How To Be Prepared For Last-Minute Camping

With the weather as unpredictable as it is, even the best-planned camping trip can end up…not going to plan. Sometimes the best way is to wait for a particularly sunny weekend, get packed up and head out on a spontaneous camping adventure – which doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. Here are our top tips for making sure you’re always prepared for a last-minute camping trip, so you can pack up and go whenever the inspiration strikes.


Get Organised

Being able to quickly gather everything you need to get out on an adventure will make last-minute trips so much easier, and all it takes is a bit of organisation. Store your tent, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, pillows and all your other camping kit in the same place, so it’s always ready to go – preferably already in bags or packs!


Keep a reusable camping checklist with your kit to minimise the risk of you forgetting something essential.

Keep Your Kit In Good Shape

It’s all too easy to notice a bit of camping kit needs repairing or replacing, promise you’ll get it done once you’re home and then completely forget until the next trip. If you’re thinking of making last-minute camping a hobby (which we thoroughly recommend), it’s important to stay on top of keeping your kit in good working order, so it’s ready to go whenever you are. A good way to do this is to make a habit of checking everything as you unpack it at home and before you pack it up to head out on your next adventure.


You should also clean your kit after every trip and make sure it is dry before storing it away to keep it performing at its best for years to come.

Check The Weather

Chances are if you’re heading on a last-minute camping trip, it’s because the forecast is going to be good. But even if it’s not, that’s no reason to put you off. Like Sir Ranulph Fiennes said, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”


With that in mind, check the weather and pack accordingly. Think shorts and lightweight tees for daytime in warm weather and hoodies and fleeces to cosy up by the fire at night when the temperature drops. For trips in cooler weather, layering up is the key to staying warm, and you need to remember a hat, gloves and plenty of socks to protect your extremities. 


And, don’t forget to pack a lightweight waterproof, because whatever the weather report says there’s always a chance of a downpour when you’re camping in the UK. 


Have A Designated Camping First Aid Kit

Accidents happen when you’re out adventuring, but being prepared means you can minimise the impact they have on your trip. Having a designated first aid kit for camping will help ensure that you’ve got the essentials needed to treat minor injuries quickly. 


As well as the basics like plasters, it’s a good idea to pack insect repellent and allergy medication in your camp first aid kit.

Have Some Camp Food Ready To Go

Don’t worry when we say have some camp food, we're not talking dehydrated camping meals unless that’s your thing. We just mean having some basic dried foods like pasta, rice, noodles, and snacks put to one side with your camping kit. It will mean that you've got a meal for your first night without having to raid your cupboards or do a shop beforehand.


You can then buy some fresh supplies from a local store once you've set up camp, which helps support the economy of the area you're exploring.

Freeze Ahead

Cooking on a camping stove comes with limitations, and nobody wants to spend all of their time away at the stove. So if you really like to be prepared then make some meals up in advance and freeze them. Things like chilli, stews, soups or casseroles work great as they provide a hearty one-pot meal. Plus, they all freeze well, so you can make them up weeks in advance and have them there waiting to go, should you have a sudden urge for a last-minute camping trip.


And, unless it's the height of summer, if you're only away for a couple of days, you can probably take frozen meals for the whole trip. You'll need to store the frozen meals in a cool box packed with ice packs or a portable camping fridge to keep them cool for as long as possible.


Access Maps On The Move

If you plan to get out and about when you're camping, it's a good idea to carry a proper map and compass with you, just in case. But chances are if you decide to go camping on the spur of the moment, you won’t have a map to hand of the area you’re going to. 


Fortunately, the Ordnance Survey offer a map subscription service for a small monthly fee that gives you access to OS maps for the whole of Great Britain at any time. You can even print out maps or download them before you leave for your trip, so you have a backup and don’t have to worry about losing signal or your battery running out.

Go With The Flow

By its nature, last-minute camping leaves little time for planning, which includes your location and activities. Spots at campsites won’t always be available, and plenty of other things could end up changing your plans, so being flexible about where you go and improvising what you do once you’re there is all part of the fun.

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