Whether it is camping with your friends or family members, this trip into the great outdoors means a fun and relaxing time full of new memories and experiences. It can be a time to help strengthen the bond between your loved ones. At the same time, when you are loading your car with tents, coolers, water bottles, utensils, first aid kits, life jackets, and other things – it can be stressful. Luckily, with careful planning and abiding by a few essential camping tips, you can make your next – or your first – camping trip enjoyable and stress-free.

Be A Minimalist

You know what you technically need to go camping? You! That’s it. Some food, clean water, and you’re good to go. I have slept on the ground, in the grass, on a piece of cardboard, in a hammock, in a tent, in a car, in a truck and in a camper while camping. I have eaten cold beans out of a can, and I have cooked the most perfect porterhouse steak while camping. It can be as minimal or as complicated as you desire, and I’m here to tell you that you really don’t need much to have a great time outside. My recommendation is to keep it simple, and just go for the experience of it. My best memories (and best stories) are from when we went as bare-bones as we could, anyhow!

Create A Checklist

Start your packing process by creating a list of the essentials. If you are not sure of what exactly you need to bring with you, watch the video below. You can start there and customize it to get yourself a personalized camping checklist depending on the specific details of your trip. A useful checklist will help you stay organized, pack all the necessary stuff and remember the most crucial things for camping.

However, try to be ruthless when determining what not to pack. Part of the beauty of this trip is the chance to be loose and carefree. Therefore, it might be a good idea not to bring literally everything from your home – your goal is simplicity, a pleasant time, relaxation, and a little family or friend togetherness.

Here is a helpful video I made for our good friends at LakeHub:

Prepare Simple Meals

When it comes to food, cooking your favorite meals might turn out to be hard in the camp. Instead, consider sticking to simple meals that are easy to prepare. Some of the usual options can be eggs, hot dogs, canned foods, instant noodles, fruits, vegetables, trail mix and granola bars.

To cook at the camp, you only really need to have a single burner stove, with at least one pot. Ideally, a full camping setup would be to have a two-burner camping stove, pots, pans and kettle as well as the right plates, dishes, knife, and other kitchen tools. But you don’t really need all of that if you plan ahead.

One really helpful tip is to prepare some of the meals in advance so you won’t have to bring too many products, or be cleaning endless dishes afterwards. Eggs can be pre-scrambled at home and packed in a ziplock bag or Tupperware, in single-meal portions. Bacon can be half cooked ahead of time too, to minimize on cleanup at the campsite.

One of our favorites is to cut up pre-cooked sausage and fresh veggies, and cook them all up together in one pot or pan. You can do the same here, prepare all of this at home and pack them in single-meal portions.

Be Mindful Of Safety

You should keep a well-stocked first aid kit full of band-aids, pain medicine, bug bite cream, burn cream, and sunscreen in the trunk of your vehicle. This will help to eliminate worry in case of challenging situations and the need of taking extra emergency supplies.

I always carry a “Stop The Bleed” kit too, just to make sure we avoid tragedy. This includes at least one tourniquet, a blood clotter, and plenty of gauze for wound packing. You never know what might happen, or what you might run across when out in the wild. The further you are from emergency services, the more prepared you should be for any situation that might arise.

For looking ahead, make sure you are keeping a really close eye on the weather forecast, and be prepared to bug out if severe weather is heading to camp.

When you arrive at camp, survey the layout, and eliminate any dangers that might be lurking. Potholes or fallen logs have a way of finding you in the pitch black.

Stay Comfortable

While it is good to prioritize minimalist camping, your trip shouldn’t mean refraining completely from daily comforts. Making sure you have a comfortable bed or sleeping bag with all the soft bedding, pillows, warm blankets and weather-appropriate clothes is vital to a fun experience.

Pay attention to your shelter choice too. You need to think about the necessary sleeping and storage space you need, insulation properties of the materials used, and how strong your shelter is to deal with the weather you may encounter. As an addition, bring a variety of clothes intended for cold and warm weather, based on the weather during your camping trip.

Most of all, get outside and have some fun!

Simon Trask
Author: Simon Trask

Simon loves Texas and the Great Outdoors. From East Texas pines to West Texas mountains, he calls North Texas home but is always ready to float a river in Hill Country or go fishing on the Gulf Coast. Simon loves camping and road trips as well, whether it's cruising Highway 287, 82, 69 or 281, that's the true way to see what Texas is all about!

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