Are You Getting Ready for the First Trip of the Year?

S'mores is a camping tradition for us and many families.  I cannot wait for that first campfire of the camping season!

Are you getting ready for the first camping trip of the year?  Me too!  As I'm writing this, we are two weeks away from our first trip of the year.  Our January trip was canceled.  And, while we were disappointed, I'm not looking back.  I'm looking forward - to camping fun!  I have a checklist to help you develop a system for seasonal prep.

As you are getting everything organized for that first camping trip of the year, there are four categories that I would check off.  If this is your very first camping trip ever, that's okay.  Take a deep breath.  You can do this.  Don't get overwhelmed.  Pace yourself.  And if you are trying to be more organized as a camper this year, rethinking the prep process might help you tackle everything a little easier.  As you go through each step, make a list of things you need to do or purchase so that you can check them off and don't forget things along the way.

I like to take everything out of the pop-up and give everything a good cleaning!

Basic Maintenance/Safety Check

You need to go through an overall inspection of your camper before each season.  At a minimum, you need to be checking your electrical, water lines, propane tanks, and tires.  If you are in a pop-up camper like we are, pop up your camper at home and give everything a run through and make sure that everything is in running order.  We don't have fresh water tanks and have very limited amounts of cold weather so we don't winterize.  But, you might be flushing out the dreaded pink drink. 

Some of my basic maintenance supplies include those to wash Peggy Sue, clean my lines, and more.

Make sure you keep a toolbox with you when you travel.  It will always come in handy on the road!

I would also use this time to give everything a good cleaning while you are at it.  RV specific cleaners are what I recommend.  Stay away from the harsh chemicals and bleach.  I did a whole post of RV Maintenance last fall.  This is a deep dive into the annual maintenance of an RV.   Bottom line, start here.  If you find a problem, you will have time to make repairs before your trip. 

Camping Basics

Go through all of your storage boxes and bins to check for your towels, sheets, and toiletries.  I keep everything in space bags in our camper so that it stays fresh and clean after it is washed and stored, but I like to do a check to make sure that it is all there. 

Since we keep everything stored in our pop up, it is important for me to physically take a good inventory of what is there before that first trip.  

This charging cube works well for us to charge all of our devices on the road.

Also, do a run through of your table cloths, matches, extension cords, and chargers.  It is all of these little things that get separated out and lost at the end of the season.  You never know that you are missing these items until you show up at the campground without them. 

We use one item for hair and body wash.  It is gentle but works for all of us.  

Go through your toiletry bag before hitting the road to make sure you restock on anything that you might have used up or just needs replacing since last season.

Do an inventory of items like hand sanitizer, dishwashing soap, paper towels, garbage bags and any other items that you will need.  These items are going to vary from one group to the next.  Do a camper restock of your basic camping needs.  I will typically add these to my weekly Kroger Clicklist order so that I can just throw them into my RV and move on. 


If you cook often at the campground, this is an important step.  Check your spices and cooking utensils.  Replace ones that are broken or lost.  Conduct a thorough inventory of your kitchen equipment and make sure you have what you need and donate or sell what you don't.  Parchment paper, aluminum foil and resealable bags are always items need replacing.  Also, I use this time to reorganize items that have strayed or gotten disorganized.  I will be able to find things when I need it, and I enjoy cooking much more when everything is neat and clean.

I keep all of my kitchen items in plastic shoe box style bins.  

Do an inventory of your spices and replace what is old or low.


Outdoor Items

The final stash of items to check is your outdoor gear.  This is your chairs, outdoor rug, hammocks, lights, and other miscellaneous items.  You can choose how much or little of this you want to include.  I would encourage you to have a rug, chair per person and some outdoor lighting at a minimum.  When you are camping, buy your firewood locally where you are camping because bringing in firewood from other places is not good for the environment and can cause damaging bug infestations.  

My favorite camping chair.

To help you get organized for that first trip, try this First Camping Checklist.  It is organized into these different categories for you.  You can also check out my Camping Gear Page to see some of our favorite camping gear.

Until next time...