Seasoned Camper Shares Top 20 Camping Tips

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So you’re going camping! This can be a lot of fun, or it can be a disaster. It all really depends on how prepared you are for where you’re going. Not everything on this list will apply to every camping destination, but this list covers some general rules of thumb that will help your night(s) under the stars be memorable, not miserable. I’ve spent many nights outdoors, so I know they’re true!

Reservations

Camping tent with blured
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Since the pandemic, the outdoors has become more popular than ever. As a result, many places now require reservations. Don’t show up ready to camp and find you can’t because you don’t have a reservation.

The Right Pack

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If you’re camping at a drive-in site, this doesn’t apply. However, if you’re backpacking or just have a short hike to your site, you’ll appreciate having a pack that holds what you need and distributes the load well so that your back and joints don’t suffer.

Tent Size Matters

Camping in the forest
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In my experience, you should subtract 1 from whatever number a tent says it’s rated for. A couple getting cozy is an exception, but most other situations aren’t. Three people in a 3-person tent usually feels too crowded.

Stay Warm

Inside the camp
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How cold will it get overnight? How likely is it that it could get even colder? Have sleeping bags rated for the temperature ranges you might encounter. Once, my wife and I were camping at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in July. That day, it got up into the 80s, but it dropped into the upper 20s that night and we were in sleeping bags rated for 40 degrees. That was cold!

A Good Pad

camping gear sleeping pad
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Don’t forget a sleeping pad, even if you’re a long-distance backpacker obsessed with shaving ounces. That pad not only makes your “bed” a little softer but also helps insulate you from ground cold.

Light a Fire

campfire in forest
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Campfires are the main reason some people go camping. Make sure you have what you need to make one. In places where fires are prohibited, pack stoves and fuel for them unless you’re cool with eating trail mix and beef jerky the whole time.

Eat and Drink Smart

drinking in weekend camping
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This advice is especially relevant to backpackers, but it applies to car campers as well. Plan for high-calorie, easy-to-cook, and low-mess meals. Instead of hauling gallons of water alone, consider powdered mixes for energy drinks and other beverages.

Dress for the Weather

Tent camping in mountains
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Conditions in the outdoors can change without warning. Know what the extremes are where you’re going. This is especially true in the mountains, where things can go from a warm, sunny day to hail and snow in less than an hour.

Light the Night

Lanterns in Camp
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Not literally! One of the great things about going camping is getting away from the lights and noise of the cities and suburbs. Still, have lanterns, headlamps, etc. to help everyone navigate and have fun after the sun goes down.

Entertainment

Entertainment in camp
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Camping has a lot of downtime. Filling it with fun activities is key. What things appeal to you, your friends, and your family? Plan and pack accordingly.

Tools

Camping Tools
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Back when I was a Boy Scout, I thought it was so cool to be allowed to have a knife. Later, I learned that a knife is more a tool than a weapon. Buying a good multi-tool is something you won’t regret if you like camping.

Keep It Clean

Camp site in tropical forest, soap and towel
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Camping can mean getting kind of gross. Keep your site clean, but also keep yourself clean. If showers aren’t available, get some eco-friendly soap and towels to stay fresh and not repulse everyone else around you.

First Aid

First Aid Kit
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Accidents happen in the outdoors just as they do everywhere else. Having a basic first aid kit can prevent a minor mishap from becoming a hospital visit. In the wilderness, this can actually save someone’s life.

Bugs

bug spray
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Is it bug season where you’re going? Mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and other biting insects can ruin what’s supposed to be a fun trip. Pack bug spray, nets, citronella candles, and whatever else you need to keep the bugs at bay.

Sunscreen and Lip Balm

Using Sunscreen
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Unprotected skin cooks fast in the hot sun. Protect your skin and your lips; if you don’t, you might spend much of your trip in pain and, if you’re gone long enough, itching and peeling.

Camp Chair

Family Enjoying Camping Holiday
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One of the best parts of camping is just hanging out with friends or family. A light, comfortable camp chair beats the heck out of trying to get cozy somewhere on the ground.

Cooler

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Unless you’re backpacking, you’ll like having a cooler packed with lots of ice. It will keep your burgers, hot dogs, other foods, and favorite beverages cold and fresh until you’re ready to enjoy them.

Be Bear Aware

carry bear spray
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When you camp in bear country, it’s imperative that you follow the rules about storage of food and other items that have scents. In grizzly territory, you should carry bear spray and know how to use it. I’ve had several close encounters with these iconic animals, and I’m still here, but every time I’ve moved through terrain where grizzly encounters are likely, I’ve had my canister in hand and ready to deploy.

Fires Out

Night camping near bright fire in spruce forest
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Campfires are the best. Unfortunately, people often think they’ll just burn themselves out. Often, they do, but sometimes they don’t. Please smother your campfire before you crawl into your tent for the night.

Pack It Out

Camp cleaning
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Last but not least, clean up after yourself. No one wants to deal with the mess you left behind. If your campsite was already a mess, set a good example and clean it up even though that’s unfair. In the long run, you’ll be better for having done it.

Best Place to See the Grand Canyon Sunrise at South Rim

grand canyon sunrise
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If you’re wondering where the best place to see the Grand Canyon sunrise at South Rim is, you’re not alone. With more than six million visitors to the national park each year, there are plenty of people trying to find the best place to see the show.

And what a show it is! Mother Nature does not disappoint. It was easily one of the most memorable sunrises we’ve ever seen! There are some things you should know before you go, though, and we’ll do our best to answer all your questions for you.

Best Place to See the Grand Canyon Sunrise at South Rim

10 Best Vacation Spots in Arizona For Your Next Vacation

Monument Valley Road
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Planning a trip that includes the best vacation spots in Arizona can be slightly overwhelming. There are simply too many cool things to do in Arizona to do even half of them in one vacation! We’ve highlighted some of them for you to consider and have a free 6 Day Arizona Road Trip Agenda for you to download.

10 Best Vacation Spots in Arizona For Your Next Vacation

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Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.