If you’re itching for an outdoor adventure to  take in all of nature’s beauty, follow these important tips to make sure all your bases are covered for when you plan to go camping out in the wilderness! The same principles hold if you’ve got an Airstream trailer, traditional tent or something in between, such as a Car Rooftop iKamper. 

Enjoy the views of Joshua Tree National Park with the comforts of camper with grill.

1. Make an essential list

Before you head out on your backpacking trip make sure you have a list of necessities . You don’t want to be that one person who gets to your campsite and realizes you forget something! Also, be sure to be conscious of the weather/time of year to know what you will need to pack. Note to pack as light as possible, you’re carrying all of it on your back all day!  Here’s a helpful list of some camping items you want to make sure to invest in:

  • hiking boots/shoes
  • backpack
  • tent
  • sleeping bag
  • navigation
  • headlamp
  • fire equipment
  •  stove and fuel
  • kitchen supplies
  • lots of water and non-perishable food like Crispy Green’s Crispy Fruit
  • entertainment activities
  • weather appropriate apparel
  • hygiene supplies 
  • extra backup chargers and batteries for your devices
  • Lastly, don’t forget a first aid kit! 

Camp fire meals don’t have to be rice and beans! A delicious egg sandwich with hot sauce.

2. Reservations and doing your research

Choosing your location is important, but sure to pick a campsite that sparks your interest. Remember to book/reserve your camping spot ahead of time that accommodates your needs. Sites like Hipcamp  allow you to book reservations for camping, “glamping” (i.e. cabins) and RV sites. Many parks around the country are still limiting the number of visitors so it’s critical to check out reservations ahead of time. (Don’t forget to check out the hundreds of beautiful state parks, which are often overlooked for the more popular National Parks!)

Once you know where you’re going, prepare and educate yourself about that place and its unique geographic features. For instance if you’re going to Zion National Park  and you to plan to hike the Narrows trail, you’ll need to purchase/rent special water shoes and hiking poles. You should also brief yourself on the campgrounds. Watch some informative videos and dig into some pre-trip online resources for planning such as reading articles and printing out maps/guides/amenities. With hiking around your campsite note that some trails may require permits for more advanced hikers. Be sure to check out Take a Hike: 7 Hiking Tips for Beginners and Beyond.  Also, be sure to check if they have bear boxes for all your food/perishables/toiletries! If you plan to take hikes, especially going into backcountry territory, make sure to leave your hiking itinerary with a friend or park ranger–some National Parks require this. There’s no such thing as being too prepared!

Enjoying the view at Joshua Tree National Park from a camper.

3. Practice makes perfect 

Once you have your checklist and destination in place it’s time to practice for the real deal! Sure, setting up a tent looks easy but when you don’t have any prior practice you may be at a loss. You can easily practice pitching a tent at home. Along with experiencing yourself with putting up your tent, you’ll need to educate yourself on how to start and extinguish a fire safely. Practicing in your backyard is a good idea to start. With the help of some instruction printouts and helpful videos should set you up for success!   

A woodland camping site in New Jersey. Don’t forget the bug spray to keep away mosquitos and ticks. You’ll want to check for ticks and tick bites regularly.

4. Clean up your campsite 

Be courteous with cleaning up your campsite before you head home. It’s a common courtesy to clean up after yourself for the next visitors headed to that campsite. Leave your campsite and nature as you found it! Make sure trash isn’t left out is important because you don’t want to be attracting any bears! 

Camping is a great escape from the reality of our lives and a chance to kick back and reconnect with yourself in Mother Nature. So, be prepared and take in these helpful tips and get outside and GO! 

-Gabby Diaco  



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