If your a camping bug like me, you have been waiting all year for the weather to be perfect for camping. Make it worth it by preparing properly. You don't want to be left short handed. Here are a few tips to insure you have the best trip possible.
Test out your equipment before taking it camping. For example, you don't wan't to find out after you set up your tent that there is a hole in it. Even the smaller things like lighters, heaters or pumps. You'd also be better off making a list before you leave to make sure you have everything you need. I'd imagine you wouldn't be pleased to find you have to drive around buying stuff after you get to camp instead of unpacking and relaxing. Start off your list with the basics. Things like food, clothes and toiletries (note: It helps to make categories on your list). Then pack your equipment you will be using. This could vary depending on what your staying in. Whether it be tent, trailer or cabin. A few things that are notorious for being forgotten are batteries, toilet paper, flashlights, axes, ice for coolers (grab on your way to camp), phone chargers, extension cords, garbage bags, repellent, sunblock, first aid packs and medication. For medication I'm not just talking about doctor prescribed. Pack things like Aspirin, Tums, cough drops etc. You will be glad you did and if you don't end up using them, someone will.
Whatever you do, DO NOT leave any kind of food in your car or tent. You might think it's safe but to a hungry bear, it won't take much to break in and rip apart everything to find it. If a fridge isn't available, make sure to have a cooler ready with ice for perishables. Everything else can be either hung in a tree or kept in a food storage device that is a fair distance from where your sleeping. This will help insure the only bear you will be seeing is your teddy bear (don't worry I won't tell anyone). Keep in mind that if your fire pit is already made, it will have to be a safe distance from your tent or anything flammable (10ft). Before setting up a tent, find an area that is higher then the rest and lay down a tarp where it will be. This will help to keep everything dry. What can also help is after your set up your tent, dig a trench around it. It would take one heavy downpour that won't let up to flood an area with water. You don't want to be digging that trench during the rainstorm, believe me I've experienced it. After setting up where your going to be sleeping, you can divide whats left to use for other things. Using a rope to make a makeshift clothesline can come in handy. Plan an area to chop wood as well (Please use safety glasses while chopping!). An area with a heavy traffic of people walking through wouldn't be ideal. This goes without saying but make sure to always have a source of water close by to put the fire out quickly and efficiently. You waited for this camping trip, don't cut it short by having something happen that could've been prevented!
If planned and done properly it isn't as painful as most people think. Leave taking down your tent until last. Start packing stuff early. If you know you are leaving shortly and aren't going to be using something, pack it away. By doing this you won't be overwhelmed by tons of stuff to put away at the end. Keep in mind you want to pack the largest stuff first if possible. It will be easier to pack the small things around them. While packing whatever is left outside your tent, try and take some time to shake or wipe off stuff before putting it into your vehicle (you will thank me later). If you don't have the time, you can always put a clean tarp down to help keep things tidy. Last but not least is taking down the tent. The reason this is left for last is that over the packing process it will be good to have a place you can use to hold items your not ready to pack yet. You can also use it to hangout in until your ready to leave. SWEEP AND CLEAN IT OUT BEFORE TAKING IT DOWN. I can't stress that enough. You don't want any unwanted surprises the next time you go to use it. All good things come to an end, but you can always look forward to your next trip.
Below I have some products that would be extremely helpful on your camping trip.