7 Tips for a Successful Spring Break Camping Trip
Wishing to shake things up a bit this spring break? Instead of heading off to the beach, why don’t you pile in the family roadster and head for a secluded spot way back in the woods? Spring is a spectacular time to go camping! Flowers are starting to bloom, the days are getting longer and warmer, there aren’t nearly as many biting bugs and it isn’t as crowded. Plus, you and your crew will save a ton of money!
However, there are risks involved when choosing to go tent camping in spring. The weather almost everywhere in the United States is transitioning and unpredictable. This means you need to keep your eyes and ears out for severe weather reports, preplan and be conscious of what to pack to remain comfortable. Beautiful, sunny warm days can turn downright cold as soon as the sun goes down and if you’ve ever been ill-prepared for falling temps in your tent, you’ll know cold can be just as miserable as hot.
After years of triumphs and failures, here are the 12 Survivors staffs’ best spring break camping tips:
We can’t stress this enough. This includes where you’ll go, what you’ll eat, where you’ll sleep, what you’ll do and who’ll go with you. After these basics are figured out, you’ll be able to plan meals and make a camping essentials checklist. When packing, even if you don’t think the weather will turn nasty, throw in a wooly hat or beanie, gloves, scarf, warm hoodie, coat or jacket, extra socks, rain gear and boots and chemical hand and toe warmers.
Check Your Equipment
I have been the victim of a cheap, non-waterproof tent. Admittedly, it is my fault that I didn’t test it, nor pay attention to the weather forecast, but that didn’t make my situation any less dismal. A bad thunderstorm popped up overnight and even though I had put up the rainfly, my tent still leaked. My clothing was soaked, and I had to live in a damp bathing suit for a day while my clothes dried. Do a dummy check before heading out by pitching your tent in the backyard. This will also provide a refresher in how to set up your tent or teach you how if it’s brand new. As an extra precaution, use a waterproofing spray.
Prepare for the Worst
As mentioned above, even if you have checked the forecast, there might not be (for now) any chance of storms. But, it’s spring. That can change. NOAA-approved weather alert radios will let you know if something is headed your way. And it’s totally okay to check your phone periodically for weather updates, just so long as you don’t stick your head in front of a screen the whole time—that defeats the purpose of camping! Further, pack a rain fly, extra tarps and rope to provide a dry area for your hang-out space and to cover your tent.
Come up With a Back-Up Plan
Though camping in the rain can be an extremely relaxing experience, sometimes, it can be too much. Or too cold. Or too windy. Or just too whatever. Don’t worry about not wanting to rough it that hardcore. It’s okay to pack up and head into town and check into the local motel and explore the closest small towns. As an alternative, you and your friends or family can always choose to rent a cabin instead of tent camping.
Make a Reservation
Even though summer is the most popular season for camping, since it is spring break, you aren’t alone in your great idea. Call the park ahead and make a reservation to secure a spot.
Note the Rules of Your Campsite
Become familiar with the rules and regulations with the park you’re visiting. For example, some may not allow campfires during certain weather conditions, others have quiet hours. State and national parks all have their separate rules, as well. It is illegal to drink in state parks in Texas, while many of the national parks allow drinking at your campsite and some even have their own lodges and microbreweries! The last thing you need is getting kicked out of the park after everyone’s enjoyed a few libations.
Camping areas are also sometimes restricted—like no overnight guests in spots designated just for day use. Many walk-in or primitive camping areas only allow camping in sites already established, while others may not allow primitive camping at all.
Planning and prepping each meal at home will save time, prevent confusion, cut down in waste, save cooler space and ensure you have everything you need to cook and eat those meals. I mentioned above that through trials and failures, we’ve learned our lessons. I’ve had my fair share. One summer, my roommates and I spontaneously decided to camp out at the local lake for the night. We stopped over at the grocery store and purchased beer and everything we needed to grill burgers…except for one thing—we didn’t pack or buy any utensils to cook the burgers. To say cooking dinner was challenging is quite the understatement.
Cracking eggs into empty water bottles, pre-chopping vegetables and dividing snacks into Ziplock baggies are all old tricks for seasoned campers to save time when it comes time to eat.
We have plenty of tips and how-tos for beginner campers:
- Tips for Camping in the Rain
- Reducing Your Campsite Footprint
- A Little Rain Never Hurt! Camping When the Weather is Wet
- Easy Camping Meals
- How to Choose a Tent