A new year means resolution time. But this year, instead of pledging to exercise more or finally finish that home project, what if you resolved to make a few changes to the way you camp? Here at Camperville we think that making camping resolution or two will help you have your best year of camping yet! As you plan your outdoor adventures, consider making one (or more!) of these changes to your camping routine.
1. Make camping reservations…now.
We know. In the dark depths of winter, it can be hard to imagine the smell of a campfire or the sight of green grass. If you live in a cold climate, camping season seems far away. But if you want to stay at prime camping spots on popular summer weekends, it pays to plan ahead. Some state park campgrounds start taking camping reservations at the beginning of the calendar year. A few national parks will actually let you book a year in advance—so in some cases, you have to really think ahead. See your own state park system for their reservation policies or for a campsite at a national park or national recreation area, visit recreation.gov.
2. Invest in a quality tent.
When you’re new to camping, it’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on gear. (Plus, gear’s expensive, so it can be quite an investment.) But if you’ve been camping for a while and know that more nights under the stars are in your future, this might be the year to buy a dependable tent that can really stand up to the elements. Here are two options worth checking out: Kelty’s Salida tent and The North Face’s Wawona tent.
3. And a dependable sleeping bag.
You’ll never regret investing in a quality sleeping bag. It’s one of the rare pieces of camping gear you’ll use every day (well, night) of a trip and it should last for a long time. If you don’t know where to start, see our article about how to choose the best sleeping bag for you.
4. Learn some camping hacks.
Not everything about life in the outdoors needs to be difficult. There are plenty of shortcuts, whether it’s using a Nalgene to warm up a sleeping bag or making an instant lantern from a jug of water and a headlamp. A little insider camping knowledge can go a long way. Learn to make your own fire starters or check out this list of hacks from REI.
5. Become a hiker.
If you’ve been thinking about hitting the trails, why not start this year? If a trek through the woods sounds intimidating, we can help you out. The first step (pun intended) is to make sure you have a reliable pair of hiking boots. Read our guide to find your ideal pair. Next, plan your first hike using: “The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Hiking.”
6. Challenge yourself on a long-distance trail.
Already an avid hiker? It might be time to take on the challenge of a long-distance hiking trail. Whether you have dreams of the legendary Appalachian Trail or simply want a nice, long hike, here are 10 options for long-distance hiking in the U.S.
7. Learn to make camp coffee that tastes good.
Instant coffee isn’t the only option for your morning brew at camp. Learn to make a cup of joe that will wake you up and taste like the real thing. (Because it is.) We’ll show you how.
8. Add more options to your camping meal line-up.
It’s always helpful to have a ready list of meal options when you’re planning an outdoor adventure. If you’re cooking for a crowd, these recipes are a good place to start. Or break out your Dutch oven for these breakfast recipes. Is camping your opportunity to take a break from cooking? Try some of our no-cook camping meals.
9. Try hammock camping.
These days, hammocks are everywhere at parks and campgrounds. Interested in giving hammock camping a try this year? Or do you simply want to learn how to hang one without ending up on the ground? Either way, we’ve got you covered. Check out our complete guide to hammock camping or our basic tutorial on how to hang a hammock.
10. Take to the water.
Are you a long-time camper who dreams of getting out on the water? With rentals, classes, and newer user-friendly equipment, paddling is easier than ever. This year, consider a camping trip that combines time on land with time riding the waves. Stand-up paddleboards, recreational kayaks, and canoes can all be great options for beginners if you have the right board or boat. Our articles can help give you the lowdown on recreational kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.
11. Master a survival skill or two.
Even if you have no plans for wilderness adventure, it can be useful to know a few survival skills. (Either to save your own life or impress people at the campfire.) Learn these nine survival knots or one of these outdoor skills.
12. Upgrade your camp chair.
Comfy camp chairs are often low on the gear-buying priority list, but if you camp regularly, you’ll appreciate having a comfortable place to sit. Here a dozen options including styles for the beach and for kiddo campers.
13. Visit a national park.
Plan a Great American Road Trip and visit one of our amazing national parks. You’ll have to plan ahead if you plan to camp at the park but it’ll be worth it. Not sure where to start? Read about the top 10 national parks for camping.
14. Try a trailer transformation.
Craigslist abounds with aged Airstreams and other trailers just waiting to be revived. If you have DIY dreams that involve remodeling a camper, maybe this is the year to begin. Check out these Airstream and pop-up camper renovations for inspiration and tips.
15. Bring a furry friend.
Not all dogs make good camping buddies, but you never know until you try. Before you take your pup camping with you for the first time, read our tips for making it a safe and fun trip.