Need Help Planning Your Camping Trip? Here's The Perfect Checklist » Bowlus Blog

Need Help Planning Your Camping Trip? Here’s The Perfect Checklist

Need Help Planning Your Camping Trip? Here’s The Perfect Checklist

We don’t think that it will get much argument when we say that planning a camping trip is by far the least exciting part. Sitting around the fire, toasting s’mores, having conversations off the grid with your loved ones… those are the things that people look forward to the most. Planning doesn’t factor into any of that excitement for most people. If you need help planning your next camping trip, we’ve created a foolproof checklist that you can use to make sure you have a great time with as little worry as possible.


Decide On Where You Want To Camp


The first decision to make when planning a camping trip is where you want to camp. Often, this comes down to whether you plan on tent camping or just staying in your travel trailer. It also depends on your personal preference, like if there is a specific area or campsite where you enjoy staying. 


If you’re still not sure, you’ll next want to consider the type of camping experience you want to have. Is this going to be an educational trip or a leisure trip? If you’re looking for a more secluded camping trip off the grid, you’ll want to reserve space (if necessary) at a smaller, less populated campground or even consider boondocking. If you’re looking for a more social camping experience, you can look into staying at a campground that has activities and is known for being more popular. 


When in doubt, head to a national park! You can even throw a dart at a map if you want. The important part is that you plan a destination ahead of time because so much relies on that decision.


Decide When You Want To Go


Unless this is a spontaneous adventure, you’ll want to put some thought into exactly when you want to go so that you can plan in advance. Mostly, that planning pertains to the time of year you want to travel. 


When you decide to leave for your camping trip can really change your itinerary and packing list. For instance, if you travel through Colorado in the winter, you should make sure that you pack for very cold weather. Don’t leave for that trip without snow boots, a warm coat, mittens, extra antifreeze, etc. The opposite would be true for a camping trip in Texas in the summer, where you’ll need lots of bug spray, coolant, water, etc. 


Unlike other travel trailers, your Bowlus is perfect for travel in every season. Our heated floors will keep you cozy in the middle of winter, while you can cool down with some air conditioning at the peak of summer. 


Choosing a time frame to travel in can also help you make a decision on where you want to stay and if you need to reserve a spot ahead of time. A good example is camping slots in a national park during the busy season (in the spring and summer). You should never try to take this kind of camping trip without a reservation or at least at a backup plan. On the flipside, boondocking in the fall locally can be a little more spontaneous and doesn’t require much planning regarding the campsite. 


Decide How Much Time You Want To Be Gone For


Part of the decision on how long you’ll be camping for is up to how far away you want to go. Other than that, though, you’ll also need to decide how long you plan to camp. This helps you know how much food and water to bring, how many changes of clothes, etc. 


If you’re new to road-tripping, you may want to start with a long weekend trip before you set out for a month-long road trip. But either way, your Bowlus will have you covered.


Plan Out Your Trip… To A Point


While you don’t want to over plan and set an itinerary that is down to the minute, as that doesn’t leave room for random, spontaneous adventures, having a basic itinerary is always a good idea for any length of camping trip.


Start by pulling out a physical map (which are great to have around regardless, in case you can’t get a mobile signal at any point on your trip) and plot your starting and ending points. Make sure that you get familiar with the roads you will be taking, which will also allow you to check out any side stops that you may want to make along the way. In addition, while it’s great to rely on GPS, it doesn’t always work the way we want or need it to. Being self-reliant without smartphones or WiFi is an essential skill, one that many people are lacking in these modern times.


In addition, before leaving on your trip, run it through an online mapping service. This will give you updates on if there is any construction on your route or other detours that may add time or delay you in any significant way. It will also save you from lots of frustration and might even suggest a different, shorter, or more scenic route that you might not have thought of on your own.


Make A Packing List


With your destination and time frame in mind, it’s time to move on to making a list of the essentials you’ll need to remember to pack. Even if you’re an experienced camper, you’ve likely had the experience of getting to your campsite and suddenly realized that you forgot something important. Hopefully, this packing list will help minimize that possibility:


  • A backpack (if you plan on hiking)
  • Hiking boots
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Comfortable clothing that can be layered
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear and socks
  • A coat and a rain jacket
  • Emergency/first-aid kit
  • A toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels
  • Sunglasses
  • Garbage bags
  • Entertainment items like board games and playing cards


There are plenty of other things that you’ll need to pack as well, but those will vary depending on where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. It helps to write those down as well, so you can check them out when you load them into your vehicle.


Let Your Bank Know You’re Traveling


Letting your bank know before you take off is one of the most overlooked parts of preparing for a camping trip, but not doing it can lead to some disastrous consequences if not handled before you leave. 


If you’re traveling outside of your local area and plan to be gone for a longer period of time, letting your bank know ahead of time will stop them from thinking your card was stolen and shutting it off. The last thing that you want to happen is to have no ability to purchase gas or food when you’re miles and miles away from home.


In addition, you should always take cash out before you travel. On the rare occasion the bank does shut down your card (or you lose it somewhere along the way), you’ll at least have a backup source of money to pay for the necessities to get home.


Service Your Vehicle Before You Leave


At least a week before leaving on your camping trip, take your vehicle in for routine maintenance services. This should include an oil change, tire rotation, and a general look over to verify that it is in good working order before you head out on the road. 


Towing a travel trailer requires a lot of power and force. Having a vehicle that isn’t up to the challenge can be not only frustrating but potentially dangerous, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. However, this isn’t true when you’re using a Bowlus. It’s so light and agile that it’s easy to forget that you’re towing anything at all. 


Before you leave, make sure that your Bowlus battery is fully charged, that your fresh water tank is full, and that the grey water tank and toilet cassette are empty. You may also want to double check that all your appliances are working at full power and that the hitch attachments and emergency equipment are both operational. 


Here’s Your Checklist


We know that we discussed a lot today, so here’s that general checklist that we promised to sum it all up. Check them off as you do it to keep track of where you’re at in the process.


  • Decide where you want to go
  • Decide when you want to go
  • Decide how long you want to be gone for
  • Plan your (loose) itinerary
  • Make and stick to a packing list
  • Tell your bank that you’re going on a trip
  • Service your travel trailer prior to leaving


To Summarize


Camping is one of the best adventures that anyone can have because it is accessible to everyone. You don’t have to have a travel trailer, or even anything more than a tent, to make any camping trip a success. However, having a solid plan for your trip, regardless of how long it is and the way in which you decide to camp, really is the key to having a great, relaxing time. 


No matter where you end up going, your Bowlus travel trailer is there to ensure that you’re traveling in style and comfort. Our amenities will keep you in luxury, and everything about the Bowlus is designed for ease so that you can have the most relaxing, fun adventure possible.