Ideas for Planning a Final-Minute Tenting Journey

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It’s 3pm on a Friday, and the buzzing in your pocket signifies an incoming textual content: “Hey, now we have room for an additional tent at our campsite tonight. Need to come?” Or a unique situation: You’re fed up with “actual life” and want somewhat backcountry R and R to reset—proper now. Or possibly planning forward simply isn’t your forte. Regardless of the purpose on your last-minute tenting journey, listed here are 10 suggestions to make sure you’re as prepared as doable when the chance pops up. 

Keep versatile.

The thought has been hatched: “Let’s go tenting!” However the dates, length, location and equipment meeting? All nonetheless TBD. Earlier than diving any additional into planning or packing, take a deep breath and regulate your angle and expectations. You’ll seemingly need to make some compromises alongside the best way, whether or not it’s the place you go or how gourmand the menu might be. That’s OK, assuming you propose for security (like packing your ten necessities and telling somebody your plans). Because the saying goes, “Don’t let excellent be the enemy of excellent”—or on this case, don’t let timing be the enemy of getting out within the woods. 

Get inventive when in search of a campsite. 

Extra and extra individuals have began tenting within the final a number of years. That’s nice for a boatload of causes: Tenting improves our psychological well being, supplies train and reference to the pure world, fosters relationship-building—the listing goes on. Nevertheless it most certainly means the websites with the most effective views (and those upwind from the latrines) bought out months in the past. So, along with checking availability in nationwide and state park campgrounds, look into non-public campground choices too. On-line campsite aggregator Hipcamp serves up lists of tent websites and RV hookup spots—in addition to rentable treehouses, yurts and even a geodesic dome or two—and is useful for sorting and looking out by your explicit preferences. You may as well look into dispersed tenting choices on nationwide forest and Bureau of Land Administration (BLM) lands; simply be sure that to observe all guidelines and pointers. (Listed here are BLM’s, for instance.)  

Camp when others aren’t. 

Weekends and nationwide holidays is likely to be your finest days to flee the workplace and benefit from the outside. However because it seems, these are typically the most effective occasions for everybody else to go tenting too. So if in case you have the power to go out mid-week, do it. You’ll seemingly discover way more choices open to you. Even when a Tuesday-night journey is out of the query, sneaking away out of your cubicle early on a Friday gives you higher odds of snagging one of many first-come, first-served websites obtainable at many campgrounds. 

Make a packing listing—and reserve it.

Chances are high, you in all probability convey roughly the identical gear with you each time you camp, so having one grasp listing for any kind of journey will make it simpler to get every part gathered and prepared. Our Tenting Guidelines provides you the choice to examine off what you want and ignore what you don’t: No further packing-specific app vital. Should you’re somebody who likes the tangible satisfaction of crossing issues off, we embrace a downloadable PDF so that you can print, laminate and use dry-erase markers with for reuse. 

Retailer your tenting gear in a single place. 

Are your climbing boots and poles within the storage? Do you retailer the backpack and tent within the basement? Perhaps your backcountry kitchen objects and camp chairs reside below the steps? Save your self from last-minute scrambling (and the appreciable frustration that ensues) by storing your tenting accouterments in a single a part of your house. On that word… 

Create separate bins on your favourite fun-tivities. 

Many frequent campers have adopted the “discover a bin and throw it in” tactic for his or her numerous adventure-filled actions. Spend money on a number of plastic totes (or, in the event you’re into versatile gear storage, pair up your REI Co-op Pack-Away Bin and Pack-Away Cubes) and assign every a goal: automotive tenting gear in a single, backpacking gear in one other, and many others. We additionally suggest water resistant bins with a decent seal so as to throw them on a hitch rack or depart them exterior at your campsite (so long as there’s no meals in there for wildlife to get into). Think about taping a listing of the bin’s contents on its exterior so you already know at a look what’s inside whenever you go into the storage, basement or under-the-stairs storage space to search out it.  

Preserve dehydrated meals readily available.


Having a prepared stash of grab-and-go meals will make getting out the door a lot simpler. You in all probability gained’t be tenting for too many nights in your last-minute journey, so that you don’t need to hold a number of days’ price of meals readily available—only a couple meals to get you thru (like Thai Curry or Hen Pho from GOOD TO-GO). Professional tip: Retailer your yums within the kitchen or in mice-proof containers in the event you’re retaining it with the remainder of your tenting stuff. Belief us on this one.  

Hire (or borrow) gear you don’t already personal. 

Unsure you’ll use that bear canister once more? Don’t have room to retailer a canoe long-term? Look into gear rental choices from native outside retailers. REI Co-op, for instance, affords quite a few objects for short-term rental, together with activity-specific kits. Or, in case your buddy invited you on this spur-of-the-moment alternative, ask if they’ve the objects you don’t to forestall having to hurry into shopping for selections. Whether or not you hire or borrow, although, simply be sure that to wash the gear earlier than you give it again. Which leads us to our subsequent tip… 

Clear your gear whenever you get residence. 

Hosing off your tent, setting out soggy footwear to dry and working your camp kitchen utensils by means of the dishwasher in all probability aren’t the primary belongings you wish to do whenever you return from a tenting journey. Do all of it anyway. Washing and readying gear for its subsequent journey—after which placing it away in that useful, activity-specific bin—will streamline getting out the door and into the wild subsequent time. (You may as well take a look at our Care and Restore suggestions for sustaining your gear.) 

Keep in mind that last-minute tenting is best than not tenting in any respect. 

Doing issues last-minute usually means you’re introducing the ingredient of probability—and possibly some less-than-ideal occurrences—into the equation. All the time take vital security precautions like checking the climate, carrying the ten necessities and ensuring somebody at residence is aware of the place you’ll be, however do your finest to embrace  the smaller uncertainties and annoyances. It’s typically the outside adventures that go barely awry—forgetting utensils and having to eat together with your fingers, or cramming three individuals right into a two-person tent—that make the most effective tales round future campfires. 


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