How to Prepare for Last-Minute Camping Trips

Thinking about a last-minute camping trip but can't stand the time it takes to get ready? Here's an easy-to-use list that will shorten your prep time.

It will make getting ready and out the door to do the things you love a whole lot easier—and a whole lot more fun.


First, remember to check the weather. Nothing can ruin a great time outdoors than the unexpected rain, wind or snow.

If you're willing to go out under partly cloudy or "chance of rain conditions," pack accordingly. This would include a water-proof jacket, layered clothing for warmth and a shell or tarp to water-proof your tent.


Whether you're leaving for just one day or a couple of nights, much of your core gear requirements will remain the same. Aside from your tent and sleeping bags, here are a few items to keep handy in a duffel bag or storage bin for quick loading in the car:

  • Sleeping pads
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Knife
  • Insect repellent
  • Rope or cord
  • Axe
  • Sunscreen
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Cooking kit (couple plates, forks, cups and pan)
  • Cooking stove and fuel
  • Matches
  • Hat
  • Waterproof jacket
  • First Aid Kit

Food and Water

You won't be gone for long if you forget these. There are many great ideas out there on tips for cooking at your campsite. For purposes of this article, the important thing to remember is to pack items that are:

  • Easy to pack
  • Easy to prepare
  • Easy to clean up

Some examples of food to pack include:

  • Precooked and dehydrated foods such as those sold at camping and outdoors stores
  • Oatmeal
  • Trail mix
  • Hot chocolate mix or Jello mix (great source of carbs)
  • Jerky
  • Dehydrated fruits
  • Energy bars

Finally, don't forget water. Whether you're car camping and can purchase several gallons to store in your car, or you intend on hiking to your campsite. Bring along a water purifying kit, fill your water bladder and bottles, and fill or purchase a couple of gallon-containers of water you can leave in the car.

The extra water will not only assist in assuring you remain hydrated, but also help a lot in rinsing off dirty dishes, as well as washing your hands and your teeth.


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