Everyone goes camping to get away from the daily grind. But you still have to do a few things once you arrive. You must set up your campsite. This article will help you get it done in 90 minutes or less so you can then do what you went camping for to relax and have fun!
Here is how to set up campsites in 90 minutes or less.
· Create a camping checklist.
· Find the best location.
· Get there with enough time to set up camp before dark.
· Make sure to have ample lighting while setting up the campsite.
· Pitch your tent.
· Set up cots or sleeping bags.
· Create a firepit.
· Find firewood and build your campfire.
· Set up a camp kitchen and stove.
· Make an area for food storage.
· Have a way to deal with trash.
· Prepare for bugs and pests.
Camping checklists and double-checking for departure.
Before you even leave for your trip, create a checklist. Do this when things are not hectic and have time to think it through. Be sure the list consists of what you need on your trip and a setup and tear-down plan.
These are important to make sure nothing is forgotten and done right. Be sure to make a copy too.
While camping, the list can easily be lost or fall victim to the elements. Please go over the list with whoever is camping with you to think of anything you missed and refer to it while loading and unloading.
The list should be as concise as possible, so it is easy to track what you are doing while referring back to it. Be as thorough as arriving as leaving and ensuring everything listed has a clean-up and exiting process.
Find the Best Location.
Once you arrive at the campgrounds, find an optimal location. There are a few factors to consider when picking a place to set up camp. Find a shady site, so the tents do not get too hot during the day.
Make sure the base is on level ground. Try to pick a dry spot and not too close to bodies of water. Avoid being directly under or close to trees.
Being close to trees increases the chances of unwelcome visitors on or in your tent, as well as the chance of a branch falling on you. Ensure the site allows you enough space from the fire to set up tents if you have a campfire. Finding the right spot will play a significant role in safety and overall enjoyment.
Arrive early before dark.
Make sure to arrive during the day. Setting up a campsite can be a lot of fun or a lot of work. You are unloading all the supplies and equipment after a lengthy car drive. Organizing everything and then putting up or assembling everything you need for the trip. It is a lot to handle. The last thing you want to add to the equation is darkness.
Be sure to give yourself enough travel time, so you arrive at your campsite with plenty of sunlight left in the day. If you are heading out to the actual wilderness, there will not be any lamps or even much ambient light. You can use your car's headlights or RV, but that doesn't provide a ton of visibility.
For safety, give yourself a few hours before sunset to get where you need to be. You may have to wake up earlier and even pack up the car the night before, but you will thank yourself when you get to camp and finish setting up with plenty of time to take a nap before dinner.
Have Ample lighting for camping.
Pack lights to be able to see at night. As stated above, if you are camping out in the woods, there isn't a whole lot of light once the sun goes down. It is essential to bring lights with you. Whether it is lamps, flashlights, or other sources, having a way to see at night is necessary.
Many things live in the wild, and some prefer to be active at night more than the day. Depending on the season, some of those things can be venomous or may not be the biggest fan of humans treading into their territory. Having a light will make it easier to be spotted by animals so they can avoid you or help you see them so you can keep clear as well.
If you are looking for some good options on lights, look at these Tent Lights. They are a great way to light up the inside of a tent before you head to sleep.
Pitch Your Tent.
Put up a tent right away. When you get to your campsite, one of the first things to get unloaded and set up should be your tent. The tent is going to be your home for the next few days. Ensuring that it is ready as soon as possible makes the rest of the setup less stressful.
Say you weren't able to get to the campsite as early as you wanted if you have enough time to set up the tents, that gives you a place to rest and store a lot of equipment without leaving too much in the car or out in the open overnight.
Plus, there are two ways tent setup can go. You either have a super easy tent to put up, such as a pop up tent-like this Coleman 2 Person Pop Up Tent, which will only take a few minutes to set up and will be one of the easiest things you do all weekend; or you have a tent that requires a bit more assembly and will take a bit longer to put up.
Either way, this may be a task you want to tackle first, even before you finish unloading everything. That way, you can use your tent for storage and organization at a time when things can be a bit chaotic.
Setting up Cots and Sleeping bags.
Set up where you will be sleeping. After your tent is secured and ready to be used, the next thing to go inside is whatever you will be using to sleep on for the trip. That can either be a sleeping bag or a cot, much like this Portable Cot.
Most of the time, you would want to use a cot and sleeping bag together to have the most comfortable experience. Setting this up right away will give you some options. For instance, if you are camping with children who need naps or just a place to rest away from the elements, the tent with a lovely comfortable cot or sleeping bag is perfect.
Just be sure the mesh door is open to allow airflow into the tent. Or say you need a moment after all the traveling and before you start unpacking, then you can grab a short nap or rest in your tent.
Create a Firepit.
Set up a safe place to have a campfire. Your fire pit should be central to your campsite and be at least fifteen feet from the tents and supplies that may catch fire. In most cases, if you are camping in a National Park or some recreational camping ground, there should be a pit or place provided for you to have a campfire.
The fire pit itself should have a five-foot safety perimeter. You can create the boundary by gathering stones from around your campsite and placing them in a circle around your intended fire pit. The fire pit should be started before dark, and you don't end up in pitch black trying to know what you are doing.
The ground where the actual fire will be lit should be entirely cleared of debris of anything that can catch fire. Also, the pit should be dug in an area of dry soil until there is only sand or gravel and not be near any roots or plant life so as not to harm the ecosystem after you have left.
Find Firewood & Build a Fire.
Look around your campsite for firewood. You will need to gather three different fuel types for your fire: kindle, tinder, and actual wood. Each one of these is different, but all can be found in nature or made from whatever wood or scrapes you can find on the ground.
It is important to do this right away as you will have to find these on the ground in the surrounding woods. Doing so when it gets darker and cooler means there is a higher chance of coming across something unpleasant among the brush, like a snake hiding under a log or in tree roots. That is why it is better to gather this while it is lighter out when snakes are easier to spot. This should be done simultaneously the fire pit is being prepared.
Once the wood is collected, you can begin to work on the fire. For help on that, feel free to read our article “9 Easy Steps to Build a Safe Campfire."
Create a Camp Kitchen or Stove.
Designating a place to prepare food is vital in knowing where to place gear and supplies. Decisions like where coolers or portable fridges and stoves, which are heavier and harder to move, need to be made when unloading to make life easier on everyone.
Items like camping stoves can be moved, but that becomes annoying after being set up and lit. Once the tents and fire are set up to pick where these things will be, it is best. Especially if you are thinking of having a fire stove to keep you warm during the winter, like this Solo Stove.
Nothing is more annoying than trying to rearrange camp after a long, fun day out in the woods, especially when cold. Keep things in mind like cleaning up, food storage, and accessibility to food prep areas and cooking areas.
Make an Area for Food Storage.
Keep food in a safe place. Food is one of the most important provisions to bring camping but is also one of the things you have to worry most about. Store it to stay safe from animals while also maintaining food safety. Be aware of where the campsite might have bear boxes to keep food in while you are out during the day and utilize that sort of storage for your goods.
You can also consider the old method of stringing your food up in the trees away from camp when you are not eating. This works for dry goods that you do not want to leave in the car.
For things that need to be sealed and need to stay calm, you can bring a cooler and pack it with ice, or if you want to be more technical, you can spring for a camping fridge that can actively cool foods. The longer the food lasts, the longer you can stay out there.
Have a Way to Deal with Trash storage and disposal.
Have a plan for where you will get rid of your trash. Campers like to get away into the wild to relax and escape from things like pollution. Remember always to be respectful of that and nature.
Do not throw trash on the ground and leave a mess behind when camping. Come up with a way to deal with the waste, bring trash bags to gather everything up, and have a plan on how to dispose of them at the end of your trip. Be mindful and double-check your surroundings for anything that can be left behind which does not belong in the woods.
And don't forget those masked bandits, Raccoons. Nothing is more frustrating than to wake up and find your trash all over your campsite. This article, “9 Ways to Keep Raccoons Away from Your Campsite,” can save you some time and a confrontation with a wild animal.
Prepare for Bugs and Pests.
Bring things to help ward animals and bugs away from your camp. Make sure you keep from bad habits like eating in your tent. If your tent has a mesh cover for the doors and windows, use them. Be sure there is no food left open.
Bring protective netting if you are not using a tent and wear clothing that provides protection, such as rigid material and long sleeves that leave no exposed skin for bugs to attach or animals to bite. Here’s an article, “How to keep ants out of your tent permanently,” that can save you a lot of stings and bites as well as dealing with other pests.
Setting up camp can be something that may appear daunting but having a list can be helpful to maintain a handle on it. Camping is meant to be fun. Set up camp how you like it. Pitch the tent in that one spot with the best view of the sunrise. Have the campfire right where you need to make sure everyone can make a s'more. Enjoy your trip and know everything is where it needs to be.
All the best,
P.S. And don't forget your comfy camp chair for overweight folks like me.