Planning Your First Camping Trip? Make it Easy

Thompson Okanagan

Camping in the Okanagan, BC

The warmer weather is approaching so if you’re thinking about camping this year for the first time what you should know is that camping doesn’t have to be a complicated adventure. It can be easy, cost-effective and most importantly fun! Here are some tips to help with your planning.

Reserve Ahead of Time

Reserving a campsite decreases the stress of wondering if there will be a site available when you arrive at your preferred destination. Camping is popular in BC and when the weather warms up, the campsites fill up.  Also, if you know where you are going your packing will be more efficient as you can plan accordingly based on the activities in the area and then pack appropriate clothing and gear.

A good resource to help find all campgrounds (provincial, private, national and recreation sites) located throughout British Columbia is www.campingrvbc.com/camping. You can also make a reservation at some provincial parks at DiscoverCamping. For national parks go to Parks Canada Reservation Service. To reserve at a private facility, contact the individual campground. More information on Recreation Sites can be found at sitesandtrailsbc.ca

How to pack efficiently for camping

Pack efficiently…stress free

Write Lists

Write a to-do list of all the things that need to be done in preparation for your camping trip.

Clothes

The clothes are determined by the weather forecast, type of camping (RVing, tenting) and where you are going, (beach, mountain, etc.). Also by the activities you will want to do.

Activity List

Discuss this with the family. Consider the area you are travelling to. What is there to do when you get there? Are their activities in the campground or will you have to leave the campground. Resort areas such as Penticton in the Okanagan have many attractions and activities to offer all members of the family. Some campgrounds and RV parks are a small resort unto themselves with water sports, organised activities, trails and more.

Camping Gear

Start with a basic list of essentials (tent, tarp, water jug, cooler, camping stove, dishes, pots, etc.) then scour the house and garage to gather items on the list that you already have. Check out garage sales, thrift stores and online used-merchandise sites for the things you don’t have. See if friends or family are willing to lend you some of their gear for your first few trips while you gradually accumulate all the essentials that you need. Remember, you can always upgrade later when your budget allows, and the opportunity presents itself (watch for awesome deals in end-of-season flyers).

Food & Cooking Utensils

Kootenay Rockies

Plan easy meals

Write out a menu and grocery list based on how many meals you will need, what type and the ingredients required. Start by rifling through your kitchen for the ingredients and those items you don’t have put on a shopping list.

Keep it simple and easy. Separately freeze home-made pasta sauce, pasta or straight up soup, chili or stew for an easy meal. Use large, sturdy Ziploc bags or plastic containers that do double duty by acting as edible “ice” in your cooler. Bagels, pita or unsliced bread travel better and are multi-purpose. Downsize bulky staples (butter, condiments, etc.) into small plastic containers. Pack things like tea, coffee and sugar into Ziploc bags. Make your own ice by freezing water in lidded, plastic milk jugs (as they thaw, you’ll have an extra supply of drinking water). Pack hard boiled eggs, a chunk of cheese and some fresh fruit for an easy and nutritious lunch. Toss quick-cooking rolled oats in a Ziploc bag along with some nuts and raisins, for quick and easy breakfast.

Packing Bin for Camping

Clear Plastic Packing Bins are great make great containers for Camping

Wide mouthed insulated cups can be used for everything from hot and cold beverages, to soup, pasta and cereal. Empty ice-cream buckets can be packed with kitchen gear, then double as a dish-pan or water bucket. Use the lid as a cutting board or serving tray.

  • Pack pots that stack into one another
  • Pack small spice containers or one that has compartmentalized spices
  • Choose food that can stack into one another, for example pringle chips vs a bag of chips
  • Use cooking utensils or equipment that have multifunctional purposes, for instance a plastic milk carton can later be used as a container to make juice out of a concentrate.
  • Shrink condiments into smaller containers

Camping in BC’s great outdoors is a fun activity for all the family, even if your experience is limited and your budget almost non-existent. Be creative and have fun!

Share your BC camping, RVing and travel photos using #CampinBC.

Published: April 1st, 2018

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Patricia Cashin by Patricia Cashin

Driving the backroads in BC in my 2000 Mazda Miata with the top down is one of my favourite pastimes and incredible fun, plus a great way to see roads less travelled. Made even better when joined by other miata-loving owners. Being officially retired and living in BC is pretty good!

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