The difference between a great experience outdoors and a miserable one is the planning. Here at Campika, we’ve found that there are six basic questions that we always ask ourselves when planning for our next reat camping adventure:

Who’s Going Camping?

Plan your trip with the wants, needs, and experience levels of everyone you’ll be going with in mind. Also, be mindful of anyone in your group that may have special medical needs, and be sure to pack any any medication ect. that they may need. If you’re bringing pets, you’ll need to check if they’re allowed at your campsite, if there are special rules regarding them on the trails you plan to hike, and if there are any pests in the area that could adversely affect them. Taking the time to find that spectacular mountainside campsite, to pack those async extra-warm socks for your cold-footed friend, and to make sure the hiking trail you’ve chosen is reasonable given everyone’s fitness level, goes a long way towards ensuring a happy trip for everybody.

What Kind of Camping?

At Campika, we believe everyone can enjoy the outdoors. There are all kinds of different camping styles. “Camping” is a broad term, so decide if you’ll be backpacking, car camping, RV-ing, spending time at a cabin, or even staying in a national parks lodge. Take some time to consider what kind of camping will allow those in your group to have the most fun. Note that if it’s your first time planning an outdoor trip, we recommend staying in a cabin or car camping, since they’re usually the easiest to plan. You’ll probably be within a short drive of town, where the grocery store clerk can happily point you to the aisle with all the s’more ingredients. Backpacking requires the most amount of planning, since you’ll be in a remote location without access to assistance or supplies. Keep in mind that no matter what kind of camping you choose to do, that you’ll probably have to make some kind of arrangements in advance. If you’re staying at a national parks lodge, you’ll probably need room reservations, but if you’re going on a backpacking trip, you’ll probably need to get a back country pass from the U.S. Forest Service for your particular area. If you do choose to go backpacking, it is important that you learn how to pack your backpack in the most efficient way.

When are You Going Camping?

Start broad and get more specific when it comes to timing; think of the season of your trip, the days, then the hours. Your choice of season for your trip affects the scenery you’ll see, the weather you’ll experience, the trails that will be open for hiking, the number of other campers around you, andwhether or not you’ll need advanced reservations. In general, most campgrounds are busiest in the Summer, and in some cases very popular destinations, like national parks, may require reservations months in advance. Conversely, smaller local state parkcampgrounds in the late fall and early spring rarely require advanced reservations.

The days that you plan on going camping will affect the your travel time to your destination (holidays being much busier), and the weather conditions that you’ll likely to experience. These factors may influence when you decide to leave, and what kind of gear to bring. For example, if you’re traveling on a high traffic weekend, and you see some rain in the forecast, you’ll probably want to allow for more travel time, and packing some waterproof clothing.

Finally, the exact time that you leave on your camping trip will determine when you arrive at your campsite. Try to leave early enough so that you’ll have a few hours of daylight after you arrive at your campsite to get settled. Trust us, nobody likes setting up a tent after dark.

Where are You Going Camping?

There are tons of resources for choosing your next outdoor destination including guide books, national/state park websites, and the staff at your local outdoors store. Once you’ve chosen a destination, think about how you’ll navigate once you’re there. Although GPS enabled devices are widely available, it’s still a good idea to bring written directions and a map (I especially like the waterproof USGS maps). Remember that using Google Maps to find the nearest coffee shop in town is very different than using a map/compass to find the correct trail in the wilderness, so be sure you practice your navigation skills before leaving.

Why are You Going Camping?

Lots of people love camping itself – and we think that’s great! However, we also know that there are lots of people for whom camping is a small part of a different passion. The fisherman, camping to get early morning fishing access to a river, or the photographer, camping to get some early morning shots, should prepare very differently. You’ll need to pack different pieces of gear depending on the activities that you plan on pursuing, and you’ll need to think about logistics more carefully too. The fisherman may need to plan on stopping by a bait shop on his way, and the photographer may need to make a note to charge the batteries on all of her electronics before leaving home. A great way to try to think through these sorts of details is to imagine yourself doing your planned activity. Walk through your experience, and note all the things that you’ll need to bring, prepare in advance, and do the day-of.

How Will You Get Ready to Camp?

Here at Campika, we know that planning for your next camping trip can be a real challenge whether you’re a novice or an expert, but we think that this shouldn’t hold you back. In fact, the whole reason Campika exists is to make planning easier!

We are developing an app which generates a customizable packing list with all the gear you should consider bringing, allows you to collaborate online to figure out who’s bringing what, and gives you suggestions about where you can easily purchase the things that you don’t already have. Our aim at Campika is to take the hassle out of planning your wilderness adventures so that you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors. We’re honored to be your outdoor travel companion.

Campika: Get prepared. Get outdoors!

Campika Mission

Campika helps people get prepared and get outdoors. We provide, in one place, the services, information, and equipment people of all experience levels need to have a great trip in the great outdoors. Whether you’re new to outdoor adventures or an expert, Campika’s apps, recommendations, and online community make us the trusted companion you’ll bring with you on every trip. With Campika, anyone can be “outdoorsy.”

© 2017 Campika LLC