8 reasons for a camping plan

Camping is extremely rewarding and the benefits are numerous. It can also be frustrating and even exhausting, especially if you aren’t properly prepared for that particular trip, or for camping in general. One day might be the perfect picture that you see in the glossy magazines and advertisements, but the next day could just as easily be the complete opposite with gale force winds and pelting rain.

Camping itself can be a pretty casual affair, but that doesn’t mean the planning and preparation for camping should be likewise. This is especially so when a lot of time and money goes into getting you to the campsite, there are plenty of things to think about and things can go wrong - car trouble, bad weather, run-ins with the wildlife and leaving that all important piece of camping equipment at home.

A well planned approach to camping has many benefits:

1: Achieve a camping setup to suit you
Everyone is different and has their individual needs, interests and circumstances that can change over time. Putting together a setup to suit you that can be safely transported by car takes time and a lot of consideration. It needs to take into account your circumstances, preferred camping style and interests, including:
  • If you are camping with children or hope to in the future 
  • Your preference for long stay camping, touring, weekend getaways or all three
  • Your preferred style of camping - minimalist, glamping or something in between
  • If you like to "bush camp" without facilities
  • If you enjoy 4-wheel driving and travelling to remote areas
  • If you want to be equipped for overnight hiking and bushwalking as well as car camping
  • If you have other hobbies and interests that you would like to pursue in conjunction with camping, such as boating, bike or horse riding and competitive sports
  • If you or anyone in your family or group have special needs to be accommodated.
2: Mitigate risks

Unfortunately, things don't always go to plan ,and when that happens you want to be prepared as much as you can be. Identifying and evaluating anything foreseeable that could go wrong, and putting in place reasonable safeguards, can really help mitigate risks - such as properly packing a car for safer travelling, maintaining adequate insurance coverage or being properly equipped to do tent repairs, to fix the car, to provide first aid etc.

3: Reduce our impact on the environment

“Plan ahead and prepare” is the first of the 7 Leave No Trace principles - a set of ethics that promote conservation in the outdoors by encouraging people to leave the environment as they found it. LNT was originally developed with overnight hikers and bushwalkers in mind, but car campers can also take much from its principles as well.

Planning ahead will help you to consider your goals and skill level and those of your group, and choose an appropriate destination and program of activities. Good preparation involves being properly equipped with the right local information, camping gear, technical skills, food and drinks, first aid kit and allowing plenty of time to travel and to set up camp. Good planning and preparation will result in a more enjoyable camping experience, and the reduced likelihood of abandoning your LNT principles in the name of safety and comfort.

4: Save money

A lot of money can be saved if you clarify what is on and, more importantly, not on your camping list to eliminate those “stab in the dark” and impulse purchases or the latest gadget temptation - if it’s not on the list it stays on the store shelf. Knowing your shopping list in advance also allows you to take advantage of store sales.

5: Save time

They say that every minute spent on planning can save you as many as 10 minutes in execution, and camping is no exception. Armed with checklists and procedures that clarify what you should, and should not, bring and what everyone is expected to do and when, can really save time. By planning out exactly how to best do something before actually doing it, everyone is on the same page, you will spend less time preparing, packing, pitching (and maybe even arguing) and more on the pleasures of camping.

6: Maximise opportunities

You can really maximise your opportunities when you know in advance when local markets, festivals and events are being held. Being prepared and well equipped, you can quickly change plans or direction if something takes your interest. Being prepared also allows you to even just to head off for quick getaway at short notice when you see a good weather window of opportunity.

7: For peace of mind

Being prepared can really give you peace of mind by reducing the stress and anxiety associated with being disorganised and unprepared, forgetting important pieces of equipment and worrying about what could go wrong and how you are going to deal with it. Being better organised, prepared and equipped means you can relax more and enjoy the moment.

8: To determine if camping is actually for you

Despite its wide popularity, there are many people who are not camping devotees and never will be, no matter how great their setup or how organised and prepared they are. If that sounds like you, it’s helpful to have an inkling of that at the outset before you invest in top of the range camping gear that never leaves the garage. Starting out with a simple camping setup, such as our camping setup for beginners, and a tent at the lower end of the price range according to our tent buying guide, can overcome many of the inherent inconveniences of camping and help you to see if camping is really for you.