12 Essential Camping Items

12 Essential Camping Items

So you’re heading out on a camping trip with the family. Do you have everything you need? Do you have these things on my list of 12 essential camping items?

The more you know about camping, the better prepared you will be. This isn’t the expert guide to pack for camping, but it’s an essential list for the average family that’s heading out to the campsite. Here is my list. Check it out.

12 Essential Camping Items
1) Tent
Tents are the main item in most people’s arsenal when heading out to camp. Whether it is for a single person or a whole family, you want it to be large enough, so you’re not sleeping on top of one another.

When choosing a tent for camping, you want to pay close attention to the actual dimensional size of the tent, rather than the per person tag. It does not know if you are a large person or a small child. A four-person tent barely fits my two of my tweens inside with all their gear.

Rule of thumb is if you are going to sleep four, don’t get a four-person tent, get the next size up or larger, depending on your circumstances. I know that when we go camping, we have a queen size air mattress, duffel bags for each person, the baby’s bag with all her diapers, and what have you.

A tent’s primary purpose is to create a microclimate that allows the person that is going to sleep in it be as comfortable as possible. So help yourself out and get a decent tent that will not puncture too easy, rip from pulling on the zipper too hard, or fall from a strong gust of wind. There are many decent styles and brands out there. Just do a little research, and I’m sure you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.

More: How to Camp in the Desert

2) Sleeping Bag
Picking a great sleeping bag can be a daunting task when you go to an outdoor store. The so many different styles, colors, and ratings to choose from that it makes it difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Picking the right sleeping bag is very important depending on what kind of camping you’re going to be doing. If you’re planning to do summer camping only, lightweight sleeping bags will be just fine. If you plan on doing some hunting and you need a warm weather bag, then that’s the way you have to go.

Most sleeping bag manufacturers have the same ratings.

Summer Season Reading – which is comfortable at 35 degrees Fahrenheit and higher

Three-Season Bag – which is over 10 degrees Fahrenheit up to 35 degrees Fahrenheit

Cold Weather – which is usually from 10 degrees Fahrenheit and anything lower

Often, when picking a sleeping bag, you want to choose one that is the stage lower than what you’re going to be camping in. You never want to get stuck out there and get cold.

There are four styles of sleeping bags.

Regular rectangle shape – which most people had as they were growing up. They have a canvas outside, and a plaid inside and are comfortable honestly. But, they are super heavy.

Semi-rectangular – called a barrel-shaped. They are tapered towards the legs, and they offer a little bit better efficiency than the old bulky rectangle bags, but they still have a room for the most part.

Mummy Style – they are very lightweight and compact. Many people have trouble with these because they’re so tight that they never can get comfortable and are the more restrictive.

Double-wide – where you and you’re significant other can get inside together. If you have a young child, they could probably jump in there with you too. If you buy two of these things, you could have a comfortable night on a king size air mattress. Most of the time, it’s too hot honestly.

3) Fire / Fire Starter
So fire is a valuable commodity when you’re out camping, but it is not always acceptable and permitted, especially in the summer months. At least where I live in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s still nice to have. I’m not going to get into any survival techniques or what’s the best fire starter or anything like that. I am just going to list a couple of styles of fire starters, and we will go from there.

A more primitive style and survivalist style is the wood friction fire bow drill, fire plow, or fire saw. I don’t have any experience using any of these, and I don’t plan on it unless it’s an emergency, then I’ll try my best. But I don’t see that happening I always have lighters and strikers.

Next is flint and steel or striker. You know the kind where you take a sharp object, and you scrape it along the flint and light tinder. A fun way to teach your children how to get a fire started honestly. The last camping trip, my boys, played with those things for a couple of hours trying to get the fire going. It was pretty fun to watch.

You also have the magnifying glass fire starter situation. Which if you grew up in the 80’s and 70’s you probably know all about that. Use the magnifying glass with the sun glaring down through it and angle it down onto a piece of wood or piece of paper to get it lit. It works pretty well actually, as long as it’s sunny out.

Good old matches if you use matches. You’re going to want to have a waterproof container to keep them in. If you have any rain or your kayaking or boating and drop them in, you’re screwed.

Then you got your refillable butane lighter. You can buy a pack of six from Walmart for a couple of bucks. It’s great! To go through, by a box to throw them in your camping gear, and you’re all set. Another thing about these, you do not want them to get wet, or they’re useless.

4) Food
Unless you’re a pure survivalist, and out to fish and catch your food for the weekend for your family, you’ll need to bring along some food. It would be fun to fish and find all your food, but, I think it would be tough, and not a thought-out process. My family always packs food, and we pack a lot of it. We usually end up cooking it all up on the last day and eating it. Or we bring it back home if we still have ice in the cooler.

Here are my food essentials when camping:

hot dogs

eggs

potatoes

pork ribs

marshmallows

chocolate bars

graham crackers

sausage for breakfast

oatmeal

If you buy enough of these products, you will have meals for every day you are at the campsite, At least if you’re only out for the weekend. After a few days, you probably would end up getting tired of it if you’re there too long.

My Favorite Campsite Meal
I cook the pork with some potatoes the night before in a cast iron dutch oven. Just drop it right down into the coals. I let those pork ribs cook up nice and tender to eat them if we want for dinner. Then we have some left over for the morning. We chop them up, scramble some eggs, and throw it in a pan. Just let it cook. Put some cheese over the top and there you go, you got yourself some camp hash.

And then of course for the kids, you always have your s’mores over a campfire before bed. It’s very messy and especially if you have a little one, but we can handle the mess to see the smiles on their faces.

5) Water
Water is the most important element in the world. So on a camping trip, of course, you need to have an adequate amount of fresh drinking water. If that’s coming from bottled water or 7-gallon freshwater tank that you filled up from your bathtub at home, it doesn’t matter as long as you have it.

What I usually do is I have two seven-gallon jugs I bought from Walmart with the spout on the inside. Until you need it, then you spin it around and stick the spout on the outside. You can figure that seven gallons last a family of four for two days with cleaning dishes and washing hands, brushing teeth all that kind of stuff. Then you have your other seven for drinking water, boiling for cooking, etc.

Nowadays, they have an assortment of backpacking water filters that you carry around with you. You can put water inside these water bottle filters, suck them up through the straws, or pump it into your water bottle with a carbon filter. I don’t know a lot about them honestly. I know that they’re out there and they are trendy among the hikers.

Here are a few ways to clean your water – pump filters, purifiers gravity filters, ultraviolet purifiers, bottle filters. Squeeze filters, straw style filters, chemicals, and then boiling. I recommend boiling everything that you are going to drink from the wild.

6) Cooking Supplies
If you wanted, you could go to the outdoor store and spend over $1,000 for just a minimal amount of cooking supplies. There are double cooking stoves, there are single burner cooking stoves, and there are jet boilers now.

We use a stove for breakfast. A double burner propane stove. I have a little cheap one I think I paid 40 bucks for. We also have a cheap little cookware set that comes with a couple of cups, plates, bowls, utensils, a boiling pot, and a small frying pan. The kids usually use that to cook up some hot dogs, or they make some water for tea or hot cocoa. You name it; it works great for them.

I prefer to cook with our cast iron. We have a griddle that we can use on both sides, that is awesome. It can cook everything from steaks to fish to pork loins. Everything you can think of, we can cook on it. We also have a 9-inch skillet pan and a dutch oven. Honestly, with these and some foil, that is all we need to cook whatever type of meal that we are going to make when camping.

So for years, I used metal spatulas, spoons, and forks that we had in our camping gear. And I would use that to cook all the food, and it was fine. I noticed I was starting to get specs of cast iron in my food because I was scraping the pan so hard. I decided to switch over to wood cooking utensils. They seem to work fine.

We have bought all the kids their own multi utensil multi-tool. It comes with a spoon, fork, can opener, and a butter knife. It will break down so they can have just the fork or just a spoon. They’re pretty cool, and they’re relatively cheap. I think I paid like eight or nine bucks for each one and they each have their own color. It’s pretty awesome.

7) First-aid
First-aid kits are so important you wouldn’t believe. The worst thing that could happen is your young child is running and slips or trips and hits her head on the picnic table or the fire ring. Or even worse, accidentally falls into the fire and you’re stuck with nothing to help her, nothing to cover the wounds. I’ve been there, and it is disheartening.

What we have are two Walmart pre-made first aid kits that we throw in the camping gear.  We also have some elastic bandages, bug spray, and extra-large stick-on bandages. I also added some hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin, diaper rash cream, anti-itch cream, and some calamine lotion.

You get the point – you want to make sure that you’re fully prepared for anything that might happen. Don’t forget the Aloe Vera for burn injuries. They do happen especially if you cook a lot of marshmallows and hot dogs. The end of the stick is burning hot and will burn finger while they are pulling off the food. This is very common.

8) Warm Clothes and Rain Gear
Living in the Pacific Northwest, you start to understand that the weather will be sunny one minute and then rain the next. You always want to make sure and pack warm clothes, even if it’s a hundred degree day. By the time the sun goes down behind the mountains or the trees, the temperature is going to drop 20 to 30 degrees. The wind us going to pick up, and you are going to be chilly and cold. Always pack a sweatshirt and always pack rain gear. Bring a pair of shoes, don’t pack a pair of flip-flops because you will get cold.

I have a light set of rain gear that I pack in with my gear for my wife and me. The kids all have their own cheap stuff from Costco that we have packed away and use if we need to during the Fall and Spring. I always carry a heavy duty top and bottom set. They’re fairly warm, and I wear them when I’m fishing.

9) Light / Lantern
When camping, you don’t want to get stuck out there without any lighting. You want to make sure and have enough propane for your propane lantern and enough batteries for your battery lights as well. If you decide to have battery lanterns or lights out there, that is.

Have propane lanterns, and carry extra Mantels in case they get wet. I do prefer the Coleman brand for my lanterns, my tents, and cooking gear. We just haven’t had good luck with anything else. If you decide to go the battery powered headlamp and lantern style gear, that’s great; you need to carry many batteries because they do go dead very fast. The best place I found to buy lighting is Amazon and Costco.  Costco sometimes has a three-pack of the small lanterns that collapse. I own them myself, and my kids love them. They hang them the inside of their tents. You can close them, so it’s like a little night-light. They’re great!

I also think that having four or five headlamps in your gear is an excellent idea for late-night bathroom treks and walks down to the water. We have a telescope that we like taking with us, and it’s good to have those headlamps with us so we can turn them off and on to see what we’re doing when we’re tuning in the stars.

10) Knife / Hatchet
This is probably my favorite essential just because I have had it for such a long time. Of course, you need to have a Leatherman Wave. I’ve had mine for 20 years, and it has everything on it that you need.

Then you have to have a hatchet for cutting firewood into kindling. It doesn’t matter on the brand name or anything. Just be sure it has a sturdy handle and durable, broad backside. That way you can use it to pound on your steaks as well.

If you have the chance to pick up small firewood saw, get one.  A saw will cut the time to gather wood in half. I was lucky enough to find a kit that had the hatchet, a bowie knife, and a saw all in one, so I bought it. I will have a review on that very soon.

11) Toiletries
When it comes to toiletries, make sure you pack light. You need the essentials.

Think carefully about how much toilet paper to pack. Think about how long your trip is and how many in your group. You want to be sure to pack enough so that you do not run out! If you do run out though, there are other options out there, leaves for one.

If you decide to stay in a campground, then most likely you will have a toilet in there. Hopefully, the Rangers take care of it because there’s nothing worse than a nasty, smelly outhouse toilet in a campground that everybody uses.

If you want to spring for a couple of items, you could purchase a campsite shower hooked to a campsite sink. That way you can wash right inside your campground. Use your own seven-gallon jugs to gravity feed the shower of course. Soap up right there, no one would be the wiser.

12) Navigation
Navigational items like a compass and map should be a part of your camping gear. You don’t want to leave them in your camping bag. You need to take them with you when you are going on walks and hikes. If you don’t keep them with you, then they are useless. They are in case you need them to get yourself out of an unfortunate predicament in case you get turned around.

This is a huge one – there are places to go in your local area to learn how to use read a map and to learn how to use your compasses. I suggest doing that. Maybe you and your significant other go or you and your children, whatever. Just make sure that you learn how to use it. It will come in handy someday. You always know which way you’re going.

Conclusion
So that’s my list of 12 Essential Camping Items. I do not know if you want to use this list or not, but it is a good list to go by. It hits all the primary marks. What you don’t want to happen as you get to your campsite and realize you forgot one of these items. They are all critical to having a successful camping trip.

So go out, have fun, and relax. If you follow this list, you won’t have anything to worry about. Everything and all things will be covered.

Have fun. Enjoy. Relax.

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Welcome

Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Camping With A Two Year Old: 10 Rules To Keep Your Sanity

Camping With A Two Year Old: 10 Rules To Keep Your Sanity

Camping with a two-year-old can be an enjoyable experience. All the critical values of nature you can teach them. However, let me ask this question. What if they change? You know what I mean. They flip that switch, and you are not in control anymore. Can you keep your sanity intact?

The mind of a two-year-old is quite simple. They use the right side of the brain. That would be the impulse side if you were wondering. They have no control over it. That develops on the left side. So they pee in weird areas, run around shrieking entirely buck naked, and they color their faces with a permanent marker, just to name a few. They are not logical or patient. It’s just science! So relax and be patient because we can. Here are “10 rules to keep your sanity” when camping with a two-year-old.

A majority of people with kids have experienced the feeling of absolute frustration. As your two-year-old is having a nuclear “not listening” meltdown in the middle of the grocery store. Running from you, and grabbing everything that they can throw on the floor. You feel as if you are the worst parental figure in the world, with all the eyes digging into your back. Don’t worry. Follow these “10 rules to keep your sanity” to ease the stress just a little.

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1) Pack the best as you can – If you have all your camping gear packed away in totes already and have to throw them in the car, then you can skip to the next rule. Big giant rubber made totes with lids is the way to go. They are lightweight, and you can stuff everything in there to keep it dry. You do not want to spend hours packing and unpacking. You will go crazy when she is running around you grabbing stuff and tripping over the pots and pans. Trust me. A good pack is the best way to start the trip.

2) Arrive early as possible – if you can make it out of the house as soon as you can, and get to your camping spot, you will be ahead of the curve already. It gives you time to set up the tent while taking your time. If you were to arrive too late, you would be pressed to get the vehicles unloaded, tent set up, the fire started, food prepped and made, and so on. The whole reason to go camping with a two-year-old, in my opinion, is to relax and let the family enjoy their time together in the outdoors. Learning and playing together is what it is about.

3.) Keep her busy – Have her help you with camp set up, as much as possible. I usually will hand her the plastic stakes and tell her to go and pound these into the ground so that daddy can tie the tent to them. Of course, the task cannot be done. However, it keeps her hands busy, and she gets to help. It also gives her a sense of responsibility.camping with a two year old

Also, let her help put the tent poles together. I will hold one end and make her snap them together. It is a small task, but she seems to love it. I have her hold the poles as I slide them through to the other side one by one until the tent is up and we then can start on the Bedding.

She will also get the task of putting pillows on the air mattresses. I’ll say “now the pillows,” and she will walk them over and lay them down. In mommy’s spot then daddy’s, then she will put one on hers. If possible do not let her sleep with you she will get used to it, and as she grows up, she might have problems sleeping in her tent.

4) Have a large size tent – This is a big deal especially if the weather is not going to be very generous. If you can make it work, get the biggest tent possible that is not too extreme. The reason is that it gives her a safe place to play and move around in the evening time and bad weather. If she can release a little bit of steam before bed, it will help.

Another reason for a big tent when camping with a two-year-old is that you do not want to feel cramped. Even though this article is about camping with a two-year-old, you don’t want to make the situation any more stressful than it should be. A full tent is annoying. You cannot move around and change clothes comfortably. So give yourself some room to breathe as well.

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5) Plan out you snack and meals – If you go camping with a two-year-old and have no meal plan things can go sideways very quickly. If she wants snacks right away, that is fine, but limits are a necessity. She might have the idea because you are not at home, that she can have more or get something special.

I suggest not going away from usual home habits. Have a set time for dinner and not let her spoil it by eating marshmallow and graham crackers before its actually s’mores time (guilty as charged). Bring fruits and vegetable for snacks. Candy will give her a sugar high. Then she will burn out, and that can trigger her to become that little one we are trying to suppress.

Breakfast is the most important meal when camping with a two-year-old. A lot of time, everyone is already tired from the day’s recreation, that dinner is often a thrown together quick meal. Nevertheless, breakfast is where you go “hard in the paint.” By that, I mean put your resources into this. Pump that baby full of protein so she can go most of the day strong. This, in turn, will keep her happy. With that, my friend keeps you happy.

6) Drawing and color crayons – Now we all know that no matter how much we keep her busy, we as a parent are going to need some us time. Bringing crayons and paper is an excellent idea to keep her busy. Just set her down in the tent for rest time, let her draw and color until she’s blue in the face. It might not sound like a lot, but at this time, you can press some coffee, make lunch, or use the bathroom. It rests for mom and dad, and that is a key to keeping that sanity in sight.

7) No toys allowed – This is huge. We all want to believe that getting outdoors is essential, and it is, very much so. So why do we continuously bring crap from home with us when we visit. I see it so often when camping, Kids on tablets, phones and other electronics. I mean how they are even keeping them charged. Lol.

When camping we try not to allow ordinary “toys” to come with us. We want her to explore and find natural “toys” in the woods to play with. Not only does it help with exploration and independence. But it teaches her that material objects are just not that important. I say that as I am typing on my PC with two monitors. Nevertheless, you get what I am saying. Hopefully.

8) Go for a walk – Not only is a walk a great exercise while camping with a two-year-old, but it’s also a great “tiring them out” type activity. Take them down to the water if there is some nearby. Stop and chat with other campers most people are friendly and will be good company. camping with a two year oldIf there are hiking trails, do a half mile or more and let her walk as long as she can.

I know that does not work too well as we have a super cool carrier that my wife wears a lot. Even then, it is still a relaxing and fun experience. All of these are to keep her busy as not to have a fit. But also for you as a parent to not get overwhelmed with the children. Focus on your thought and wellbeing as well. How about you soak in some scenes too!

9) Teach them until they get bored – these kids are sponges at this age. Teach them everything you can about the wilderness and camping. Point to trees and shrubs let them feel them and experience what it is like to really, be out in nature. Let them get dirty while digging in the dirt.

Take them to some water and show them what a crawdad is. When camping with a two-year-old trying not to scold them if they run too far in front of you. Let them enjoy the new scenery. Do not forget that we have been there and had knowledge of what’s out there. They do not. Being that young, even if they have been out before, might not remember. A new to them experience, so try to treat it like that.

10) Bring bedtime books – Bedtime is where we have some of our major issues. She knows its bedtime but does not want to miss all the fun that we will be having once she is asleep. We get it but bedtime is bedtime so bringing a bedtime book and reading it under the low light of a lantern would put the best of us daylong coffee drinkers asleep fast. They are no different.

Bonus) – Bug spray or bracelets for the little ones – Make sure when you camp with a two-year-old you come ready for the bugs. Although they don’t bother kids as much as adults if she is eaten up you will hear about it all night because she cannot sleep. Also, that transfers to the rest of the trip because she will be tired the rest of the way.

Have fun. Enjoy. Relax.

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Welcome

Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Dispersed Camping: How To Rough It For Newbies

Dispersed Camping: How To Rough It For Newbies

Dispersed Camping It isn’t a household word. I was having a conversation with a guy from work, and I was telling him about a dispersed camping trip I was getting ready for. He was looking at me as if I was nuts. He had no clue what that was. I decided I would write this post to him. Hope to see you out there.

Dispersed Camping is a saying that people use for camping anywhere in a National Forest that is not inside of a managed campground. This style is very basic. Normally there is no water besides creeks or rivers, No toilets so walking and digging a latrine is necessary, no tables fire rings or any other amenities that normal campgrounds usually have. In addition, cleanup is especially important. This to me is a very special kind of camping and I enjoy it very much. Let us dive a little deeper into the recreation of Dispersed Camping.

Roughing it

People who enjoy dispersed camping fit into two main groups.

You have your penny pinchers who love to save money by not paying for the reservation fee or parking fees. In addition, will deal with the lack of amenities during the evening then drive to the nearest campground to wash up or use the toilets.

The other kind is nomadic at heart. They are the kind of people who love to be outdoors. Live within nature. Typically have no issues with solitude, and self-reliance is a key feature of their personality. The lack of a toilet or fire pit is not a real concern.

Ask yourself. Are you able to “Rough It” if it meant you are saving 20 bucks a night? If so, you are a minority. Because of the Primitive style of dispersed camping a little more skill and responsibility is in order. It is ideal to know how to camp in this style and be able to respect nature and not ruin the areas for future campers.

A rule of thumb is that you always bring out more than you brought in. That means do not leave your trash, and if you can, take out any that you see. Before heading out to try your hand at this extraordinary experience please be advised of the rules and regulations of the region. They are in place to ensure people stay safe and that nature stays intact.

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Dispersed Camping Areas

Dispersed camping in certain locations is acceptable in national forests, such as the Department of Natural resources (DNR), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). You can research your areas on their websites to find out if there is any closure or emergencies happening at the time.

Campsites in these areas are first to come first serve that means you might need to get out of the house a little earlier if you know you’re heading to a more populated area.

Depending on the region you live in the days allowed to camp in the same spot is limited. Ten to fifteen days in a thirty day period is the max I believe. However, it does vary so make sure and plans your trip accordingly.

Campfires in Camp

Campfires permitted in designated camping spots only. We all know what the price can be if a large fire is sparked from a campground. More rules, regulations, and the possibility of them closing down the areas for a very long time or permanently. In a designated dispersed campground, gathering natural firewood is not legal. Purchasing your own wood on the way to the camping spot or bringing it from home will be the only way to have it without receiving a fine if caught.

This “primitive” style of camping is wonderful, and if you are into it then great. If not that is great too. Just remember in developed areas, you cannot clear brush and debris to set up a camping spot. You must use the designated area for tent camping. Known as a best practice, do not set up a camp closer than 150-200 feet from the water source. You can intimidate wildlife from its natural drinking and resting areas.

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WHERE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM

Needed Items Two plastic baggies One latrine shovel or digging device (stick) Toilet paper (leaves or other natural elements) This is what a lot of people is the biggest difference in dispersed camping and regular campground camping. Even in a pay to play campground, the bathrooms are disgusting. There are many more germs in one of those pit crappers than there ever will be out in the woods. I am just saying.

I get the comfort of a toilet, compared to a tree. Believe me. I am married and have four kids and I know that taking them along on a dispersed camping trip is not the best of choices. My children 12, 11, 11, and 2 and my wife do not think a tree or bush is the best place to go potty. I totally understand. It is not user-friendly for one. You run the risk of soiling yourself on accident if you are not very experienced at the whole crapping outside thing.

I repeat this but stay 200 feet away from any water source, when going to the bathroom. You will want to find a nice flat area. With soft soil so that digging a hole will not be too difficult. Next, you need to decide if you are a squatter, a tree leaner or a catcher. These are the three main styles of doing the deed when out camping without the toilet. I suggest not to squat that gets tiring after a bit. Once you figure out your plan of attack. Locate the drop zone and dig yourself a hole, about eight inches wide by eight inches deep. Go ahead and do your doo at this point. Once finished do not forget to cover it back up with dirt.

Some places allow the burial of the toilet paper but most areas do not. So you must fold it up and stash it in the first baggy. Then stick it in the second one for good measure and dispose of in your trash haul out when you leave the area. That was Easy right? That part is a key factor in may peoples decision not to go dispersed camping, believe it or not.

 Water use

If you are fortunate enough to be around a water source, try not to disturb too much of the area and if you notice game trails or resting areas leave them be. I hope that you can bring your own drinking water so you do not have to boil or treat any to keep hydrated. If need to get your drinking water naturally. You will need to be extremely careful of where you gather your liquids.

Check that there are no feces in the surrounding area. Along with carcasses of animals that might have gotten sick. That is not a good sign. Luckily, nowadays they have straws that filter the water while you are drinking it. Just remember to boil your water. Once brought to a boil. One minute of rolling boil will purify the water. If you are in higher elevations though like 2000 ft. or higher you will need to triple that time.

Trash out pack out

When you are super fun time is over, and you have had all the relaxation you can take. it’ll be time to pack up camp and head back to civilization. YAY! (Sarcastic). Your camp cleanup is probably the most important aspect of your camping trip. The more you can take out, the happier everyone will be.

In addition, the forestry departments will not have any ammo to close down the campgrounds. Make especially sure that your camping spot is perfectly clean. No beer cans, paper plates, or little propane bottle caps. (You would not believe how many of those I have found over the years). If possible, try to remove garbage that was there as well every little bit helps.

Regions

I live in the Pacific Northwest and I am very lucky to have cascade mountain range and the Pacific coast mountain range on both sides of me. It makes for excellent recreational endeavors. The region here is going to be different from the region in Utah. I have linked local sites, but I am sure you can find what you are looking for, now that you have finished this article.

Conclusion

Please let me know in the comments if you have experienced dispersed camping, in your region. In addition, how it probably differs from mine. I would love to hear about it. To finish this article I just want to say, do not let the wilderness scare you. Go out, explore, and stand in a meadow or at the base of a mountain. Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to remember all this beauty.

I do hope my children will be able to share the wonders that lie out there with their children. At the pace, the forests are disappearing right now they might not have that chance. So for now;

Have fun. Explore. Relax.

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Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Mandatory Camping Accessories That You Must Have

Mandatory Camping Accessories That You Must Have

I got to thinking the other day when stuck at work in my dump truck; what are the most important things I need to pack in my camping bag? After giving it some thought, this is what I recommend.

Mandatory Camping Accessories That You Must Have When it comes to a accessories list for a camping trip these necessary camping accessories are probably the most critical items minus the tent. I left the tent off of this list because it is not an accessory, rather a necessity. Read through this list and comment below if there is anything you would add to it.

Camping First Aid Kit

When you spend as much time camping as I do, you know you will come across specific activities that will leave you scratched, cut, sunburned, and just plain out dog-tired. Having a good, well-stocked first aid kit will help keep you on the positive. Just in case of an emergency, here is a small list of items that you should not go without in your first aid kit:

hydrogen peroxide – for cuts scrapes and keeping wounds clean

thermometer – to check for fevers

bandages – for covering cuts, scrapes, and bruises; if large enough can be used to cover  small lacerations, hands, feet, and head

cold compress – for bumps and bruises that have the possibility of swelling; sprained ankles, hands, feet, and toes

heat pack – for reducing pain for both acute and chronic injuries such as sprains, strains, whiplash, and arthritis

emergency blanket – for severe cold weather and to avoid hypothermia

pocket mirror – for reflection signaling when lost

neosporin – for antibacterial purposes on cuts, scrapes, and lacerations

scissors – to cut bandages down to size to fit injuries

sutures – in severe laceration emergencies for blood loss control

elastic bandage – for ankle, elbow, and wrist sprains

butterfly bandages – for light laceration closures

aspirin or acetaminophen – for mild pain relief or fevers

calamine lotion  – to relieve itchiness

Insect repellent/sunblock I hope that there will not be a situation where you will need many of these items on the list, but on nine out of ten camping trips, there are injuries. If you are well prepared for it, a minor emergency does not have to ruin your trip.

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CPR and first aid                              

CPR training is almost priceless information. If just one or two family members get certified in CPR safety training, it can save lives and more the merrier in this instance. If everyone is trained then the odds are higher for a good outcome during an emergency. Another useful item to have as a part of your first aid kit is an old smartphone that you might have lying around the house.

Make sure it’s fully charged and packed with a charger, solar if you can get one,(be sure the phone is off so it won’t lose its charge). Although service is turned off, or there is no service available at your campsite, an emergency mode can still be detected by emergency crews so they can come and save you if needed.

Whistles

Are also a great addition to ensure the health and safety of the group. When my family is camping, it is a requirement for everyone to have a whistle around their neck if leaving the base campsite. A whistle can serve a huge purpose. If someone was to get turned around on a bathroom trip or something worse like a hike, It could be used to be heard for about a mile and a half away, depending on the topography. See whistle prices on Amazon

Always do a campsite set up a meeting. Find out if anyone in the group has a medical condition or emergency medications. Make sure that the group knows what to do in case of a severe allergic reaction. Ask if anyone knows the symptoms of hypothermia and stroke. As a group, talk about common injuries and what to do in case of an emergency.

Pocket Knife / Multi-tool

A pocket knife or multi-tool is a great on person accessory. I wear one every day of my life. I have bought my children one each and my wife. It is something that comes in handy on every recreational thing we do out there from fishing to kayaking, into rock hounding and gold panning. Pocket knives and multi-tools are used for anything when it comes to camping in the woods. They are camping essential!

Mandatory Campsite Accessories

A useful multi-tool is a precious asset in the campsite

Firestarter / Matches

Chances are you are not a professional survivalist, and you cannot start a fire with a stick, a rock, and some vines. Most likely, you need to bring with you some flame. If you cannot get a fire started, you could run the risk of getting hypothermia and going hungry. If you invest in some decent fire starters, they will last you for years.

Fire Building / Backup

Fires can be tricky to get started. Therefore, the skill is never really mastered. Many situations can hinder starting a fire because of moisture in the wood. Like recent rainfall or if there is snow on the ground making its way to wet. If it is too windy and dry, there may be fire restrictions in the region as well. Always check your local forestry dept. For up to date rules and regulations.

Campers sometimes rely on cigarette lighters and striker rods as a go-to for backup’s fire starters. These usually will do the trick but to be honest; if it rains the lighter will probably fail, or butane can leak rendering it useless.

Flint Striker

Flint fire striker rods are compact and easy to use if it is dry and not too cold. To start a fire with a striker tinder is needed. Very small moss or cottonwood seeds are excellent for this style of fire starting. Another form of tinder is char cloth, which can be made by slow cooking a piece of cloth in a metal can over a fire and not letting the combustion process happen. When hit with a spark from the striker will catch fire fast.

There is no promise that a fire will start every time an attempt is made. A set of extra warm clothes and a backup heat source, like a thermal blanket, are critical considerations when out camping during colder times of the year.

Camping Rope

The rope is another essential accessory that you can have in your camping supplies. We use it for everything from hanging up food from bears, hanging hammocks, tying up your animals, and pulling kayaks. The rope makes potentially tricky situations much more manageable.

Camping rope 

  • set up a trip wire rigged with bells to alert of incoming wild animal or unwanted visitors
  • hang from one tree to another as a line dry for wet clothing
  • secure down items
  • make a tourniquet during an emergency to stop bleeding
  • create a safety line from tent to tent for children to follow in the dark
  • build a snare trap for trapping game
  • replace a broken shoelace or belt if needed
  • haul canoes or kayaks from place to place

The rope is available in different styles, sizes, and materials. Some are better than others, especially in the camping world.

Twisted Rope

This rope is one of the most versatile. It has the most strands in its construction. When twisted together, the stronger it becomes, and you can keep adding to it. The more you add to it, the stronger it gets. One of the only drawbacks to the style of rope is that once it gets to a larger size, it is challenging to tie and hold knots.

Paracord:

The most common of this is the 550 cord, which has a tensile strength of 550 pounds per square inch. These ropes are thin and are great for hanging up hammocks, shelters, and tarps; you name it!

Baling twine:

With the breaking strength of 350 pounds, the brown baling wire that you see in any big box store is one of the most affordable, and it’s one of the most versatile. You can double it, triple it; add as layers as you’d like to give as much strength as you need. This type of rope is prevalent in the prepping community because it’s lightweight and inexpensive and you can pack a lot of it in a backpack. I do not recommend this line for any suspension or pulling.

Tarps

I used tarps like crazy when I’m out camping. We use them underneath our tents, hang them over the top of our tents for rain shelter, cover picnic tables, and We cover the inside of our vehicles with them when we are out hiking or kayaking (get a dry bag here) and may have wet clothing. You can use your tarp to create an overhead shelter by Tying your rope from tree to tree and drape your tarp over it. This helps keep pine needles and other debris that fall from the forest canopy from falling on food and cooking surfaces.

Bad weather

In a lousy rainstorm, your regular old rain-fly that comes with your tent isn’t going to be enough protection. So you can set up your tarp to cover the top of your tent and keep it dried in between two trees. You can strap a tarp over the top of your car and store all your belongings underneath it to keep them dry during a storm. String a rope between two trees throw a tarp over the top tie it down with some rocks, and you got yourself an impromptu a tent to sleep in if necessary.  

Lantern, Flashlight or Headlamp

Lighting is a vital necessity for a campsite especially once the sun starts to go down. With the mountains in the trees around you, it will get dark reasonably fast. Having the right lanterns, headlamps, and tent lights are going to make a huge difference. My personal favorite is the propane lantern. It has done me great for the last ten years, and I have I recently bought my son one. In my opinion, paying a little extra on a quality lantern is well worth it in the end.

Upgrade

I have also picked up nine of the small collapsible lights I found at a Costco that we just put into our camping gear. Those things are awesome. I suggest that if you do go out to purchase some new lighting accessories, always be upgrading so that you get the most high quality and high lumens. I suggest a minimum of at least 250 lumens for headlamps and 1200 lumens or above for lanterns.

Maps and Compass

I know that we are living in a high-tech digital age, but when you get out to your campsite or up in your hiking area, most likely, you will not have a GPS signal. I know I’ve come across that many times and am always thinking I wish I had a map. Having a map and a compass as a part of your camping gear is a good idea especially if your family is like mine and likes to go hiking.

Forestry department and scientific researchers rely on Topographical maps and a compass. By finding a land feature that you can recognize then referencing the map for your location. It is possible to be walking on these Trails and never have to pull a map out. If you can see the terrain and make a mental note of where your camp is, you will be able to determine your whereabouts easily.

need a compass or check prices on Amazon I got mine fairly inexpensive

Maps can be found here

Conclusion

Better safe than sorry, that is what I say. It is inexpensive to go to your local college or community resource center and take it to an hour-long class on Compass navigation it is a fun little class and does not hurt to know.

Have Fun. Be Safe. Explore.

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Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Campsite Dog’s: Bear Attractant or Not

Campsite Dog’s: Bear Attractant or Not

Does having a dog at the campsite with us increase the chance of attracting a black bear?

I was out camping last weekend with our family and dog, and my wife asked me this question. Honestly, I have never thought about it before. I always assumed they would keep them away. Let us find out.

Dogs can act as both a deterrent and an attractant. A dog’s heightened senses can alert the owners of an incoming black bear providing you a chance to leave the area if possible. On the other hand, there are more aggressive type dogs that will run after and chase the black bear until the black bear turns on them and tracks them back into the camp, which leaves a whole other problem at hand. Let us dive deeper into the do’s and don’ts of having Fido at your campsite.

Campsite Doggy Do’s

First, make sure that you know the regulations in your campground. Rules about dogs and other pets are different from one campsite to the next. Each state has its website where you can access campground information. I live in the Pacific Northwest and camp in Washington and Oregon.

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Health info.

Is your dog is up-to-date on all its shots and immunizations? Before taking him into the forest, you must make sure that the dog is vaccinated and up-to-date on rabies. The last thing you want is for him to get a tick or a bite by an indigenous animal and end up getting sick.

Pet-friendly first-aid kit

That brings me to my next point; an animal first aid kit is essential and should not be underrated. It is not a bad idea! You can buy a pre-assembled kit or make your own by throwing some dog sunscreen, quick clippers, a nail file, and some tweezers – for pulling out splinters in case it steps on something hidden beneath the forest debris-

Your dog will also require a place to sleep, and you need to decide if it is in your tent or the vehicle. Just not outside! Your dog needs a safe shelter where he will not bark at night waking up all the other campers or animals that might become curious and come walking into the camp.

Emergency info.

Have you updated your dog’s tags? If not, upgrade them to your home address just in case he trots off and is picked up by random humans in the forest. Also, if he is microchipped, you will need to make sure that is up-to-date as well.

Campsite Doggy Don’ts

Keep them on a leash

A very critical rule of thumb when it comes to allowing dogs in campsites is to make sure they are on a leash. I do not know about your dog. But mine is a small one, and he likes to put his nose down and take off. He does not run, only just wanders around marking his territory. He does this repeatedly.

Black bears will eat your dog’s poop.

This is another significant problem. Do not let your dog poop willy-nilly in the woods or the campsite. Make sure, if he does defecate, you pick it up and dispose of it properly. Wrap it in a plastic bag put it in the garbage bag. If you happen to have a campground bathroom, empty the contents into it.

Two good reasons to pick up your dog’s poop!

  1. The little bits of unprocessed dog food in your dog’s feces is not part of a natural diet of a black bear.
  2. If a black bear gets a taste of your dog’s food, chances are, he will want it more and more and go out of his way to get the dog food. That means in and around your campground and your car.

Leaving your dog

This is not a great idea. While you are off kayaking, fishing, or any other recreation, you must not leave him behind if you can help it. If it is not an option to take him with you, put him in a tent or vehicle with the windows down. Make sure he has plenty of air, food, and water.

Honestly, if he can’t go with you on some of your adventures, you probably should have left him at home with a dog sitter. I know I would not want to be left behind when my family went off and did a bunch of fun stuff….q;)

Dog and Black Bear Interaction.

Your dog takes off. You do not know which way he has gone. Everyone worries and starts searching. You are whistling and calling for him. Then all the sudden, you hear him coming.

Behind him is a giant black bear running full speed, following him into the campground! What do you do?

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No matter what you do, it could have been avoided!

You see, an animal is always going to be an animal, and your dog might take off if it has the chance and there is a possibility that he will bring back a black bear, a cougar, or another wild animal that might be a threat to your campsite.

It happens more than we would think and know what to do when this scenario happens is what is going to change the situation into a bad one or just another day that could have been bad.

If a black bear has laid eyes on you, you need to try to keep your dog as close to you as possible. You need to remember and respect the fact that the black bear is much more powerful than you and your dog.

Do your best to keep your dog calm. You should try not to let him start barking, freaking out, acting all tough and having little dog syndrome. Remember, you are in the black bear’s territory.

Do not make any sudden moves

If you can move, slowly back up as far away from the bear as possible until you can leave the area safely.

If the black bear comes close to you, you somehow end up close to it, or the black bear changes its actions. You need to make yourself as big as possible. Try to speak as calmly as you can until you can back up. Get your dog and remove yourself from trouble.

If a black bear does decide that it wants to come towards you threateningly. Make yourself as big as possible by waving your arms and making lots of noise. Most black bears will back off pretty quick. They are more scared of us humans and as hunters than we are of them.

Never corner a black bear

Make sure it always has a way to get out of the situation. You do not want the black bear to feel threatened or trapped. It could charge you. If that happens, you need to stand tall. Look right in its eyes and say “hey bear, get out of here bear.” If you have bear spray, I suggest you use it if necessary. If not get some here on Amazon

Take the Dog Camping or Not?

I was not able to come up with a cut and dry decision. There is many if’s and but’s. You love your dog and want it to be with you and your family when you are out making memories. I know I do.

With that being said, I do not want my dog to act in a way that it will put my family in danger. Acting out is barking at everything that moves and running around the forest as if he owns it. This action will start attracting these wild animals to the campsite where my family is living for a few days.

In my opinion

With my small, seven pounds, white dog, I probably will board him next time. Only because he did scamper off a few times were when we were camping. I did have to yell and holler for him to come back.

I want to circle back to where we first started.

Making sure that the park you are going to is animal-friendly is very important. The rules and regulations are in place for the safety of the campground and the rangers who take care of the parks and the other campers, hikers, anglers and hunters. It is all a big cycle. Wild animals are very unpredictable.

You are going to have to make your own decision

Everyone wants to bring his or her dog along to the campsite. That is fine. Just make sure that your dog well trained and they still keep him on a leash. You are going to need some planning ahead of time. Maybe check the local website (linked above) to see if there have been any black bears in the area. Just make sure that is going to be a safe trip for everybody.

Most importantly

Get out there and have a blast. Here in the Pacific Northwest we only get a few months out of the year too really enjoy our forests. So do not waste time and make sure you and your family and little Fido have a great adventure.

Be safe. Have Fun. Explore.

“Choose only one master – Nature” –Rembrandt

 

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Welcome

Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Thanks

This site is owned and operated by Docslys Design. Docslys Design is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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