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10 Tips to Prepare for a Short Camping Trip

10 Tips to Prepare for a Short Camping Trip

Our Lance 1685 travel trailer has been unloaded, cleaned and stored for 2 months.  Now it’s time to go camping for a week…   so what will we forget?  Here’s our approach to getting ready …

Let's Go!

Let’s Go!

1.  Make a list of “trip killers” – things that if you forget, the trip has to be either interrupted or aborted totally – our short list of these items include medications, drivers licenses, money/credit cards, propane and that’s about it.  Not much that we can’t replace on a short camping trip if necessary.  Having said that, why waste even a minute of a short camping trip having to run an unnecessary errand.

2.  Consider leaving some things in the trailer – our Lance 1685 camper has a fully stocked kitchen when it comes to things like pots & pans, silverware, plates, bowls, glasses/mugs, kitchen utensils and dry goods – napkins, paper plates, ziplock baggies, aluminum foil etc.  The only things that are not left in the trailer are food items, including canned goods and spices.  Why tempt critters?  With kitchen items intact, I don’t have to worry about forgetting the paring knife or the corkscrew.

Just LOOK at all that floor space and light! Amazing for a camper only 20' long bumper to hitch.

Just LOOK at all that floor space and light! Amazing for a camper only 20′ long bumper to hitch.

3.  Walk through and walk around the trailer to refresh your memory on what you left and begin a list (I’m BIG on lists!) … where did we put the zero gravity chairs?  There’s shampoo & bug spray, but no other personal hygiene stuff… etc….

4.  Two days before we’re ready to depart, I make a note of every single thing I touch in a day’s time.  Sometimes I  take the appropriate amount of whatever to the trailer right then (or at least placing it in the growing pile in the extra bedroom).  If it’s something that I need right up to the last minute, making a note for myself on the list of “Don’t Forgets”.

Lake Glendale, Shawnee National Forest, near Garden of the Gods, southern Illinois.

Lake Glendale, Shawnee National Forest, near Garden of the Gods, southern Illinois.  Our Clam Quick Set Screen Enclosure making sure dinner is bug-free!

5.  Sometime during the prior week, I’ll make a menu detailing every item that needs to be in the camper to fix that meal – including spices … olive oil … the little stuff that can be annoying to forget when you’re trying to get dinner after hiking all day.

NOTE:  If it’s an extended trip, I just make sure I have everything that I touch in a week’s time in the kitchen at home in the camper, that way I can be fairly certain that most items I use regularly are in there.  There’s no way I’m making a menu for extended camping – but I usually will make a menu with dinner ideas for the nights we’ll be on the road, especially for a cross country longer trip.

6.  After going to the grocery, I’ll set the newly purchased items not requiring refrigeration either in the camper or in a pile in the extra bedroom.  The refrigerated items go in a special drawer or shelf, all together, to minimize the chance of forgetting something (yeah, right…).

Our patio, beachfront, on Ocracoke Island.... perfect for a bit of wine at sunset!

Our patio, beachfront, on Ocracoke Island…. perfect for a bit of wine at sunset!

7.  Pre-making certain food items means all I need to do is reheat.  Right now there’s zucchini pasta and brown rice medley (two meals) in the fridge awaiting our departure.

8.  Check all the systems a few days before departure, just in case something isn’t right – this time we discovered, we didn’t refill one of the propane tanks so when I turned on the furnace, nothing happened except cold air cycling.   Good to notice several days prior rather than the day before … or worse yet, our first night camping when the temperatures dip into the upper 30’s!   🙂

Grizzly Day 1

Grizzly, after pre-chilling with a block of ice, we can load the beverages!

9.  Turn on the refrigerator a day in advance, this gives it a chance to chill.  I usually add water to the ice cube trays at the same time, but don’t start putting stuff in until it’s cooled overnight.  Likewise we pre-chill our Grizzly cooler because every cooler benefits from being chilled before adding “stuff”.

10.  Hitch Up & GO!  ENJOY, have FUN!

What have I forgotten?  Or what do you do more efficiently? Please leave a comment and share!  Cheers!  Jan

P.S.  Drumroll….. so what did we forget???   🙂  The HDMI Cable to connect the WinegardG2 Satellite Dish &DirecTV Receiver to the TV.  But we didn’t have time to watch TV anyway, so not a big deal.


  1. My family is planning a camping trip for later this summer. I am thinking about renting a mobile home for the trip. So, I liked that you talked about how it would be smart to turn the refrigerator on the day before. I wouldn’t want to worry about my food going bad.

    • Thanks Ivy! Enjoy your camping trip! Cheers! Jan

  2. Hi Jan,

    What kind of tire blocks are you using in the LakvGlendale photo?

    • Hi Ron! We have two kinds – the orange ones are Lynx Levelers – they look like giant legos, stack for leveling and the wedges block the ends. The yellow ones are just generic yellow tire blocks from WalMart. Cheers! Jan

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