Preparing for Your Tent Camping Trip with KOA

While tent camping is a bit simpler to pack for, you'll still want to plan ahead for everything you need to bring, and everything you want to do. Keep the following tips in mind when preparing for your tent camping adventure:

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RV Campsite Styles

When selecting your ideal tent camping destination, look at different places you've always wanted to visit and explore. Consider locations near relatives to grab some quality family time during your trip. Or think about different events or activities you've always wanted to experience. All of these ideas can help you come up with some location options for your perfect tent camping trip. It's also easy to just pull in and pitch a tent for a quick stop along the way to another destination.

Looking for tent camping near you? You don't have to go far from home to enjoy a camping experience. If you're short on time, you could pitch a tent at a campground nearby.

If you're interested in electricity, check to see if the campground offers electrical hookups. This can be important for things like charging cell phones. Water access is another important issue. How far do you have to walk to fetch for camp?

KOA puts a lot of thought into campsites to eliminate the usual issues that make tent camping less enjoyable. KOA Campgrounds offer you privacy and size that lets you spread out without being too close to your neighbors. Tent Sites are also typically off the beaten path, so you don't have to deal with a lot of foot traffic, while still offering easy access to amazing sites, attractions and parks near you. With so much space, you have plenty of room for you tent and all the activities you want to do at your campsite – while at the same time maintaining that private camping experience.

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What to Pack for Your Tent Camping trip

It's time to pack up for your trip, but what do you bring? Tent camping does require a little more gear than staying in a cabin. Your specific checklist may vary, but here are a few tent camping tips and essentials to get you started:

Packing Checklist

  • Tent and related gear: You'll want a tent, of course. Make sure it's in good working order, with required stakes and cords. Extra stakes are often handy; as well as a hammer or mallet (or the back of a hatchet, if you have one handy) to drive them in. Extra cord can be valuable too, whether securing a pesky tent flap in the wind or hanging up a clothesline.

    Then there's what goes inside your tent. Take the weather forecast into consideration when choosing your blankets or sleeping bags, and consider a sleeping pad, mattress or cot for sleeping off the ground. You can never have too many blankets! Light sleepers may also want to pack a pair of earplugs, and those that don't want to get up with the sunrise, a sleeping mask.

  • Tent Site Gear: While most tent sites include a picnic table with attached benches, you'll want to pack a comfortable camp chair for extra seating, and for sitting around the campfire – one for each person (and one fore each of any spoiled pet). You'll also want to pack lighting for when the sun goes down if you site doesn't include it: flashlights are fun for the kids, but a headlamp is extremely useful for hands-free use. For inside or outside the tent, a good lantern can be helpful as well.

  • Entertainment: Don't forget toys! While KOA has more than enough going on around the park to keep you occupied, what's a camping trip without your own favorite activities!? Fishing gear, hiking poles, bikes, card and board games, pack all the things that you enjoy.

  • Personal Items: Packing clothing that matches the weather forecast is smart and utilizing "moisture wicking", "quick drying" and "UV protection" clothes are also recommended. As anybody that's familiar with camping knows, layering is key for managing the different temperatures when you're hiking during the day, and snuggling up to a campfire at night. Don't forget all the essentials like toothbrushes, hairbrushes, sunblocks, mosquito repellant, and a travel first aid kit.

  • Food: Everybody knows food tastes better when you're camping! Be sure to bring all the meals needed for your camping trip based on the length of your stay, and don't forget the snacks, spices, and drinks. If you have food that needs to stay cold, be sure to pack a cooler and get some extra ice. If you plan to eat hot meals, make sure you have matches for the fire, and propane gas for the stoves. Canned food is an easy way to whip up a quick meal, and dried foods like jerky or dried fruit are a perfect mid-day snack. If you're a fan of hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, make sure you bring the necessary equipment to warm up and brew the drinks.

  • Cooking Gear: Whether cooking on a campfire or a camp stove, make sure you bring the necessary gear. It helps to plan your camping menu first, because then you'll have an idea of what you'll need in terms of pots/pans, utensils, cooking oils can openers, condiments, and storage for leftovers.

When packing, consider whether you actually need an item. While you don't want to forget anything important, you don't want to go overboard. Packing items in plastic tubs with lids helps protect the items from the elements and makes storage a little easier. Stack the tubs inside your vehicle or in a corner of the tent if you have space.

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Additional Resources

10 Tips for Tent Camping

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How to Choose a Family Camping Tent

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Tips for Keeping Bugs Away During Your Camping Trip

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Save On Every Deluxe Tent Camping Trip with KOA Rewards

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Make a KOA Tent Site Reservation

If you'd like to reserve a tent site for your upcoming camping trip, do so in the easiest way possible: with the: KOA App. This App allows you to search for locations nearby, compare location amenities and make a reservation for a tent camping site – all conveniently from your phone. You can also make a reservation online or by calling your desired KOA location. So what are you waiting for? Start planning you outdoor camping adventure today!

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