It’s winter cold and gray outside in much of the U.S. with worse to come — just the right time to start dreaming about and planning for your next camping trip. That is, of course, unless you’re a hardy winter camper, but that’s a different story.
For those of you who like to hold onto all your fingers and toes, though, here are 6 Camping Tips, Tricks And Hacks to make your next camping season the best ever. Even seasoned RVers who travel with all the comforts of home like to dabble some with camp meals and outdoor living:
1. Keep an inventory list
Make a list by stations or activity: cooking, good supplies, recreation, shower, sleep, clothing, pet gear, etc. Once you make the list, add to it while you’re out as you discover things you need, and mark items with a status (replace, fix, get, etc.).
2. Organize…when you pack and in your campsite
Be space conscious, leaving yourself room to move. If you have an SUV or any car with a trunk, use it for plastic covered and labeled crates: kitchen equipment, food (non-perishables), shower, clothing and towels (one for each person), recreation, lights, electronics. Keep tent gear together. Don’t forget your camp stove and chairs or hammocks. If all is neatly organized and faces out the back, you won’t even need to unpack much of it — just use the crates like drawers!
3. Put your vehicle to use as an extra sleeping area
Build a platform that fits over the top of your gear and crates in the back of an SUV. You can throw a mattress on top of the platform for an extra double bed without even moving your crates.
4. Check your gear
You probably cleaned and checked all your gear at the end of the season — RV hoses, water tanks, propane, bedding, tents, liners, tarps, water bottles, cooler, sleeping bags, back packs, batteries, lanterns. Be sure to check it all out again before the season starts and before you load up your car or towing vehicle.
5. Plan your meals carefully and make what you can ahead
You don’t want to lug along a lot of stuff you won’t use, and you do want to have delicious real food when you’re out — so give your plan some thought. If you have an RV and are out frequently, keep staples in it — but use your inventory list with the status of items. To travel, add fresh produce and beverages. Otherwise, keep a crate of staples.
6. Set up your campsite in stations
In your “kitchen area,” you’ll need your camp stove, pots, utensils, non-perishables and cooler. Have a separate area to process and stores dishes and utensils with a couple of plastic wash buckets for washing and rinsing dishes, dish soap (Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap is biodegradable and environment friendly), micro-fiber towels and sponges. Choose a location in your site for chairs, probably around a fire pit. And of course your RV or tent holds bedding or sleeping bags and at least one battery-operated light.
Here are a few “borderline genius hacks” to make your life easier and make you a wonder among your camping friends and family: