Guide For First Time Planning a Camping Trip

Updated: Jun 11

First time planning a camping trip with friends? First time planning a trip ever? If this is you, this blog post is for you. If you’re experienced camping but haven’t planned a trip with a friend, this blog post just might be for you.

Now that you’re debating or you have decided to ask friends to go on a camping trip, consider these questions below:


  • What activities are you planning?

  • Does everyone know each other?

  • Who has a tent or will you stay at a KOA with a cabin? How many can fit?

  • What food are you bringing?

  • What will this cost me?


Answering these basics questions will help you decided the next steps.

Activities matter for allowing the days to flow and it adds to the enjoyment of the overall trip. Since you’ll be the one asking people to join for this camping trip, they will all turn to you for answers on activity, what to pack, and all the logistics involved.


Save this Pin so you remember these questions to consider when planning a trip!


If that overwhelms you, then I got you! This blog post will help minimize questions and allow you to be as prepared as you can be before the trip even begins. Here are some helpful tips:


1. Check with knowledgeable camping friends


If you’re looking for a new spot to go camping, or have never been, ask people you know if they know of a spot they would recommend. I have camped at places I would both recommend and not recommend.


When I was a beginner camper, I asked friends constantly where they’ve camped. When I was out, I would even ask people if they were campers and it was a good conversation starter. I got a lot of recommendations for spots to camp for years!

2. Research!


This goes without saying, research, research, research!


Thankfully my first camping trip I went somewhere I knew. For the next year, my friends and I wanted to go climbing at the Gunks in New Paltz, New York. There is literary one campsite in the area, but we needed to know

  • Cost of campsite

  • Cost of climbing, for those of you who do not know the gunks is a climbing location. If you swap climbing for hiking, be mindful that some hiking spots may have a cost attributed to hiking, parking, or for us, it was climbing in the state park.

  • Meal planning - will you be eating out and where? Or do you plan to cook all the meals?

I needed to know the above information to share with my friends and also budget for myself. None of us had been to the area, I had to rely on the information I got from websites and phone calls with the people at the campsite.

3. Check with core people you want


If you have set friends you enjoy camping with, check when they’re available to go. You don’t want to pick a weekend and it ends up that none of your friends can go.


Something I learned the hard way, give three-weekend options. I gave too many weekend options, people either didn’t commit or I had to keep chasing people down. Three is a middle of the road option because most people can either make only one or two of the weekend options.


4. Book the locations


Once you’ve done the research, shared with the news with friends, and confirmed the weekend you're going - it’s time to book!


Make sure you’re all set with prices and keep track of any additional costs associated with it. I had a nightmare experience where we booked a cabin at a KOA site, we confirmed this would be for six grown adults. Needless to say, my friends and I ended up calling this spot the hobbit hole.


We ended up making the best of the experience, but none of us want to repeat it.

5. Make a list of all must-have items


Now, you might know exactly what you should pack and think everyone you’ve invited is on the same level. Nope. Never assume.


It’s much better to provide friends with a checklist of what they should and should not pack. Some people might have camped before but have done more of a glamping situation. Also, if a friend completely messes up, everyone can verify that you provided the necessary information.


On another camping trip, a friend checked with me if there was more they should bring. I reference the email that was sent and said if you had that, then you’re good.


This friend brought just a hiking outfit and swimsuit. No sleeping back, blanket, and I don’t even think a pillow. Just, pause with me for a moment. If you’re spending just $15, does that add up to you? Just, take my advice, share the information. This person blamed me for them only packing that and I was like, we sent multiple emails confirming what to bring. You even thanked us for said email...

Long story short, everyone else was super prepared because the list covered everything people would need. Also, those who have gone camping before brought some extra items they new more novice campers would forget.


It’s better to assume people have no idea what to pack. The list is also a good reference for yourself when it’s time to pack!


People generally appreciate the list, and a friend could add something to the chain that might be something you wouldn’t have thought of. It’s all about helping each other out!


6. Email Your People An Itinerary


I know most conversations happen via text. But like the list, email all the campsite and itinerary info. An email is easier to search for than a text, especially in a group chat.


The chain can also be a hub if you will for anybody going to reference important information.

Plus, if people are driving up at different times, you shared the address and don’t have to worry if you miss a text while driving from someone to confirm the location.


7. Enjoy your Trip!


Now, after all that hard work, you can enjoy it! You’ve done everything you can to ensure people are as prepared as possible. Take photos, remember to hydrate, and relax.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about how to plan for a camping trip. If you have any questions about the area please email me at rebeccanoelle@r-noelle.com


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