We each have our own way to prepare for a trip, whether it be down to the river for a day of fun, or halfway across the world on an extravagant tour across Italy. The most important thing when preparing for camp is making sure you have not only the essentials, but also be prepared for the unexpected.
My favorite trips are up into the mountains. I love to spend time just enjoying the sounds and views. Lounging in a camp chair smelling the fresh air, then crowding around the campfire at night talking with close friends.
So how do I prepare? First of all my truck. I have a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab that has been my primary rig for going on 9 years now. I love the thing and it’s gotten me so many places.
There are the obvious mechanical things such as maintaining your vehicle regularly, good off road tires if you like the mountains like I do, and upgraded suspension if you have the money. Is it required? No, absolutely not. These are just my preferences. Just a little info, I’m running Rancho RS9000XL Shocks on the rear, and Rancho QuickLift Struts (2″ level lift) on the front. I have a set of 18″ XD Wheels wrapped in 285/65R18 Toyo Open Country AT3 tires. The setup works well and hasn’t failed me.
What else do I use for trips though? I like to have all of the essentials with me, whether I’m camping to relax, or camping for hunting season. I’ve added several useful toolboxes to the bed of my truck for keeping gear dry, and easily accessible. The two side tool boxes are UnderCover SwingCase Toolboxes. There’s a lever on each one that allows me to swing it out over the open tailgate to easily access the contents, and also can be removed from the truck entirely by unlocking and sliding it up. The front toolbox is a Truxedo TonneauMate Toolbox.
Okay, okay, enough talking about the parts. You can do all of this without having the special toolboxes, I just find them incredibly useful for utilizing the space and keeping my gear dry. So what’s in them? I keep a 6 man tent, sleeping back, a Tenergy 300Wh LiFePo4 battery backup, a 7800 mAh Camp fan with LED lantern (also doubles as a power bank if absolutely necessary), a selection of freeze dried meals (I find I enjoy the Mountain Home brand, but really anything will do), basic tools, tow straps, and road flares.
Shifting to the interior of the truck I’ve installed some rigid molle panels to the backs of the seats and folded the back seat up. I keep a flashlight, hatchet, full trauma kit (with tourniquet), gloves, fishing line, a set of different knives and a multi tool.
Another major thing for me is the 3 handheld radios all programmed to the same channel so I can communicate with others in my party or if I’m close enough to town my family that has their radios all set to the same channel as well.
I think the real question is, why do I take all of this stuff with me? Wouldn’t it be easier to just take a backpack, sleeping bag, and a tent with you? Sure, that’d be “easier” but with the gear I have, if something goes wrong I’m prepared. Something doesn’t even have to go wrong for me to be prepared. If I come across someone who has had an accident or is lost or injured I have a way to help. Being prepared to spend nights alone is the best way in my opinion to be prepared to help someone else. Here in mountainous regions of Washington if we’re out anytime during fall or spring we risk snowstorms coming up out of nowhere. I choose to be prepared.
All of that being said, I can’t wait to go camping this spring and summer. I’m hoping to get out in a couple weekends with some friends for my birthday and enjoy a campfire before the state puts a burn ban in place. Always keep water and a shovel with you so you can make sure your fire is out before you leave any camp, and make sure to check local laws surrounding open flame fires. Some places don’t allow them at all, some only allow established / permanent pits. Always try to find some rocks and ring a pit where your fire is going to be.