timers may find it less stressful to have this help for the trip. 

If you do want to fully immerse yourself into the wildlife experience and are planning on tackling a dry camping zone for the first time, you need to carefully think out the following:

  • Camping stove
  • Coolbox 
  • Gas
  • Utensils
  • Water for cleaning, cooking, and drinking
  • Storage

As you gain more experience with camping, you will learn your own tricks for packing and storing all this cooking equipment. Some people like to have a big box to tuck nicely into their car while traveling. This is a good idea for keeping things tidy and organized.

Whatever you choose to do, you will be needing to take food along with you. Quick tricks like long-life milk can save you needing to take a portable refrigerator along with you.

You need to work out how long your trip is going to be, and then carefully plan out the various meals you want to be having. Tinned goods like baked beans and corned beef are great camping options to make a one-pot meal.

Research the area

As with every outdoor adventure, it is vital to know your surroundings and the area that you are going to be in.

We recommend you read up on the various wildlife and fauna you will be coming across. The United States offers some incredible outdoor locations but there are always hazard to be wary of.

For example, you don’t want to be setting up your tent surrounded by poisoning plants. You could easily brush against something in the dark and have a nasty rash to deal with in the morning. 

Equally knowing the animals in the area is a must! Northern areas could be a habitat for bears. Some places have snakes and insects that you need to know if they are dangerous or not.

We are not saying you will encounter these things. It is just good to have your facts up to date so you know what you are facing.

Most popular camping areas have guide books available to help with these exact elements.

Packing your car

Now for the real fun and games. This is where your Tetris skills will come to good use!

It may sound trivial, but carefully planning how you are going to pack your camping trip into the car can save a lot of time on the other end and while traveling.

It should go without saying, the heavy and bulky items should go at the bottom of the load. Utilize boxes to group gear together, like food and beverages.

Keeping your bedding on top, whether you choose to go sleeping bags or comforters and linen, will ensure its nice and clean for when you set up camp.

Make sure you get all your things ready before you start packing. This way you can make sure you have everything that you need. Also, make a list. So as it goes into the car you can check it off knowing you have absolutely everything packed.

Have fun and enjoy

Camping is fun! Remember that while you are packing everything in preparation. You are going to be having an adventure in the outdoors, fully submerged into the wild.

One key piece of equipment to remember is your camera. You will want to be able to capture special moments so you can share it with your friends and family afterward. 

These photos will bring to life the memories you will make! 

Final thoughts to takeaway

The key thing to remember for your first camping trip is that good preparation will help the overall experience. 

Good prep will make the difference when you are on the other end, setting up your tent and just wanting to relax. 

With solid preparation and planning work, your first camping trip experience will be a success! From this success, you will be comfortable to continue onto more and more outdoor adventures.

Written by David Lee

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