grey and red tent set up next to a river in the woods

5 Things You Can Do NOW To Prepare For Your Next Camping Trip

You have your camping trip booked, and now it’s time for the hardest part – the waiting game! I don’t know about you, but patience was NEVER my strong suit. I’m that person who starts counting down the second that my reservation has been confirmed. Here are some things that you can do now to prepare for your next camping trip and help pass the time!

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The anticipation of an upcoming trip is both exciting and frustrating… Isn’t it funny how planning a vacation somehow seems to impact the timeline of our lives? It’s like the moment that you add a vacation to your calendar, the days suddenly become longer.

Right now, with the current state of the world, there is no way to even guarantee the date to start our countdown! Sure, we can book our sites and hope for the best, but we’re all waiting to find out when the current restrictions will be lifted allowing us to get outdoors the way that we’re used to once again!

Rather than sitting around twiddling my thumbs and crossing dates off a calendar, I find that the best way to survive this time is preparation.  I trade in my calendar for a to-do list of tasks that need to be completed before I can escape to the peace and tranquillity that can only be found in nature. Not only does it seem to correct the timeline, but it also ensures that I’m ready to take advantage of my next trip without any unnecessary stress.

Need a little help passing the time? Today I’m going to go through some tasks that you can do NOW in preparation for your next camping trip. How many of these things have you already tackled?? Break out those to-do lists!

two hiking backpacks sitting on rocks outdoors underneath a log

Let’s Get to Work! Here Are 5 Things You Can Tackle Today to Prepare for Your Next Camping Trip:

#1 – Book Your Campsite

If you are planning on spending your time on crownland, you can skip over this point. However, all of us who like using provincial or state parks need to take the time early on to select which campground we plan on visiting and book a campsite that fits our needs!

How early should you get tackle this? Here in Ontario, the reservation window opens up exactly 5 months before the first day of your trip at 7 AM.

The popularity of camping has been on the rise and with that has come an increased demand for campsites. This is especially true if you are hoping to book an electrical site as an increasing number of campers are choosing to use trailers and RVs for their outdoor travel adventures. This can make it harder than ever to book a site, especially if you are hoping to stay at one of the more popular parks!

Check out my recent post ‘8 Tips for Successfully Using the New Ontario Parks Online Reservation System’ to increase your chances of landing that perfect site for your next trip!

#2 – Research & Plan Activities

Once your site is booked and you know for sure where you are heading, it’s time to consider what you want to do during your trip. For some, camping is about just kicking back and doing nothing, and that’s totally okay! Different strokes for different strokes. Others will enjoy activities like hiking and canoeing or heading into town to check out some of the local attractions.

This is YOUR trip, there is no right or wrong answer!

If you’re looking to enjoy some activities while you’re on your trip, why not take some time to plan out your options? Not only will this help to pass the time between now and your trip, but it will also help you to make the most of your trip!

One of our favourite pastimes when camping is to hit the hiking trails with our dogs. In fact, we consider the available hiking trails when deciding which parks we’re going to visit. Leading up to our trips, we take the time to plan out which trails we plan on hitting while we are there and how much time it will take to ensure we don’t miss out on a trail that we’ve been looking forward to experiencing.

Other activities that we factor into our trip include canoeing, kayaking, and time at the dog beach.

If you are the type of traveller that enjoys checking out the local attractions, then there is plenty that you can start to look into. A great way to pass the time and prepare for your next camping trip is to scout out which attractions are available nearby. Depending on which park you’re staying at, you may be a short drive to a number of different small towns, so don’t forget to branch out beyond the closest spot for options!

When you are making your list of places to visit, makes sure that you include their hours of operation (so that you don’t leave the comfort of your site just to find out that you have to come back another day) as well as any costs associated (for budgeting purposes).

Don’t forget about the shopping! If you’re already in town, you might as well pick up any additional supplies you may need. Check out local grocery stores and if there are any local delicacies that you just have to try.

#3 – Dig Out and Inventory Your Supplies

This is one of my favourite moments leading up to a trip, that moment when you finally dig all of your camping gear out of storage for the season! There is something that the process that makes your upcoming trip that much more real, no?

However, without fail, something always seems to vanish during the off-season for us. Sure, it could be that we had to discard something at the end of last season and forgot (like a ripped tarp) or that we misplaced some of our gear, but I prefer to blame the masked camping bandit…

Regardless of who is at fault, it’s important to go through and see what you have at your disposal. Make a list of everything you have as well as a list of items you may be missing. Don’t forget the finer details like making sure that you have enough rope.

Reminder to tent campers: Check to make sure you have enough good tent pegs!

woman sitting outside on the rocks by a river surrounded by camping gear

#4 – Clean, Test and Repair Your Gear

Once you are aware of what gear you have, it’s time to give everything the once over. Take everything out of its bag/box, look it over for signs of wear and tear and take note of what items may not be able to withstand another camping season. Some examples that are often overlooked include the grommets on your tarp and the zippers on your tent.

Here’s another important step to consider if you’re trying to prepare for your next camping trip – Does everything work? Carve out some time to test gear like camp stoves to ensure that they are still in proper working order. Check flashlights and lanterns for batteries that may have been forgotten over the off-season (they should be removed before storage each year to prevent damage from batteries leaking).

Repair what you can and make a list of those items that are beyond repair.

Hint: This is a GREAT excuse to set up the tent or trailer and camp in the backyard/driveway!

#5 – Research Replacement/Upgrade Gear

Now that you have a clear idea of the gear that you are currently missing as well as necessary replacements, why not take this time to research your options. This is especially important when you are talking about the bigger ticket items like camp stoves and tents.

There is no better time to access information for purchase research. Thanks to the internet, we have access not only to reviews on websites like Amazon, but also blog posts and video reviews. Take advantage of it!

While researching your options, don’t forget to check out the deals! If you’re planning well in advance, you have time to score some great sales.

Have you tried CamelCamelCamel? If not, I highly suggest you check it out! It’s a free Amazon tracker that actually monitors the price on items in your wishlists, sending you notifications when the price drops. This is a great way to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.

Another great way to save on bigger ticket purchases is to consider purchasing second hand or buying refurbished items. High-quality camping gear is designed to last YEARS – which means that most second-hand items still have a LONG life ahead of them. This is a great way to get the best gear out there at a fraction of the cost!

Not sure where to look? Check out my recent post ‘Camping On A Budget: Where to Find Second-Hand Camping Gear’!

grey and red tent set up next to a river in the woods with the title 5 things you can do to prepare for your next camping trip

How are you passing time as you countdown to your next vacation? Do you have any additional tips to prepare for your next camping trip? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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31 thoughts on “5 Things You Can Do NOW To Prepare For Your Next Camping Trip”

  1. These are great tips for getting ready for a vacation. Half the fun of travelling is planning and dreaming about it I think! I can’t wait to go camping again.

    1. I am totally counting down until we can camp again. Still holding out hope that we’ll enjoy a good part of our camping season.

  2. Nows a good time to get everything in order in life but an especially good time to check that your camping gear is up to the task for the coming season. There is nothing worse than getting to the campsite and finding out that part of your gear isn’t working or your tarp has a giant hole in it. I used to keep some items in my shed over the winter until I found that mice destroyed some tarps one season.

    1. Yes! We still store our stuff in the garage and haven’t had a mouse issue, but that doesn’t mean it will never happen. We’re setting the tent up in the backyard this coming week and updating the waterproofing with a good spray as well. We haven’t tackled that in a few years, so it’s a good time.

  3. This is a great way to spend the time just now. It saves that last minute panic when you discover something needs replaced.
    It’s also good to look ahead to better times.

    1. I think looking ahead is one of the best things we can do right now in order to avoid the doom and gloom mentality that our currrent situation is causing for many!

  4. Good list. We have to book our spots months in advance. We are donating our travel trailer to the local volunteer fire department to use right now for quarantining if they need it. So far they haven’t but we can’t use it for camping.

    1. We’re tent campers, but all the Ontario Parks have been shut down in light of everything that’s happening, so we’re playing the waiting game. That being said, we have our sites booked through September right now (still waiting for the reservation window to open for the site we want in October). Hoping to still make use of some of these reservations (although the parks have been refunding people in full as reservations are cancelled, so we won’t be out anything in that sense).

    1. We LOVE a good camping trip, but with everything shut down right now, our trips have been cancelled for the time being. I can’t wait to get back out and enjoy the parks again soon.

  5. I enjoyed so much to focus on an outdoor camping trip got my all excited and thanks for the tips on where to start. When we are all focusing on having to be home, its nice to read something that makes your imagination start thinking on fun activities again!

    1. I am trying to focus on the good times ahead, it helps to keep me from getting caught up in the negativity of everything that’s happening right now.

  6. Such a good reminder! I always do all the planning for our trips, but forget to check our gear until like the week of the trip and by then it’s’ too late to upgrade of replace certain items. Might have to check our travel items during this downtime

    1. I have definitely made that same mistake. Over the last couple of years, I’ve now been getting better at it lol

    1. We’ve had to cancel some of our trips. Really hoping that we can still get some in before the season is up. We had booked at least one weekend per month from April to October, so still time yet…

    1. I’ve definitely made that mistake in the past! Or the year we got our tent all set up only to find a hole during mosquito season hahaha (you can guess how we found it – it wasn’t spotting it while setting up)

    1. That’s what we’ve been doing (and using some of it in the backyard – I broke out the hammock, my husband has been relaxing in his camp chair… We’ve been talking about pulling the tent out soon too)

    1. I’ve got my fingers crossed for July, if not earlier. We have a week long trip planned for July that I’m REALLY looking forward to!!

  7. These are some great tips! We were planning a trip later on in the year, which may be pushed back to next year, but this will definitely come in handy. Our tent has been in storage all season so it will be good to get it out and see what condition it’s in.

    1. Our tent was good when we pulled it out but we realized that our sun shelter was put away damp… We used it as a part of a Halloween fundraiser, so it wasn’t like that for long. However, if it had sat even longer damp like that, it would have been a bad situation.

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