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5 Tips for Getting Organized for a Camping Trip

Practice Your Setup
Make sure you know how to set up your gear before you leave.
Make sure you know how to set up your gear before you leave.
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Whether you're tent camping or camping in luxury in a 40-foot (12.2-meter) motor home, you need to know how to set up your camp site. What's the worst place to learn how to set up? At your camp site. You might be running late and arrive in the dark. You might need extra tent stakes. Better to learn in your own back yard or driveway than hundreds of miles away from home.

Whenever you buy a new tent, roll it out and set it up in your yard. Then you'll see which parts go where and how everything fits together without the stress of trying to learn it all on the first day of your trip. This also gives you a chance to put seam sealer on the seams of your tent -- even the most watertight tent benefits from a dose of seam sealer. Practice your full set-up, from your ground cloth to any extra tarps you erect to block wind or rain.

If you've got a more advanced camping set up, like a trailer or a motor home, you'll want to practice that, too. How do you crank down the stabilizers to level the trailer? How do you turn on the air-conditioning? Which valves operate the sewage tank, and which operates the gray water tank? How can you refill the fresh water tank? Some of these processes can be complicated until you've done them a few times, so a driveway dry run is crucial.